GWTV is back on the air with new programming after a fall full of difficulties and a blank screen.
Students who tuned into Channel 6 at the beginning of the year saw nothing and for months after that, the only thing airing was the class-produced news magazine show “The Source” on a continuous loop.
Now students will see a wider range of programming appearing on the screens of GWTV after seniors Matt Saunders and Curtis Raye took over the station a few months ago. They took charge, promising a change of attitude and procedure.
The new presidents of the organization said in the fall that they were looking to create a new executive board and encourage broader student involvement to get GWTV back up and running. This is a process that they said has happened more quickly than anticipated.
“The goal was to go slowly, and it has actually happened faster than we expected,” Saunders said. “We were capable of more than I was expecting us to be able to do.”
Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs Lee Huebner said he has noticed positive changes with the station.
“I am a strong supporter of a student-led GWTV effort and am encouraged by the recent progress which is being made in this direction,” Huebner said.
Since Saunders and Raye took over the station this fall, the station has increased its programming, which changes weekly, to eight hours.
“We are trying to bring in programming that is not just another channel, but that’s good, has a good quality,” Saunders said. He also said they were trying to provide things that “students would be interested in watching.”
Television programs that are now playing on GWTV include “Think Talk,” a career program designed for college students, “Digging for the Truth,” a History Channel program that GWTV obtained the rights to air, and “The Source,” a GW focused news program an SMPA class produces. Other programming includes local events on campus, like the recent Hatchet-Student Association debate and speeches from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and political strategist James Carville.
The staff at GWTV has also begun producing an original show in association with the Student Activities Center. The show is based after the weekly University-wide e-mail GWeekly that SAC distributes to inform students about campus events and other announcements.
“I’ve always been about baby steps with this organization,” Saunders said. “When you lay the ground work you have to do it that way.”
SMPA Professor Roxanne Russell, the faculty adviser for the group is impressed with the work so far.
“Matt and Curtis are very organized and, more importantly, committed to building a structure that will last beyond them when they leave GW,” she wrote in an e-mail last week.
The two planned to create an executive board to fill with young, energetic members who could continue to run the organization.
“Before this year, GWTV had been a poorly managed student organization. Year to year, the organization could not pick up enough momentum to take off and flourish,” said Elliot Brown, a freshman who was newly appointed to the position of director of content acquisitions on GWTV’s executive board.
When former president of GWTV Jelena Zupan stepped down this fall, she cited the administration’s lack of support for the failings of GWTV. Saunders and Raye say they have worked with people ready to help GWTV.
“Everyone has been supportive,” Saunders said. “In (SMPA) and out, everyone agrees that this is something that is great for the university, if done properly. That’s what we are trying to do.”