Binghamton University’s campus television station will be re-launching in the next few weeks as The New BTV on campus cable channel 6.
BTV will begin running news programs every two weeks, in hopes of making this a weekly series. Other programs will run on a “to be announced” schedule.
The news series will include on- and off-campus event coverage and video projects. On the “down screen” between programs they will show commercials for upcoming campus events and BTV programs.
In continuation of its former policy, BTV hopes to make its studio available to students with ideas for independent films to come work with its equipment and create programming to be aired on the station, according to BTV Production Manager Scott Sommer. They will also work with students who have already produced a piece independently or for a class who want it aired.
“We want to give students an extra output for their creativity,” said Sommer, a junior majoring in cinema.
BTV members said the Executive Board has been working to get the station back running for approximately two years.
“For about two years now, we’ve just been rebuilding the entire place,” said Steve Colesanti, BTV vice president and a senior majoring in cinema.
The station, originally called Harpur Television Workshop in the 1970s, was moved to its current location in the New University Union basement after a fire damaged the structure of its old space in the early 2000s, according to BTV President Alex Kleiner.
Following the fire, the E-Board of BTV graduated, leaving behind a program led by younger students with little experience, who Kleiner said were more interested in the publicity of BTV than learning to run the station, which generated “a lot of controversy.”
Kleiner, a junior double-majoring in computer science and cinema, said those who remain on the BTV team are dedicated to the craft.
“The only people remaining are genuinely interested in TV production,” Kleiner said.
BTV’s general interest meetings on Monday and last Friday, which brought a total of 60 new members, increased its total membership to about 150 people.
The station is still looking for new members to join departments and fill staff positions in the studio.
“We’re willing and happy to teach and train people,” Kleiner said.
BTV members are split into six departments — news, mobile unit, writing, marketing, editing and technical — as well as a seventh group for staff of the TEDx project, an upcoming on-campus conference that BTV plans to cover extensively.
Members said that their main obstacle continues to be the lack of sufficient funding from the SA.
“We are student-run,” said Greg Tejera, marketing director for BTV and a senior majoring in biology. “But we’re also sort of student-funded sometimes.”
Brian Rose, vice president for student affairs, commented on BTV’s office space at an open Hinman College Council on Tuesday while discussing the allocation of student group space in the New University Union.
“For the last two years there has been a huge room in the lower level the [New] Union assigned to BTV and it is poorly underutilized,” Rose said, regarding the BTV office. “There is big chunk of space the student government wasn’t willing to call the question on.”
Last spring, BTV bought two refurbished Mac computers. However, Kleiner said The New BTV needs funding that the old program may not have earned.
“We have all laid out at least $100 [for equipment],” Sommer said. Student-purchased equipment includes TV monitors, audio/video converters and tools to maintain the equipment.
In 2010 to 2011, BTV received a budget of $15,000, making them the eighth-highest-funded student group on campus that year. However, BTV was allotted a $5,000 budget by the Student Assembly for the 2011-12 academic year, a decrease of about 66 percent.
“We had a rough patch where we weren’t getting a lot done, so we understand the hesitation,” Kleiner said. “But now we really have our ideas together, and a big team to accomplish great things.”
Current BTV members said that they have already gained experience working in the studio.
“I had no interest in television or anything and I just came to the GIM,” said Kaitlyn Callahan, programming director of BTV and a freshman double-majoring in psychology and English. “I tried out a lot of clubs and this is the only one I really stuck with.”
Mobile Unit Director Michael Gallagher said his work has prepared him for a future in television.
“I want to get into television, so working at BTV has pretty much helped prep me for what to expect,” said Gallagher, a senior majoring in English.
BTV also has two-credit internship positions available through the computer science department.
Michael Zagreda, a sophomore majoring in computer science, is currently interning with BTV.
“Professor [Eileen] Head has given me a wonderful opportunity to work with people, and we’ve got some great projects coming up,” Zagreda said. “I’m excited to continue working [with BTV], credited or not.”
Information for The New BTV can be found on its Facebook and at its website, www.TheNewBTV.com.
—Daniel O’Connor contributed to this report