Students needed for cable access

By Joseph Altman Jr.

Arizona Daily Wildcat

If things go as planned, the UA soon may have not one, but two student-run television programs.

Rebecca Butler, ASUA media relations director, has scheduled a meeting tonight to discuss the possibility of starting a student-run television show on public access cable.

In addition, Dave Nott, the media arts internship coordinator, is currently selecting students to work for credit on a television show being produced by two students from the Berger Entrepreneurship Program.

Both shows will be the first of their kind at the University of Arizona, Butler said.

"NAU has its own station and ASU has PBS access, but here there are no outlets to practice broadcasting," she said.

Butler said she hopes for a show with sports, news and entertainment segments, but the ultimate decision on content will be left to the students who become involved.

The format for the media arts show will be news and information, Nott said. Two business students, Brian Swartz and Courtney Sommer, will be in charge of the format, he said.

Neither Swartz nor Sommer could be reached for comment, but information they have released said the show's segments

will focus on student issues such as jobs after graduation, personal finances and travel.

"What he is putting together sounds good; I feel like if we put together a show where students have free reign, it will be something more creative and not so structured," Butler said.

Nott does not see competition developing between the shows. He said the media arts show is fulfilling academic and administrative goals by coordinating the media arts department, video services and the Berger Entrepreneurship Program.

"I don't see why (students) would want to do it if they're not getting credit," Nott said, adding that excess funds from the project would be used to purchase new equipment for the use of the entire campus.

Butler disagreed that students would only participate if it was for credit.

"Media arts credit is not going to help a journalism major graduate. That's not going to benefit a journalism student unless they need some elective credits," she said.

The media arts show is planning to air in three stages. First, a pilot show will be developed this semester to secure underwriting for the show. Then seven or eight videotaped shows will be produced in the spring. Finally, a weekly news and information show would be produced the following year and aired on Tucson Cablevision channel 65, a cable channel allocated to the UA.

Current plans would also put the ASUA show on cable, but much sooner. Butler said she wants to produce a pilot that will secure the advertisers necessary to appear on a local channel.

"The dorms don't have access to cable. (I don't know) how many students are actually going to watch a student run TV show on cable," Butler said.

Butler said she hopes enough interested people will attend tonight's meeting, at 6 p.m. in Economics Room 304, for the show to begin production this semester. More information is available about the media arts project by calling Nott at 621-5899.

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