BTV – returning soon to a TV near you?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Many Brown students have not been able to enjoy the programming of Brown Television, instead accustomed to seeing a blank screen as they flip past channel nine on IPTV.

But a note flashing on the channel recently provided hope that the station may soon be revived: “BTV will be coming back soon.”

Jad Joseph ’10 and David Notis ’10 inherited BTV from its former managers, Elizabeth Backup ’08 and Kevin Volk ’08, after being the only two present at a meeting held at the end of their freshmen year.

“When we got to the meeting, we realized how bad things really were, but thought it would be fun to get involved,” Notis said. “It was harder than we thought.”

Doug Liman ’88, a Hollywood director and producer, founded BTV in 1987 to encourage and showcase student-made content on campus.

But while Liman, director of “The Bourne Identity,” is now a big name in Hollywood, BTV has been off the air for the last two years.

Efforts to relaunch the channel were taken up once more when two Brown Film Production members, Roman Gonzalez ’11 and Herald Comic Artist Joe Larios ’10, decided they needed better equipment to make their films.

The two approached Joseph and Notis hoping that their combined efforts could benefit the station, Gonzalez said. The four students now compose the first BTV executive board since the station went off the air.

With help from other BFP members, the new leaders cleaned up the old studio on the third floor of Faunce House, cataloged all equipment and drafted a budget proposal to submit to the Undergraduate Finance Board.

In April, UFB approved approximately $5,000 for use by BTV, a Category III group, under the presumption that the network would run more student-produced shows, said former UFB Representative Drew Madden ’10.

Having purchased a new High Definition video camera and other necessary equipment – all currently on order – Gonzalez said BTV would go on air within a few weeks.

Notis and Joseph both said there was no exact date for the relaunch, but that they would go ahead with it when they had more student programming and had digitized more of the videos they already had in stock.

BTV content will primarily be composed of campus events including lectures, dance and theater productions, fraternity events and any other quality videos produced by students, Notis said.

“We want BTV to eventually become a community of people who come together to make films and TV shows on campus,” Joseph said.

The original reason he signed up for BTV was because he had an idea for a show and wanted the resources to create and air it, he said.

Now, Joseph, along with the others involved, will give students on campus the opportunity and the resources to produce and air original shows and films, by accepting students’ proposals and helping them with production.

This coming Sunday, the studios will open their doors to the 100 to 150 students who showed interest in becoming a part of this group at the activities fair held last week.

Some informal talk of collaboration between BTV and the Janus Forum has already been established to show lectures and conferences, Notis said.

The Brown Noser is another organization that has shown great interest in collaborating, Gonzalez said.

“I don’t know what the viewership will be, but it’s no skin off our backs to put videos we’re already making for our Web site on television,” said Mitch Moranis ’10, editor emeritus for the Brown Noser.

Longer materials – 30-minute comedy shorts or a daily morning news show with a comedic twist – are also a possibility, he added.

Ricky Gresh, director of student activities, has been the primary University adviser for BTV leadership throughout the process. He said they will have to anticipate finding a different location for the studio once Faunce closes its doors for renovations this year.

While issues may arise in the process, Gresh said efforts by BTV leadership to relaunch BTV have been substantial.

“This is actually going to happen and we’re really open to any suggestions, ideas or input of any kind,” Notis said.

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