By ALEX VAN BEEK
UMW students who tuned into Channel 27 on their TVs this semester would have found an eclectic mix of old and new movies, along with a variety of various East German ads and music videos.
A few months ago, the station was picked up by a group of student volunteers who ultimately decided to turn it into a system that would be operated for the students, by the students.
Recently, however, the decision has been made to cut the channel’s funding, as it was costing the school too much money; coming at a time when the station was planning to open up as a new communication tool for students across campus.
When Justin Broyles, a sophomore and one of the students behind Channel 27’s revival, first took control of the station, it was an unequivocal mess.
“It just kind of happened”, says Broyles. “We were interested in running the school’s television channel, and since no one else was in charge of it, we went ahead and took it over.”
Accordingly, Broyles and a few other student volunteers stepped in and were given complete control over what was broadcast. Initially, they put up a few East German music videos and commercials.
When asked for the reasoning behind this, Broyles said, “We found it amusing.”
However, it soon became apparent that a constant looping of the East German videos wouldn’t hold anybody’s interest for long, so the volunteers began to expand the station by including movies. Each month, the volunteers were given a list of movies from Residence Life Cinema, and would choose what to broadcast and when to broadcast it.
As a result, the East German videos were relegated to commercials between movies.
Specific themes were developed, such as “Public Domain Movie Night,” where public domain movies would be shown every Monday night.
Plans were made to expand the station further.
“The goal we originally set for ourselves was to turn the station into a community resource, and the student clubs on campus are a reflection of the community,” said Ryan Thompson, another sophmore involved with the station.
The idea was for clubs to have a new means of publicizing themselves and attracting prospective members. Additionally, this plan would have come closer to realizing the volunteers’ goal of making a station that was purely a student-run venture.
The station costs the school $15,000 per year.
While the student volunteers are disappointed, they are still optimistic about what the future holds for them.
“Really, all we are going to do is continue with our ideas through independent means. No outside support is our goal,” said Thompson.