Archive for Saturday, April 2, 2005

KUJH changes leave student programs out in the cold

April 2, 2005


Changes at KUJH, the Kansas University campus television station, have left student filmmakers without a venue for their shows.

Ann Brill, dean of the KU School of Journalism, decided to switch KUJH programming to an all-news format in January, leaving programs with a cult Lawrence following such as "Evil Kansas" and "Foghat Live" out in the cold.

"From our point of view, this is an incredible opportunity we can't get anywhere else," said Joshua Efron, president of the KUTV Production Club, which was involved in several KUJH shows. "We'd ask what the harm is."

Brill said the decision to eliminate the student programs coincided with the adoption of the Research Channel, a 24-hour news service that focuses on university research, as the main news source for KUJH. Programming had been somewhat in flux since the previous provider, the All News Channel, quit broadcasting two years ago.

KUJH, Sunflower Broadband Channel 31, continues to have student-produced programming in the evenings that includes news, sports talk and special events on campus, such as Thursday's City Commission candidate forum. Brill said it didn't make sense to continue with the entertainment programs with the station taking a more serious focus.

"As we were looking at branding and a format change, we wanted to focus on news and information," Brill said. "Sitcom and comedy wasn't part of that format. It didn't fit with where we were taking the station."

And that's left theater and film students looking for a new outlet for their work. Several student-produced comedy programs have been shown on KUJH in recent years, though none was part of an official class.

"It's really frustrating -- I can't emphasize that enough," said Misti Boland, a recent KU graduate who helped produce "Anything But Everything," a comedy show that was scheduled to air this spring. "I think overall, it's a wonderful outlet to get student work to another audience. I don't know why they wouldn't want to help us."

Efron, the KUTV Production Club president, said student filmmakers were exploring other options, including having their works shown in the Kansas Union, at Buffalo Wild Wings and on the Sunflower Broadband community access channel.

Dick Nelson, KUJH station manager, said there could be room for student entertainment programming in the future.

"We haven't ruled that out entirely," Nelson said. "Really everything is still a work in progress. As we get a little bit more confident of what we're doing, there might be an opportunity to do that."

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