It is no secret that Temple’s communications program is one of the best on the East Coast. But that is a hard pill to swallow when a smaller university in our own city is overshadowing our department.
Take a short trip north of Main Campus to La Salle University. While the campus is certainly not as aesthetically pleasing as Temple’s, it does beat us in one category and that is La Salle 56, that university’s public access television station.
The only broadcasting comparable to La Salle 56 that Temple offers is Temple Update, a weekly half-hour news magazine show that is only available in-house at Annenberg Hall and Monday mornings at 7:30 a.m. on WTVE-51.But a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week television station trumps a weekly news program with limited distribution. Temple had a student-run television station in the 1980s, but it put a strain on the budget and was ultimately axed in 1991.
That was then, this is now. The fact is that Temple is in the middle of a renaissance and the university should explore ways to expand one of the crown jewels of the communications
When BTMM professor Elizabeth Leebron
Tutelman and Richard Beardsley started Temple Update in 1988, it was a revolutionary program that jumpstarted the careers of many broadcast journalists.
The weekly format of the program was convenient for students at the time because Temple was mainly a commuter school. But now that the school is transforming into a residential campus, it is time for Temple Update to evolve as well.
Finding enough quality programming should not be a problem as the communications
program has plenty of students who would be interested in participating in such an endeavor. If Temple adopts La Salle’s system, then it will be easy to fill out a schedule with reruns of previous shows. The channel could even broadcast recordings
of special lectures or other such academic events. The technology is certainly available, but is the drive there as well?
There is definitely a groundswell of support to expand the presence of Temple’s television station.”I think the university should definitely look into developing an actual television station,” said Sean Spencer, a junior BTMM major.
“The BTMM department is certainly big enough and there is an interest to expand, so I think the possibility should be explored.
“We already have a studio. It is just a matter of the university putting some more money into developing a wider range of programs.”
Money is always the number one topic when it comes to an expansion project like the one that is being proposed. A Temple-run public television station would pay for itself after a few years, as an amenity such as this would be a huge selling point to prospective students.
Syracuse University, arguably the best school for communications in the nation, has a television station that is broadcast in every dorm, dining hall and classroom building. If Temple wants to be a big-time university, this is a practice that the administration would be smart to emulate.
This could even be an opportunity for Temple to set the precedent that other top universities would aspire to. Temple Update and other Temple-related content could also be broadcasted on the Internet.
“This generation receives more content on computers than through the television,” Tutelman said.
In every dorm room on campus, there is a Temple channel that broadcasts absolutely nothing. Something is always better than nothing, so why not show episodes of Temple Update, athletic events and other campus events. In between broadcasts, a simple power point slide show can be aired to keep students up-to-date on important campus-related events. There is an opportunity to be seized here.
John Lamb can be reached at email@example.com.