DTV makes progress

by Tara Kyle | 5/30/01 5:00am

Channel-surfing students looking for distraction from papers, midterms and finals have long been able to turn to broadcast station 13 for entertainment ranging from numerous daily airings of the latest Hollywood hits to repeat showing of such student-created programs as "Baker Terror."

Two years after its inception, the Dartmouth Television station continues to work in building its slate of programming and pool of talent.

DTV is currently staffed by between 20 and 25 students who are responsible for the filming and editing of weekly news and entertainment segments and the carrying out of day-to-day operations, such as the switching of studio movies for daily broadcasts and business management.

Station Manager Suzanne Wrubel '01, who has been with DTV since summer '99 noted that the stations' growing process has ebbed and flowed based on the relative strengths of its staffers at a given time.

"So far, DTV has survived based on individuals that have really put the time in. It's excellent when we have them, but as a goal, I think we'd like a more organized group. Because when those people don't come through -- and they usually do -- it's a problem," she said.

DTV currently airs a theatrical movie several times a day, a block of original programming beginning at 7 p.m. each night, and a community bulletin board during off hours.

"The stage we're in now, I'm pretty happy with what we are getting. But eventually, we'd definitely like more," Wrubel said of the quantity of student-created shows available to the station.

"We're a pretty new organization, and it's a building process. As a very long term goal we'd like to have round the clock programming," she added.

A new segment of original programming premieres each week on Tuesdays, except during finals and other busy periods. It is then repeated at the same time everyday of the following week.

The block kicks off with a news portion, which will typically contain tapes of events such as a "Take Back the Night" rally. This is followed by a number of entertainment programs.

"The most common thing is talk shows with reviews of movies and music. That's pretty easy to do, it's harder to put together a comedy or drama, which requires acting and directing," Wrubel said.

In one such program recently aired, graduate student Sam Esmail gave reviews of such items as the website www.jesusdressup.com, and offered an unprintable alternative to Vermont's infamous "Take Back Vermont" bumper sticker.

Wrubel explained that the block of DTV-created programming can run anywhere from roughly 30 minutes to several hours, depending on how much material is available in a given week. During periods when a dearth of items are submitted, reruns of old programs are aired.

Wrubel cited "Fine Screw," 20 minutes of weekly sketch comedy put on last year by five seniors and "S&M [Safety and Morality]" which spoofs both "Cops" and Dartmouth's own Safety and Security as exemplary examples of original programming.

A core group of students work on shows on a regular basis, but DTV also accepts one-time pieces from persons interested in creating such programs as a "two minute Mastercard parody, or music video," Wrubel noted.

In addition, DTV airs taped events on campus unaffiliated with the station, such as the Dartmouth Animation Festival.

Though many heavily involved students are graduating this year, Wrubel expressed confidence that the newcomers will succeed in building the station.

"We've got a lot of new freshmen and sophomores that'll definitely be helpful next few years," she said.

Though DTV received start-up funding from the college in 1999, it is currently a self-funded organization. The production budget comes from advertisements airing on the televised bulletin board and paid shoots of on-campus events such as lectures.