In wake of water damage, BG24 moves off campus



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With upwards of an estimated $300,000 dollars of damage to the television studio and uncertainty about when it will be up and running again, BG24 News is still planning to host its daily broadcasts.

The first step is collaborating with WBGU, the local PBS station. The collaboration may cause BG24 to broadcast less often and at different times, said News Producer Madeline Fening.

A pipe burst on the second floor of West Hall this past week, causing water to fall down through the ceiling into the television studio. Classes and BG24 used the studio, and the amount of damage to the studio has not yet been determined. Technical Support Coordinator Jim Barnes said getting the studio operational again won’t happen anytime soon.

“Things like this take weeks to get up and weeks to install,” Barnes said.

The University is still working with insurance and multiple vendors to replace the damaged equipment, Barnes said. It’s not yet been decided where the money for the new equipment will come from, he said.

Mixing boards, the teleprompter system, three cameras and a video switchboard were damaged beyond repair, he said.

Three new cameras would cost about $355,000, Barnes said, but the University may not spend that much on them. A new video switch board costs $30,000 or more and Barnes was unsure of the prices of the other equipment.

Classes have already moved to WBGU, and now BG24 and WBGU are discussing the scheduling options available for studio use, Fening said.

“It’s already a pretty busy place there,” Fening said.

This past semester in the West Hall studio, BG24 broadcasted five days a week: a sports show on Monday, news on Tuesday and Thursday, public affairs on Wednesday and a producer’s panel on Friday. All shows aired at 5:30 p.m.

Now, the organization may have to discontinue the producer’s panel and change the times it broadcasts the other shows, Fening said.

“We’re looking at when our shows are going to be able to happen and if all shows can [happen],” Fening said. “We haven’t nailed anything down yet.”

The problem is not only the studio availability, but the students’ availability, Fening said. Most students schedule their classes around the live broadcast at 5:30 p.m., but with a new time, it may be hard for students to make it to the filming.

There is also the fact that WBGU has high definition, newer cameras and equipment, which means the students will have to cope with a learning curve when using the studio.

WBGU will have an engineer on set to help the students learn the equipment to produce their show and Tony Short, general manager at WBGU, said he thinks the experience will help the students when they graduate.

“With television, when you apply for a job, they want to know what kind of equipment you’ve used,” Short said. “Having that kind of experience should help students on their resume.”

The professional environment may also help the students.

“We’re committed to working in a professional environment, even though it’s just a student organization,” Fening said. “It will bring more validity to what we do.”

Before the studio was damaged, BG24 was scheduled to come back on-air on Monday, Feb. 3, and Fening thinks it’s still possible that it will.

“It’s going to be kind of a challenge to find a new day and time for our shows,” Fening said. “[5:30] has always been consistent with our organization.”

Fening wants people to know that BG24 will still be operating and producing shows. People can get involved by attending a training session on Jan. 25 from noon to 4 p.m. in 121 West Hall.

“It feels like we’re kind of being pushed to create content and produce shows that are going to be worthy of coming out of that studio,” Fening said. “We get to be a part of it, It shows [WBGU] believes in the value of what we’re doing by lining it up with their own valuable shows.”