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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

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Pipe bursts in West Hall, damaging TV studio equipment

Steven W. Echard Photo Editor

Water damage was found under the tiles in the BG24 News Studio.

When a pipe burst in West Hall during break, Madeline Fening wasn’t sure how BG24 News would handle the damage to the television studio it uses.

Fening, a senior and BG24 news director, was home when a pipe burst early last week and water came down from the ceiling tiles in the television studio on the first floor of West Hall, causing damage that could cost as much as $10,000.

“My initial reaction … it was just dread,” Fening said. “How are we going to manage this?”

Cameras, the teleprompter and the audio board were damaged, Fening said. The studio set wasn’t damaged badly, but “pretty much everything else received some pretty bad water damage,” she said.

The student broadcast news organization and classes use the television studio. The classes may be transferred to meet at WBGU Public Television studios on Troup Avenue. WBGU is a PBS station owned by the University. The station has offered the department use of its studios for classes, and may be a possibility for BG24’s use as well, said Tony Short, general manager at WBGU.

“We’re doing our best to see how we can help out,” Short said. “It’s a big loss for West Hall.”

On Wednesday, Telecommunications Lecturer Jose Cardenas and Technical Support Coordinator Jim Barnes began to assess the damage to the equipment in the studio.

“Although equipment has been damaged and will have to be replaced, due to the amount of cooperation of multiple colleagues in the industry, we’ll be able to carry on,” said Laura Stafford, director of the School of Media and Communication. “A considerable amount of equipment will need to be replaced.”

Room 18, a classroom in the basement of West Hall, also had some water damage, but none of the equipment in the room was damaged.

Stafford said the school is working with risk assessment insurance to handle the damage, once there is a number from insurance of the amount of damage, Stafford said the school will begin to work to find a vendor to buy the equipment.

After her initial reaction to the news, Fening began to look at the situation more positively.

“It’s the nature of the industry. Technology can be fragile,” she said. “[The benefit is] real life experience … It’s kind of a cool opportunity, an opportunity to rebuild.”

BG24 broadcasts five days a week. Before the damage, the first show was scheduled for Jan. 27. Now, Fening said she hopes it will be the same date despite the damage.

“We’re going to get through it and are still going to be able to offer the same amount of content if not more,” Fening said.

Fening calls the damage to the studio a “road bump.”

“What was damaged was important but it wasn’t everything we do,” she said. “It’s not preventing us from doing what we do every semester.”

While the studio was damaged, Fening said other equipment the organization uses was spared, as it was in their basement office.

“The way we [bring people coverage] behind the scenes… may change,” she said. “From the viewers end nothing will change … The process is just as important to us as the product.”

Fening said she’s “excited to have the opportunity to help lead an organization” through a “time that is pretty crazy.”

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