Four years in works, YTV launches today



Channel 24 now shows up as a blank screen on students’ television monitors. As of tonight it will be Yale TV, the first-ever campus based-television network.

After four years of research and development, YTV will debut its schedule at 8 p.m. tonight with a three-hour broadcast featuring a film called “Sword Swallowers and Thin Men” by Max Borenstein ’03. Other programming will include world and national news, campus news and sports, YTV co-senior vice president Garren Givens ’04 said.

“Don’t expect Dan Rather or Katie Couric to be out of their jobs just yet, but what we can offer is the student perspective,” Givens said.

Some shows, produced by students, will run weekly or biweekly, including “A La Mode,” a fashion show; “Head to Head,” a political debate modeled on CNN’s “Crossfire”; and YTV news.

Tonight’s debut follows nearly four years of planning, founder Tyler Golson ’04 said.

“I wanted to make it my thing at Yale,” Golson said.

Golson originally thought of doing something related to creative arts during his freshman year. That summer, this idea turned into the specific goal of hosting a TV game show at Yale.

“Someone in kindergarten told me I would be a really good game show host, I always remembered that,” Golson said.

Upon returning to Yale his sophomore year, Golson realized hosting a game show might not be as easy as he thought, since Yale had no existing campus-based television network. This absence lead Golson to a typical Yalie decision: if a group you want to join does not exist, start it.

Givens said he was skeptical when Golson suggested starting a network.

“When Tyler first asked me [to help him with YTV], I had no idea that it was going to be this difficult and take this long to get started. So it was partly my naivete that got me involved,” Givens said.

After Golson enlisted Givens and Debra Weinstein ’04 in his effort, the three learned that Yale owned a few channels on a closed circuit cable system.

The group then began to talk with the administration.

“No one [in the administration] was really opposed to having a Yale TV network. They thought it was about time that someone took responsibility and put content on those channels,” Golson said.

The administration did want to make sure that there was a conscientious established group behind YTV. After spending the 2001-02 school year researching other campus TV programs and determining the costs of the project, the group developed a constitution last October. The group had a lot of problems getting started as many students were not interested in the full commitment that YTV needed.

“We [could] only get so big with 10 people running the show. At some point, it becomes necessary to recruit, incorporate and delegate responsibility to new members,” Golson said.

After YTV was recognized as an official Yale organization, the administration could finally begin to meet with its legal advisers and media executives. The meetings began in December.

By last spring, the University had agreed to provide half the group’s production costs, eliminating a major difficulty from YTV’s efforts. Golson said most other campus-based television programs are funded by university administrations or alumni. The group also recruited new members to produce and act in programs.

Above all, YTV stresses its commitment to working with students to find out what they would most like to watch.

“This is your station Yale, get involved,” Golson said.

Students can visit the YTV Web site at www.yale.edu/YTV.

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