By Stacey Askew
“There’s nothing on it worthwhile, and we’re not going to watch it in this household and I don’t want it in your intellectual diet.” — Philio Farnsworth, co-creator of the television
Farnsworth may not approve, but tiny screens in the school’s hallways and common areas could soon be screening student produced plays, news casts and television shows.
The project, labeled Ryerson University Television, or RUTV, is similar to the news boards in Toronto subway stations.
However, it is awaiting approval by the University Advancement office, who are expecting a pitch from the student and staff developers early next year. A demo is scheduled for Nov. 29. The current plan is to have a main screen for student content, a space for advertising, a news ticker along the bottom, a sidebar with program specific alerts as well as a small box for the time and weather.
Radio and Television arts instructor, Richard Grunberg, said the lack of a television station at Ryerson surprised him at first.
“I started at Concordia and couldn’t believe when I got here that this place had no television programming,” said Grunberg, who worked with Concodria’s 38-year-old university station.
So, in January 2007 he decided to create RUTV in a class setting.
“My intention initially is for everyone to have a forum to be seen and heard,” he said.
Matthew Calabretta, a third-year RTA student, and the team leader of the class project last semester, is now the development co-ordinator of RUTV.
Calabretta said University Advancement attended a presentation of the program at the end of last semester and the office has agreed to receive pitches from other developers as well as RUTV for a television message board system.
Adam Kahan, the vice president of advancement, said his office is interested in developing school wide digital signage and the idea of RUTV was recently pitched and is being considered.
“The Rogers Communication Centre mentioned the idea of RUTV … we’ve got a meeting in a couple days to discuss it,” he said.
Calabretta said the project will likely go in front of university officials sometime in early 2008.
Like Grunberg, Calabretta sees it as imperative that students from all programs contribute to RUTV.
“It’s not RTA-TV, it’s RUTV. It will be a much better network if we can be completely inclusive,” he said.
Workshops to teach people to use the equipment would be run to increase accessibility Calabretta said.
The RUTV pitch includes a suggestion to use speakers that concentrate sound in one direction so only those in their path will be able to hear sound.
Ken Woo, communications support specialist at Ryerson’s computer and computing services, said he heard rumours of a school television station about two years ago.
“[The idea] was going around and around … but we haven’t got some of the stuff we need. Needed more bandwidth and stuff like that. There were several initiatives going on at the same time,” Woo said.