By Alex Hamlyn
Arts & Life Editor
Ryerson’s on the verge of having its own television channel that will use 100 per cent student content and broadcast across the entire campus.
Matthew Calabretta is a fourth-year radio and television arts student who has been behind the project since the very beginning. RUtv won’t be like every other channel though.
“It will be home to essentially ad-free programming,” says Calabretta, who wants corporate ads to bookend programming. “It’s not like you’re going to be seeing ads every 8 minutes.”
Calabretta is hoping RUtv will have a “soft launch” by the end of October. This “soft launch” would consist of only a few hours of programming a day, consisting of pilot episodes for planned programs. The actual full launch of the channel is planned for the winter semester.
RUtv certainly isn’t just for RTA and journalism students to show off to each other. Calabretta and his co-producers want to create programming that is interesting and accessible to students from all programs, across campus.
The first televisions that will host RUtv will be in the RCC, but Calabretta is hoping to have sets hosting the channel in Pitman Hall, the ILLC and O’Keefe soon after.
Some students may be wondering if the few quiet corners remaining on campus will now be flooded with sound blaring out of campus TV sets.
Fear not, as these TV stands will be using hypersonic sound speakers which allow for the sound to be directed in a specific area or direction. That way, students can gather around the screens to watch while someone else can be sitting at the other end of the same room and hear barely a whisper.
The executive arm of RUtv is made up of Calabrertta and five other content directors and 12 people make up the management team, however Calabretta doesn’t want people to get the impression that they will be the ones making all the shows.
“We’re not content creators, we’re executive managers,” he says.
The RUtv business policy is a direct result of this approach, which Calabretta hopes will eschew some of the issues that often confront student-run organizations.
“We don’t want board meetings and election politics,” he says.
“We want to replicate the corporate broadcast world.”
To stay in-line with Calabretta’s idea of a TV station that is “by students, for students,” he wants to pair non-RTA/broadcast students with an experienced RTA technician to help with filming, audio and editing.
“If people have an idea, we want them to pitch it. If people are willing to commit, we’re willing to have them,” he says.
One person who’s willing to commit is Yanna Chevtchouk.
Chevtchouk, a fourth-year business management student, created and is producing a program for RUtv called “Supergirl.” She originally approached Calabretta after she came to a similar realization as Calabretta.
“I was flipping channels in rez and thought it was weird there wasn’t much on the actual Ryerson channel,” she says.
“Ryerson is known for its broadcast and TV courses, so I was like ‘What’s the deal?’”
“Supergirl” styles itself after other popular “makeover” shows, but with a twist. Women will appear on the show who are dealing with various difficulties or challenges in life — such as health problems or self-esteem issues — and get advice on how to deal with them. However, instead of the usual “get a hair cut” or “get some new clothes” approach Chevtchouk wants to offer realistic advice that students can use.
She hopes the show will cater to female students and help them find the resources available to them both on and off campus.
“The show was just what they were looking for.”