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By Alison Jones

Ryerson University television (RUtv) will be on screens by January 2009 if it can find facilities and a bare- bones budget of $5,000.

“The biggest concern is location,” said Matthew Calabretta, a fourth-year radio and television arts student, and the student who is spearheading the project. “We don’t have space yet, right now it’s my bedroom.”

Calabretta said he is looking for permanent office space so that RUtv will have a visible location on campus as well as a studio.

Last year, Calabretta said that the Rogers Communication Centre (RCC) dipped into their research budget to provide RUtv with a server.

“For them it’s a good way to experiment with new technologies,” said Calabretta. “They need to make sure that the RCC is still relevant and cutting edge.”

RUtv has also given the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) a wish list of the basic equipment they need to produce material. But so far, nothing has been purchased.

Toby Whitfield, the RSU’s VP of finance and services, said that he is excited about the project and is looking for temporary space for the station in the Student Campus Centre.

“I think it [RUtv] completes all the different media we have on campus,” Whitfield said.

Over the past year, university administration has been looking into installing televisions throughout the Ryerson campus.

Adam Kahan, vice president of University Advancement, said that RUtv would be part of the pilot project to have a campus-wide system of monitors, and that may result in extra funding being given to the RCC for resources to develop RUtv.

“We would have to fund the monitors and probably a couple of positions to make sure that information stays current,” Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said. But he added that there has yet to be a decision made.

When RTA professer Richard Grunberg first came to work at Ryerson, he said he was surprised that there was no visual media station at the top media university in Canada.

The head of video in the radio and television arts department initially assigned a Ryerson television station as a class assignment, and has remained the teacher advisor as the assignment grew into RUtv.

“It is very slow in materializing,” Grunberg said.

“The push has been to get some space and some funding for them.”

Ever since being assigned to develop a Ryerson television station in Grunberg’s class, Calabretta has been putting the idea into action.

“The big part of RTA is the T, where’s the television part?”

He said that journalism students have the opportunity to write for campus newspapers and magazines but there is no outlet for RTA students in the television stream.

However, Calabretta wants to make it clear that it is not RTA-TV but RUtv.He would like a mixture of content and volunteers from different Ryerson departments. He said RTA students would help volunteers learn the broadcasting skills they need to run their own show.

Last week, Calabretta sent out an e-mail to all the heads of departments outlining the mandate of RUtv and how students can get involved both in administrative and production roles. He hopes to have 18 permanent executive and management positions filled before the end of September, with a tentative launch date in October.

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