K-UCO News Channel 6
Edmond’s own University of Central Oklahoma has finished remodeling K-UCO TV Channel 6, the student-run broadcast station that serves both higher education and the community. New FCC guidelines prompted the station to make the switch from analog to digital technology. But combined staff and student efforts initiated the studio’s facelift and UCentral’s name change.
General manager, Jeff Hagy, said students of UCO’s Department of Mass Communication began stripping the facility down to bare walls and concrete late last May. Having been a part of the campus for nearly forty years, an esthetic change to the broadcast area was long overdue. Student volunteers and participants in federal work/study programs helped tackle the physical labor as well as the brainstorming that led to set design with the aid of an Oklahoma City construction crew. The addition of a green screen as a backdrop for virtual sets and an overall, more efficient use of space, are just a few of the changes they implemented.
"The total cost of the repairs was about $300,000, most of which came from a grant written by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, based in Oklahoma City, and miscellaneous monies that previous faculty had put aside through the years," said Hagy.
An average of fifty students per semester continue to work or volunteer at the station in such diverse aspects as directing, producing, and providing on-air talent, specifically for their own news production and other programming.
Under the direction of department chair, Dr. Terry Clark, and broadcast professor, Dr. Keith Swezey, most receive wages or academic credit for their participation. Although individual classes use the set and equipment as "hands-on" learning tools, a regular cast mans the station to present current events programming "for students by students."
Twenty-two year-old senior, Grace Bridges serves as student producer for NewsCENTRAL, K-UCO’s news, which airs live Monday through Thursday at 5:00 pm, and is later replayed at 7:00, 9:00, and 11:00 pm.
“We’re live. It’s timely. The whole experience is just like the real world," said Bridges. "The students do it all. We operate the machines to make it go. We write and edit the stories and we’re always doing it on a deadline,” she said. “It’s a team effort. Everybody has a part to play for things to run smoothly.”
Students usually have between 12:00 and 4:00 p.m. to prepare material for that evening’s newscast, including filming and handling technical aspects behind the scenes.
Although Bridges is currently completing an internship at ABC Channel 5, she divides her time between the two stations, in addition to regular class work.
Hagy suggests helping out at UCentral as the perfect accompaniment to a professional internship in a student’s field. The station also accepts curious students from all majors on an unpaid basis.
“This university in particular has set for [itself] a higher standard with a practical approach between directing and anchoring,” Hagy said.
Meetings follow each news broadcast to discuss positive and negative points, and faculty members moderate with constructive criticism.
Hagy defines UCentral’s target audience as the Edmond-based sixteen to twenty-five year old age group, and its goal is to continue catering to a local population. It hosts the only university coverage of Edmond Public School and UCO sporting events and is looking into public domain access to older movies, cartoons, and serial reruns. Showing live games is also potentially slated for the channel’s future.
UCentral has not previously featured advertising but plans to do so, thanks in part to the digital processes that allow easier insertion of commercials.
A growing outlet for the Edmond community, Bridges summarizes the channel’s role best: “We’re local. We’re all about Edmond. We’re very UCO.”
For more information about UCentral, visit http://www.kuco.tv.