Boston College students have plenty of options when it comes to getting their news. There are newspapers, a magazine, a slew of Twitter feeds, and even emailed newsletters that carry the latest information about events that students consider important. What many don’t realize, though, is that they have one more option: TV.
BCTV is BC’s only student-run television network. It is made of up The Dish, a celebrity gossip show; Eagle Eye News, a BC-based newscast; The Talon, a sports show; and Showcase, which discusses the latest movies.
“Each of those four shows films once a week, and they have a pretty standard formula that most of the shows follow,” said Michael Fogarasi, executive producer of BCTV and A&S ’14.
After general meetings with the whole club every Sunday, the shows’ teams break off into groups to discuss their plans for that week’s episode.
“The show decides as a whole, it’s not just one person making a decision,” said Joe Bushee, the club’s president and A&S ’14. “It’s still that team element, which I think is kind of cool because everyone’s involved.”
The network’s members come together often to film specials, which often imitate popular TV shows.
“Last year we did The Cash Comm. Ave. Bus, like the Cash Cab,” Fogarasi said. “These aren’t regular shows. We just get out there with a camera and do something that we think people will like.”
BCTV itself is relatively new, but the concept of having a campus newscast is not. It began as Now You Know, a 20-minute variety show that included segments on news, sports, and celebrity gossip and was produced by UGBC’s Communication Department.
Sean Casey, founding member of BCTV and BC ’12, said in an email that Now You Know broke away from UGBC in the fall of 2010 and became an independent club.
“We started out with very small budgets, and it took a lot of negotiations with UGBC and SOFC … and explaining to them, ‘I know we’re new, but we’re a television station and that requires more expensive equipment than other clubs,'” Bushee said. “We had to explain that we’re a different club.”
At the time it became independent, Casey said, the club had about 15 members. Fogarasi said that now it has around 35 active members who film, produce, and edit the shows.
“BCTV started as just an idea and really relied heavily on the students to make it into the multi-show channel we had envisioned,” Casey said.
This support, though, hasn’t always been around. Fogarasi said that getting enough members to quickly turn around shows has been difficult.
“Especially when we first launched, we had trouble getting enough editors who could meet the deadlines and just edit it in a coherent fashion,” Fogarasi said. “We can get things shot, we get all the stuff done, but then unfortunately it just kind of sits there. I think that’s something we’ve improved on a lot.”
Bushee said that one or two editors initially had to edit four shows.
“That was a tremendous task to do,” Bushee said. Now, the club has eight editors, including assistants.
Many of these editors were trained from scratch, with no prior experience.
“Something that I’ve always said is that I’m never going to ask someone to do anything I don’t already know,” said Bushee, who gained most of his experience in high school. “Because of that, I’m able to teach them what they don’t know … everyone’s still learning. No one’s a pro, per se.”
Fogarasi added that a number of students come to the network from the communication and film departments and do have some prior experience, adding to the pool of knowledge.
After a show is finally edited, however, it doesn’t go on TV, contrary to expectations.
“Even though we call ourselves Boston College Television, we’re not really on TV,” Bushee said. “We film out of a TV studio, but all of the stuff we film and edit, we put online.”
Shows get uploaded to BostonCollegeTV.com and the network’s Vimeo account as quickly as possible. From there, it’s all word of mouth to advertise the shows.
“We have such a wide range of people in our group that we reach half of BC just by posting links on our own Facebook pages,” Fogarasi said.
BCTV’s next step is to get out of its studio in Campion and take the cameras out on campus.
“Moving out of studio has always been a big goal for us,” Fogarasi said. “Doing a lot more things where we’re visible on campus, where we’re getting the BC student body engaged, where they’ll see their friend on camera and they’ll want to check it out.”
The Cash Comm. Ave. Bus, Fogarasi said, was not only a popular show in its own right, but helped gain BCTV some recognition before the show even aired.
“The big things are visibility, filming all over campus, and getting students involved,” Fogarasi said.
Ensuring the growth of BCTV is another important goal, especially because it’s still a rather new club on campus.
“We’re only here for four years,” Bushee said. “We’re making sure that BCTV can grow in the future, so even when we’re gone, we’re leaving behind people more than capable of carrying on the BCTV legacy.”