SPTV Overcomes Technical Difficulties
Sarah McQueen
smcqu643@uwsp.edu
SPTV, the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point’s student-run television station, has been unable to run their full program schedule this semester due to a malfunctioning Tricaster, but they have ordered a new piece of equipment and plan to be up and running within another week.

A Tricaster is a multifunctional piece of equipment that is used for recording, editing video, adding graphics, and broadcasting the production once it is complete. Without the Tricaster, the SPTV crew has to put in many more hours to record footage on digital videotapes and then do their editing and graphics on a computer. A new Tricaster has been ordered and SPTV members are looking forward to its arrival.

“We were able to work with SGA and make sure we had enough money in our budget to pursue and buy this new piece of equipment,” said Nicholaus Collensburg, general manager of SPTV. “We found one for $5,000 that is not quite a lower-end model. It’s a lot of money, and one of our main concerns was how are we going to be able to use this within our budget, but we needed it. With Super-storm Sandy, we are kind of delayed on the shipping, but hopefully it will be here sometime later this week or later next week.”

Without the Tricaster, all of SPTV’s news and sports broadcasts have been cut. Normally there are two half-hour news shows and two half-hour sports shows a week. Despite the technical difficulties, however, SPTV has been able to continue its music program.

“Music we were still able to do because for that show we get DV tapes from companies, and we are able to capture them using videos, and we were able to just do stand-ups. So we found an alternative that way,” Collenburg said.

Ian McKay, the special project director for SPTV, said that the broken Tricaster has greatly hindered his ability to do his job.

“We have been trying to work with the athletic department this year to livestream our broadcasts for football, basketball and baseball on the Athletic Department Ustream account,” McKay said. “But without the Tricaster we haven’t been able to cover these games at all.”

SPTV plans to begin airing some new programs, and has been working on a situation comedy called “Lack of Communication,” which Collenburg said is a spinoff of the SPTV office and community. Five episodes have been completed and will be aired sometime around winter break.

In the face of these problems, Collenburg recalls the positives.

“One thing that has been awesome is all the new general members that we have been able to recruit and help out. We are still trying to keep them involved in student television. Really, right now, we can’t produce anything like what we would want to, but we can still go out and teach them how to do a news package. We can still teach them how to go and shoot sports highlights,” Collenburg said.

McKay said that he enjoys the freedom the students have to work with in SPTV.

“Most student televisions usually have a professor or some sort of advisor always watching them and breathing down their back, dictating a lot of what happens,” McKay said. “But at SPTV we are given pretty much free reign over what goes on. I mean, we have things we can and can’t do, but we are essentially on our own doing our production, which gives all of us great experience for the future.”

SPTV is managed by 10 paid student staff members and about 15 volunteer members, and runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week on channel 98 or on digitally on channel 983.