Editorial: Osprey Productions locks lip-sync off campus television

Greg Parlier

(Illustration by Joey Taravella)

For the first time in at least five years, you will not see lip sync broadcast on campus television. You may not care to see members of the Greek community shakin’ it to throwback tunes, group-dressed as Fonzi, choreographed through weeks of practice; but you should care that Osprey Productions seems to have developed a grudge against your student-run TV station.

 

This is a partnership that has brought many concerts, comedy shows and Homecoming events to life on television all over the campus.

 

However, when Osprey TV showed up to one of Homecoming’s signature events year in and year out Feb. 13 at the Lazzara Performance Hall, it was met with a less-than-welcoming greeting from Osprey Productions, the first-time organizer of the event.

 

OP Director Brent Fine told OTV Station Manager Matt Head there was no room for the station to set up its equipment and made it seem like he had already commissioned another outfit, UNF TV, which operates as an element of the UNF Communication Department, to film the event.

 

Fine told the Spinnaker Feb. 14 that OTV had simply informed him too late of its intent to cover the event.

 

Head sent Fine an email at 3:39 p.m. the day of the show, telling him that OTV planned to film the lip sync as it had for the previous five years. However, Fine began assisting with event set-up in the Lazzara at 2 p.m., and didn’t see that email until 6:15 or 6:30 p.m. when it was too late to find room for OTV’s cameras, he said.

 

“At this point, we just can’t accommodate you, to tie into our soundboard, to put all these different cameras up because it’s going to block students’ views,” Fine told the Spinnaker.

 

However, OTV Technical Director Patrick Moore, after arriving at approximately 6:50 p.m., had his camera set-up right next to UNF TV’s camera and worked directly with the sound guy at the event to connect to the soundboard before Fine even spoke to him. Nothing was asked of any OP staff.

 

A second OTV camera was set up on the first floor, in a corner out of the aisles and not blocking anyone’s view, Moore said.

 

Fine then approached Moore, telling him there was no room for OTV, even though they were already settled into their spot, not in anyone’s way.

 

That’s when Head was called in.

 

Fine encouraged Head and his crew to gather B-roll footage of the event for news purposes, an allowance he had to make since students put on the event for students, with student fees, and was free to attend.

 

But they weren’t permitted to stay for the whole show. Finally, after numerous conversations between Head and both Fine and the Assistant Director of Student Government John Simms, OTV agreed to leave.

 

No lip sync on TV for the students that were holed up in the library studying that night. No reliving of the landmark Homecoming event for the brave Greeks onstage. No late night dorm fun at the lip syncers’ expense.

 

In a conversation with the Spinnaker, Fine expressed his frustration with the late notice given on the part of OTV. He said he usually likes 24 to 48 hours notice if a station wants to have cameras present.

 

However, OTV has been filming and broadcasting lipsync and other Homecoming events for years. It had an agreement with UNF Fraternity and Sorority Life, which ran the event prior to this year, that it would always broadcast the event. Not to mention OTV’s proviso, which requires OTV to provide “airtime for coverage of Student Government-sponsored events that may be of interest to students viewing Osprey Television.”

 

As the newest organization to the party, it seems OP should be responsible for approaching the media for what is essentially free promotion.

 

Of course, it did have UNF TV present, but not because Fine diligently sought it out. OP’s Soapbox Committee chair is a volunteer for UNF TV. In addition, Fine told the Spinnaker that UNF TV was only there for production assistance. Apparently, it was filming on behalf of OP, not UNF TV, but may post the video to UNF TV’s Vimeo channel “because they have the footage.”

 

Clearly though, it didn’t take much time or effort on OP’s part to set up OTV’s cameras. It didn’t need any OP manpower for set-up, help with sound equipment or guidance in any way, as Fine suggested was such a problem.

 

This isn’t the first time OP has been difficult in regards to media coverage this year. Less than a week before lip sync, OP approached OTV, through the advisers of both parties, with a request. It had just been announced that Billy Joel was coming to campus through OP’s Facebook page.

 

Naturally, OTV did a story on it. Nothing you wouldn’t expect, just an announcement along with some soundbites of students reacting to the announcement. According to OP, because this story was posted on YouTube, it violated its agreement with Joel’s publicist, requiring OP to not promote the event off campus in any way. So, OP asked OTV to take the story down, which it rightly refused.

 

Meanwhile, UNF TV aired a similar story in its newscast posted to the Web via Vimeo. That, though, wasn’t enough to cause problems in OP’s mind.

 

It’s not hard to figure out that Vimeo, a video-hosting site, and YouTube, another video-hosting site, are very similar.

 

Fine said he was worried that Joel’s staff would see the story, clearly a news story and not a publicity stunt, if it searched “Billy Joel at UNF” on YouTube. You don’t. You can even search for “Billy Joel” on Osprey TV’s YouTube channel. It doesn’t come up. It’s embedded in a news show. There’s nothing to worry about. Not that Joel would truly care if OTV informed the campus community of his scheduled “questions and answers with a little bit of music” gig.

 

Surely Fine is not dense enough to attempt to censor a media outlet over something he didn’t even research himself.

 

So that leaves us with one question: What does Fine have against Osprey TV? If these seemingly childish feelings continue, you may not see some of OP’s great programming on television again. No programming for students, no experience for OTV members to gain by covering events and no free promotion for OP.

 

Anything but fine.

 

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