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UNF Spinnaker

Senate funds Osprey TV on Comcast

The Student Government Senate approved a special request Sept. 27 that will give Osprey TV almost $24,000 to broadcast on Comcast in Jacksonville.OTV will be able to air all original programming, including Senate meetings, on basic cable channel 26.

The money comes from SG’s special request fund. The fund finances, among other things, club expenditures, non-academic travel and one-time expenses that are not budgeted during the yearly budget allocations.

The funding approved on Monday will pay for a server at Comcast, a permanent camera mounted to the Senate chamber’s wall and other supplies like wiring and adapters. All of these are one-time costs. The most costly item is a remote programming program, which Comcast requires its partners to use. The software is over $8,000.

However, the Senate will also have to approve a $145 per month request that would finance the recurring cost of airing programming on Comcast. This fee will be added into OTV’s budget during the spring budget allocation, but the Senate will have to pay for it out of special requests until the spring.

Since the Senate approved OTV’s request, the special request fund went from $75,000 to $51,000. However, the Senate can also access $200,000 from a special fund balance pending a two-thirds vote, which means the Senate still has access to about a quarter of a million dollars for the rest of the fiscal year if they choose to tap into it.

If SG president Sitou Byll-Cataria signs the bill, OTV is looking at about three months of setup and calibration before they can begin broadcasting on Comcast.

The longer OTV waits for funding, the less options they have to secure time slots, said station manager Justin Lerman.

Channel 26 is a public channel oriented toward educational programming. All the universities in Jacksonville have the ability to broadcast on the station if they can pay for the equipment to do so.

Currently, only Florida State College at Jacksonville airs on channel 26, but the sooner Osprey TV can get on Comcast, the sooner it can establish itself and begin securing the best timeslots, Lerman said.

OTV may soon have to compete against the UNF Communication Department and other colleges around Jacksonville for timeslots, so the sooner OTV gets on Comcast, the more seniority they will have, he said.

The bill passed 15-8-0 in the Senate and saw substantial debate on the Senate floor.

Major opponents felt the expenditure represented too large a chunk of the remaining special request fund.

Sen. John Fader was a vocal opponent who admitted the equipment was a good idea – just not now.

Sen. Roderick Williams shared Fader’s sentiment. The $24,000 could be better spent this year on clubs and activities, he said.

Senate President Mack Volk, who sponsored the request, said it was time UNF got a piece of the action on channel 26.

Senators presented two student polls regarding the funding. A poll presented by Courtney Warner, who favored the bill, said a majority of students were OK with SG funding the request and they would watch Senate meetings on Comcast. Similarly, a poll conducted by Fader showed a strong majority against the legislation.

Both polls came under scrutiny from opposition during the meeting.

The Spinnaker would like to know what you think. Students interested in voicing their opinion regarding OTV on Comcast can send a letter to [email protected]

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Comments (11)

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  • M

    MattNov 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Hey Ryan you obviously have some reason to think Osprey TV shouldn’t receive the money. Can I ask why? If Osprey TV wasnt a viable resource then I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be in existence but guess what it is? Advertisers believe in us and your Student government believes in us.

  • R

    RyanOct 9, 2010 at 12:02 am

    What have I done for myself…Well I can’t say I work for a station that nobody watches… What are the ratings of Osprey TV? Why can’t you raise the $25K on your own if “This pipedream will be huge success for UNF and Osprey TV.” Why do you need Comcast for programming when such a small audience tunes in? Are there any statistics for households that watch OTV off campus? It doesn’t seem like any of these questions have been answered through the administrative process.

    “The main reason for airing Osprey TV on comcast is a chance to reach out to the 13,000 students off campus. UNF as you know is a commuter school. This funding will also benefit not only ourselves, but UNF as a whole and SG.”

    UNF is a commuter school. Who sits around their apartment watching “Osprey TV” while preparing to go to the beachside bars or downtown bars?

  • M

    MattOct 1, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Hey Ryan,
    Students could pay a dollar for the movies, or they could save that dollar and use it on the dollar menu at McDonalds. The mission statement of Osprey TV includes two purposes. 1) to entertain and inform the student body and 2)To provide a learning environment for the students who want to pursue a career in any form of media. I can think of about many students who have worked and volunteered at Osprey TV that have worked for major production houses and televisions stations. My job at Osprey TV has opened many doors for me including a job at a local television station. If your interested in seeing the results you have two options: schedule a meeting with me or come to the senate meeting when we present them in the spring. That’s pretty simple. Now my question for you: what have you done with yourself Ryan?

  • A

    AlyssaSep 30, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Dear UNF students,

    I agree with Matt on this issue. I am currently the news director at Osprey TV. As any other college news station, we are all learning. We all make mistakes, we all start off small and simple but we are leaps and bounds away from where we are last year.

    We have had the opportunity to better our station and programming by new equipment and new software, both of which we are still learning and still waiting on the completion of both.

    I suggest all who oppose this should come to our weekly meetings at 11 am on Fridays to voice their issues with the way Osprey TV is aired or run. But until you know each staff member’s qualifications, love for what they do, and hard work they put forth to even have Osprey TV make it on air, it is best that none pass judgement. The work that all of us put in here is extensive, sometimes exhausting, but it is what we love doing. Knowing that our staff has started the Osprey TV legacy is extremely important to us.

    Like Matt said, the staff at Osprey TV has extensive knowledge in the TV area. The main reason for airing Osprey TV on comcast is a chance to reach out to the 13,000 students off campus. UNF as you know is a commuter school. This funding will also benefit not only ourselves, but UNF as a whole and SG.

    Again, come to our weekly meetings if you would like discuss what we can improve on. But again, we are all students, that is what college is for, we are learning.

    Thank you for your time

  • R

    RyanSep 30, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    What are the ratings for this “station.” How many people watch it? Why can’t students simply go to a redbox and rent movies to watch for $1? This is just going to throw money down the toilet for years to come.

  • S

    SamSep 30, 2010 at 9:43 am

    I can see where people say the programming is crap but they also show lots of really good movies.I remember watching the Dark Knight and Animal House when I use to live in the dorms. They are attempting a news show and it gotten better from where it was a year ago. Its not perfect but nothing at this university is. You could make the case the money could be spent elsewhere, but on what? This concept seems to be cool and hopefully they will use it for right reasons. I’m hoping it will make UNF better than FCCJ and JU. Again though I am an engineering major so I wouldn’t know what makes great TV other than what makes me laugh so im not expert but i think Osprey TV does a very good job although I wish they would show more sport games.

  • M

    MattSep 30, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Angry, our meetings are Friday at 11. Please come by and lets sit down and discuss quality programming. This pipedream will be huge success for UNF and Osprey TV. Any success off campus for Osprey TV is a success for UNF. And I’m sure we can both agree we want success for UNF right?

  • A

    AngrySep 30, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Matt, since nobody in the world is impressed by what Osprey TV offers, lets hope your 24k pipedream develops into something. But somehow, I doubt you’ll eat your crow when it doesn’t.

  • M

    MattSep 29, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Dear UNF Student,
    How much do you know about Osprey TV? What do you consider quality programming? I will agree with you that some of the programming lacks entertainment and informative value, but I have yet to see you at any of our meetings or read any of your emails suggesting content. Do you know what gives me that right? I’m the program director and I have been doing this for about 3 years now. In those three years the programming has improved dramatically, but there is always room for improvement. I would like to hear what you have to say so let’s schedule a meeting so we can find ways to make the channel you help pay for better. The station is run by a team of five and these are some of the brightest people I know. We are also very talented at what we do. Three out of the five has experience in newsrooms and production houses. If the content was as weak as you say, then I’m sure we wouldn’t have been able to secure funding for the Comcast Plan. This is an opportunity you should be proud of, because it can only make Osprey TV, SG, and UNF that much better. People don’t get anywhere in life without taking chances and risk, and this defines Osprey TV. If Osprey TV wouldn’t have gotten access to Comcast Channel 26, then it would have been someone else. Unlike our counterparts in the communications department, we have the right situation, the history, the staff and an actual channel to do great things. We are the original television station at UNF. So if you would like to be a part of this great opportunity, our door is always open.

  • A

    Another UNF StudentSep 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I didn’t know the B.o.B. concert and the other OP productions events, as well as the newly produced news show was crap?

    They switched channels btw, its 80 not 118 now. I could understand this comment if you were watching static…

  • U

    UNF StudentSep 29, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Maybe now OTV will actually make some quality programming instead of the entirely lacking in production value crap they air now.

    Doubt it.