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Students want more, different cable shows

April 17, 2008

Over 500 UW-River Falls residence hall students completed a survey that will affect which cable stations will be broadcast on campus televisions next year.

  Of the students that responded to the survey, 213 want to get rid of mtvU, 184 want to get rid of the ESPN package and 92 want to get rid of Spike.

  The cable television on campus is different from the cable that one may get from a provider such as Comcast because UWRF acts as its own cable provider, allowing for more flexibility.

  “With our current agreement, instead of paying for just ESPN, it costs less to get ESPN and ESPN 2 and costs even less to get three stations,” Jason Neuhaus, west area coordinator of Residence Life, said. “You’d think it’d be more per channel, but it actually reduces the cost.”

  The same goes for the MTV channels including MTV, mtvU and MTV2.

  “MTV2 did not make the final cut, though, and ESPN Classic probably won’t, but again, if it’s in that package where we’re paying less to get it, we might be able to keep it,” Neuhaus said.

  Part of the survey inquired which channels students would like to see on campus televisions in the future.

  “There were some that students were interested in bringing, like the Food Network, Bravo—which has really increased in popularity now with the model show and the Top Chef show,” Neuhaus said. “TV Land was another one, and BigTenNetwork was another one that students are interested in.”

  UWRF has been its own cable provider for over 20 years.

  “The dishes [on top of the Kleinpell Fine Arts building] are how we got the original satellite signal. Two of them are permanent and one would rotate,” Larry Testa, auxiliary budgets and contact management director, said. “Back in those days you had to hit different satellites. [The rotating dish] would rotate depending on what satellite the program comes from.”

  Now the signal is sent directly from one satellite to another so the University uses one stationary satellite which is located on the south end of Hagestad Hall.

  The channel packages are purchased from Campus Televideo.

  “[Campus Televideo] brokers the signal. They actually built a head-end where the signal comes in and gets converted and sent out to the residence halls,” Testa said. “We lease it from them and we’re also buying the signal from them.”

According to Search Networking, a head-end is a facility that originates and communicates cable TV services.  The head-end includes a satellite dish antenna for receiving incoming programming.

  “All of the equipment is stored here on campus,” Neuhaus said. “We will provide students with the channels they are requesting.”