Campus News

Cable Station to begin at Bowdoin

Story posted May 15, 1999

May 6, 1999, BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Last month, after a year of thought and several months of work, Finn O'Brien, saw concrete evidence that his idea for a cable television station at Bowdoin is coming to fruition.

On April 26, the Student Activities Fee Committee allocated $9,000 to the Bowdoin Cable Network, to be known as BCN. That and the promise of additional funding from other supporters gives BCN the funds it needs to become an operating station in the fall.

O'Brien got the idea for a station last year, after watching a debate on campus. He thought the debate would have lent itself well to broadcasting and began thinking of other campus events that students and members of the surrounding community would enjoy being able to see on television.

Bowdoin has a cable infrastructure, so it is possible to get a station up and running with only the purchase of cameras, other hardware needed for production and messaging software to allow announcements to be broadcast on television.

What O'Brien envisions is a station that can go beyond rebroadcasting taped lectures. He would like to see students creating their own television shows and broadcasting sporting events and plays. He envisions broadcasting weather alerts and calendars, and he would like to see the station serve as a bridge to developing stronger relations with Brunswick and other towns. "Building community through better communication," has become a catch phrase, O'Brien said.

There have already been discussions with Brunswick and Harpswell about having student-produced programs broadcast on local cable.

About nine people have committed to holding management positions with the station, and another 10 or so are planning to help with production of the programs. The group already has ideas for 10 regular programs they'd like to create.

O'Brien is particularly excited because the station will put television in the hands of the students, something that some universities have done, but that is rare at a small liberal arts college.

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