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CUTLINE ... SOUTHEASTERN CHANNEL ON THE AIR -- Southeastern Louisiana University President Randy Moffett, far left, reacts to the applause after flipping a switch to launch The Southeastern Channel, Southeastern's new educational access television station, broadcast on Charter Communication channel 18 in Tangipahoa and Livingston parishes. Participants in the July 9 "turn-on" ceremony in the channel's distribution facility at the University Center were, from left, front, Melissa Griffin, president of the student Broadcast Society; Charter Communication's Bonnie Lopez, general manager of Hammond operations, and Kip Kraemer, group director of operations for Louisiana; back, Hammond city attorney Doug Brown; Kim Hunter Reed, Louisiana Board of Regents deputy commissioner of public affairs; Tangipahoa Parish Schools Superintendent Virgil Allen; Southeastern Provost John Crain; Devin Broome, technology coordinator for the University of Louisiana (ULS) System; and Rusty Jabour, ULS director of strategy and communication.
SOUTHEASTERN LAUNCHES EDUCATIONAL ACCESS CHANNEL
HAMMOND - With a ceremonial flip of a switch, Southeastern Louisiana University officials and other dignitaries on Tuesday (July 9) officially launched "The Southeastern Channel," an educational access television station that will reach into the homes of 23,000 cable subscribers in Tangipahoa and parts of Livingston parishes.
Participating in the "turn-on" ceremony in the channel's distribution facility located in the University Center were Southeastern President Randy Moffett; John Crain, provost and vice president of academic affairs; Karen Fontenot, chair of the department of communication; and representatives of Charter Communications and the student-run Broadcast Society.
The station, which is carried on Charter Communications Channel 18, will allow Southeastern to broadcast a wide variety of educational television programming, Moffett said.
"The Southeastern Channel represents another educational outreach venture, allowing the university to reach into many of the homes of our students and area residents," Moffett said. "The programming we will air will be in keeping with our mission to lead the educational, cultural and economic development of Southeast Louisiana. Through this channel, we will be reaching a new population of students. We will be forging stronger links between the university, the community, area businesses and industry."
At the ceremony, Moffett thanked Charter Communications for making space available on its channel lineup. "As our partner in this effort," he said, "Charter recognizes the importance and potential educational value of this station for the region. Their participation demonstrates their commitment to education, the university, and the well-being of the people of our area."
"Charter Communications is proud to be a partner with The Southeastern Channel," said Bill Ferry, director of government relations for the company's Gulf Coast Region based in Birmingham. "We think it will be an exciting addition to our channel line-up."
Moffett cited the contributions of the City of Hammond. "Mayor Louis Tallo and the city attorneys have strongly pushed for a Southeastern channel from the outset of the city's agreement with Charter Communications," he added. "Their confidence in Southeastern is greatly appreciated."
He also recognized the contributions and assistance provided by Louisiana Public Broadcasting, the state's primary public broadcasting network.
"LPB has provided Southeastern with invaluable engineering and technical support," Moffett said. "Their vast experience and resources helped guide us through the intricate technology associated with this venture. In addition, they will serve as a valuable partner in providing some of the programming The Southeastern Channel will be using."
Other programming partners include: the Annenberg Channel, one of the nation's leading producers of educational programming; NASA-TV which provides news and features about the space program and space exploration; Classic Arts Showcase, which presents music, theater, and other productions in short video clips; and World Business Review, a newsmagazine focused on topical business issues. The channel will also air programs produced by Louisiana Hometown Network and the Louisiana Farm Bureau.
Beginning with the fall semester, Southeastern will air telecourses that can be taken for college credit. The four three-hour credit courses are in the areas of history, sociology, and health studies. Southeastern is the state's second largest provider of distance education courses offered via television, Internet, and compressed video.
Moffett said the channel would also offer tutorial programs to help area students with math, science and language arts. "So much emphasis is now being placed on achievement testing of students," he said, "and we want to be able to supplement the education these students get in school and assist them in preparation for these tests."
The channel will also offer professional development programs for elementary and secondary school teachers; university-sponsored events such as lectures, concerts and theatrical productions; student-produced programs; and career development and enhancement programs.
Moffett said The Southeastern Channel expects to also produce public affairs programming and begin broadcasting university athletic events in the future.
Southeastern's distribution facility represents a significant commitment in human and financial resources. In the facility, the channel utilizes a server-based programming system that employs the latest in telecommunications technology. The server - which can hold up to 36 hours of programming - replaces traditional tape decks frequently used in television operations, automates program operations, and reduces some staff requirements.
"The channel will provide our students with the opportunity to learn television communications in a first-class, highly relevant environment," said Karen Fontenot, head of the department of communication. "It adds a new dimension to our curriculum and certainly strengthens the program. This translates into greater career opportunities for our graduates."
Southeastern offers a bachelor's degree in communication with concentrations in organizational and communication theory, mass communications and journalism, and speech communications. A new graduate program in organizational communication - the only one of its kind in the state - was added last year. The channel will provide students enrolled in the academic programs opportunities to work as student workers, interns and in student-developed programming.
The Southeastern Channel is currently sharing the university's existing studio facilities that are used by students studying television production. Plans are currently being developed to totally renovate and upgrade the equipment in those studios in the coming academic year.