What’s it like to Run a TV Channel?


Since mid-January 2008, I’ve been working on several new projects at my college. One of them has been our TV channel, which was supposed to air last semester. Rather than waiting for the TV club to get their act together, I’ve been going behind them and adding my own video content to the channel. Unlike websites, I’ve never had a huge experience with running a TV station. Ok, I’ve never had any experience running a TV channel. I’d imagine that none of you out there have either.

Hit the jump button to read my insights on how to run a TV channel.

STRESSFUL. There’s no other way to begin to describe running a TV channel, especially when you’re the only one that’s producing and marketing the content. So you can begin to imagine the type of quality the content is. In fact you might have already seen some of the shows, as all of them can be viewed on our media player, The Pipeline.

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So the majority of the shows running on the TV channel were not originally intended to air on the TV channel. There’s a sizable amount of cursing and random violence here and there. The FCC would not approve.

LEGALITIES. Legal issues suck. As the only TV channel run by students for students at my school, we’ve already had to face our own fare share of legal hurdles, and we’ve only been up and running for 2 weeks! Some of the biggest issues are over the affiliation of the channel to the college itself. We can’t include the school’s logo in our logo. The school’s mascot is Matty the Matador. Last semester the TV club decided to call the station Matador TV 6. There’s a potential that we won’t be able to keep that name for the channel, as we’re affiliating it with the school. It’s a silly mess that I and the techies that maintain the channel are facing at this moment.

VIEWERS. Every TV channel has the same issues as any other, how do you gain viewers and keep them glued to their tube? Even though our TV channel is currently non-profit. We too face this issue. The channel is in a closed network, currently only viewable in the dorms. That’s over 2,000 students, for which we’ll assume that they all have TVs. The majority of these students have basic cable, so we’re 1 channel in at least 30 others.

One of the great things about being in a closed network environment is that in theory telling the potential viewers about the station, and sending them updates should be easy. But we don’t live in this ideal environment. Since that channel just launched, we’re starving for more and new content. Right now we have about an hours worth of content that loops over and over again. There’s no way to tell the channel to air content at a certain time, we just update the channel with the new content and it becomes part of the loop.

STAY TUNED. So there’s really no possible way to advertise to viewers saying that we have this show and it airs at this time, so STAY TUNED! A lot of people have flipped through their channel lineup and have come to me saying that they saw me on the channel. Awesome. Running this TV channel is almost like having instant gratification.

My short term goals are to get other people helping out with this channel. In addition to the channel, I run this site, have school, and try to maintain my social life. PARTYee! For sanity purposes I need to find a real crew that wants and does help out creating content. We also need a way to communicate directly to our viewers. One way that I’ve done this in the past, to message people in my film building, is to create a Fan Page on Facebook. It’s been a savior in so many ways. The issue is that I can’t create the page until we know the official name of the TV channel.

I’ll continue to cover my experiences with the channel as well as any other future events that I’m working on. In the meantime feel free to check out some films that students in my film building have created.

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Author: DaveWeLike

I'm the editor of StuffWeLike.com.

3 thoughts on “What’s it like to Run a TV Channel?”

  1. I work for a tv station and it’s not that difficult…. It might help if u spelled words correctly. Air is spelled aire.

  2. I agree with Sam. I am a station manager and this is a joke. If you are really interested in running a station. don’t read this crap. This kid has no idea what he is talking about. Also, funny story if you only run to the dorms then you do not need the FCC to approve. You are NOT a true BROADCAST station and you do not AIRE anything due to the fact that AIRE implies you are broadcasting via antenna or satellite. Learn what to do before you do them.

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