By Lauren Johnson
The Rider University Network (RUN) has gone digital.
RUN, the student organization that produces television programs in the Department of Communication and Journalism’s Television Studio, can now be seen on the Web at www.comm.rider.edu/run. Programming was previously only available on Channel 20.
According to Scott Alboum, video technologies coordinator of RUN, after the RUN staff discovered that the student body was neglecting to watch the television programs, it felt the need to launch the programs on a new medium.
Within the Web, RUN can now reach an audience that is occupied with Internet activities, and who might not have time to turn on the TV. For example,
students who are active MySpace, Facebook or YouTube users might feel it is easier to minimize their screens instead of reaching for the remote control.
“You can IM people, do all these things and watch our shows at the same time,” said Alboum. “We are not abandoning our cable channel, we’re still doing the same thing, but we’re enhancing the experience of looking at our program by putting it on the Web.”
Freshman Jessica Tack, who works on the program “Music and Interview Affairs,” agreed that moving programming to the Web is more convenient.
“Students are spending more and more time online, whether it’s researching, checking Facebook or their e-mail,” said Tack. “I have a feeling television may become a thing of the past not too long from now.”
RUN has acquired a more dynamic visual aspect to its Web videos to gain more student interest, according to Alboum. This sharper image aspect has better quality than a YouTube video and will attract more students, he said.
The site also allows students to use the basic functions of pausing, rewinding and fast-forwarding.
This network provides students with daily news, fun and interesting campus events and other important information.
Programming includes: the News@Rider, a weekly half hour of campus and community news; Candid Campbell, an informational session with Dean of Students Anthony Campbell and other campus guests; On The Issues, a weekly sit-down interview program with important figures visiting the campus; What’s Shakin’, a half hour of local, campus and national entertainment news; and WRRC Presents, a showcase of rock bands that are featured on the campus radio station.
According to junior Nick Ballasy, the president of RUN, it is not difficult for the network to make programming available on the Internet. They simply upload the shows to the Web.
According to senior Katie Lacorte, having RUN programs on the Web would not only help students learn about campus activities but also make them more aware that a University network exists.
“It really helps the student body, and it gets our name out there,” said Lacorte.
According to Ballasy, promoting the network was one of the primary reasons for making this change.
“We thought the best way to do that was by hosting videos on the Web,” he said.
This move to the Internet also benefits the students who work at the network, according to Lacorte. It allows them to provide employers with easily accessible samples of their work, she said.
Tack agreed. This enhancement has already helped her communicate more easily with a band’s management.
“A lot of times they ask for an example of what the ‘Music and Interview Affairs’ program does,” she said. “So all I have to do is send them a link to my section of the RUN Web site.”
Lacorte said she is excited that her parents can finally get to see her anchor the News @ Rider.
“I’ve always wanted my parents to see it,” she said. “Now they can just log online anytime and see what I am up to and what is going on at school.”
According to Alboum, in addition to this Web site, the network also has a MySpace link.
Lacorte added that RUN is also focusing more on public relations this year. This is the first semester that the network has a public relations intern, she said.
Alboum said he feels that the move to the Web would be “really effective,” more so than the cable approach. In hopes that the Internet approach will befriend all the students at Rider, RUN wants to promote interest in being aware of its surroundings on the campus. RUN members have sent out invitations through their MySpace link, and they encourage feedback.
Ballasy noted that RUN is currently trying to set up a system in which e-mails would be sent to all students that would have links to the Web site whenever it is updated with new shows. The network is currently working out a few of the kinks, but plans to have it ready as quickly as possible, said Ballasy.
Lacorte said the reminders that the Communication and Journalism Department currently send out each week reminding students to watch the online programming will boost the number of viewers.
“I’m sure as long as they are reminded, they find interest in the shows because now they can control what time to watch, while the RUN channel is just on a revolving basis,” she said.
In addition to moving RUN to the Web, Ballasy also started a chapter of the National Broadcasting Society this semester. He produced one of two videos from Rider that are finalists for the National Broadcasting Video Convention.
“I think that we’ve been really successful this year, and we hope that using things like the Internet to reach out to prospective students and even our own students on campus will only make it better,” said Alboum.