Tuesday, October 23, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 44



SVN to resume broadcasting in spring with new studio

By Nathan Smith
News Reporter

When the university's Student Video Network resumes broadcasting next semester, it will do so from a new, digitally-equipped studio.

SVN, the only outlet at UH for students to create and produce their own television programs, has been off the air since the summer, when its studio and equipment were
destroyed by the flooding from Tropical Storm Allison that ravaged much of the campus.

"We lost almost everything," said Jason Ugorji, chair of SVN. "We lost some broadcasting digital cameras as well as our live cameras in the flood, and we also lost our
new $15,000 computer system."

Seventy percent of SVN's equipment was ruined by the flooding, but a great deal of the cost of replacing the lost hardware will be covered by insurance, he said.

"Across campus, millions of dollars of damage was done by the flood, and (the University's) insurance company is paying $25 million of that," Ugorji said. "We're looking
at the costs of rebuilding SVN at being between $40,000 to $50,000."

Wes Grinter, who worked as a technical engineer on past SVN programs such as Sports Junkies and John, Wes, and a Monkey, said the flood damage could actually
turn out to be favorable to the network.

"Most of the equipment needed to be updated or replaced anyway," Grinter said. "I mean, we had a studio light hanging from a broomstick for a while there. If the
flooding causes SVN to get all new gear, I wouldn't call that a bad thing."

Ugorji concurred. "A lot of the equipment that we had in the past was from the 1970s. We were using a lot of analog equipment and really outdated stuff," he said.

Replacing the lost cameras and equipment has afforded SVN the opportunity to go digital.

"Before (the flood), our stuff was about half digital, half analog," Ugorji said. "Now everything's going to be digital. It's going to be really, really nice."

In addition to purchasing new equipment, SVN is also in the process of building an entirely new television studio.

"Building a new studio is fine by me," Ugorji said. "There are trade-offs, because our old basement studio was huge, with a 30-foot-high ceiling, which was awesome.
We're moving into a new, smaller space with lower ceilings, but the benefit is that we can build it any way we want, since we're having it done from scratch."

Ugorji said he expects the new studio and equipment to be in place and ready to go by the end of the year.

"The Copy Center moved (back) into the UC Underground a few weeks ago, and I've been told that the whole underground will be open by mid-November," Ugorji
said. "Since SVN is a little more complex than your average organization, with a lot more construction, it should take a little longer for us."

Given the time necessary for proper installation of everything necessary to run a television studio, SVN would likely remain off the air until December or January, Ugorji
said. However, he said, the wait would be worth it when SVN returned.

"If I can get some of the equipment I want, SVN's production quality should be at least three to four times better than it used to be," he said.

The station should be broadcasting to the majority of UH housing by next semester, said Ugorji, but possibly not on the network's traditional Channel 6.

"Pretty much all the dorms will get SVN except for Cambridge Oaks, because of technical issues. There's been some discussion about moving to a different channel
other than 6, but at this point nothing is concrete," he said.

What is concrete is that SVN will be back and will continue to provide movies and original programming to the campus, he said. Opportunities to get involved are open
to all students, not just those in the communication school.

"Flood or no flood," Grinter said, "SVN is always looking for more good, student-produced shows. That's something that will never change."

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