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Starting Wednesday, NDtv will air 24 hours

Aaron Steiner | Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It isn’t New Year’s Eve yet, but with a countdown and a ball drop, NDtv is celebrating a historic event in its four-year history.

Starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday NDtv will officially launch its fourth season – one that promises major changes from previous years.

With the addition of Comcast cable in every dorm room, NDtv now has its own channel where it will broadcast programming 24 hours per day, an increase from last year’s 12-hour daily broadcast. In addition, NDtv has upgraded all of its broadcasting equipment.

The station will mark the official start of the season at 8:15 p.m. with the countdown and ball drop, followed by a special one-time jumbo screen video presentation featuring new material for this season.

The NDtv premier will begin with entertainment including Robbie Hazen, a junior student and musician, as well as DJ Johnny O. NDtv’s founder, Lance Johnson (’04), will also attend the event.

The station will begin broadcasting its programming on campus cable channel 53 at 10:00 p.m. tomorrow, following the premiere.

Senior Adam Fairholm, who is NDtv’s executive director, said he hopes the event brings a greater understanding of the University’s “for students, by students” television station.

NDtv began in 2002 as a project of the Film, Television and Theatre department as a bi-weekly, 30-minute variety show.

Since then, it has grown into a multi-show station airing news, sports, comedy and entertainment review programs. Previously, NDtv was broadcast on campus cable and was only available in dorm social spaces and other campus buildings.

The station produces four shows – NDtv News, NDtv Sports, The Mike Peterson Show (a late night comedy and interview show) and The Final Cut (an entertainment review program) – all of which will air weekly new episodes.

In addition to the new material from this season, programming from the past three seasons will air during the day.

“With comedy and entertainment, there is a backlog of material that hasn’t been seen [by the majority of students],” Fairholm said.

The station also will offer advertisement opportunities for campus-related events and organizations this year. Both the programs and commercials will remain Notre Dame-centered, Fairholm said.

“A lot of college stations aren’t university-specific,” Fairholm said. “The priority for us is Notre Dame events.”

Fairholm is proud of the station’s focus on and coverage of campus events.

“For a college [organization] as young as we are, we have wide coverage on everything Notre Dame,” Fairholm said.

In the four years since its start, NDtv has flourished in both coverage and in participation. With only about 14 students in 2002, NDtv now works with about 90 students.

“Each show has its own crew,” Fairholm said, adding that students are involved in every aspect of production. “We do all of our own work.”

“We have a sort of open door policy,” NDtv News director Melinda Leonard said. “Students can get involved as much and as often as they want to.”

The station’s leaders are hoping Wednesday’s event and the wider availability of NDtv dorm rooms will increase awareness of the student-run station.

“The optimal reaction, right now, is a reaction,” said Fairholm, noting that most students are currently unaware of what NDtv offers.

“Having the student body know about NDtv and making it a part of campus media” is a primary goal of the station’s fourth season, Fairholm said.