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NDtv has Grown Up Since its PBS Days

Jordan Gamble | Thursday, February 4, 2010

The ghost of the Gipper is not alone in the depths of Washington Hall. He’s got some company from the people churning out programming for NDtv, Notre Dame’s student-run television channel.
For 24 hours a day on Channel 53, NDtv broadcasts original programming produced by Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students. As executive director, Notre Dame senior Nick Andert is in charge of a staff that includes writers, anchors, camera operators, producers and actors from a variety of majors.
The organization has come a long way since it started out in 2002.
“Our first show was on the local PBS station. It was called ‘New Dimension Television’ because we weren’t allowed to say ‘NDtv,'” Andert said.
“Lance Johnson was the guy who started it because he thought that Notre Dame should have TV, considering every other respectable college does. They petitioned to become a club, the University said it was cool, we became Notre Dame Television,” Andert explained.
After that, the “station” graduated to its own room in the basement of South Dining Hall, where it filmed two programs, a news program and “The Michael Peterson Show,” the precursor to what is now the talk show “Late Night ND.” It was a modest one hour of new programming each week.
In 2006, Andert’s freshman year, NDtv got on campus cable and moved to new offices and a studio in the northeast corner of Washington Hall. But with a 24-hour channel, it was difficult at first to fill up all that time.
“It was harder four years ago. When I was a freshman, we only had three shows running. We had ‘News,’ ‘Late Night’ and were just starting a movie-review show called ‘The Final Cut.’ We didn’t have a whole lot of back episodes because we really only had two shows. So we aired a lot of repeats of the same stuff, which could get old after a while. But last semester we had 11 shows, which is unprecedented,” Andert said.
“We have hundreds of back episodes now. We actually have enough material to program a pretty diverse week of television.”
Andert said NDtv has also benefited from its reclassification as an organization under SAO, which comes with a hard-line budget that allows the station more flexibility in choosing projects to develop.
“We tried to get it to a point where we’re really stable. … We’re getting more and more of what we need every year to be able to fuel the number of people who want to make stuff for NDtv,” Andert said. He hopes the progress only continues.
 “One of our main goals is to expand our programming and get people involved. … We definitely are always trying to get more viewership. We try to market ourselves more, and we’re always trying to push the quality of our stuff, too. It’s always difficult when you’re working with students who have classes and deadlines and other stuff to do, but people put in a lot of really hard work.”