Tight funds, old equipment keep UVMtv off the air

UVMtv station is currently incapable of broadcasting student-produced media on any of its stations due to a poor financial situation and outdated equipment. The only two channels that are currently in operation on UVMtv are a movie station, which is contracted to media company Swank Inc., and a station that provides a live video feed of the whimsical “flying diaper” statue outside Coolidge Hall.”What we are looking at is a question of equipment,” said UVMtv President Bunny Rutherford. “This Dell computer is a 1995 and this one is from 1997. So basically we are working against the clock”.Each of these computers were at one point thrown away by Residential Life and were then salvaged into running individual television stations. By the end of the fall semester, both of these computers crashed, leaving no means for UVMtv to broadcast student media.According to UVMtv Vice President Greg Schondelmeier, “We recently tried to ask SGA for $10,000 for a new server. We put in a capital fund request to get a permanent piece of equipment that would last for the future of UVMtv, but we only got $1,000. That doesn’t even buy us a new computer.”According to SGA Treasurer Sarah Shackett, it is natural for clubs and student organizations like UVMtv to not be fully funded by SGA.”In our financial policy, SGA cannot fully fund for anything. That’s impossible with the operating budget that we have. We expect clubs to fundraise and make up the difference for that,” Shackett said.UVMtv’s fundraising revenue should come from selling ad space on shows. However, Rutherford said the station was not successful at raising necessary funds through advertising. “At the peak of operation we were bringing in around $200 every month,” Rutherford said.Shackett also stated that SGA offers zero interest loans. Payment for these loans can be spread up to six semesters if needed.”Loans are usually given to clubs that are on the teetering point of going negative and it’s a way to stay positive and keep fundraising efforts going.”UVMtv, however, is ineligible for this because they already have one loan out to pay off a debt of over $3,300 from two previous fiscal years. According to Rutherford, the debt was “due to an error in the budget by a previous [UVMtv] treasurer.”Regardless of tight finances, UVMtv maintains a positive attitude and still continues to film new material that is posted on YouTube under username WatchUVMtv.Schondelmeier said, “Every time we have a meeting I come out of it feeling really good. Even though we’ve had all of these setbacks and problems. People are so into it and really dedicated to making it work. I feel good about it.”While it is unclear when UVMtv is going to be fully operational, “UVMtv has planned three fundraisers for the next two weeks and we are exploring every avenue possible to get us up and running again,” Rutherford said.These fundraising activities include bake sales, applying for media grants and a film festival featuring student works planned for April. Treasurer Shackett hinted towards an increased budget for UVMtv for the next fiscal year, pending approval by the senate.”Everybody here loves UVMtv; we obviously want to keep them around and we’re willing to do anything we can to help them.”Director of Student Life Pat Brown also acknowledged the value of UVMtv within the com?munity.”If I think about the two aspects of UVMtv that are great, one is it gives students a great opportunity to learn about media production from a broad?cast perspective and that students living on campus can see and learn about things that are of interest to other students. That’s not happening right now and that’s too bad,” Brown said.