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January 31, 2013

ULM mass comm students produce television programs for new Hawk TV

Mass communication students at the University of Louisiana at Monroe will produce a new television series specifically focused on ULM news and events.

On Thursday, Feb. 14, local television station KWMS— also known as Family Friendly Television (FFTV-18)— will launch Hawk TV. 

Sharon Cummings, a mass communications major from Choudrant working on the project, said, “Our school is amazing, and now with Hawk TV, we will be able to show all of the different aspects that makes being a Warhawk so great!”

The types of television programs featured in Hawk TV will vary, but all will be student-driven creations.

ULM Assistant Professor of Mass Communications John Rodriguez said he is most excited about “Discover ULM,” a bi-weekly broadcast that will spotlight a ULM professor, program, or student.

“In the Studio,” also bi-weekly, will consist of a five to 10-minute discussion with professors, students, and other university representatives concerning any and all interesting happenings around ULM.

On a weekly basis, Hawk TV will broadcast both hard and soft news, ULM sporting events, and “ULM Fastbreak,” which will notify viewers of the weekly schedule of events on campus.

ULM became involved with FFTV-18 last fall after a representative from the network spoke to Rodriguez’s video production class.

The representative asked for student volunteers, and communication studies major Tammy Taylor of West Monroe agreed to help with graphics and cameras on the weekends.

Through her, general manager Peter Tuberville heard about the digital media program at ULM and approached Rodriguez about a partnership.

He wanted to get ULM students involved in putting content on the air.

Rodriguez said, “Without Tammy’s passion and willingness to volunteer, this may never have come about.”

Regarding his decision to approach ULM, Tuberville said, “We wanted to give the students the experience they need in order to successfully work in a television broadcast facility…I believe this partnership with ULM will be a great asset to our community.”

Eight students are currently involved in the Hawk TV project—most are receiving class credit through the department’s practicum course, but some are volunteers.

Students said they appreciate the opportunity to work with FFTV-18.

Alan Donald, a mass communications major from West Monroe, said, “Working to produce content for television is very challenging yet rewarding, because when you finish any project, no matter how large or small, it gives you a very strong sense of accomplishment… It also gives me great pride to be giving my hometown university another recruiting tool. I hope this first staff of Hawk TV can set the bar high for the next group.”

The expectation is that Hawk TV will help the local community and the audience members who watch FFTV-18 learn more about the university’s accomplishments. 

Rodriguez, who prompted his students to devise the name, hopes Hawk TV will invite students and parents in the area to see ULM on a personal, individual level.

“We have great programs and great departments,” said Rodriguez, “And we want people to be a part of these things.”

FFTV-18 is an independent, local television station in Monroe, West Monroe and the surrounding areas currently featuring locally produced television shows such as “Mixing It Up with Mamaw,” “Faces of the River Market,” “The Untourists,” and “Tee Time.”

Typical themes of these television shows include cooking, hunting, exercise, and sports.

The station is also affiliated with Retro Television Network, which broadcasts older shows such as “The New Zorro” and “Beverly Hillbillies.” 

Cable providers broadcasting FFTV-18 include Comcast, on channels 78 and 229; Bayou Cable, on channel 4 in Sterlington and 45 in Rocky Branch; CMA, on channel 56; and Suddenlink, on Channel 5.

Dr. Carl Thameling, head of communication, said "Collectively, FFTV-18, the cable providers broadcasting FFTV-18, ULM professors, students and staff will be showcasing the best of ULM through digital media technology, skills and competent programming."

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