In May of 2018, TCTV gave itself a challenge to stream 24 hours of content. After that technical success, the group had one big question — could they do it seven days a week?
Starting April 1, 2019, not only will TCTV be 24/7, it’ll be essentially the same as modern television channels.
“We have way more content than can fit in a 24-hour stream,” Student Media Adviser and Broadcast Journalism teacher Greg Janda said. “So we’ve been testing throughout the year to see how we could create a system that let us play all the work TCTV has done throughout the year in a way that mirrors what professionals have on real television channels.”
Media students have been working behind the scenes, scheduling “blocks” of content, and finding ways to automate switching between the hundreds of pieces of new and replay content created this year — and they’ve passed all the tests.
“Since pitching this idea to my classes, students have been involved in figuring out what content plays when, what things students would want to watch, and how we can solve technical issues,” Janda explained.
In fact, many of the students didn’t think the project would ever work out.
“There were people in the class who thought I was crazy, for sure,” Janda said. “But after figuring out how to solve some of major issues, eventually we all got pretty excited.”
One of the major issues was scheduling: How do your organize content that spans over news, sports, entertainment, and video game competitions?
Editors Liam Morgan and Spencer Espino helped generate a schedule of rotating “blocks” of content. The first block, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. each day, is focused on TCTV’s most regularly created content, morning announcements. Announcements, PSAs, news packages, and other current content plays during that time.
“We try very hard to keep our announcements to under 6 minutes each day, but often that means removing slightly older, still important information in favor of something new,” Janda said. “With the channel, we can keep everything that’s current running in a loop to help remind students and teachers.”
Following that block, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.,are TCTV special broadcasts including documentaries about the band and Sky Dancers, replays of live coverage of The Kelley Awards and red carpet pre-show, the Student Media Super Smash Brothers Tournament, and more.
From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. are replays of Timber Creek Sports Network content, including football, volleyball, wrestling, girls and boys basketball, and other sporting events.
After 5 p.m., a mix of all content runs until 7 p.m., when Announcements and other current content repeats. Then starting at 9 p.m., things chill out.
“The students had the idea to create a piece of the schedule for relaxing visuals and calm music to help them study and chill out. So we’ve found that type of content and programmed the station to create that mood,” Janda explained.
The channel streams on YouTube, Twitch and Periscope, where many of the initial testing viewers have shared hearts, comments, and viewed it within Twitter. But the station could be coming to more platforms soon.
“We’re really focused on making the channel into something that fits the motto of made by students, for students,” Janda said. “This is just the beginning of the journey.”
Watch it live here on YouTube: