Central Oregon Community College is reviving its television station with a new program that began airing in early January.
“College Hour,” a one-hour program that features interviews from faculty, guest speakers from different academic departments and educational segments, will also showcase local art and music. The program will be showing at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Bend Broadband channel 218.
Over eight years ago, Bend Broadband donated channel 218 to COCC at no cost to the school. Since then, the station has broadcast only the COCC events schedule, the college employment and recruiting information and Public Broadcasting’s the Arts Channel.
“I didn’t even know COCC already had a channel on TV,” said David Niderost, a COCC student.
COCC officials know he’s not the only student who hasn’t heard of the station, but with “College Hour” they hope that will soon change.
The idea for “College Hour” was formed when COCC was about to lose the channel due to a lack of content and viewership. Head of the Media Services department Eugen Helmbrecht, and other faculty members wanted to find a way to use the channel to benefit both COCC and the community.
“All of us wanted to devote something to the community,” said Helmbrecht. “Everyone is doing this voluntarily.”
Helmbrecht and his wife Pualani, who also works for COCC, have spent much of the past several weeks volunteering their free time to film and interview staff for “College Hour.”
Right now the show is in the starting out process. As “College Hour” continues, Helmbrecht hopes to have more student volunteers participate.
“We would like to eventually see a multimedia club and have more volunteers and, for those interested in production and broadcasting, to have access to this experience,” said Helmbrecht.
Goals for “College Hour” are to serve the community, faculty and students, to highlight college life on campus and to help display some of the excellent programs at COCC, according to college officials.
Each day, “College Hour” will profile different academic departments, COCC clubs and organizations. Students can be involved by showcasing their art, music or other talents.
“It will be nice to demonstrate what our students are doing here,” said Helmbrecht. “It’s half educational, half entertainment.”
Students said they are excited about the program, too.
“It sounds like ‘College Hour’ has the potential to expose what COCC has to offer to people who are seeking higher education,” said COCC student Zachary Winsor. “The fact that it’s free and on TV makes it an exceptionally great deal.”
Currently there are about 300 viewers of channel 218, but in a few months Helmbrecht hopes that number will be 4,500. He believes that through word of mouth students will get other students to watch “College Hour” and viewership will go up.
Those who are interested in being involved in any way may contact Eugen Helmbrecht in the Media Services department.