The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 65.0°F | Fair

Hersch's Criticism of MIT Cable Unfair

In his recent column ["TV36: A Channel of Untapped Potential," April 7], Matthew Hersch presented some ideas which he thought could improve the programming available on MIT Student Cable Television, TV36.

I'd first like to point out to Hersch that The Jean and Pablo Show and Pet or Meat are not the only shows that have been regularly produced on TV36 in the recent past. Stay Tuned, a Star Trek-oriented call-in talk show, has been in production since September. Stay Tuned, with a definite format and a regular call-in audience, lets the MIT community voice their opinions about every first-run episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Hersch might want to watch an episode of Stay Tuned before deciding that Student Cable shows are produced by students with "crude ideas of video."

For many reasons, Hersch's suggestion that classroom lectures be broadcast live is unrealistic. Just imagine The Tech attempting to cover some of the hundreds of lectures held each week. (This would be even more of a "service" than broadcasting lectures, since they would be already transcribed for future reference). Even if we (or The Tech) were to cover the maximum of three or four lectures per week that we could handle given our current resources, the target audience would only be about one or two percent of the student population. This is clearly not good resource management. Furthermore, I suspect that many lecturers would not want to be subject to the potential unannounced peer review inherent in a live broadcast.

Some of Hersch's other ideas, however, aren't so unreasonable. For example, Student Cable did in fact have an expos-style news program in 1990 called At Issue. The show stopped production because its two producers graduated. And Student Cable does try to broadcast events of wide interest to the MIT community, such as the 2.70 contest, the 6.270 contest, and occasional UA debates. Student Cable has never formally broadcast films in course syllabi; however, as is posted on Channels 8, 9, 10, and 12, we always welcome independent filmmakers to produce or broadcast their works on TV36.

I applaud Hersch for inviting the MIT community to take more advantage of the potential offered by Student Cable Television, and we certainly invite interested individuals to contact us with their ideas. But he should not so easily dismiss the work that goes into many of our productions.

Eric L. McDonald G

General Manager, TV36