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February 10, 1997

UCSC calendar now available on campus cable channel

By Jim Burns

Two offices at UCSC have launched a new service that uses a relatively old medium to bring the latest information about campus events to faculty, staff, and students. The service--called UCSC Presents--employs a basic TV to broadcast an up-to-date listing of lectures, concerts, and other events.

A connection to the campus cable system is all that is required to view the TV edition of the campus calendar, say the project's sponsors, Arts & Lectures and Media Services. The events listing can be found on cable channel 50.

"This is a perfect companion to what we are already doing on the World Wide Web," says Mark Cianca, director of Arts & Lectures, the office responsible for the official campus calendar. "A student worker in our office is taking the information we already assemble for the web [http://events.ucsc.edu/calendar/] and is converting it into scripts for TV." The conversion is accomplished using software designed by Target Vision, a New York-based firm developing communication tools for business applications.

On TV, the events are displayed in a succession of listings, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Arts & Lectures uploads an updated script twice each week. In addition, staff provide an audio version of the script each week to KZSC, the campus radio station (88.1 FM), for broadcast.

Jan Dickens, director of Media Services, says the two offices launched the project late last quarter because television remains one of the most viable means of reaching large audiences. Already, there are 3,000 cable connections in housing units and 200 non-housing connections, Dickens says.

Now that the calendar service is available on TV, Dickens is looking to increase the number of non-housing connections. "We can envision the calendar channel being displayed in a variety of office lobbies on the campus," she says. "As people from on and off campus do business at UCSC, they can also become more familiar with the many high-quality events that take place here."

Media Services does not charge a monthly rate for cable hookups. The charge for installation varies depending on the time and materials required.

Dickens and Cianca can envision a day in the not-too-distant future when the campus calendar channel is available to off-campus cable systems in Santa Cruz County. Dickens says preliminary discussions have begun about the establishment of a "biconnection" between the campus and TCI Cablevision, which provides the cable signal to viewers in most of Santa Cruz County.

"The calendar channel would provide a terrific source of information for people in the surrounding communities, many of whom may not be in the habit of attending UCSC events," adds Cianca.

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