Beginning today, students, faculty and friends of Fort Hays State University will enjoy a new, lively outlet for information about their university. FHSU and its Department of Information Networking and Telecommunications are pleased to announce the launch of KFHS-TV on Eagle Communication's cable television systems in Hays, Ellis, Russell and WaKeeney.
"Today marks a launching point for exciting new television programming created by FHSU students," Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony this afternoon on the university campus.
Dr. Mark Bannister, chair of the INT Department, explained during the ceremony that KFHS-TV, on Channel 67, would allow FHSU students an opportunity to provide a broad range of programming using first-rate equipment and a first-rate distribution system. Bannister pointed out that few universities in the country have the opportunity to connect to multiple communities and to provide both live and archived programs.
"Working with FHSU's Office of University Relations, we will be able to provide information about campus events such as music and theater performances, athletic contests, public affairs, and student service activities," he said. "Community members and students will be informed of enrollment dates, academic offerings and cultural activities."
Bannister said the launch of KFHS-TV was a success story that involved many people. "FHSU is a national leader in the application of convergent technological tools," he said. "However, this effort has taken the convergence of people as well as technology in order to bring about success."
Since its beginning nearly 50 years ago, FHSU has been broadcasting radio and television programs first for its students and eventually into the surrounding communities. Today's launch of KFHS-TV marks the first time the university has had a dedicated, 24-hour cable television channel for information and entertainment.
Before cutting the ribbon in the television studio inside Heather Hall, which was named in his honor, Jack Heather, emeritus professor of communication, recounted FHSU's early years of broadcasting.
Heather, who served as director of radio, television, film and of closed circuit television before he retired, said the first broadcasts originated from a studio on the second floor of what was then Sheridan Coliseum. The radio station was connected to the Memorial Union by a telephone loop, and the broadcasts were limited to the Union's public address system. Television was added when Heather's office was moved to Malloy Hall, but TV broadcasts did not actually begin until the operation moved to Heather Hall and programming was aired in the late afternoon and early evening on Channel 12 on the local cable TV system.
President Hammond commended Heather for blazing the broadcasting trail at the university. "Jack got us started, and as today's event demonstrates, we've come a long way," the president said. "For the last several weeks, students have been digitizing content into the new distribution system that will allow the playback of programming throughout the day. In addition to a wide variety of shows, KFHS-TV will also feature an updated University Calendar to keep viewers apprised of FHSU events and activities and to provide notices of school closings during severe weather."
The president said KFHS-TV would continue to serve the university's students but also would target viewers in the surrounding communities, who also will find the programming informative and fun. "By serving as a source of information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Channel 67 will prove to be a valuable link drawing the university and the wider communities even closer together. We appreciate the assistance provided by Eagle Communication in bringing this project to reality," the president said.
"We are excited at Eagle to be able to add another local channel representing the students of Fort Hays State University," said Travis Kohlrus, director of operations Eagle Communication, Inc. "The university plays an important role in western Kansas, and we anticipate that Channel 67 will highlight the accomplishments of students and faculty."
Brandon Billinger, KFHS Broadcast Council vice president and KFHS-TV station manager, said, "The KFHS Broadcast Council comprises primarily students from the INT Department. Each week we create shows by students for students. It is a lot of hard work, but our award-winning shows are well worth the effort, and we enjoy the feedback we have received from viewers. Any student at FHSU, regardless of his or her major, who wants to work on any of our current or future shows is welcome to join."
Mel Hanks, assistant professor of INT, echoed Billinger's comments. "KFHS-TV is a great outlet to showcase the outstanding talents of FHSU students," he said.
"The students of the KFHS Broadcast Council work extremely hard to produce shows for the viewers each week,” Stephen Schleicher, assistant professor of INT, added. "This dedication to content creation will lead them to extremely exciting careers in a media-hungry world."
For more information about KFHS-TV, please contact the FHSU INT Department at (785) 628-5373. The line-up of news and entertainment programming on Channel 67 includes:
KFHS News - This is the only weekly news program for FHSU students.
Around Town - Find out about events going on in and around the Hays community.
The Red Zone - This is the only television program in the area that covers FHSU sports in detail. Join the panel of sports experts to discuss regional and local sports, and meet The Red Zone Player of the Week.
SGA. For the Record - Join host Drew Thomas as he talks with SGA senators about student issues affecting the FHSU Student Senate. This is an opportunity for all students to see what their representatives are doing for them and how decisions will affect them in the future.
Pet Smarts - Bone up on your pet knowledge with Pet Smarts. Host Charisa Sander, along with Dr. Steve Mosier, tells you everything you need to know for proper care and feeding of your pets.
Times Talk - A weekly luncheon presentation and discussion about current issues and articles featured in The New York Times. Dr. Paul Faber, dean of FHSU's College of Arts and Sciences, created the program through which FHSU faculty, staff, students and community members lead one-hour discussions about recent Times articles. Not limited solely to domestic and international politics, Times Talk sessions cover business, technology, the arts, science and other topics of interest.
Order of Importance - A panel show that discusses hot issues concerning students across Kansas. This debate-style show allows viewers to hear both sides of the topic and come to their own conclusions.
Inside Campus - An examination of departments, clubs and organizations at FHSU.
FHSU Basketball - Watch your favorite Tiger sports team in these highlight shows from the past season.
SGA Live! - Students can now keep up to date on what their governing body is doing by watching the Student Government Association meetings live each week.