Dr. Edward H. Hammond, president of Fort Hays State University, announced a new partnership today that significantly expands the reach of the university’s cable television channel, KFHS.
"College students across the United States who participate in campus television programs like to know that they reach a real audience," President Hammond said. "We are pleased to announce that Fort Hays State University's cable channel, KFHS, now reaches more communities than ever before. FHSU, with Nex-Tech and its parent company, Rural Telephone, are pleased to announce that KFHS television will be carried by Nex-Tech’s cable system to 33 northwest and north central Kansas communities."
The announcement was carried as a live broadcast beginning at 5 p.m. today from the KFHS studio in Heather Hall on the FHSU campus.
"KFHS Television serves multiple purposes," the president said. "It is an excellent learning tool for FHSU students. It allows Media Studies students to create programming in a laboratory environment and to develop professional skills. It provides a window to the world for our university as we share the work of our students. We offer video of key campus events, including Commencement and my annual State of the University address. Our home football and basketball games are now tape delayed and then broadcast on KFHS in multiple showings to allow more people to enjoy FHSU athletics. Fans can re-watch last week’s game and gear up for the next challenge."
Continuing, President Hammond said, "KFHS plays an important role with the American Democracy Project when it shares weekly discussions on political matters through the 'Democracy Matters' and 'Times Talk' programs. KFHS works with Smoky Hills Public Television and produces the live health care call-in program, 'Doctors on Call,' in our campus studios. Students are involved and take responsible roles in each of these programs."
When video is not played on the air, KFHS shows slates of campus activities and events. This provides a source of information that supplements the university’s Web site -- www.fhsu.edu. Behind the slates of announcements, audiences are able to listen to the KFHS radio station.
Jennifer Montenegro, president of both the KFHS Broadcast Council and FHSU's chapter of the National Broadcasting Society, said: "It's exciting for our members to know the programming we are creating has an audience. We do a lot of live television. I've been to national conferences and have found we do so much more than most universities whether it's live or not. The station provides a great learning environment through hands-on work and offers real challenges for students. Because of my involvement with KFHS and my experience with live television, I was able to land a second internship this past summer with CBS affiliate KWCH in Wichita. My first internship was with KAKE-TV, also in Wichita. The city is my hometown, and it was an honor to work with stations that I have so much respect for. This past summer I was also accepted for a paid internship through the Kansas Association of Broadcasters."
Larry Sevier, CEO of Rural Telephone and Nex-Tech, also spoke during Thursday afternoon's live announcement. "Rural Telephone and Nex-Tech are pleased to offer local content programming, such as KFHS, the Fort Hays State channel, which will offer a wide variety of programming to appeal to alumni, as well as parents and grandparents of FHSU students. Local content is important to our cable television customers, and we are pleased to offer services that satellite companies cannot provide. We also offer a cable bulletin board channel and school channels to respond to the needs of our customers. Rural Telephone and Nex-Tech are strong supporters of local community involvement."
Mark Bannister, chair of the Department of Information Networking and Telecommunications, said, "The broadcasting program began at Fort Hays State University in 1950. Its student and faculty work continually garners state and national awards and recognition. We have alumni from the program working in television stations across America. We also have alumni who are working in video and audio production studios, corporate in-house media, and even in the movie industry. Our intent is to provide students with a 'hands-on learning experience' from their freshman year forward."
Bannister added: "Class work such as documentary projects created for the Advanced Video Production class and public service announcements created for the Video Production class air on KFHS." In addition to class projects, any student who wants to propose a program can do so.
"KFHS offers a variety of programs including two live newscasts each week -- featuring two different teams in order to give as many students as possible experience," he said.
The programming includes "Tiger Nation," the only television program devoted solely to Fort Hays State University athletics; "Around Town," which provides information on upcoming events on campus and in the Hays region; "SGA Live," which is a live weekly broadcast of the meeting of the FHSU Student Government Association; and "Pet Smarts," a popular program developed with local veterinarians on animal health.
"Students are encouraged to create programs that align with their interests," Bannister said. "They are expected to comply with professional guidelines and FCC broadcast requirements in order to prepare them for the professional world. After that, we allow students to be creative. This is an electronic learning sandbox and a connection between Fort Hays State University and the people we serve. We are excited that this partnership with Nex-Tech will allow KFHS to reach such a large area of Kansas."
KFHS will continue to be distributed through the Eagle Communications Network in Ellis, Hays, Russell and WaKeeney. It will now be distributed through 33 additional communities in the Nex-Tech Cable System. These communities are: Agra, Almena, Alton, Athol, Bogue, Collyer, Damar, Edmond, Galatia, Gaylord, Gove, Grainfield, Hill City, Jennings, Kensington, Lenora, Logan, Long Island, Morland, Natoma, Norton, Olmitz, Osborne, Palco, Phillipsburg, Plainville, Quinter, Rexford, Selden, Smith Center, Victoria, Woodston and Zurich.