WUCF TV to see improvements
New programs will air next month
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 12:10
UCF stepped up to save public broadcasting in Central Florida earlier this year with its Sept. 26 purchase of WUCF and its PBS broadcasting rights. The station will officially launch its new programming as its own entity on Nov. 15.
In April 2011, WMFE — the previous PBS broadcaster to Central Florida — announced it was selling its broadcasting rights.
“After April 2011 when we heard there would no longer be a PBS station in Central Florida, UCF and Brevard Community College got together and created WUCF TV,” Christine Dellert, UCF director of communication and outreach, said.
WUCF launched July 1, 2011 as Central Florida’s only PBS station and featured popular PBS programming and locally produced shows.
Anna Eskamani, a graduate student in the double master’s program for public administration and nonprofit management, was part of the “Keep PBS in Orlando" campaign in 2011.
“I grew up in Orlando; I’m a local here. I grew up without any cable,” Eskamani said. “The PBS station we had, channel 24, was essentially my connection to the world. It was my PBS station, my sister’s, my brother’s, we grew up watching Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street and Arthur.”
Eskamani was determined to get involved and keep the PBS station she grew up with in Central Florida.
“I wrote an opinion piece in the Central Florida Future suggesting that UCF step up and purchase the PBS station and become the new source of public broadcasting in Central Florida,” Eskamani said.
Once UCF decided it wanted to purchase the broadcast license, it had to get the purchase approved at a Board of Trustees meeting that took place on June 25. The purchase was approved first by the Board and then by the Federal Communications Commission. UCF officially closed the sale on Sept. 26.
UCF now owns the broadcast license for Central Florida’s PBS station, which gives WUCF TV a stronger signal strength and allows more people to tune in. UCF’s partnership with BCC was dissolved when it took ownership of the broadcast license.
“The university has been incredible in their support of WUCF TV,” Dellert said. “Students were involved from day one.”
WUCF offers internships and has also started a volunteer program that began this fall and will continue into the spring semester. Broadcast students from Knightly News have also been involved through shadowing an election speaker series called Metro Center Election 2012.
“I look forward to a future of compelling, community-driven content that enriches our Central Florida culture. The leadership team at WUCF has a passion for creativity and a vision of television excellence,” Stephen Walker, a former WUCF intern and UCF alumnus, said.
“We’re coming up with conventional and nonconventional ways for students to get involved,” Dellert said. “Students in an art professor’s class are creating original pieces of art that will be on one of our shows starting in the fall. We will begin meeting with students in November to begin the commission process.”
On Nov. 15, viewers may notice a few changes in their normal lineups and may also note a change in the channel WUCF broadcasts from. The station has also launched a new community show called One, which features stories of people and places around the community.
“WUCF is an outlet to tell the story of students and professors, to tell the UCF story as well,” Eskamani said.
“Our mission is to make all these wonderful programs accessible to all Central Floridians,” Dellert said. “We say that the station is for the community, and UCF is a huge part of that.”