The 24 Hour Universtity Television Broadcast Challenge


Charlie Watts TV-Bay Magazine
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by Charlie Watts
Issue 90 - June 2014

By the time you read this, the University of Portsmouth will have completed a mammoth 24 hour live television broadcast. This television spectacular, beginning at 8pm on May the 29th, was conceived to help celebrate the opening of a new building, raise money for charity, break a Guinness World Record, and to exhibit and screen final year graduate work to as wide audience as possible. The events have specially invited ViPs such as Chancellor - Sandi Toksvig, our previous Chancellor, Shelia Hancock, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Rebecca Bunting.

But whoa! Hang on a minute¦a 24 hour live television broadcast! How did that come about? What were we thinking? Well, perhaps its best to give some historical context here. In 2011 my course, BSc (Hons) Television and Broadcasting, staged an all live three hour broadcast. In 2012 we managed four hours, and in 2013 we delivered six straight hours of live television broadcast. I distinctly remember saying to some of the students after the 6 hour show, dont go asking for a longer show next year!

Well, I obviously had a major memory lapse somewhere along the line, and whatever the reason for staging a 24 hour live event, there is no turning back now.

Professor Catherine Harper is the Dean of the Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) Faculty, and she adds, I want students to be faced with real experiences and opportunities of learning that they will never forget. Portsmouth is a fantastic place, full of life, culture and it is impossible to not feel fired up by this great City. We have expert staff who are willing to provide the best environments to aid learning, and to help explore specialisms that will lead to dream careers. Putting on inspirational events like this help capture the student imagination.

It is true, we do like a challenge here in Portsmouth, and I suppose this is something we have been in training for since the launch of the faculty television channel, CCI TV, back in 2009. Every year has been about getting better at what we do, and both the course team and the students always want to take on new challenges.

We have always had a core philosophy to do things for real, and to engage with industry whilst doing it. This attitude has always generated positive results and the students get multiple benefits. Firstly, third year students are going to have one serious moment of closure at the end of their course, and secondly, they get to put into practice everything they have learned over the year, and their entire degree. Its a penny dropping moment when they realise what they are able to do is because of the learning and all of the hands-on experience. Add a potential Guinness World Record and six charity fund raising opportunities and we hope we have just created an unforgettable moment in their lives.

The event will involve approximately sixty students who are responsible for delivering the show, and ten staff to provide various forms of support. At 8pm we will go live and what happens after that will depend on planning, imagination, and good old fashion hard graft! We will be transmitting multiple original programmes, radio items, documentaries, short films, and our key intention is to screen and feature as much student work as possible. That last part is really key, and although my course is operating and overseeing the broadcast, this is about all faculty students and the screening and exhibition of their work.

The 24 hours has been split into six separate time zones, and each zone is allocated its own specialist student team. Students will be collaborating with local community, our international students, and the show would have begun with the faculty flagship programme - CCI Live.

At the time of writing this the event is still two days away, and there is a strange calm before the storm. The students have been amazing, and have really performed at the highest level. My thanks also goes out to Louise Appleby, Stephen Bellinger, Gary Bown, Rob Fuzzard, Michael Parsons and all of the students from TVB (especially the third years!)

Que Sera Sera


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Contributing Author Charlie Watts

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