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BSc Television and Broadcasting University of Portsmouth Live TV – Approaches to learning without a safety net by Jennie Rawling L ive broadcasting is the core business of the University of Portsmouth course, BSc (Hons) Television and Broadcasting, and they are now entering into their fifth successive year of weekly television output. Course leader and senior lecturer Charlie Watts is delighted with the developments so far, but there is no relaxing, and this is just one of the major stages of television development for the Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) faculty, and for the university. Charlie states: “When we first started, there was little belief that a television channel could be created, or work. There was even opposition to us producing live TV. There seemed to be a general opinion that ‘Live’ was soon to become a thing of the past, and because VoD was becoming the accepted way of watching television, many thought we were taking a wrong turn. Thankfully, live transmission is still a valued commodity amongst 54 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 81 SEPTEMBER 2013 broadcasters, and the broadcast of popular soap episodes live, event TV on prime-time Saturday evenings, and live science and nature programming to name but a few, have all helped convince both staff and students that we are correct to offer live TV as a discipline. The multi channel live broadcast of the Olympics last year certainly helped as well!” The course philosophy is to simply ‘do it for real’, and this entails producing at least one live programme each week. Students are allocated TX dates, and placed in skills-based groups, and once the TX date is known, it is left to the students to produce, write, record relevant video inserts, and book the talent to front the show. Charlie adds: “It’s worth stating that this pressure of weekly broadcast is only given to third-year students, and the previous two years of study are all structured to give the relevant skills and abilities to help students become capable in their last year. It’s a decision we made when the course was first conceived, and it’s one that has served us well. I think it’s rare for a course to be able to deliver weekly live programming to a high standard each week, but any course responsible for a TV channel has to hit at least that expectation, otherwise we are kidding ourselves, and not doing it for real at all.” The television channel is the main focus, and it is designed around exhibiting quality student work from the faculty of CCi. The CCi TV Channel has its own remit, a daily schedule made up of television content that has accumulated over the years, an identity and brand that students support via t-shirts and badges, and it can be seen 24/7 via the web (www.ccichannel.port.ac.uk). The pressures to continually run a TV channel are felt by everybody, and both staff and students are committed to the needs to generate content. Charlie is well aware of the pressures to deliver. “Broadcast is a beast that is continually hungry, and it continually needs feeding, but that is the nature of TV. Thankfully our channel inspires both students and staff to always offer that little bit extra, whether it be