Public access station BeloitTV gets a facelift
Beloit’s little-known TV station has gotten a makeover worthy of a segment on “Fixer Upper.”
As the city of Beloit’s public access television station, BeloitTV runs out of the largely student-run Center for Entrepreneurship (CELEB), allowing Beloiters to create and produce content in-house for both the College and the wider Beloit community.
The station, which is located on the first floor of CELEB on East Grand Avenue, acquired new lighting, backdrops, set pieces, furniture, and recording equipment last summer. The control room has been completely reconstructed, now containing a six-monitor customizable director’s station, a 4K-capable video processor, and a professional multi-camera switcher, which produces high-quality professional programming.
Jonathon Kelley, a professor of media studies and the station’s manager, says BeloitTV gives students a taste of how local stations create and promote content, from producing their own shows to televising campus or community events. “If you want the real broadcasting experience, we’ve got it right here at Beloit,” Kelley says.
Students of all majors can access these resources after enrolling in Kelley’s interdisciplinary 300-level course, Practicum in Television Broadcasting, where they learn studio techniques, how to use equipment, and acquire production skills. Both 300 and 301 — the second class in the sequence is for more advanced broadcasters — take place at the same time in the TV station. Seasoned students propose and execute their own television content and are placed in teams with less-experienced students, who serve as their crew members.
Anton Cross’20 took the broadcasting sequences and was hired by the college during the beginning of the pandemic to assist with student projects in both BeloitTV and Maple Tree Recording Studio, which is adjacent to BeloitTV in CELEB’s basement level. Cross, who has produced concerts and other content on the TV station, can barely remember the old cameras of the “bare bones” station before its recent renovation — or a time before CELEB hired Kelley to run BeloitTV two years ago.
“It’s kind of crazy how quickly things change here, certainly for the better,” Cross says. “Jonathon came in and was really engaging and charismatic without trying. Everyone liked his energy. I think by the end of that first class, people were already cracking jokes, and the barriers between student and professor were gone. [Kelley emphasized that] we’re all just here to make media stuff and work on it together, so that was really cool.”
Kelley trusts that his students know how to take care of the equipment and can tackle a project mostly on their own after they take the first course. Kelley’s production expertise and positive rapport with students have brought more attention to the station—which Cross hopes will bring even more future broadcasters into the fold.
“In the past year, we had a lot more students coming through this space who wouldn’t have otherwise,” Cross says of BeloitTV’s new amenities. “A lot of money is being invested. New students coming in who are interested in any of these artistic or creative production aspects will get really excited. When I arrived here in 2016 and this space was so totally different, I thought it was cool that the school even had a basement recording studio. I just never really thought about a space like that at a small college. It is cool to see.”