BWTV Relaunches, Prepares for New Slate of Programs

After a prolonged, pandemic-necessitated hiatus, the members of BWTV are returning to the studio.  

BWTV is a co-curricular organization run by the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences that offers students studying media production and filmmaking opportunities to hone and develop their skills in a pre-professional environment. The group has been dormant since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and is relaunching with a new executive board and a rejuvenated membership base.  

“I’m really excited that we’re getting this group up and running again,” said senior and BWTV treasurer Maddi Hebebrand. “I think that we’ll have some good stuff come out of it.” 

According to Professor Duane Battle, who has led the program since 2014, the practice the group provides is vital for students to prepare themselves for a career in media, likening the repetitions to an athlete training in their sport or a musician practicing an instrument.  

“If the only time you practice your instrument is when you are with an instructor, then you’re not going to play as well, and it’s the same kind of philosophy with production,” Battle said. “This is a way for students to put their hands on things and not be afraid of messing it up because the stakes aren’t super high at that moment. But when you get into a job, the stakes are higher, and people are depending on you. If you hadn’t had that practice, and it’s new at that moment, it’s kind of shocking.”  

This fall represents something of a fresh start for the group’s members and executive board after such a long spell of inactivity, Hebebrand said.  

“I really only got to be involved with a couple of meetings and a couple of pre-production pieces [before the pandemic],” Hebebrand said. “So, I didn’t really get to be involved in BWTV until now, so I’m excited. I know that what we have going now is a much bigger organization than previously.” 

As the pandemic continues to be a factor, the organization is still finding its footing and acclimating to the university’s COVID-19 protocols. Mask mandates have delayed filming of in-studio shows, for the time being, so the students are using the fall to develop a slate of series they hope to begin filming by the spring semester.  

“We’ve been in development with three different shows so far this semester in hopes that the mask mandate may be lessened halfway through next semester,” Battle said. “So, it’s all up in the air right now. But right now, we’re taking a lot of those shows and just writing them, fleshing out a lot of that. So that’s been a big challenge.” 

In the meantime, BWTV is working on shows that can be produced virtually, including filming an existing sports talk radio show produced by campus radio station WBWC The Sting 88.3 FM. Students are also working on a student-directed science fiction radio drama anthology currently planned for a Nov. 23 release. By spring, they hope to begin production on a sketch comedy show a la Saturday Night Live.  

This month, BWTV members are meeting to develop the narrative arc of a soap opera focused on the dramatized lives of students at a fictionalized version of BW.  

“It’s going to be a world that exists [with just college age students],” Battle said about the soap opera. “Think of the Charlie Brown series. We always focus on the kids, and they live in this world. And the adults still exist, but they’re kind of whispers in the background, we never actually interact [with] or see the adults. It’s going to be a lot of the same concept, except now it’s college students.” 

Hebebrand has enjoyed helping to develop an original scripted series, an undertaking that Battle said had never been tried by the organization. The group has been holding votes on details ranging from the name of their faux “BW,” to character archetypes, a process she likened to a “Choose Your Own Adventure” game.  

“It’s definitely a different perspective to gain, which I think is really cool,” said Hebebrand. 

BWTV is open to all Baldwin Wallace students regardless of major. The organization holds general meetings on the last Tuesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. in room 132 of Loomis Hall. BWTV productions are available on the organization’s YouTube channel, BaldwinwallaceBWTV.