ASU radio, TV stations have yet to broadcast from Phoenix

KAET trying to raise $1.8 million for move; The Blaze waiting on fiber-optic link to Tempe

12-05-08 KAET
KAET Channel 8, may not be able to complete the move to the Downtown campus until the summer of 2009 due to the logistical difficulties associated with moving an entire television station. (Lindy Mapes/The State Press)
Published On:
Friday, December 5, 2008
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Although the new building for the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has been up and running since August, some ASU programs have yet to broadcast from their new downtown Phoenix home.

KAET, Channel 8, wasn’t able to make the move to downtown Phoenix along with the journalism school, and the University-owned public television station is still being broadcast from Stauffer Hall on the Tempe campus, said Virgil Renzulli, ASU’s vice president for public affairs.

“It’s extraordinarily complicated to move a television station,” Renzulli said. “We have to do a lot of rewiring and things.”

The administrative offices for the station have moved downtown, but KAET’s production department hasn’t moved yet because they don’t want the station to be off the air during the move, he said.

“We have to plan what we’re going to do while we’re between places,” Renzulli said. “How do we keep the station on the air?”

He said the station is trying to raise about $1.8 million from private donors in order to move to the new building.

“We’re just waiting to get things done,” Renzulli said. “The station will probably be completely moved by spring or summer.”

Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan said although the school has a very close working relationship with KAET, it’s still a separate organization, and the school isn’t involved with the move.

“We’re not doing anything with the logistics of the move,” he said.

Callahan said the school interacts with the station through joint projects, and it will be a very important asset for the students.

“Having a major PBS in the same building will be a great help,” he said.

Kelly McCullough, KAET’s acting general manager, said it would take several months for the move to be completed.

“We are looking forward to having our broadcast and production facilities completely moved downtown by sometime next summer,” he said.

Journalism junior Paige Blatnik said she volunteered at the station last semester to call people about the presidential election and get an idea of who people were voting for.

“I volunteered for three hours, and the people at the station were really nice,” she said.

Blatnik said there is more pressure on the broadcast students who are working with Channel 8 because they have to travel between both campuses.

“They would be taking classes in Phoenix, and then they’d have to travel to the Tempe campus in order to put in their work for Channel 8, which could be out of their way,” she said.

The television station isn’t the only media-related program that was affected by the move.

“Press Pass,” the daily news show from campus radio station KASC, The Blaze 1260 AM, is currently available online as a podcast Monday through Thursday instead of airing live over the station’s AM frequency and Web stream, said Blaze News Director Briana Valdivia.

“Since we work downtown, the department is not currently on the air, but rather operating over the Web in conjunction with The Blaze,” Valdivia said.

She said a fiber-optic line between the Downtown Phoenix and Tempe campuses isn’t currently set up, but that could change by next semester.

“We may be changing the format of ‘Press Pass’ next semester, and when the radio line is finally operational we could possibly be broadcasting from downtown next semester,” she said. “We’re still alive and kicking. We just gotta roll with it.”

Paige Blatnik, a journalism junior, said every aspect of the journalism school should be downtown.

“If part of the Cronkite school is downtown, then the whole school should be downtown, including all of its programs,” Blatnik said.

Reach the reporter at charlsy.panzino@asu.edu.