I walked into the Chabot TV station studio in Building 100, and suddenly on-screen I was looking at myself sitting behind an imposing desk with the TV station’s logo on it, but as I looked around, all I saw were TV cameras, a monitor, a clock and a giant green sheet of material on the walls. This feat of electronic magic is just one of the amazing things that the equipment at the Chabot TV station can do. Sujoy Sarkar, the stations Broadcast Cable Technician who manages the station gave me a tour.
Sujoy, the school, and the cities of Hayward and Fremont have worked hard to mold the station into one of the Bay Area’s premier college teaching stations. Sujoy wanted it to be up to industry standard,s so that students completing the courses would fit easily into jobs at local stations. Sujoy said that 80-90 percent of the graduates who go on to finish their four-year degree, find jobs in the industry because of our connections to the local CBS (Ch. 5) and NBC (Ch. 4) affiliates. He told me that we have mentors from both channels.
Sujoy said, “San Francisco State [University] sends interns here to do their internships because of how advanced we are and because of the variety of opportunities.” He told me that SFSU looked at a lot of other colleges and decided our setup was the best. He laughed and said that a lot of former students end up coming back as interns.
The station, KCTH, is two stations in one, cable channel 28 which is a public access channel. People in the community produce shows on this, and Channel 27 our educational channel. This is where the students learn their craft and put on shows. There is quite a wide variety of shows, everything from exercise shows to celebrity interviews. Sujoy said that right now they have 18 hours of programming running on air. The shows repeat at the same time of day, every day for a week. One show, “Lords Blood”, a sort of Friday night Horror show that runs on our channel and streaming over the internet, got up to 100,000 views worldwide. Chabot hopes to have 4 streaming channels of its own within 3-4 months that will stream around the world. And he commented that, “It would be awesome if we could have video on demand too!” He’s still working on that one.
Khash Naraghi, who is one of the school’s contacts at Channel 5, advised Sujoy on what to get to be compatible with the industry standards so the students get trained on the same equipment as the stations.” Our station has the same switching console as Channel 5 and similar HD cameras. The cameras can spot a speck of dust on a chair from across the room. The IP routers automatically switch between sources as needed, so there is no “dead” airtime. That means there is always something running 24/7.
He said that like CNN we can do 4 Skype calls at once “so we can have a live discussion. Students can use a camera or their phone to send a video. “If they see something driving home, they can send it to the station, and we can record it and use it later or live.” He said the station was 100 percent digital and that we could get information from anywhere. “We can also do Facebook, Twitter and Instagram live on the switcher to do live broadcasts.”
They also changed all the lights to LEDs. Before, each of the 15 studio lights consumed a 1000 watts each. Now they only consume 150 watts total. No more hot, sweaty, miserable performers.