Much of the population at the University of Calgary is likely unaware that the seemingly vacant area behind the bank machines in MacEwan Student Centre houses U of C's television station, NUTV. Doubtless, even fewer aware that a new executive director has been appointed to NUTV following the resignation of Kevin Allen. Michelle Wong, newly minted director, has plans to change all that.
"There is huge potential," Wong said frankly. "We need to create a face for NUTVa buzz that will encourage student participation from across campus. I want students choosing to look up at the [closed-circuit] screens."
Wong's predecessor, Kevin Allen, left late last year amidst disputes with the Students' Union over the station's focus and direction.
"Another main goal I have is to strengthen ties between NUTV and the university," said Wong, recognizing the preceding tensions between the television station and Students' Union. "I'm waiting to have a NUTV board meeting where I can meet everybody and go over all the different ideas I have."
The SU is appearing pleased, if somewhat guarded.
"Michelle is a qualified candidate who should bring new things to NUTV," said SU Vice-President Operations and Finance Greg Clayton.
Wong has been involved in film and television for a number of years in different capacities. Her last title was head of production at Voice Pictures.
"I've gone up the ladder--I have empathy for students wanting to work in the industry," she smilingly admitted. "I've done directing, producing, and writing. I was a teacher before as well, so I am used to this [setting]."
Clayton was part of the committee that hired Wong.
"We talked a bit about how giving students a valuable hands-on experience while realizing the student audience is the goal for NUTV, " he commented. "We didn't go over creative ideas, really. The NUTV strategic plan will be the guide for the next 5-10 years."
Wong's ideas include retaining alumni and senior staff, increasing membership, and focusing on the closed-circuit network by establishing regular programs for students.
"By keeping and increasing the level of quality of NUTV, more senior members and alumni will be interested," she related confidently. "It allows a depth of experience for the station, as well as providing great mentorship opportunities. As well, I've made some enquires into making new shows and establishing set content for students to watch."