Photo/Melanie Geroche
Photo/Melanie Geroche

Last Thursday, UTM students were invited to the Student Centre presentation room for the launch of UTM TV. The project, which has been in the works since mid-October, was started by Andrew Hamilton-Smith, a third-year English and History major and former New Editor at The Medium. Hamilton-Smith said he came up with the idea for a campus-based television program from observing the underused television screens scattered around campus buildings.

The half-hour video premiere featured news, sports, arts and entertainment and creative sections, interspersed with promotional videos for on-campus groups like the UTM Hip-Hop Union, the UTM Debate Society and Bike Share. The 30-minute presentation was designed to be a sample of a regular UTM TV broadcast.

What started out as a project with only Hamilton-Smith as production director and Joel Fernandes as creative producer snowballed into a team of six production heads, with the additions of Jonathan Childs-Adams as post-production manager, Peter Buczkowski as news producer, Claire Morcos as arts & entertainment producer and Olivia DOrazio as the sports producer. From there, UTM TV blossomed, amassing technical staff, associate producers, art and tech supervisors, volunteers, a heavy helping of lucky breaks and overwhelming support from the campus-based Media Generator. The project now includes over 90 people contributing 150 man-hours towards the first of many productions.

UTM TV is one way for UTM to add its voice to the growing trend of independent productions around the world, At times I feel as if some sort of higher power is at work behind this project. The way everything came together is something that I cannot take complete credit for, said Hamilton-Smith. This experience has been almost spiritual at times with all the positive energy thats surrounded this concept from the beginning. This has come from volunteers, the school, our production heads, Media Generator. UTM TV has truly taken on a life of its own.
Joel Fernandes, UTM TVs second-in-command, described the idea of a campus TV show in his opening speech as a shot in the dark .

Im absolutely blown away by the progress weve been able to make in only three months, Fernandes said. Weve had an avalanche of support from nearly everyone weve approached. This journey has been a humbling experience and I would love to see Andrews legacy become as big as it can be. Theres a lot of potential in UTM TV to be tapped by various departments across the campus.

Maciej Derulski, UTM TVs web manager, said that UTM TV aims to have weekly updates via the website and also a longer monthly release. He has plans to turn the site into a social media site, not unlike YouTube, with member accounts and the option of uploading your own videos, which may end up on UTM TV broadcasts.

When asked about his experience in the process leading up to the launch, Derulski shared that he originally refused Fernandess offer to run the site.

Im a full time student, said Derulski. I couldnt afford to take on such a massive project. After sleeping on it briefly, I went back to Joel and said yes. Oddly enough, my grades are better than

Excitement rolled in waves as every member of the UTM TV production team sat in the back of the Blind Duck enjoying drinks after the official launch. Hamilton-Smith spoke of the changing face of media across the globe, and how that affects peoples expectations about the type, quality and mode of transmission of the information they want and need.

Despite all the excitement and positivity, the project has not been without set-backs. A major issue for the team has been a lack of space. UTM TV is still without an office and operates by commandeering the CCT3148 editing suite whenever they can. Another drawback has been the lack of experience of the team in general. However, Hamilton-Smith noted this was less of a drawback in the end, since creativity filled in the blanks for experience and afforded the team greater freedom in their creative process.

Students can expect to see UTM TV productions up on blank screens around campus soon. Some of the projects in the works include Zombie on Campus, a CSI style look into the Forensic Department at UTM, the UTM Comedy Show and many more. Hamilton-Smith even hinted at getting UTM TV on Rogers Cable 10.

For updates and for details of the official launch, visit

  • J.

    Who is paying for UTM-TV? In other words, who is burning money? This is a TERRIBLE idea. No student has time or interest to watch a University news program. The best way for University news topics to be covered is the newspaper, which is freely available and can be read at leisure. I don’t see many students flocking to watch the ‘UTM News’.

  • Sumire

    It’s really unfortunate that you don’t see the good that can come out of having a campus TV station. Think of the CCIT, Drama, Design, English students and a host of others that can use this outlet to build portfolios and to gain experience. This is another avenue, a more sure avenue, through which the creativity on this campus can be channeled.

    As for your pointing to the Medium as a students go to source for news and info. You know that’s not true. The mere size of the stacks of newspapers around the campus at the end of each week is a sure sign that not that many people are grabbing the Medium even though it’s so readily available. Sure, people may not “flock” to watch the UTM News on TV but they might want to watch the A&E section, or the Comedy Show or see a movie knowing that it was shot on campus and producered entirely by fellow students.

    I’d rather see my tuition money paying for something student run and beneficial to students than have it going towards dumb crap like greater donut variety at little faculty and staff get-togethers or hiring some new figure head to shuffle bureaucracy from desk to desk all toward some fruitless end.

  • Mark

    “Another drawback has been the lack of experience of the team in general. However, Hamilton-Smith noted this was less of a drawback in the end,”

    It’s pretty amateur, I realize you put a lot of work into this, but in all honesty a few skilled people (editor, shooter, host and field host) could have put together something much better.

    You really need some experienced people leading this, you’re barely at a high school production level.

  • Great comments, it is always good to have feedback.

    Angry, unfounded criticism on the other hand…LOL

    Mark, your point is valid. We do need to improve and get more skilled people on board. Would you like to volunteer? Also, consider that part of UTM/TV is time-oriented…we cannot spend 6-months editing and touching up a broadcast – it needs to be relevant! I agree quality needs to improve, but for a first effort, less than 3 months after starting from NOTHING? C’mon, man…

    And J., you needn’t fear. Our funding came from the Media Generator, which has a mandate to support student-made content. In reality, very little money went into this production, since it is run by student volunteers, and most was spent on the website, tapes, and promotion. No one got paid (unlike other media sources on campus).

    You should try to see the good in people sometime, and the positive potential that this project has.

  • Tania

    This is 2010 people, don’t let your technophobia get in the way of seeing that having a TV station on campus is a step in the right direction. Just to comment on what’s been said so far the fact that it is online makes it easy to watch at leisure; even the medium’s gone online which says a lot about how students access information these days.

  • K.

    I personally can’t wait to see those damn TV screens being put to use. My tuition paid for them after all =/

  • Mark

    Andrew, there was nothing mean spirited about my comments, I’ve tried to spare the feelings of you and your crew who worked on this out of respect but I really don’t think you’re getting it.

    IT’S BAD, REALLY BAD, and I’m not saying things should be perfect right out of the gate, but why did you go Live with this before things WERE perfect?

    Considering you’ve already established your production hierarchy (not with talent or media experience in mind it seems), no I don’t want to volunteer my time to your project.

    Why would I want to take orders from someone who freely admits he doesn’t have any experience?

    6 Months to edit something? Try 1 hour for research and prep (setting up interviews, etc), 3 hours shooting (interviews, b-roll, student reactions), and 1 hour editing maximum. That’s not even a full work day.

    Your crew can’t even focus a camera or frame a shot.

    These are FAIR criticism’s when you say you don’t need CCIT and you don’t need experience and when the end product is absolute crap it is a FAIR COMMENT to make.

    I say this without any “anger” or “bitterness” but out of sheer honesty.

  • Peter

    Hi Mark;

    I see that alot of your comments are pointed at the news segment. I am the news editor for UTMTV (On a leave of absence until April) and I would love to meet with you ASAP. Now I do not really have video experience, but my team consists of some upper year Art / Art History and CCIT students who help with the editing and post production work.

    I would like to openly invite you to email me [email protected] and come aboard my team. We don’t order people around (again you can ask any of our volunteers). Hopefully you can show me all of my short comings and in doing so take over my position. Never once as a producer have I ordered a volunteer to do something and never once has Andrew ordered us to do something. Email me and you can attend our production meeting.


  • Maciek

    Hi Mark,

    It seems like you have lots of negative energy that has apparently clouded your reasoning, to put it nicely. UTM/TV was started from nothing. A bunch of us got together, brainstormed an idea, and to our surprise we were able to engage and mobilize over 100 students to contribute something creative. At the end of the day, what we do at UTM/TV is create opportunities for students from various departments to get involved, and have something to show for it. Our product is not perfect, and we are well aware of our short comings. In a way, our short comings have actually engaged some tech/media savvy students to come and offer to help UTM/TV improve. As we move forward, we learn, and make improvements based on that. We provide an environment which nourishes learning and creativity; this is what university is all about. I’m not even going to mention the kinds of networking opportunities we have generated.
    It’s rather easy to sit back and criticize what others have done. I challenge you to start a project of this scope and size (from nothing) while being a full time student. I’d be interested how ‘perfect’ it would be.

    Anyways, if you are so upset that we suck so much, I invite you to help out, and experience first hand the effort that goes into something like this. Otherwise, its best to keep to yourself. Why create enemies when you could be extending your social network; something that is critical these days if you want to be going places in life.