A group of eager underclassmen crowds the modern and minimalist space of the North Quad Residence Hall lobby. Students circle around three main stations of activity — a snack table complete with lollipops advertising CBS’s new series “Scorpion” (the candy apparently has a scorpion inside!), a camera and tripod set up for free headshots and North Quad’s former help desk, now boasting a “WOLV-TV” sign and computers and editing stations behind the counter.

Among the attendees, the current WOLV-TV staffers and board members are characterized by the looks of pride on their faces. This is their opportunity to share their new home with potential recruits, which is all the more exciting considering the club’s two years in exile. WOLV-TV, the University of Michigan’s first (and only) television station, had filmed in South Quad since the club was founded in 1994, but when South Quad announced their plans for renovations in 2012, WOLV realized that it would have to find a new home.

Though the South Quad studios were conveniently located on Central Campus, its location in a dorm was hardly ideal. WOLV was partnered with University Housing, which helped getting WOLV content playing on dorm TV sets and with access to the University’s studio equipment, but members often had trouble getting into the building at night (when many shows are filmed), and their studio space was surrounded on all sides by South Quad’s community center and computer lab.

Enter Argus, the former home of the University of Michigan’s Film and Video department facilities that had remained mostly vacant ever since Screen Arts and Cultures moved to North Quad. The equipment was outdated and the location inconvenient (over a mile off campus, a nearly impossible walk during the winter), but WOLV made it work, and managed to keep up filming for each of its shows during the transition year.

That’s not to say that their time at Argus was easy.

“The space is different, and when you get used to doing something the same way for so long, for you to finally (realize) that your sets are different, the locations are different, your office is different, and to have it be off-campus … means that (it’s impossible) to operate the same way we could in South Quad,” Elizabeth McLaughlin, LSA senior and WOLV-TV’s General Manager said.

WOLV-TV’s morning news show, “Wake Up with WOLV,” faced a unique difficulty, since it was one of the few shows that filmed in the morning. “Wake Up” co-Host Sarah Ponczek, an LSA senior, didn’t have a car and had to get a ride to set every Friday morning (at 8 a.m., no less). “It was a little difficult, every Friday morning,” Ponczek laughs.

But while Argus provided many challenges, it also opened up new opportunities. “Wake Up with WOLV” utilized Argus’ kitchen sets and invited Spoon University to do cooking segments on the show, which was impossible South Quad’s basic sets.

“We really made the most of our space, but at the same time, it was just (logistically) very difficult,” Ponczek said.

North Quad, on the other hand, offers countless new opportunities and a significant upgrade in technology and equipment. WOLV will now share studio space with the department of Screen Arts and Cultures, which means that their cameras and lighting equipment are the same high-end ones that film students use. The help desk in North Quad’s lobby has been transformed into a WOLV office, complete with editing desks and massive hard drives to process all of WOLV-TV’s weekly content.

The move to North Quad also brings with it a bigger partnership between WOLV and the two academic departments housed at North Quad: Communication Studies and SAC. WOLV will remain student run, but there are new resources available in case of any technical difficulties. SAC is hiring a technician to help run WOLV production and troubleshoot any camera difficulties, and WOLV staffers are relieved about how much smoother production will go. The network’s New Media Director Amanda DiMare, an LSA senior, anticipates this facilitated shooting.

“If we want to collaborate (with SAC) and plan something, it’ll be a lot easier, as opposed from going all the way from Argus to try and find the office in North Quad … The equipment we had was really outdated, and it was really hard to get everything to work properly, and that won’t be a problem anymore,” DiMare said.

WOLV plans on using its new studio space and tech upgrade to reach new audiences. Since the move from South Quad, WOLV’s programs are no longer broadcast on University televisions. While this is different from what the founding members intended, the landscape of television viewing is obviously very different from what it was like in 1994. During its year at Argus, WOLV-TV programs were posted on Vimeo and shared via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

DiMare hopes to use social media to expand the presence of WOLV-TV on campus.

“A lot of times, I think people aren’t aware that (WOLV-TV) is a resource, which is really sad,” DiMare said.

When production resumes in late October (the only thing holding them back is waiting for the studio technician to be hired), DiMare plans on swiftly installing a way to livestream WOLV-TV programs so viewers don’t have to wait until days later to watch their content. With DiMare’s position as new media director more relevant than ever, she plans on stepping up this year and making sure that WOLV maintains a presence on campus, even if it doesn’t have a place in UM’s channel lineup.

“Especially since we’re not on the air anymore, putting (our content) online is really the most important way to get people to watch WOLV-TV and see what we can do,” DiMare said. She also plans on promoting the new studio space as one of the many reasons to stay tuned to what’s going on with WOLV-TV. She laughs that their shows will be impossible to ignore now, because, “We’re right there, right in North Quad.”

As more and more people consume television on non-traditional platforms (anything other than a TV screen), WOLV is adapting to fit students’ new viewing habits. Rather than trying to stay up to the minute on campus happenings, news shows like “Wake Up with WOLV” are tackling more casual campus news and fun pieces, differentiating from other reporting platforms by using a less topical focus (by necessity, since WOLV-TV shows only air one episode per week).

“Our goal is to educate students on what’s going on around campus and in Ann Arbor, especially since Ann Arbor doesn’t have a local television station,” Ponczek said.

WOLV doesn’t view The Michigan Daily, the Ann Arbor News or other breaking news sources as much of competition, since their goals in reporting are different. Aside from news’s broader view, WOLV’s sports section mixes commentary with comedy (McLaughlin describes it as “SportsCenter meets ‘The Daily Show’ ”), and other content, like WOLV’s sex show “Turned On,” has no equivalent on campus. In general, McLaughlin said that WOLV’s goals in providing news and entertainment are to “give people a point of view that they couldn’t get anywhere else … it’s a work in progress.”

In sports and news especially, WOLV relies on the familiarity of hosts’ personalities to keep viewers coming back for more. By tuning into “Ultimate Sports Show,” viewers see the same cast of rotating hosts and commentators and learn their sense of humor.

“(The hosts) are funny, and I like their personalities,” McLaughlin said. “you really get to know (commentators) and their humor … I think that’s fun, to be able to turn on your TV and watch the same people every week.”

But aside from all the excitement over their new studio space, WOLV-TV’s future is uncertain. The landscape of television is changing across the board — cable access and local channels must contend with increased competition from web sources. With WOLV-TV pulled from the dorm televisions for the first time in twenty years, carving out a new place for WOLV without its on-air legacy is a challenge.

“In the past, I feel like a lot of people knew more about us because they would look through the channels and they’d be able to see us every time,” DiMare said.

DiMare and Ponczek are working on a joint venture of beat reporting so that students get the opportunity to have more specialized reporting experience. Beat reporters would practice their on-scene reporting, and provide greater variety in WOLV news programming (and be more similar to the kind of reporting that network news shows like “Good Morning America” do every day). WOLV would put these segments online, and viewers could choose to watch a series of short clips or just pick one they’re interested in.

McLaughlin is particularly excited about another change she’s bringing to WOLV as general manager. WOLV-TV has a series of events planned to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the first of which was the open house, but will extend to meetings with WOLV alumni who now have jobs in broadcast journalism, and opportunities to ask them how they got started in the industry and get hints for snagging internships.

For most members, the experience and connections she’s made at WOLV-TV have been invaluable. WOLV producers and board members have had internships at local news stations in Detroit and across the country, and McLaughlin had a prestigious summer position at ABC News in Washington, D.C.

“(I had to) just work my connections and go through the interview process, and somehow I ended up at ABC working for (News Correspondent Martha Raddatz) who I’ve been watching on TV since, like, the beginning of time!,” McLaughlin said.

Now that she’s won her dream internship, McLaughlin is focused on helping her fellow WOLV-TV staffers similar opportunities.

“Now, the biggest thing for me to focus on is making sure that other people can really get that experience and figure out what specifically we like and don’t like,” Ponczek said. With Ponczek fresh from interning at a news station in South Florida, one club member with talent development experience at CNN and others working at Channel 4 in Detroit, WOLV-TV members are getting industry training that they can apply back to their time at WOLV this year.

“Having those internships … for us all to come back from our summer experiences and re-translate it back to WOLV … is really cool,” McLaughlin said.

She estimates that half of WOLV-TV graduates go into a career in journalism after graduation, though WOLV members have as diverse academic backgrounds as engineering and medicine.

Since every member shares the same passion, WOLV-TV has a visibly collaborative and welcoming environment. The smiles and laughter on “Wake Up with WOLV,” the kinetic energy of “Turned On,” the hosts’ visible knowledge and passion in “Ultimate Sports Show” — these aren’t just put on for the camera. The WOLV-TV family couldn’t be more excited to unveil their new studio space and get started on their plans for their most rejuvenated, relevant year yet. Now, all that’s left to do is wait for everyone to tune in.

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