Page 8-Sunday, October 15, 1978-The Michigan Daily
Th Mcia Diy-Sunday
focus up on
Many of the productions have won
awards and national recognition.
Slote is involved in all aspects of
production at the center, but is
especially concerned with the initial
research for a program. He says instr-
uctional television is growing in impor-
tance and is beginning to dominate
broadcasting at the University
WHEN EXPLAINING the focus of
"To Die with Dignity" Slote bursts
into an intense barrage of questions, all
of which he has attempted to answer in
the film. "What can people do when
they find out they have a terminal
illness? Where can'they turn? Doctors
don't want them. What happens to
people when their children die?" says
Slote, who sums up simply, "The film
tells you what happens to people when
they become terminally ill."
Despite the center's emphasis on
education Slote and other TV center
staff members readily acknowledge
that public relations is a major function
of the center.
"We're mostly public relations,"
says Production Manager John Can-
nell, "We're here to help professors and
students on campus in any way we can,
but we've been careful since Day One -
we stay out of controversy."
Staying out of controversy, however,
does not necessarily mean ignoring
issues according to Professor Garnet
Garrison, the first University director
of broadcasting. "We did not shy away
from controversial topics," says
Garrison. "We just analyzed issues,
and didn't advocate any of them."
TV Center Director Tom Coates says
the programs produced at the center
are a mesh of three major types of in-
formational material - cultural,
educational and public affairs. "Ann
Arbor is a neat place to produce," he
says. "There's so much activity in the
arts, sciences and public affairs."
The center's productions attempt to
tie information together in a
framework which presents relevant
topics to viewers. It is hardly the
television of Laverne and Shirley.
"IDEOTAPE has opened up our
V world," says Coates. "We've
shown the depth and breadth of the
University resources . . . This is 'a
"We've done everything from edible
wild plants to state planning and
Shakespeare," says Coates.
Although the center aims at
developing a creative, educational
product, it is, like the University, a
business operation. Coates says the
center is able to sell some of its
videotapes, earning back some of its
investment, although not 100 per cent.
Slote raced out of a barbershop with
a 'towel around his neck because he'd
seen a little old woman walking by that
he thought would be perfect for the
particular film he was working on. He
ran after her yelling, 'Lady, would you
like to be on TV?'
when NASA s
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Ann Arbor, bi
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In the wake
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marvelous place to find out what's
going on in the University."
In recent years, the center's activity
has increasingly concentrated on
faculty needs. According to Coates, the
production staff begins work on a
program with the idea of thoroughly
covering the subject matter, then turns
the information into an educational
device. "We're serving the University's
needs, our needs and the needs of our
general audiences," says Coates.
Situations revolving around likes of
the meddling Lenny and Squiggy don't
often appear in the film produced at the
center even though the producers have
created programs documenting j'ust
about every imaginable subject.
Perhaps the center's most familiar
programs are the educational broad-
casts into the Detroit area late at night
and early in the morning. Coates boasts
of the center's audiences even during
those less-than-prime time slots. "In
Detroit alone," he says, "we used to
have between 5,000 and 18,000 viewers a
day 'when we were on at 6:30 in the
Another important function of the TV
Center is as a facility for students to
produce and direct programs and im-
mediately play them back for criticism.
The center, located on Fourth St. is a
place where budding TV technicians
can wield cameras, swing booms and
push buttons which cost hundreds of
thousands of dollars.
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