Future uncertain for Channel 39
Morgan Kenney is a junior at Basehor-Linwood High School. She enjoys working with computers and, after college, is interested in pursuing a career in advertising.
Fortunately studying in the advanced multi-media class at the high school affords her a chance to dabble in both.
"I've done stuff I've never thought I would do or never thought I would understand how to do," Kenney said.
The advanced multi-media class, a five-year old program, handles programming for Channel 39, a television station that broadcasts community events, school activities and high school sports to viewers in Basehor and Linwood. It also provides a message board and advertising for local businesses.
While the advanced multi-media class is not in danger of folding, the same can't be said of Channel 39, the class's outlet for work in editing, broadcasting and programming.
The Basehor-Linwood School Board currently is debating what to do with Channel 39.
The three options under consideration are: limiting the station to include a community message board with limited broadcasts, finding a full-time person to coordinate station operations or shutting the station down completely.
If school officials move forward with the final option, it would be the rough equivalent of a high school journalism class not being able to produce a newspaper.
"It's going to be really tough if we don't have that outlet," said Sue Ryan, the advanced multi-media teacher.
The quandary began when Ryan announced she would resign duties relating to the production of Channel 39 that extend past the normal school day. The added responsibilities were keeping Ryan away from seeing her high school son's activities, she said.
The job had also grown more and more time consuming, especially, Ryan said, in the last few years as the program began to evolve.
"My basic conclusion is that I can't teach a full schedule and give (Channel 39) the attention that it needs and deserves," Ryan said.
School officials agree and said if they keep the television station, a full-time employee should be hired, who would be responsible for overseeing the television station.
But, the problem is that creating the position -- a position that demands proficiency in technology and most likely experience in broadcasting -- would require a salary higher than that of a teacher. In short, the position would cost the school district more money, and with school funding a question mark right now, school officials are hesitant to move forward.
Monday night's Basehor-Linwood School Board meeting came and went without a decision on the future of the television station.
The advanced multi-media class began broadcasting on Channel 39 in 1999. In that time, viewers could catch live football and basketball games, talent shows, choir and band concerts and school board meetings. The program has grown in popularity among students at the high school. In the first year, 10 students were enrolled in the advanced multi-media class; next year, 26 students are slated for the class.
However, the program may be a victim of its own success. As it has grown in numbers, technology and ability, time constraints have made it difficult for the station to full capitalize on its potential.
"We've been able to do more and more," Ryan said. "The problem we face now is the time factor.
"Right now, I don't feel like we're doing what we can really be proud of."