Having taken a vested interest in YSTV since I joined York at the beginning of this term, I often ask fellow students around campus whether they watch any of the content available on YSTV online. Sadly, I rarely get an interested or favourable response; most just look at me blankly. This situation is similar for URY members. If these are meant to be some of the largest societies on campus, why is student knowledge of them so limited? Would anybody miss them if they didn’t exist?
Walk in to the YSTV studios and you will be hit by a wall of television screens on one side, and a wall littered with awards on the other. YSTV is the longest running student-run television station in the country, arguably one of the most successful. URY were also pioneers in student media, being the first legal independent radio station. Recently, they picked up a number of honours at the national Student Radio Awards. Despite being award winning media steeped in history, many would struggle to name a radio broadcast on URY, or a regular YSTV show. Major campus events are extensively covered, and those seem the only times when sufficient numbers tune in. Coverage of Woodstock is very popular on both URY and YSTV. YSTV’s recent coverage of York Come Dancing has regularly pulled in viewing numbers in the high hundreds. It seems however that during normal term time, only friends of those involved actually actively log on and watch or listen to other productions.
It is more a case of poor advertising than poor content. The people involved in these societies are some of the most dedicated on campus, devoting hour after hour to script writing and editing, in addition to all the behind the scenes work needed to transmit online.
The small following these societies have at the moment could not imagine life at York without listening to ‘The Ben and Nick Show’, or having a laugh at ‘Your Answer’s Rubbish’. It seems that most students don’t have enough awareness to what is available, and to put it succinctly, are missing out. Instead of hoping people log on online, surely there could be better accessibility on campus? Why don’t the student bars and cafes have YSTV on their plasma screens, instead of E4 Music? Why is URY solely played in Your Shop, and possibly Vanbrugh JCR if requested? YSTV and URY are both run by students, for students, and complement newspaper journalism. Greater accessibility and awareness to them both will encourage greater interest and appreciation for these societies.