YSTV and URY deserve more help in achieving their due popularity

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.

27 comments

  1. This seems pretty uninformed? How do you know no one listens? You didn’t ask me, or the dozens of other people who take part in their shows. And how do you know who listens othrough their website or whatever?

    And doesn’t your video editor have hundreds of hits on the ystv website…?

    I think all their members would be pretty gutted to be ‘insulted’ like this. Especially seeing as they’ve won some pretty big awards this year…

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  2. “Why don’t the student bars and cafes have YSTV on their plasma screens, instead of E4 Music?”

    Because Commercial Services don’t care about students, they care about money making. YSTV doesn’t make money for Commercial Services, nor does it please conference guests who do bring in large amounts of money.

    When I was at YSTV, we were constantly fighting with the uni to have TVs in bars, but every time they renovated a bar the TV had to go. There used to be one in Goodricke porters’ lodge, but when I recently walked through what you all call James college now, I immediately spotted that had vanished too.

    I hope one day there will be a TV in every bar again, I hope YSTV never gives up the fight, and best of luck to URY with their radios too.

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  3. Wait a minute..
    There’s loads of screens around campus showing Either:
    NOTHING
    or
    departmental slideshows (I really dont think anyone has updated them regularly!).

    Can YSTV get on those ones? just think for a moment:
    departments & YUSU would have more people view their stuff, not have to maintain things, ystv would actually get a few screens showing something – compared to the zero currently running
    (apparently the berrick saul construction cut the network in half! and they cant get to bits of the network because of asbestos!)

    everyone wins that way, right? – well, ok, ystv would have to get permissions & updated slides from dept’s and YUSU – but that only has to be done once, and the depts could be given the neccassery access to ystv’s slideshow system.

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  4. I know Tom Scott started a project to get more student media onto the YUSU plasmas at least – the idea was to have Nouse headlines in a ticker along the bottom (I was asked to make changes to the Nouse site to accomodate this) and then YSTV content on the screens. I’m unsure whatever happened to this, but it would have got YSTV into the exhibition centre and Langwith at least.

    But The Courtyard should play URY as ambient music, as in Your Shop imo.

    But I echo ‘The Observer’, this piece seems ill researched about what actually is happening and the history of the situation.

    XXIII – you’re right, the construction of the Berrick Saul building did destory the YSTV and URY network but I know at least YSTV are slowly building a replacement network taking advantage of the campus Internet.

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  5. URY & courtyard…. I prefer that over spotify!

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  6. There are discussions going on regarding YSTV showing their content on the plasma screens around campus, but it is important to note the University owns these televisions, not YUSU. YSTV’s coverage of large events, like the YUSU Elections are often shown on the Courtyard’s TVs. Building work on campus has meant some of YSTV’s original network is inaccessible, and therefore a new way of distributing to the TVs around campus has had to be designed.

    In regards to URY, although the suggestion to broadcast in campus bars is valid, it must be acknowledged that the University owns these bars, and for them there is naturally always a financial concern.

    Your piece does not acknowledge the huge increase in the last year of URY and YSTV’s audience, the result of a massive advertising push by both societies. URY now regularly draws a vast number of listeners, and YSTV’s now achieves its highest viewing figures since they started broadcasting online. Both URY and YSTV should be very proud of their achievement, and I hope for even higher figures next year.

    Anna Bucks
    YUM Chair

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  7. There is a YUSU TV network around campus that will soon be launched (with some YSTV stuff on it, I believe?) but a large number are owned by the university or specific organisations within the university. URY can’t be played beyond Your:Shop etc. because the cost of installing URY into places such as Vanbrugh Bar is quite high and URY’s limited budget hinders massive developments. I’ve been in talks with Jane Anness about it though (that doesn’t actually do it justice – she’s been pestering us about getting URY in there) and in other ways the piece seems a little uninformed…

    “Why is URY solely played in Your Shop, and possibly Vanbrugh JCR if requested?”

    As I mentioned above, it has limitations; it has been played in the Courtyard and a couple of other places from time to time. We did outside broadcasts during Freshers’ Week and there are other places around campus and off campus that we can broadcast if we have the manpower, etc. The listenership figures aren’t available to most people and aren’t reliable anyway; we broadcast on AM, on iTunes radio, on Vista, on Google, through out website… One show last year had about 150 messages per two hours (if I recall correctly) and URY is doing pretty well, to be honest! The university has recently given support to us for improving our website’s design and layout, etc, and Jane Grenville (among others) has been supportive for years of many initiatives.

    Also worth pointing out that we have a massive membership of societies, sports teams, colleges, Nouse, Vision; our radio station, newspapers and TV station are all managed outside of our SU and we’re a relatively small campus – all of which shows us just how well media is doing at York!

    Certainly there are ways of improving and I would love more awareness to be raised amongst those on-campus that don’t know about URY (which is, of course, the oldest radio station in the UK outside of illegal stations and the BBC) and I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a similar number of hits to the Nouse, Vision or Yorker websites – the only reason Nouse and Vision have more awareness are because of the 3,000 copies around campus! :P But yeah: there’s always room for improvement but we’re hardly on zero listeners (and I would suspect that YSTV is likewise; I’ve watched a decent number of YSTV videos and check its website every once in a while for more recent ones; York Come Dancing, elections etc. are well-watched and they have a high quality of output)!

    Good luck to all of the media as they try to improve and congrats to them all for their wide-ranging and brilliant achievements :) ~J

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  8. The problems with campus broadcast media are easy to see; pulling in audiences, lack of advertising, the huge number of other outlets for broadcast entertainment just to name a few. Despite this York maintains one of the strongest positions in the country with regards to university media.

    The content of both YSTV and URY is outstanding for student ran stations and is nationally recognised countless awards. It is also important to note – URY is not just a radio station, we regally run live music events and club nights across campus and in York, most recently Arthur Rigby in Sir Jack Lyons and last term the hugely successful Courtyard events.

    What both our stations need to be doing however is addressing our key weaknesses, playing to our strengths and tackling the challenges of todays media environment.

    At URY we are doing just that, this term will see a huge number of changes across the entire station. There are many things in development at the moment including; increasing playout across campus, more and more live music events on campus, reviews and interviews with the performing arts societies and most importantly our on demand service – The URY Player – launching later this term.

    Change is in the air so keep your eyes and ears pealed as we work to provide even better access and output for students in the next term.

    Oliver Julian
    Station Manager, URY

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  9. The quality of both is undoubted, in particular URY which deserves its many awards.

    They do deserve a wider readership, and I think URY should be streamed in the Courtyard rather than Spotify…

    Most people have already said that the problem with the plasma screens is that they are owned by the Uni and not YUSU, and also that they’re almost always muted – therefore not really that useful.

    Their usefulness as societies can’t be put in question though, as they are massive student development opportunities and provide skills and experience – which is kind of the main purpose as far as an SU is concerned.

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  10. 6 Jan ’10 at 1:49 pm

    Richard McLoughlin

    I agree, students should not be able to listen to or watch anything that isn’t URY or YSTV,

    Richard McLoughlin
    Nothing much in particular, YSTV

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  11. I think there is a great opportunity for the University, YSTV and URY to work together in using each other for their own benefit.

    For example if the University agreed to play YSTV and URY in campus bars etc… then if agreed by YSTV and URY the University could use them as a method of informing students about upcoming events, bar promotions, deals, impt. Uni information and much much more.

    In return YSTV and URY gain substantial and regular access to stundets who use those facilities. In turn as students watch/listen to these they then may become more interested in then choosing to follow them up online later and watch other shows.

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  12. yep, win win situation if the three sit down together… I wonder how likely that is?

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  13. XXIII: they already regularly do, YUM meetings.

    I can’t see why URY isn’t played in the courtyard. It makes no sense at all.

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  14. The University don’t attend YUM meetings.

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  15. Ah Chris Northwood, I’m sure you’ll be able to tell me, or if not maybe Anna Bucks will reply – I was wondering why YUM consists of only YSTV, URY, Nouse and Vision rather than YSC, The Zahir, The Lemon Press, Filmmaking Society, etc. in addition?

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  16. I don’t know the answer to that I’m afraid – the reasoning is historic from when YUM was created and the media charter introduced as far as I’m aware – I can’t remember exactly but I think only the YUM media societies are specifically bound by the media charter?

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  17. There are a number of reasons – but if you disagree then feel free to suggest changes to YUSU or YUM, take their opinions and then write a UGM?

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  18. May I ask for divulgence of your knowledge of these reasons? The only real reasons I can see are that the four societies included have been around longer and are institutional, though YSC’s been going a while. In response to Chris, the YUM societies are not the only media societies bound by the media charter and yet they receive significantly more union funding and publicity, and subsequently recognition, which seems inherently unfair towards any aspiring societies trying to get going.

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  19. Well Film Making Soc also used to be a YUM society but is no longer (I don’t know why or exactly when, but it happened in the past few years). I can see a clear difference between the YUM societies and those not in YUM particularly in the scope of their output – URY, YSTV, Nouse and Vision have a much wider scope in output than Haus (fashion and lifestyle), Lemon Press (satire) and The Zahir (literature). I’m not sure I agree with your assertion that YSC is a media society, certainly not one in the same vein as the others as they don’t produce any output (and hence surely aren’t bound by the media charter) afaik and therefore I’m not sure how membership of YUM would benefit them?

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  20. Fine, take YSC out of the equation, there are still several media societies producing magazines or films who would definitely benefit from YUM membership, and I know for certain that one of them had to agree to be bound by the media charter in order to be ratified. If you’re going to use the logic that only media societies with wide appeal should be included in YUM, isn’t it also logical that there needn’t be two societies with exactly the same appeal – namely Nouse and Vision – in YUM and perhaps even co-exisiting as societies? At least Haus, The Lemon Press and The Zahir each offer something different, and yet they suffer financially because two newspapers at one university are allocated a large proportion of the media funding.

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  21. Just to make it clear, I wasn’t defending the status quo I was just pointing out a potential reason (as I saw it) for it to be the case. I’m not aware of the situation with The Lemon Press and The Zahir, but as far as I’m aware the grant Haus gets per-issue is almost double what Nouse gets from YUSU, and of course a rather significant portion of the budget of the print media societies does not come from YUSU or YUM but rather from sponsorship and advertising (for example the YUSU grant does not cover print costs of either Nouse or Vision). I’m unsure what benefits the other societies would gather from joining YUM and I suspect the financial benefits you may perceive do not actually exist. That said, if my opinion mattered I would support any society that wished to join YUM.

    The Nouse/Vision merging suggestion isn’t a new one, but I believe that it would be political suicide for anyone who tried to push it through. There are also benefits for having two societies:

    * We do differ in style and variation is good
    * We keep each other on our toes (I think this is one of the main reasons Nouse and Vision have dominated awards over the past few years)
    * Two societies allows more students to get involved at a higher level
    * In order to keep the status quo (6 editions per term) a combined society would need the same budget as Nouse and Vision do now, so there is no monetary savings to be made unless you cut back on the output of the student newspapers
    * The workload of the editors producing 3 editions per term each is already immense, considering that York is one of the few SU’s without a sabbatical newspaper editor, or similar and it would be near impossible for a part time editor to produce 6 editions per term

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  22. 17 Jan ’10 at 9:01 pm

    Brainwaver...

    Maybe this is a REALLY stupid idea… but, why don’t some other societies get involved with/buddy up with URY or YSTV?
    For example, it wasn’t that long ago that Comedy Soc were pulling in views for YSTV after the taping of their shows. Would it not be a sublime idea to air the films produced by film soc, the plays from Drama Soc or the concerts from the Music Dep. a week or two after original performance. Anyone who missed them would could see them, as well as pulling in repeat viewing from people within the societies prior mentioned.

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  23. I believe the problem with that is that it turns YSTV into a society that can point cameras at things and film them, rather than a society that makes TV. There’s currently a pretty decent balance imo, and a lot of the fun and things that make people interested in YSTV aren’t the things that pull in those massive viewing figures, it’s the fun of producing your own show, etc

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  24. Various societies often work with YSTV and URY anyway. There are weekly sports shows. ComedySoc have produced some radio stuff. YSTV filmed York Come Dancing and both worked with BandSoc for several years on Battle of the Bands etc. And URY are currently asking societies if they would like to advertise on URY (I think they’ve already emailed most societies?)

    “the YUM societies are not the only media societies bound by the media charter and yet they receive significantly more union funding and publicity”

    The funding and publicity is nothing to do with YUM. Vision and Nouse cost money to print the newspaper; if you want to argue that there should be less issues or smaller print runs then feel free but the reason is not YUM. URY has to pay well over £3,000 of licensing fees as well as keeping a 24/7 station running with two working studios, full production capabilities, a music collection of 58,000 CD tracks updated and digitised, the ability to run two or more events per term, DJing at about 5-6 events per term, publicity to keep 10 hours of schedule per day running and compete with the other student radio stations. It’s the oldest station outside of the BBC so if it were possible it would be great to see them competing with Minster FM etc. but unfortunately that’s not possible…

    But the costs aren’t linked to them being in YUM. And there are several other societies that get a comparatively large amount of money too. But just to pick one reason for YUM – the legal/libel aspect – Nouse report on YUSU; Vision report on YUSU; URY and YSTV report on YUSU; HAUS is unlikely to (or at least it would be a little odd if it did). Filmmaking Soc is unlikely to since their films aren’t about campus politics. YSC and Zahir are unlikely to as both are again about national/international films/culture. Lemon Press is designed to, but isn’t reporting things as fact so pseudo-can’t-slander (though you can debate that one if you want).

    The headline of the Zahir is about Anne Rice. They don’t even discuss YUSU: http://zahir.org.uk/?s=yusu
    The headline of Nouse by comparison is about Derwent catering and if (as they do on occasion) they report with a specific slant on the story, it is easily difficult ground. Of course the Zahir is protected by YUSU if for some reason it decides to call Anne Rice a whatever – but it’s not supposed to go near that ground..?

    That’s just one of the points – but you see the point that the main four are the only ones that are obviously media. The rest could be argued and on occasion a couple of other societies were included but they’re not really news organisations. According to my resources, Filmmaking, Outdoor and Bad Taste got more than a thousand last year (two around three thousand) and several societies (Chess, Gilbert and Sullivan, DougSoc, MathsSoc, ChocSoc, Philosophy, Fringe, Latin America, Poetry, Investment, Viking, Opera, PhotoSoc…) had very healthy own funds. For obvious reasons I’m not going to tell you the exact figures but my point is that indeed YUM socs generally get more but it’s more out of expenses and costs than out of the fact that they’re YUM!

    And I think it’s also interesting that YSTV didn’t get a massively different amount to Filmmaking? Though I haven’t got this year’s figures to check the consistency of all of the numbers so my disclaimer is that the above information may not be representative of the current facts :P

    But I reiterate; if you think a society should, chat with them and YUSU and propose the idea formally. Every student at York is part of the democratic process and any student can make a big difference!

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  25. Many thanks Jason and Chris, your information has been useful.

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  26. From Monday Week 3, you will be able to catch URY being played in the Courtyard from 9am – 2pm! URY’s Breakfast and Lunch shows will bring you campus news, updates, music, competitions and a range of interviews.

    URY is also already being played in Your Shop! Don’t miss it, keep an eye out in the Courtyard and online for more info.

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  27. 26 Jan ’10 at 11:35 am

    Richard McLoughlin

    Keep watching the screens, YSTV will be back soon…

    YSTV Station Director

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