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‘Penn College and You’ Launches New Season, New Format

Pennsylvania College of Technology will be sharing its faculty and staff resources with more viewers throughout the country with the new season of the College’s retooled, award-winning public affairs series, “Penn College & You.”

“Penn College & You” is a key form of outreach for the College, said Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, College president.

“Through this series, we are able to extend our diverse faculty and staff expertise to individuals while providing them with useful information on important topics,” Dr. Gilmour said. “Regionally, the series is another avenue in which the College serves the community. Nationwide, the show allows us to reach out to people who might not otherwise be able to take advantage of our resources.”

Carried by 26 cable outlets in seven states and by direct broadcast satellite nationwide through the DISH Network “Penn College & You’s” 2001-02 season can be seen in more than 8.5 million U.S. television households. The show’s new season and format premiere regionally in the Williamsport area Tuesdays at 7 p.m. throughout September on SCN Channel 2.

“It’s gratifying to see the exposure for the show increase at this point in its history,” said Tom Speicher, the series’ host/executive producer and broadcast media specialist at the College. “After six years on the air, many shows start to decline. But as we enter our seventh season, in many ways, we are just gearing up with an entirely new look and format.”

Instead of relying on its past success as a studio-based, 60-minute interview program, “Penn College & You’s” new season will be shot in different locations related to each episode’s subject matter. The series also has been reformatted into a 30-minute program.

“Shooting the show on location gives the series a much more active feel and facilitates greater flexibility with the subject matter,” Speicher explained. “For example, this season’s first show on ‘Backyard Bugs’ was much more visually appealing because we were able to shoot the entire episode at Dr. David Evans’ (an entomologist and professor of biology at the College) back yard and really experience a variety of insects. And condensing the subject matter into a 30-minute show makes the program more conducive to the public’s viewing habits.”

Another new wrinkle is the addition of a “Careers 102” segment for each episode. Hosted by Sharon Waters, the College’s director of career/academic support and counseling, the 60-second segments provide important employment information for careers related to the particular episode’s topic.

Besides “Backyard Bugs,” topics for “Penn College & You’s” new season include: “The Art of Auto Body,” “Computer Tools,” “Small Business Startups,” “SMART Girls,” “Health Care Careers,” “Early Childhood Issues,” “Home Improvements,” “Environmental Conservation” and “Planting & Floral Arranging.”

“We are very fortunate to have so many outstanding faculty and staff members at the College who are willing to share their expertise outside of the classroom and laboratory,” Speicher said. “In addition, we couldn’t pull this series off without the support of Bruce Huffman and Christopher Leigh in digital media production at the College and the crew led by production manager Mike Strunk at Susquehanna Communications in Williamsport, which produces the show along with the College.”

During its run, “Penn College & You” has been honored nationally for its content and presentation with Gold, Silver and Merit Awards from “Admissions Marketing Report,” Silver and Bronze Paragon Awards for Best College Video Program and an APEX Award of Excellence.

In addition to its weekly Tuesday 7 p.m. airing on SCN Channel 2 in Williamsport and its nationwide broadcast to all 6 million DISH Network subscribers on Universityhouse Channel 9411 the last Saturday and Sunday of the month at 11 a.m. MST, “Penn College & You” airs on the following Pennsylvania cable systems: Altoona, Danville/Lewisburg/Milton/Watsontown, Erie, Harrisburg, Hazleton, Lehighton, Mansfield/Wellsboro, Reading, State College, Wilkes-Barre and York.

In New York, the show airs in Chappaqua, Lockport/Niagara Falls, Long Island, Manhattan, Rochester and Westfield. Maryland affiliates include College Park and Salisbury. Other affiliates are located in Cincinnati, East Haven, Conn.; Rockford, Mich.; St. Peter, Minn., and Stillwater, Minn.

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