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‘Penn College & You’ Begins 10th Season Oct. 5


Christopher J. Leigh (left) shoots the video, edits each episode and creates digital media for the program. Tom Speicher (right) is host, writer and executive producer of 'Penn College %26amp%3B You.'The 10th season of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s public affairs television series, “Penn College & You,” will begin airing locally Oct. 5 with a new format and more affiliates than ever.

The first episode of the award-winning series’ new season, “Small Business Stories,” will air locally on SusCom Channel 2, reaching 41,000 homes in the Williamsport area. The show will now air Tuesdays and Sundays at 7 p.m.

“We are very pleased to share another season of ‘Penn College & You’ with viewers locally and across the country,” said Penn College President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour. “The series is an important avenue to communicate the expertise of faculty, staff and students on a wide range of subjects. We’re confident the coming season will be the best yet.”

New this year, the 30-minute public affairs series will adopt the feeling of a documentary, according to Tom Speicher, broadcast productions coordinator for Penn College and host, writer and executive producer of “Penn College & You.” Also integral to the series is Christopher J. Leigh, digital media developer (video/dynamic media), who shoots the video, edits each episode and creates digital media for the program.

“We’re very excited about the season,” Speicher said. “The new format will make it a more fast-paced series, and Chris does tremendous work. Since the series is based on Penn College, we’re always guaranteed a good subject.”

The new format is the next stage of evolution for “Penn College & You,” which began in 1995 as a 60-minute, studio-based call-in show. It then became a studio-based interview show, and, for the last three years, has been a half-hour series shot on location. It featured a back-and-forth interview format, with supporting video.

For the first nine years, Penn College produced the show in conjunction with SusCom.

“It was a very good production relationship,” Speicher said. “We worked well together, but for the coming year, the College is producing the series alone because the new format of the show is much more time-intensive.”

For the coming season, each show was shot in multiple locations and features many guests. The first episode, for example, which focuses on small-business ownership, included travel to Allentown; Washington, D.C.; and Alexandria, Va., to interview College alumni who run their own businesses. It offers interviews with three alumni; Edward J. McCabe, instructor of electronics technology and the inventor of the technology behind Caller ID; and Dr. Dennis R. Williams, associate professor of business administration.

“We try to interweave these interesting stories along with the expertise from Dr. Williams to inform and inspire people about small-business startups,” Speicher said. “Instead of just presenting information, we’re trying to tell a story in revealing that information.”

Because of the extra time involved in the show’s new format, the 2004-05 season will feature seven episodes two fewer than last season. The series will continue to explore a wide range of topics.

Subjects for episodes in the new season, in addition to entrepreneurship, include encouraging young women to explore science and technology, kinesthetic art, career guidance, computer careers, the efforts of Penn College construction students to craft a residential home design for the International Builders’ Show national competition, and nanotechnology and semi-conductors.

The series has won several national honors in the past, including three straight Telly Awards for informational programming.

“We’ve always been proud of the quality of ‘Penn College & You,’ and we think our changes with the new format will increase that level of achievement,” Speicher said.

In addition to the Williamsport area, the show is aired nationally, and it has earned an all-time high number of affiliates this year. It will be broadcast on 45 cable affiliates in 17 states representing 5.33 million households. The series is also sent to the homes of 10.1 million satellite customers through the Universityhouse Channel on the DISH Network. In addition, the series runs on WFMZ, a broadcast station in Allentown that covers about 1 million households.

'Penn College %26amp%3B You' to air on record number of affiliatesIn total, “Penn College & You” has the potential to reach more than 16 million homes across the nation.

Across Pennsylvania, the series will be available to cable customers in Altoona, Danville, Erie, Harrisburg, Hazleton, Lehighton, Mansfield/Wellsboro, Milton, Reading, Watsontown, Wilkes-Barre and York.

“Penn College & You” will air in five Ohio cities (Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Green and Owensville), while New York (Chappaqua, Lockport, Long Island and Rochester) and Minnesota (Coon Rapids, Inver Grove Heights, St. Peter and Stillwater) boast four affiliates each.

The program will air in multiple cities in California (San Bernardino and Modesto), Colorado (Canon City, Commerce City and Loveland), Florida (Boca Raton and West Palm Beach), Illinois (Aurora and Warrenville), Maryland (College Park and Salisbury), Massachusetts (Bernardston and Natick), and New Jersey (Toms River and Pomona).

“Penn College & You’s” 10th season also will air in East Haven, Conn.; Rockford, Mich.; Chester, N.H.; White River Junction, Vt.; Madison, Wis.; and St. Louis.

Speicher said plans also are in the works for a “Penn College & You” Web site.

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