Plattsburgh State Television officially went on-air in 1978, but its history dates back several years earlier. SUNY Plattsburgh once operated a department called Instructional Resources. One goal of the IR department was to train students to operate television equipment for producing and airing PSUC hockey and basketball games. Students worked for experience only and did not earn college credits. An arrangement between Instructional Resources and the local cable company was approved in 1973 to broadcast these productions and public affairs information. The next year, Cable Channel 10 was turned over to the college for community broadcasting.
For several years Instructional Resources continued to utilize PSUC students for producing community sports programming, but by 1977 the Vice President began to question the overall value of Instructional Resources. It was decided that IR would be disbanded and for its resources to be redistributed among other departments. All of IR’s television and audio resources were reassigned to the Department of Communication.
In 1978, the Communications Department decided to use these new resources to provide students with a true hands-on experience with all of the broadcast television equipment, and Plattsburgh State Television was born. At this time, WCFE-TV operated the local PBS station out of Yokum Hall’s large Studio B, Control Room B, and Master Control. PSTV began its operations with only the smaller Studio A and Control Room A, with Anne Pliscoff as Faculty Advisor and Frank Sorrell as studio manager. Phil Reines and Al Montanaro were also essential in the program’s early development.
PSTV’s hands-on educational philosophy was a new concept. No other television curricula in the SUNY system was willing to put expensive broadcast equipment directly in the hands of undergraduate students. This unique teaching method allowed students to produce the majority of programming and operate all of the broadcast facilities. This revolutionary experience laid the foundation for PSTV’s future success. Once word spread of SUNY Plattsburgh’s hands-on approach towards teaching television skills, admission to the program skyrocketed.
PSTV was able to utilize its portion of the original IR television budget, but there was still an urgent need to upgrade the antiquated equipment inherited from Instructional Resources. Initially, second hand equipment was donated from WPTZ-TV in Plattsburgh and New York Network in Albany. Then in the early 1980’s, State Senator Ron Stafford helped PSUC secure a grant of $800 thousand from New York State. This was a tremendous boost which drastically improved the program and allowed the department to fully refurbish the entire television facility.
In 1987, WCFE relocated to new broadcast facilities off-campus, allowing PSTV to acquire the lager studio, control room, and master control. This expansion more than doubled PSTV’s broadcast facilities.
During the infancy of the internet revolution, the PSTV Alumni website was created in 1996. Spreading the news to former PSTV'ers proved difficult at first but as more students who "grew up online" began graduating, the popularity of this web resource skyrocketed.
In 2002 the college decided to add a second co-faculty advisor to the structure of PSTV.
In 2003 SUNY Plattsburgh approved an arrangement in which Cardinal Hockey games produced by PSTV students would be broadcast on WCFE. This marked the first over-air broadcasting of PSTV produced programming. With WCFE’s strong signal, PSTV production could be seen by over four million households in New York, Vermont, Quebec, and Ontario.
2005 was a milestone year for the department to say the least. The year began with SUNY Plattsburgh allocating a $600,000 grant for a long overdue renovation of the television facilities. With these funds the Mass Communication department was finally able to replace the antiquated ¾” U-Matic and Hi-8 equipment with DV format. Immediately after, the State University of New York approved plans to merge the Mass Communication and Speech Communication departments into a new Center of Communication. Plattsburgh would now offer four distinct majors for communication students to specialize in. This innovative development was the first program of its kind in New York and established SUNY Plattsburh on the cutting edge of collegate media programs. Then in the summer of 2005, 1992 alumnus Michael Cohen arranged for Court TV to donate more than $100,000 worth of equipment to PSTV and the newly formed Center of Communication.
Today Plattsburgh State Television continues to serve a key role in Plattsburgh’s well-deserved reputation for offering a top-quality television education. The station now features a management team of more than 20 students, a production crew consisting of over 60 students, and an air schedule of nearly a dozen student produced shows.
1973 – Instructional Resources arranges broadcast agreement with local cable company.
1974 – First broadcast of student produced programming.
1977 – Instructional Resources is disbanded and Communication Department inherits television assets.
1978 – Plattsburgh State Television begins broadcasting.
1987 – WCFE vacates Yokum Hall and PSTV acquires all broadcast facilities.
1991 – First tape format upgrade from ¾” U-Matic to Hi-8.
1996 – PSTV Alumni website created.
1998 – Studio A dedicated to Al Montanaro on July 26.
1998 – Addition of Avid Xpress marks first non-linear editing capabilities.
2003 – PSTV produced programming reaches over four million households via WCFE over-air signal.
2005 - $660,000 grant received to renovate the Communications Department with new DV format equipment.
2005 - Center for Communication and Journalism is established, offering four distinct majors.
2005 - Court TV donates more than $100,000 worth of equipment.
PSTV Faculty Advisors|
1978-1980 - Anne Pliscoff
1980-1982 - Ralph Donald
1982-1987 - Carol Koeller
1987-1990 - Dores Candussi
1990-2002 - Deb DeSilva
PSTV Faculty Co-Advisors
2002-current - Peter Ensel
2002-2005 - Brendan Casey
2005-current - Christine Johnson
PSTV Studio Managers|
1978-1993 - Frank Sorrell
1993-current - Pete Premo
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