New station manager seeks more;br; community involvement at KSMQ

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 28, 2000

Austin doesn’t seem a very likely destination for an Irish native who has traveled all over Europe and worked in Alaska and Florida.

Monday, August 28, 2000

Austin doesn’t seem a very likely destination for an Irish native who has traveled all over Europe and worked in Alaska and Florida.

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But Jude Andrews seems to find no problem in settling here as the new general manager at KSMQ-TV.

"I consider KSMQ to be a valuable resource to the Austin community," she said. Andrews brings with her a world of knowledge, literally, with a bachelor of arts degree in media studies from the University of Ulster in Ireland and a master’s degree in arts, entertainment and media management from Columbia College in Chicago.

Based at Riverland Community College, KSMQ-TV broadcasts the PBS station to southeast Minnesota and northern Iowa. Andrews has a quite a history of experience in television with two stations in Alaska and one in Florida.

She brings with her to Austin a lot of enthusiasm and new ideas for changing the station and its role in the community. One goal is simply to get word about KSMQ out.

"We want to increase our image," Andrews said. "We’ve been quiet for a long time and a lot of people don’t even know about us."

KSMQ has been licensed to the Austin School District for 28 years. Many people are unaware of the opportunities KSMQ-TV offers – one being volunteer experience.

Students or anyone interested in getting experience in television can volunteer at KSMQ and get involved in a variety of serious station jobs such as being a program guide, taking a part in graphics or production or even being an on-air personality. Andrews also said she would be happy to give out internships with students where they can learn how to run cameras, work with the media, work with computers or other equipment.

Andrews not only wants more of the community involved behind the scenes of the station. She wants more of the community viewers to be targeted by the station programming as well. According to Andrews, KSMQ has a lot of programming for children and for the older generation of the community, but not much for those in the age group of 18-30. Andrews plans to change that.

She already has contacted MTV to try to get an hour time slot of MTV programs for the station. She also plans to attempt to make a leap from being an 18-hour station to a 24-hour station. This should open up more time slots and appeal to TV viewers all times of the day.

Another of Andrews’ many ideas is to replace some of the PBS programs with locally produced programs. Andrews is interested in making KSMQ-TV an outlet for community artists such as local bands, writers, poets and musicians by broadcasting them. This is another way Andrews plans to target the 18-to-30-year-old age group.

All that is needed are performers interested in recording at the QTV production studio. Andrews sees the idea as a way to "encourage people to present themselves more professionally and to get feedback." But like everything, these ideas cannot take flight unless backed by money.

KSMQ-TV is given money by the federal and state governments, but the rest is their responsibility. This is where sponsors and underwriters come into play. Underwriters are people, businesses and organizations who contribute to specific KSMQ programs. OakPark Mall and the Old Mill Restaurant are among those in Austin that contribute. But Andrews says that as long as the station can find underwriters, there shouldn’t be much keeping them from adding locally produced programs.

Anyone interested in volunteering at the station or who just wants to ask a few questions should call 433-0678 and ask for Jude. Andrews has many ideas for the future that people in the community can help come into play. Getting the word out there is half the battle. The rest is the response.