Thursday, January 13, 2000
Mary Spletter (510) 987-9004



The University of California announced today (Jan. 13) that it has launched its own public interest television channel (UCTV) capable of reaching more than 3 million viewers on prime time television seven days a week throughout North America.

"This is an important milestone for the University of California," said UC President Richard C. Atkinson, a prime proponent of inviting the public to find out more about UC through new electronic media.

"Chancellors of the ten UC campuses share my excitement over this new opportunity to serve California and the nation. In an era of 90-second news stories, there is a real need for in-depth coverage of ideas and issues that affect the lives of people everywhere," he said.

The channel is available on EchoStar's Dish Network satellite television service. UCTV is broadcast on channel 9412 and is available to viewers with a satellite dish antenna pointed at 119 degrees West Longitude.

The charter of the program is to use the resources of UC to inform, educate and enrich the lives of viewers throughout the nation. The channel will broadcast faculty lectures, interviews, research symposia, distinguished speakers and artistic performances 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"It was a major accomplishment to get this program up and working under a tight deadline. We look forward to working on the quality of the broadcasts so that viewers will turn to our channel first for in-depth information," said Julius Zelmanowitz, UC interim vice provost of academic initiatives, who helped prepare and submit the UC proposal to EchoStar.

Zelmanowitz said that UCTV will allow UC faculty to share the results of their scholarship and cutting-edge research directly with the public across a broad range of subject areas.

The UC channel schedules blocks of time both for thematic subjects--science, technology, health, arts, public affairs and humanities, for example--and for individual campuses.

Programs are broken into two four-hour blocks for an eight-hour total during East Coast prime time, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. In the short term, a bulletin board with pertinent UC facts and information will fill remaining time. The programs airing on UCTV also will be broadcast live on the Internet at

Current programs include a discussion of global change by UC Irvine's Nobel laureate F. Sherwood Rowland, a gamelan ensemble concert from UC Riverside, a film historian's research from UC San Diego on all-black westerns, and a UCLA professor's study of sabertooth cats.

UCTV will build on the success of a broadcast channel developed by the University of California at San Diego seven years ago. Today, UCSD-TV (Channel 35) serves one million homes in San Diego and provides programming to other stations around the country, including stations in New York City, Seattle, Palo Alto and Washington, D.C.

"UCSD has long supported the use of broadcast programming to give the general public access to knowledge, ideas and entertainment from both the campus and the local community," said its chancellor, Robert C. Dynes. "The success and value of UCSD-TV, now in its seventh year, is the model for UCTV and we are pleased to play a key role in the development of unique and innovative broadcast capabilities for the UC system."

It is expected that UCTV, like UCSD-TV, will focus on UC activities, but also will develop programs through partnerships with community organizations. Currently, UCSD-TV partners with the San Diego City Club, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Natural History Museum, San Diego Opera, Old Globe Theatre and many other organizations. UCTV will expand the model around the state.

"UCTV will help us meet our commitment to improve K-12 education. UC programs can help K-12 teachers in their classroom work and in staying up-to-date on the newest developments in their disciplines. And in the near future, students and their parents may only have to turn to our channel to get information on admissions and course requirements for access to college," said Atkinson.

The UCTV channel enables EchoStar to meet its obligation to set aside four percent of its airtime for public interest education programming, under Federal Communications Commission rules based on the 1992 Federal Cable Act.


Schedule of Featured Programs on UCTV:

Broadcast Time 3-7 p.m. 7-11 p.m.
Monday Humanities Health
Tuesday Arts Science
Wednesday Health Public Affairs
Thursday Science Business and Law
Friday Public Affairs Humanities
Saturday Business and Law Arts
Sunday Highlights of the Week Highlights of the Week


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