Kelly Sullivan/The AS Review

Someone hears a bodiless laugh, a dark shadow sways with no sign of an autumn breeze, eight amateur ghost hunters sit in the dark attic above the Old Town Cafe in downtown Bellingham, surrounded by four digital cameras and three audio recording devices filming each nerve-wracking moment. These eight ghost hunters are the production team for “Bellingham Boos,” a new amateur ghost hunting show on KVIK, Western’s student television station.

Executive Producer Ashley Smith came up with the idea for “Bellingham Boos” as she strolled past Wardner’s Castle, a historical home in Fairhaven, during a walk on 15th Street and Knox Avenue.
Smith said working on a production with KVIK is a genuine experience and an accurate reflection of film production on a smaller scale.

The volunteer-driven station currently has four running productions under its umbrella, including the returning shows “VTV,” which is news-oriented, and the sketch comedy program “YouWould!”

In addition to “Bellingham Boos,” “Electric Shock Shorts,” a program which produces a variety of short films, is also new to KVIK’s schedule.

KVIK General Manager Jamie Hoover said that the programming always reflects the interest of the volunteers, and each production is a brain child of Western students.

KVIK’s productions follow Federal Communications Commission guidelines to produce programming that is of broadcast quality, Hoover said. The station began eight years ago as a student club called the Western Television Broadcasting Club. In 2003, to ensure Western students would always have an outlet available to gain experience in television broadcasting production, the club became an official Associated Students program and was given the name KVIK.

“The original coordinator came up with the name with his mother,” Hoover said. The beginning K was chosen since it is the letter assigned to broadcasting stations west of the Mississippi River, and KVIK was chosen for the Western Viking mascot, she said.

Most people join KVIK just to try something new, not necessarily learn skills for a future career in television, said Hoover. Several Western graduates who volunteered at KVIK have gone on to careers in film including Brett Winslow Bachman, who graduated from Western in 2009 and who went on to attend graduate school at the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles, Calif.

Royce Andrews, KVIK coordinator, said that the station has come a long way. Since Western doesn’t have a filmmaking department, KVIK offers students experience where the university can’t, she said.

For each show, positions in acting, editing, directing, producing and even administration work are available.

Margaret Farlin, executive producer for “VTV," said that her show is good for journalism and communication students. “VTV” creates short segments examining events in the Bellingham and Western community. This quarter, the show has covered the Red Square Info Fair, The Cobra Lounge hookah bar in downtown Bellingham and fall weather.

“YouWould!” releases two shows at the end of every quarter. It produces a live show for students to attend and also an edited-for-TV version which includes live and previously-filmed sketches. The production coordinates with other campus comedy groups such as the Dead Parrots Society. Clips from previously filmed shows can be seen at youtube.com/youwouldtv.

“Electric Shock Shorts” and “Bellingham Boos” are currently in the filming stages and are scheduled to come out during the 2011 winter and spring quarters.

KVIK intern Natalie Wang promotes the station and builds professional relationships with other campus organizations to coordinate and market KVIK productions.

“It’s a great organization to get involved with,” she said.

For more information about joining a production team or watching the KVIK shows visit http://kvik.as.wwu.edu/.

Upcoming show release dates: "VTV": Nov. 20 and Dec. 5, "YouWould!": Nov. 22 and 23.