Rhett Taylor seems fairly relaxed for a guy that manages an entire television station.
Though this is only his second year with KVIK, Western's only television station, Taylor spends a large part of his day sitting behind his desk and playing with ideas in his head. Last year, as KVIK's assistant coordinator, he was able to learn about the foundations of operating the small television enterprise and its 50 volunteers.
Inside a small office tucked away on the fourth floor of the VU, he awaits the start of their filming season—a season he believes will bring entertainment to students previously unaware of the channel's existence.
Taylor isn't coy about his passion for filmmaking. A junior, he wants to study film in graduate school. Taylor hopes to continue moving KVIK's status forward. But he can recall a time when many thought KVIK was destined for the cutting room floor.
“A few years ago they were trying to put the kibosh on us but last year we proved ourselves pretty well. We've established ourselves now and everyone is fully supportive. We have a good thing going,” Taylor said. “I can't imagine being at Western without working at KVIK.”
KVIK began in 2002 as Western Television Broadcasting Company (WBTC) by two ambitious students and gained status as an Associated Students program in the summer of 2003. Since then they have expanded and currently broadcast on Channel 16 on all on-campus television sets.
According to Taylor, last year was a watershed year. For the first time since their inception KVIK was able to reach out to students who had previously not been exposed to their shows.
“Our shows are starting to be developed enough that people are enjoying them. People are definitely starting to notice us,” Taylor said.
In order to build on their recent success, KVIK has assembled a fall schedule made up of old favorites along with a few new ventures.
For starters, “Viking Television” (VTV), a broadcast news show documenting local sports, politics and current events will be back on the airwaves for another year. Everything from the investigative research to the anchors delivering the news is student-operated, making “VTV” the only broadcast news program owned and operated solely by Western students.
Also making its way back for a second year is the Art of Noise. Formerly known as the “Ham Radar,” the Art of Noise is a show dedicated to bringing the best modern music in Bellingham to students.
The KVIK crew is taking the show in a new direction this year by providing coverage of local venues and performers on and off campus. Taylor was proud to say that KVIK will be producing music videos, conducting interviews and hosting live performances featuring artists coming to Western. No commitments have been set but Taylor hopes to get this week's featured artists, Tech N9ne and Stars, and others, to film with KVIK.
But there's one show in particular that Taylor can't wait to show off: “You Would.”
Part pre-scripted, part improv, “You Would” is Western's super silly sketch comedy show. Filmed in front of a live studio audience, “You Would” is in the same vein as “Saturday Night Live”, often hosting special guests like the Dead Parrot Society.
According to Taylor, this season of “You Would” should be particularly funny accounting for the fact that many of the show's regulars are now veterans returning for another year of sketch comedy. He also encouraged students to join the performance as audience members and promised they would have a good time.
“Attending a live showing of ‘You Would' is something all Western students should do,” said Taylor.
Western student director Gabriel Conroy will be producing a follow up to his KVIK debut film, “Lord of Zombie City.” His next project is still in the works but the early details suggest that the film will be musical spoof centering on the daily routine of Western students. Conroy describes it as a mix between Bergman's “Seventh Seal,” and “High School Musical”. Without the help of KVIK, Conroy believes neither of these projects would be possible.
“All I can say is, without the incredible support and enthusiasm from the rest of the team, it [Lord of Zombie City] really couldn't have been done,” Conroy said via e-mail.
KVIK is always looking for aspiring filmmakers and people hoping to learn more about show business. Though their annual meeting for new volunteers was Oct. 2, students can join at any time.
To get involved go to kvik.as.wwu.edu/ and click “get involved.” You can also pick up a volunteer form in VU 423. Or as Taylor suggests, just stop by and talk about your ideas for a show.
“We support good ideas. For all those students interested in film, we are the place to go. If you want to go into the business we can help you,” he said.
With the help of creative students like you, KVIK hopes to have its best year yet.