February 20, 2001

Kansas Alumni

For information on membership, call 800-KUHAWKS, or visit www.kualumni.org.


Contact: Jennifer Jackson Sanner, Alumni Association (785) 864-4760

Taping the show on the road

LAWRENCE -- News rarely happens in the newsroom, so it's a good thing University of Kansas broadcasting students are finally properly equipped to pursue their stories.

The Weir Production Van, named for benefactors and 1944 KU graduates Ralph "Bud" and Barbara Barber Weir, of Colorado Springs, Colo., arrived at KU in the fall.

Though it's not yet fully loaded with its complement of equipment, the van is already helping students cover events such as volleyball matches and "Late Night with Roy Williams."

"Until now, we've been using my conversion van, loading stuff into it, then unloading it when we're done," said Gary Hawke, general manager of KUJH-TV and student radio station KJHK. "Not only is this fairly heavy equipment, but obviously in Kansas it's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter to be hauling it around as we have been. Now we have a proper van to protect our production equipment."

Hawke said "you can count on one hand" the number of university journalism programs with their own remote TV production van. He's particularly eager for students to use it for sports coverage, because the frantic pace represents the best possible experience for TV production: "If you can go out and produce a live sporting event, you can do anything."

After launching his career with a radio station in Junction City, Bud Weir built a company with 41 cable television companies in four states. He also was active on the board of the National Cable Television Association and served as president of the Mid-America Cable Television Association. In 1980, the Weirs provided funds to establish the Weir Production Center for KUJH-TV.

"As the van travels throughout the area for events, it will serve as a great way to promote the university," Bud Weir said. "It's just a wonderful opportunity for KU students."

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