Vol. LXIII, No. 17
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
A group of television enthusiasts have been congregating at the Princeton Community Television (PCTV) station for the past several weeks to plan the annual Megathon, or 30 consecutive hour live broadcast from 6 p.m. on May 15 to midnight on May 16.
This years lineup will feature bands and performers from the greater Princeton area including Fun Machine, Tonche, the Spirit Dancer, Govt Cheaze, Patricia Hart, and others. Station manager George McCollough said that the event is an open house and that members of the public are encouraged to join in the festivities.
Characterizing the stations mission as truly TV by the people for the people, Megathon producer and PCTV member Mara Marich said that since last years inaugural event, we have had a massive response from performers and the general public, and people want to be a part of what has become a revolutionary broadcast.
Another long-time PCTV personality, Fahad Javaid, who began volunteering at the station in 2001 and co-hosting the show Breezin with Bierman in 2005, was an initial driving force behind the Megathon.
We were at a producers meeting, Mr. Javaid recalled, when someone mentioned the idea of a 24-hour show. After talking the concept over with Mr. McCollough, they decided to turn it into televisions marathon-equivalent by broadcasting live. We cut it up into segments in which performers, bands, and performance artists of all types could demonstrate their art for a maximum of 30 minutes, Mr. Javaid said.
When the cable board heard about the Megathon, they asked, why not do 30 hours, because were TV30? Mr. Javaid reported, explaining that PCTV can be seen on local cable channel 30.
Before I knew it, we had an incredible show ready to go, Mr. Javaid said, while noting that beyond performers, musicians, and artists, they interviewed a really good group of people including mayors, former mayors, Council people, fire chiefs, and the director of the Arts Council.
Summing up the experience as truly a magical thing, Mr. Javaid pointed out that the last 30 minutes of the broadcast were emotional. I remember being so grateful that I was a part of it, and that I got to meet so many new people who were excited about the station, and about performing.
Last year, they streamed the show on the internet so that it could be viewed from all over the world in real time. Mr. Javaid said that we could talk to people who were watching it online, making it a very interactive experience. They plan to do the same in this years edition of the Megathon.
Mr. Javaid spoke of a new type of technology that the station will be testing out during the upcoming Megathon that will involve remotely broadcasting from outside the studio. An important aspect of the show is that we want it to be completely live, and we wont have any taped material, he explained, adding that the remote interviews are not anything weve ever attempted.
If this kind of technology is viable, I think itll expand the capability of the station, Mr. Javaid said.
Mr. McCollough explained that the remote interviews would use a technology like Skype or iChat to transmit the signal back to the station. Well take a laptop along and plug it into the video camera, he said, noting that as long as were getting a good internet connection, it should be possible. He added that anybody in Princeton might appear in the Megathon, and could have their image beamed all around the world.
Posters designed by Ms. Marich and Sharyn Alice Murray featuring a technicolor rendering of George Washingtons visage can be seen around town detailing the specifics of the Megathon.
The television station is inside the Valley Road School building at 369 Witherspoon Street, and everyone is welcome to attend the Megathon on May 15. The broadcast can also be seen on cable channel 30, Verizon FiOS 45, or at princetontv.org. For more information, call (609) 252-1963 or visit princetontvmegathon.blogspot.com.
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