TV home to student-selected cinema

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Marquette students have many options to go out in the city and see a movie. However, for those more budget-conscious students, the Office of Residence Life offers Channel 99, a free movie channel.

When Marquette Radio changed to cable channel broadcast, the university renegotiated its contract with Time Warner Cable. Under the new contract, Time Warner allows Marquette to insert up to three of its own channels into its cable package.

According to Rick Arcuri, associate dean for administration and head of the Channel 99 programming, two of the channels are for MUTV and WMUR, Marquette's television and radio stations.

The third channel is reserved for the university's own daily programming. Arcuri said around 7 p.m., a student goes to the Channel 99 operational room in Cobeen Hall and sets up a DVD player to play movies in a loop all night.

The video signal is then sent to Johnston Hall from Cobeen. Once the signal arrives in Johnston it is inserted into the cable programming that Marquette's residence halls and apartments receive, Arcuri said.

The movies are provided by Swank Motion Pictures, a non-theatrical movie distributor that distributes DVDs to colleges, hospitals and airplanes, Arcuri said. Marquette rents 10 movies from Swank each month.

The Residence Hall Association programming committee is given a choice of newly released movies each month and may choose nine movies, Arcuri said. Because the majority of Channel 99's viewers are students, student representatives are given the task of choosing the programming.

"I think that makes us more in-tune with what the people in the halls want," Arcuri said.

Not all the selections are necessarily new releases, he said. Some titles are chosen because they fit a monthly theme.

"February is Black History Month, so we chose movies based on that theme," said RHA adviser Jessica Schuman. "The Super Bowl is in February so we chose a football movie."

"I think it's nice when they play older movies that I never saw or haven't seen in a while," said Peter Burke, freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences.

During the day, Channel 99 plays PowerPoint slides promoting upcoming events on campus, a free service available to any university group.

"If there's any portion of (Channel 99) that could be better utilized it's the informational piece of it," Arcuri said. "As long as it's an approved program and there's nothing inflammatory we will put it up."

Any organizations interested in advertising for upcoming events should e-mail Arcuri at rick.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on Feb. 8 2005.

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