“It started with just a couple of guys in the ’90s, and has grown into what it is today.”
This statement could describe many legacies of the ’90s, from bands such as The Wallflowers to dot-com start-ups and the first MP3 players. It also happens to be how Emily Song ’13 describes the beginning of the Stanford Cardinal Broadcasting Network (SCBN). SCBN, Stanford’s only television station, has made big strides since those “couple of guys” back in the day.
On the surface, SCBN seems like many other college television stations. Viewership is not high, and the station focuses more on the experience of making television programs than the commercial success of the finished product, but the similarities end there.
SCBN is an entirely student-run organization. While this creates challenges in student commitment and campus-wide advertisement, it allows motivated students the opportunity to experience all aspects of running a television station.
Song, the current station manager, knows firsthand how difficult it is to get students committed to the group, whether they are group members or recruits.
“There was one moment when I was tabling at White Plaza for four hours yelling at people about SCBN by myself,” she said. “But I got a lot of people to sign up and got amazing interns from that day.”
Fortunately for Song, this year SCBN has gained significantly more student involvement. There are eight student executives who cater to administrative needs, in addition to determining and editing show content. This work would be in vain without the hundreds of other students affiliated with the station, which include show producers, actors, hosts and cameramen.
The station broadcasts panels from the Career and Development Center, student-led talk shows and, in the past, comedy sitcoms.
“There are never really any strict requirements or quotas,” said Victoria Shantrell Asbury ’11. “If you have some interesting content and want to put it on, you could.”
Asbury has hosted “The Dialogue” for the past two years. The program is a talk show that tries to initiate conversations throughout campus on subjects ranging from dating to homophobia. Asbury made it clear that to her, it matters more what her guests have to say than who they are.
“‘The Dialogue’ is about having regular, everyday people get together and have a conversation,” she said. “It was never about having just the popular or famous people on.”
SCBN works with students who want experience in the entertainment industry through the media of television and opens its doors to nearly everyone on campus. All Stanford students are welcome to submit material to be placed on SCBN, even if just an idea. Those more interested in behind-the-scenes work can also find their niches. For instance, students can intern with the executive team, work as cameramen, stagehands, editors or producers.
SCBN also gives back to the Stanford community by offering equipment for rental to students. As long as they credit the station, anyone with a vision — or an impending class project — has access to professional quality equipment.
Beyond students, SCBN teams up with on-campus groups to promote their activities.
This past fall the station featured a video by the Stanford juggling troupe, Down with Gravity, titled, “Juggling Revolution.”
These features allow students to get a closer look at the variety of activities that they may never have an opportunity to experience firsthand, in addition to fulfilling one of SCBN’s greatest responsibilities: broadcasting the unique voices — and talents — of the Stanford community.