The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.


Kinescope and Videotape Network. — Installation of television film recording equipment in 1954 paved the way for the development of a University of Michigan television "network," a syndication system in which programs recorded in Ann Arbor would be distributed to a number of stations. The University's "live" noncredit telecourses from Detroit's WWJ-TV would be replaced by half-hour recorded programs.

The kinescope network began modestly in 1954 with nine Michigan stations carrying thirteen programs a month. Expansion was rapid as more commercial stations sought quality programs to fulfill or supplement their public service commitments. By May of 1955, thirteen stations were televising 169 programs a month and by the next year The University of Michigan network was the most extensive of its kind in the nation. Program acceptance increased even further in 1961 when the purchase of an Ampex VR-1000B videotape recorder allowed the Television Page  314Center to offer programs on both videotape and film. By 1970, 63 stations presented some 9,200 programs in the year by direct distribution. Public TV stations as well as commercial stations were now on the network; the Central Educational Network, New York State Network, Eastern Educational Network, and Canadian ETV stations distribution services boosting the 1971 station total to an all-time high — 109.

By 1971 the TV Center library contained 1,495 programs on tape and/or film. For a modest fee, stations outside of Michigan (no charge to in-state stations) received programs from the library, with content running the gamut from civil rights to archaeology, from estate planning to music appreciation, from economics to mental illness. A sample listing of some of the series reflects the wide diversity:

Year Produced No. of Programs Title and Description
1954 15 Teenager (psychology)
1956 8 From Haydn to Hi-Fi (Chamber music with Stanley Quartet)
1958 10 Your Child's First Years (practical pediatric advice)
1960 15 Plays of Shakespeare (performance and analysis)
1962 10 Freedom in a Threatened Society (civil liberties)
1963 15 Images of America (U.S. history and culture)
1964 10 The American Negro (in-depth historical-sociological study)
1965 10 Everybody's Business: Challenge of Change (business)
1966 10 The Canterbury Tales (dramatization and explanation)
1967 10 Painting with Guy Palazzola (painting techniques)
1970 15 Take as Directed (scope of America's drug culture)
1970 15 Ecology: Man and the Environment (natural resources)
1971 10 Girls and Women (status of women in 20th century)

Page  315Staff. — The TV Center staff has grown from one full-time and three part-time employees in 1950 to 40 full-time and dozens of part-time personnel today. The production staff consists of producer-writers, production directors, graphic designers, staging specialists, and a film unit. Technical standards are maintained by six full-time and three part-time engineers, while a dozen other staff members handle business, syndication, and other activities of the TV Center. Speech Department students are the main source of part-time production crew members.

Film Distribution. — In 1956 the TV Center began making its programs available in film form for rental or purchase. Following initial broadcasting schedules, film prints are available for audio-visual use by schools, banks, bar associations, service clubs, and so forth. This service has grown steadily over the years. In 1970-71, 800 rentals and 200 sales were handled directly by the TV Center.

Awards. — The TV Center has been honored with many television and film awards. The first came in 1955 from Variety magazine, which gave the TV Center the only Show-management Plaque ever awarded an educational institution. Listed below are some other awards:

Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge for Challenge of Capitalism

Eight awards from OSU's Institute for Education by Radio-TV

American Bar Association Silver Gavel Awards for Blessings of Liberty and Quest for Certainty

American Psychological Association's Science Writer's Award for Of Men and Motives

National Conference of Christians and Jews' Brotherhood Award for Race, Religion, and Responsibility

Golden Eagle Certificate, CINE, for Lisa's World

U.S. Industrial Film Festival Gold Camera Award for Trigger Films for Young Drivers

Motion Picture Film Production. — Since 1955 the Center has produced film segments for inclusion in television productions. These segments grew into motion picture films such as 1957's Football Weekend in Ann Arbor; the award-winning University Relations film The Idea of Michigan in 1962; the milieu therapy research study at Ypsilanti State Hospital Therapeutic Community, in 1969, which received a red ribbon award from the 1970 American Film Page  316Festival; the Highway Safety Research Institute's building-dedication film A Safer World on Wheels, in 1969; and films on students and faculty in 1970 called A Concerned Generation and They Teach at Michigan.

The TV Center has been nationally recognized as the creator of the new concept of "trigger film" — short open-ended films used to begin discussions. Such films have been made in the areas of highway safety, drugs, and gerontology for both The University of Michigan units and federal agencies. A Silver Osella was awarded the Trigger Films at the Venice International Film Festival in 1969.

Equipment. — The original black-and-white television equipment purchased in 1954 is still the basic equipment for use in the TV Center. Videotape recorders of both the broadcast and closed-circuit variety are now available with the original cameras as well as a custom-built mobile unit acquired in 1970 for use in remote locations. All TV Center videotape programs are black and white except for one series produced in the Medical Center TV Studio and a few color films.

TV on Campus. — The University of Michigan academic units have turned to the Television Center staff and facilities over the years for assistance and consultation on the value of the new medium in the instructional process. When a department, school, or faculty member desires to investigate the possible uses of television, the TV Center and, since 1963, the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching personnel are available to assist in such experimentation. The assistance ranges from the purely technical, such as engineering services for maintenance or recording, up to the design of a new building or facilities for the color television installations at the Medical and Dental Schools, or the structuring of subject matter for the most effective visual presentation. A sampling of the instructional projects completed over the years includes:

  • Architecture: color motion-picture films to instruct architecture students in the use of color concepts in their building designs.
  • Mechanical Engineering: television films were designed as part of a complete restructuring of a pivotal sophomore course.
  • School of Education: videotapes of student teachers for critique by School of Education faculty.
  • Page  317Institute for Continuing Legal Education: fourteen hours of an institute for practicing lawyers were videotaped; significant portions were transferred to film; three one-hour films were made and the tapes erased.
  • Computing Center: two videotapes on the operation of the card punch, an essential tool in the student's use of the computer, were prepared.
  • Children's Psychiatric Hospital: presentations on interviewing techniques and the interdisciplinary approach to therapy were recorded, then transferred to film for viewing by medical students and practicing physicians.
  • Fresh Air Camp: disadvantaged children's creative activities were taped and played back, to improve the children's self-image.
  • Speech Clinic: the speech of stammerers was taped and played back in an effort to speed their improvement.
  • Mathematics: television films on differential geometry allowed the University's branch in Flint to have a permanent guest lecturer from Ann Arbor.

Special Projects. — Each year the TV Center has provided specialized services to varied groups for televising or filming campus activities. Representative projects include:

  • 1955 Salk Polio Vaccine Evaluation Announcement. TV Center covered this historic event and also originated a special one-hour closed circuit telecast from its studio to some 52,000 physicians in 75 United States and Canadian cities.
  • 1961 Videotape of a University of Michigan Symphony Band performance was produced and distributed for the United States Information Agency.
  • 1965 A T & T, Bell Telephone, and Western Electric companies purchased 45 copies of "Seatbelts for Survival," an individual program.
  • 1966-67 Many television stations requested videotape or film segments of Sesquicentennial events, which the TV Center covered.
  • Page  3181968 A half-hour program, "The Arts: A Way of Life" was produced for the Michigan State Council of the Arts, documenting the efforts of the Council to make the arts a meaningful and available contribution to the Citizens of Michigan.
  • 1969 Media workshop at the studios for Detroit area biology teachers from Community Colleges, in cooperation with The University of Michigan Dearborn Campus.
  • 1969 Sale of Psychology series Of Men and Motives to University of Ghana, Africa.
  • 1970 Videotape appearance by Professor E. Lowell Kelly for the University of Illinois.
  • 1970 Social Security Administration training seminar on media use.
  • 1970 United States Department of Defense purchase of 50 prints of TV programs for use in Army Schools for dependents in Europe.