Students hope to see Eagle TV fly

February 17, 1993|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,Contributing Writer

If Marty Jenoff had his way, Owings Mills High School would be linked to the world via satellite. He would also have more than $1 million in electronic television equipment at his disposal and E-TV would be more popular than MTV.

But for now, he would settle for 12 televisions and some other odds and ends.

Since December, Marty and Danny Black, both freshmen, and Harrison Bentley, a sophomore, have been trying to start their own brand of weekly television at Owings Mills High through E-TV, or Eagle Television.

Named after the school mascot, E-TV would provide eight minutes of school, local, national and world news to the more than 800 students at Owings Mills High every Friday morning during the 10-minute homeroom period.

And if it succeeds, Owings Mills High would be the first county public high school with its own closed-circuit television station, said Robert Harris, a staff member at the Education Channel, which is run by the county on cable access.

The three teen-agers have been at work planning the project for two months.

They say they could be ready to broadcast a pilot program within a week, if they had enough TV sets all for 29 homerooms at the 14-year-old school.

Currently, 12 homerooms don't have them. Outfitting classrooms with sets and TV carts cost about $600 per room.

"We had to get through the principal [Fred Cogswell] first," Danny said. "He said, 'It's a good idea. I support you, but you have to get the televisions first.' "

Wearing his official E-TV press credentials, Harrison said, "He put hurdles out for us, and now we're in mid-stride."

For all the TV sets, lights, microphones, graphics generators and editing devices they want, Danny said they need to raise $13,000. To that end, the boys have contacted more than 100 businesses to ask for financial support.

They have already worked out the typical broadcast format -- four minutes of school-related announcements, two minutes of news from outside Owings Mills High, and two minutes of credits, introductions and extras.

All of the programming would be taped late Thursday for Friday morning broadcast from a master tape player in the library.

"We can transmit news to a lot of kids who are not able to get current events otherwise," Danny said, arguing that students are bored with traditional morning announcements over the loudspeaker. "Television just captures people's attention, especially if you spice it up and make it neat."

Ask a detail about the fledgling project and Danny, a 14-year-old who says law and politics are in his future, immediately comes up with a fact about the project. He's the talker, the promoter.

Harrison, the 16-year-old who will anchor the broadcasts, is the name -- the Dan Rather or Peter Jennings of the project.

Students already know him as one of the readers of morning announcement.

Marty, a bespectacled 15-year-old who has a business taping parties, bar mitzvahs and other advents, conceded that E-TV was his brainchild, but seemed content to let the other two do the talking. The technician of the bunch, his mouth waters at the sight of the latest video technology.

"I think he's living, eating and drinking the whole thing," said John Nelson, the school's media specialist and one of E-TV's advisers.

Because the school is already equipped with a state-of-the-art studio, used for an interactive teaching program with three other high schools, much of the technology needed for the program is already in place.

"What has amazed me is the tenacity they have shown," Mr. Nelson said. "Every time a problem came up, instead of dropping the project, they have resolved the situation and gone on from there."

The pilot show is planned for early March. And if all goes well, the boys hope to have E-TV up and running by May.

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