The Harrington School opened a new multi-million broadcast studio which students can utilize for class and campus events. Photo by Grace DeSanti.

The $1.25 million studio will be free for students to use

The University of Rhode Island opened a new, state-of-the-art broadcast studio last Friday in a ceremony packed with students, faculty, staff, donors and alumni.

The project cost $1.25 million to complete and was debuted after a year of speculation on when it would open. The studio is part of the Harrington School of Communication and Media and is located on the second floor of the Chafee Social Science Center.  

According to students who gave a tour of the studio after the ceremony, the broadcast center is 625 square feet with an anchor desk and interview table in the corner. Overhang lights in the studio have full color control, and the cameras in the studio have 4K capabilities in them. The control room, which is adjacent to the television studio, includes a teleprompter, an audio board and a production switcher. 

Speaking at the ceremony on Friday, Director of the Harrington School, Dr. Adam Roth, lauded the other technological aspects that the studio is capable of. Roth said that because of fiber-optic cables that are laid underneath the ground, events happening all across campus can be directed from the control room of the Chafee Hall studio through robotic cameras controlled via joystick. Roth also said that an LTN box in the studio will allow the school to upload live satellite links to media stations all across the world. This will allow interviews held in the studio to be made easily available to the public. 

Christiane Amanpour was in attendance at the studio’s opening as well. Amanpour, CNN and PBS broadcaster, graduated from the University in 1983 and also received an honorary degree in 1995. Arriving on campus Thursday after recording her news program in New York City, Amanpour highlighted how innovative the studio will be for students. 

“This control room, the television studio that you’re about to see frankly outpaces some of the places we’re actually working in on a daily basis,” she said.

Jeff Fountain will manage the broadcast center. Fountain, who was hired by the University last year, has won three Emmy awards for technical directing work for the NBC Sports live broadcast of the Summer Olympics. As well as teaching classes involving the studio, Fountain will serve as Broadcast Center and Video Production Engineer, as well.

Roth said that after the Harrington School was approached with the idea to buy the studio, they raised the necessary funds to revamp it. Roth thanked the initial donors for the project, as well as Provost Donald DeHayes and Herman Rose, URI class of ‘70, another significant donor. The Champlin Foundation and Dick & Jean Harrington was also involved in the fundraising process. 

University President David Dooley also spoke at the ceremony and shared his thoughts on how the ceremony reflects the University’s mission of fostering learning. 

“This is a very, very special occasion for the University of Rhode Island that reflects its long-standing and university-wide to experiential learning and public service and outreach,” Dooley said. “We are a University that believes passionately in the value of the liberal arts and humanities and disciplines like communication and media and all that they encompass.”

Guests at the event were treated to coffee and Allie’s Donuts. They also received a complimentary coffee mug and biscotti. The event was free for students and the public to attend.