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Feb. 9, 2011

BNC launches new online aspect

by Philipa Friedman, Print Managing News Editor
Blair Network Communications (BNC), Blair's media production organization, has made a number of changes since the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, including the introduction of a new online aspect and the addition of "That's All, Folks," a radio show hosted by sophomore Adam Maisto. "The Internet is the main thing I changed," said BNC's faculty advisor Paris Bustillos. "I really thought it should be a bigger part of BNC."

According to BNC's Internet Executive senior Colin Wiencek, BNC launched its new website, BNCmedia.org, in November. The new website receives approximately 1,000 individual hits each month, with a total of approximately 3,000 hits, which means that the average visitor views three pages on the site before logging off, Wiencek said.

The greatest number of hits on any individual section of the website is reportedly on the page which displays InfoFlow each day, according to Maisto. The InfoFlow page is linked directly to Blair's main website, and typically parents visit the site to check up on important events happening within the school, he said.
Due to low viewership, the daily announcements no longer feature Blazer hosts and have been converted to a PowerPoint format, which allows for quicker, easier production, Maisto said.

InfoFlow is now also available throughout the day on large TV screens located outside of room 100. According to Maisto, Blazers can stop by the screens and watch the InfoFlow PowerPoint at their convenience while passing between classes or during lunch, ultimately increasing the show's viewership.

Making InfoFlow more accessible and changing its format has been a substantial part of BNC's work over the past several months, according to Maisto, who is responsible, along with other members of the BNC staff, for creating InfoFlow twice monthly. "The re-vamping of InfoFlow is the biggest thing we've done this year by far," he said.

InfoFlow, BNC's television show Metropolitan and all radio podcasts are uploaded to the website and can be accessed at any time. Additional instructional or promotional videos produced by BNC are now also available online, including a BNC-produced instructional video featuring Blair's counselors presenting a step-by-step process for class registration. Uploading these videos to the Internet ensures that the student body is able to access all of BNC's productions even after they are aired during the school day. "The idea is to create a model that will reach more people," said Bustillos.

According to Bustillos, updating BNC's Internet component has also allowed BNC to more easily distribute content it produces in regards to the radio branch. "With that attention to the web, I think that radio has come back stronger," he said.

Since BNC Radio can now post its productions on BNCmedia.org, as well as an auxiliary site hosted by official.fm, the number of listeners has increased. According to Maisto, the first episode of "That's All, Folks" was listened to approximately 61 times on the BNC website alone.

Maisto has produced three episodes to date, and he hopes to produce an episode monthly from now on. The show focuses specifically on a non-traditional view of folk music, he said, emphasizing the backgrounds, traditions and tastes of Blair's community. "BNC will get more positive exposure if we focus more on diversity within the school," he added. "Every country has its own style of music."

BNC Radio's senior Gabe Pollak, known on the air as DJ Gabe the Babe, is also working on his own Top 40-style radio production based on Blazers' current favorite music, said Bustillos.
According to Bustillos, BNC's radio productions have never been officially broadcast; in past years, a radio program was aired during lunch, but this practice was cancelled about three years ago following a decrease in listeners. Maisto said that, until this year, radio productions were recorded onto discs and graded but never distributed to the student body.

The website is part of a larger push to further integrate BNC into the Blair community. According to Maisto, Bustillos has been adamant about including more Blair-specific content in BNC's productions this year in effort to project the image that BNC is an active part of the school.

Bustillos added that expanding the online aspect of BNC was necessary for BNC to remain current and on the cutting edge of high school media production. "I want the school to see that digital media can be used not just as an extra but as an absolute necessity to staying contemporary in education," he said.





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