The Daily Pennsylvanian

Video studio set up to link expert profs to cable TV

‘ReadyCam’ facility lets knowledgeable faculty connect to news shows

By Rachel Feintzeig
March 03, 2004

Huntsman Hall is not the only place that you are likely to catch Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel — many of his students may also encounter their Finance professor while channel-surfing through networks such as CNN and CNBC.

Now, with the introduction of a “ReadyCam” studio to campus, students can expect to see professors like Siegel — who are often called upon by networks to give expert opinions on a variety of issues — making cameos more and more frequently.

The ReadyCam facility, which is also referred to as an “uplink studio,” is located on 34th and Market streets in the Center for Bioethics.

It acts as “an in-house portal through which experts in the University of Pennsylvania can communicate with media outlets all over the world,” according to a press release from the Bioethics Education Network.

BEN owns and operates the studio, which was constructed last spring.

In the past, professors had to travel downtown to 17th and Race streets in order to transmit TV material. Both the downtown studio and the new ReadyCam campus facility are run by a national company called VideoLink.

Glenn McGee and Art Caplan, two Penn professors who routinely made the trip to the studio, “decided it would be advantageous for them to have their own studio on campus, rather than having to trek” downtown, VideoLink production associate Llewy Davis said.

Thus Penn became the first Ivy League school to house its own uplink studio, with “Harvard quickly following suit” later last year, according to Kelly Carroll, who is the coordinator of Penn’s uplink studio. VideoLink, which operates approximately 30 satellite stages throughout the nation, controls the entire taping process through a modem connected to a camera. They can also change the background screen to feature a variety of campus locations.

“We handle the tech side of it,” Davis said.

Siegel, who said he uses the facility approximately twice a month, described having a studio on campus as “so much more convenient” than traveling downtown.

“I think this is a great thing for Penn and Wharton,” he said.

But the perks of the studio are not just limited to Penn professors.

“The community benefits from the increased visibility and exposure of Penn to large national and international audiences,” Carroll said. “Increasing the prominence of members of the Penn community brings prestige to the entire university.”

She added that the studio has also succeeded in increasing “the frequency of appearances by individual faculty and staff members” on television.