A celebrated Kingwood tradition – LSC-TV Channel 24 – will sign off the air Dec. 31.
LSC-TV is the Lone Star College television station, operating 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and is located on Channel 24 for SuddenLink cable subscribers in Kingwood and Porter. Besides providing informational videos about Lone Star College-Kingwood and the many guest speakers who speak at the campus, the channel promotes and tapes local events and local issues, especially from Lake Houston-area nonprofit agencies, as well local school districts, chambers of commerce, government and civic groups.
“In these tough fiscal times, our campus must focus on supporting programs that directly impact student success or enrollment and instruction,” explained Lone Star-Kingwood President Dr. Katherine Persson. “It was a financial decision.”
Persson recalls the day in January1999 when then-Kingwood campus President Steve Head asked Persson to “create” a 24/365 television station – in four months!
“None of us had 'created' a station before,” recalls Persson. “We called other campuses, listened to how they’d done it, created a curriculum, and were on the air by April 15.”
“Our goal was to bring the college to the community and the community to the college,” said Diane Blanco, who was director of college relations at the time and administered the station. “We wanted to communicate the wonderful, life-changing journey that is possible at the Kingwood campus, and LSC-TV did that very effectively in sharing the stories of our students, faculty and programs.”
Stephanie Gillette brought her experience as a New Orleans television news editor and sports and special events producer to Kingwood when she became program manager.
“My goal was to demonstrate how our college educational programs applied to exciting careers and opportunities,” Gillette recalled.
“We did an incredible job of helping unite the college and the community,” said Gillette, who now is a stay-at-home mom in Austin.
One unique way the college and community united was when the Rotary Club of Humble invited Gillette and one of the station’s producers to travel with them to Nicaragua for a documentary about the club’s efforts to help more than 800 children living off garbage in a city dump.
“We documented the charitable work of Padre Marco Dessy, which was supported by our community, our own college faculty and staff,” Gillette recalled. “Thanks to Rotary, these ‘children of the dump’ were educated, learned a trade and have a better life.”
The station won a Telly Award for that documentary, one of many awards won over the years for producing shows such as ones on historic Montgomery, Texas, and the Kingwood Garden Club.
Gillette believes the station was ahead of its time.
“The Food Network and HGTV are popular today and I am proud that, 15 years ago, we were doing that kind of programming, featuring our own college programs and businesses,” she said.
“We created shows about home décor and design with the college interior design program,” Gillette recalled, “and we fired up the grill with Rick Alspaugh showing the best way to barbecue.”
Partnering with area nonprofits has been an important part of LSC-TV’s legacy as well.
“We gave a voice to local nonprofits like FamilyTime, HAAM, the American Heart Association and Memorial Hermann Northeast’s Project Mammogram, so they could share issues important to our community,” Gillette said.
Blanco recalled poignant videos about victims of domestic abuse that Gillette’s team created for FamilyTime.
“These videos capture the experiences of women who have been abused and later rescued through FamilyTime programs,” Blanco said. “I believe many donations were given and many individuals helped because of those videos.”
One of LSC-TV’s less visible roles was to nurture student interns. Under the guidance of program manager Garrick Jobert, the interns learned all aspects of video production.
“As an adjunct instructor for visual communications at Lone Star,” Jobert said, “I frequently used the television studio to teach lessons for my advanced production courses.”
“One intern who is very special to me,” said Blanco, "is Taylor Lumsden, a Kingwood High grad who covered their high school news for us. He was a natural. He went on to study television production and now is a television photojournalist at WFAA in Dallas. Taylor is one of many we nurtured.”
LSC-TV was created to deliver college courses through television, “…But what made sense in 1999 is difficult to justify in 2016,” said Persson. “The whole world has changed. In 1999, we didn’t have online courses you could take and degrees you could earn through your laptop.”
“We have a talented team at LSC-TV,” said Persson. “I’m confident they’ll land on their feet and we’ll make sure they do just that.”