Starting in 2008, three students, Peter Gregory, Mike Ostlie and Brian Fier, “wanted NDSU to have a state-of-the-art television studio, where students could create award-winning programming,” said Cuay Hartel.
These three had a vision for what would go on to become the Bison Information Network (BIN). They set out to create a way for aspiring students to flex their creativity, producing a professional and original live-aired TV broadcast.
Creating a TV station from the ground up wasn’t easy. The equipment and space necessary provided a hefty hurdle to overcome. All the cameras and hardware for the control room easily cost more than $10,000. This funding was made possible by grants and from NDSU’s Student Tech Fee fund. Like, when in 2012, they received a grant of $19,000. This allowed BIN to do remote broadcasting. Going to student government-sponsored events, academic lectures and events, fine arts and alumni events, and admission activities.
However, BIN doesn’t exist as a professional news outlet first. Its primary function is to allow students to grow and develop themselves.
Referring to earlier ambitions for BIN, airing coverage of large events like football and basketball, “those programs were just a little too big and too important to allow BIN to do them,” said Jeff Anders, current BIN advisor. “It was really a learning place for students to learn how to use equipment and learn how to put together shows and to write scripts for television.”
Involvement in extracurricular activities, like BIN, is essential for career success. “BIN really helped provide that full circle of learning. My experience at the BIN really allowed experiential learning, which to me was key to getting internships.” That was Andrew Young, a former BIN member who would go on to an internship for Diane Sawyer of ABC News.
Other BIN alumni have found similar success. Ryan Nelson would use his BIN experience to work directly for NFL quarterback and NDSU alum Carson Wentz.
The student-led organization has aired many shows throughout the years. This year, they plan to host four. Past shows have covered such topics as movie reviews and fashion.
They have a weekly news show that covers events and happenings within the NDSU and Fargo community. Currently, due to a shortage of staff, the show has a run time of 20 minutes, but Anders is hoping that they can get the time back to 30 minutes to air back on the cable system.
Additionally, Bison Overtime is their sports show. This provides a weekly 30-minute recap and analysis of NDSU sports.
BIN also works with students who want to bring their own shows to life. Ricot Aladin will continue his show “Professional Lunch,” where he has influential community members share about their work and experience. Aladin has had over 25 shows with BIN. Some of his guests include the CEO of Sandy’s Doughnuts, Jeffrey Ostlund, NDSU President David Cook and Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney.
Likewise, Wendi Wheeler will be producing her new show. It will cover what to know for new counselors and things not taught in classes.
Apart from these shows, BIN also televises community events like Bison soccer and softball.
“Video shooting, story writing, and video editing are skills that many jobs in numerous industries require for employment,” said Anders. Along with that, being able to communicate on a timed broadcast show is appealing.
With student education being at the center, all backgrounds are welcomed. “They can have any amount of experience or not at all.” Anders said, “We have people from all different majors, and we have people that have had experience doing broadcasting and television production in high school and some that don’t have any. It can be fun for anybody.”
For those looking to tune into BIN, they can be found on the campus cable channel 3.1 or on their website.
For those currently looking to get involved, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.