The U Network
'The U Network (sometimes referred to as TUN)' was a short-lived effort to create a television network targeted at colleges and surrounding communities in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, broadcasting content submitted by students.
The network planned on launching in fall of 2004, with the goal of airing on at least 150 U.S., Canadian and British college campuses, according to its creator, Shane Walker. TUN's headquarters were in Muncie, Indiana; it also claimed a Washington D.C. Bureau in Leesburg, VA and was opening production studios in Orlando, FL and a European office in London.
- About one-half of TUN's in-house programming will be co-produced with college students majoring in film or television. TUN works closely with students who are writers, directors, actors, and composers. The other half of the network's shows are produced completely by college students.
FOX News reported an additional motivation for TUN:
- TUN aims to challenge what it says is MTV's liberal bias as well as compete with the entertainment channel by including student-based programming and in-house productions co-produced by students like "The W Show," a docu-series based on President Bush's 2004 campaign; "Dinner and a Debate"; at least two military-themed reality shows; and a "positive" spring break special called "Make or Break." ...
- In addition to giving equal time to Republican politics, which Walker says is lacking for the college-age audience, the new network's mission is to elevate the level of programming for 18- to 24-year-olds, give them balanced information and provide a forum for student-based work with no advertising or commercial meddling.
But the July 21, 2004 Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter, a PR trade publication, reported that TUN was "aimed at the coveted 18-24 age demographic, whose disposable income is estimated at more than $200 billion annually." O'Dwyer's also noted that "PR for TUN is handled by Phil Kent and Dave Scott, who run 815 Communications, Atlanta."
By early 2005, the U Network had stopped updating its website. Walker and others went on to create a similar venture called Open Student Television Network.
The U Network has no relation to TUN.com, http://www.tun.com, a series or hyper-local websites connecting college students to deals, news and events near campus. The U Network is also unrelated to The University Network, a digital media company with LCD screens on college campuses that broadcasts a combination of local and national content, student created content, and live local feeds, including daily deals from TUN.com.
1317 West Marsh St. Muncie IN 47306
211 Loudoun St. SW Leesburg VA 20175
- Internet Archive of the University Network website
- "Startup TV Network To Feature Student Talent: September Launch Set For Entertainment Industry's 'Minor League'," press release, June 29, 2004.
- Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, "New Channel Challenges MTV," FOX News, July 21, 2004.
- Robert Zirkelbach, "Book Review: Weapons of Mass Distortion: The Coming Meltdown of the Liberal Media by Brent Bozell, Townhall.com.
- Wikipedia article on the Open Student Television Network.
- OSTN website.
- TUN.com website.