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Can’t stop the FUNC

Screenshot of a TV news set.
The set of FUNC.

While Furman’s campus closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many student clubs and organizations to be less active for the remainder of the semester, there are some that have adapted to the new online format and are still going strong.

Through the pandemic, the Furman University News Channel, or FUNC, continued to publish a news and announcements show geared towards Furman students three days a week on YouTube, with content also available on Instagram, Twitter, Furman cable, their website and their mobile App (FUNC Mobile). They also created short-form video content two days a week, featuring interviews with Furman students, faculty and staff, as well as comedy segments and club spotlights. For the last four semesters, FUNC, founded by Charlie Lott ’21 and Ethan Kohrt ’21 in the spring of 2018, has posted a new video every single day of class.

During the typical school year, FUNC uses the Department of Communication Studies’ news studio in Furman Hall, which is fully equipped with a three-camera live news setup, an anchor desk and multiple editing bays. Students meet on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 p.m. to film for 30 minutes, and the producers stay until 11 p.m. to edit and post the final product to air the next day.

Without the physical space or time to meet, the show’s hosts now film themselves recording their lines separately. The video clips are then uploaded to a shared Google Drive, where someone else edits them for YouTube. The scripts are written by a student producer a day in advance and are also made available on Google Drive.

The video shorts are usually created for campus groups and events, like teasers for an upcoming theater performance or interviews with campus leaders. Instead, programming has moved away from Furman’s campus and towards pandemic response initiatives. So far, FUNC has published videos covering topics like how to properly wash your hands and how to make your own toilet paper, brief clips that can serve to entertain and educate the Furman student body.

The biggest element of FUNC that has allowed the club to make such a smooth transition to remote learning is its online format. Scriptwriting and editing can happen just about anywhere as long as everyone has updated access to the show’s content. Some of the hosts even prefer the new format, with family pets and goofy household backdrops making frequent appearances on the broadcast. Though viewership has dropped as the Furman community distances itself both physically and socially from campus, it doesn’t stop this committed group of students from putting out content every day of class.

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