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Lawmakers plant seed money for new OETA Tulsa studio

Lawmakers plant seed money for new OETA Tulsa studio

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On channel 11, it looks great.

But if they moved the cameras back a little, you'd

realize how cramped the studios are.

Move them further back, and you'd realize they're

broadcasting from an old pizza restaurant.

Even further, and you'd see airplanes flying close


That's how the Tulsa studio of the award-winning

Oklahoma Education Television Authority is operating.

When Tulsa legislators pooled their state capital

improvements bond money, though, they planted the seed for


Seed money, that is. About $250,000 of it.

"We have the premier public television station in the

country. Tulsa is due a facility in keeping with this

standing," said OETA Director Malcolm Wall.

"We're doing an assessment of how much space we need. The

Tulsa delegation (of legislators) decided that Tulsa and

Green Country deserves better," he said.

Legislators have experienced the problems firsthand.

"The Tulsa studio has always been a poor cousin of the

main facility," said Rep. Russ Roach, D-Tulsa.

Roof leaks, flaking bricks, space limitations, airport

interference and equipment problems are just some of the

problems with the studio. After being interviewed

several times at the building at 811 N. Sheridan Road,

Roach and several Tulsa legislators took it upon themselves

to kick-start the studio relocation fund.

By allocating the bond money, they hope to attract the

attention of one of Tulsa's higher education facilities,

Roach said.

"We originally envisioned the studio going to the

OSU-Tulsa campus, but OU-Tulsa is also an option," he said.

Seed money sometimes provides the impetus to secure

private funds from businesses and foundations of local

universities, Roach said.

"We don't think it is proper to continue to pour public

money into a facility that's falling apart," Wall said.

At the time of purchase, it was all they could afford,

Wall said.

The building had already been converted once to a

machine shop after it was a pizza restaurant.

The furnace, however, still exists.

Nathan Osburn, World staff writer, can be reached at

581-8369 or via e-mail at


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