Student television in the United Kingdom

A programme being filmed by the University of Glasgow's student television station, GUST

Student television in the United Kingdom is the act of students from universities and colleges around the United Kingdom producing and publishing video content independently, operating in a similar fashion to a small television station. Student television stations exist all around the United Kingdom.

Content is not generally output across traditional media, as a broadcast licence may be prohibitively expensive to small non-profit organisations. Most student television stations use the Internet as a primary method of distributing content; either on a dedicated website, via their university's pages or on video sharing sites such as YouTube. Student television encapsulates a variety of different programming styles and techniques: from large stations funded by their universities who broadcast into student accommodation and buildings, to a single student uploading occasional shows to the web.

Some student stations are affiliated with The National Student Television Association (abbreviated NaSTA), which has forty member stations.[1] The association holds an awards ceremony once a year to reward the best work submitted by the member stations across a number of categories.


Some student television stations in the United Kingdom pre-date the founding of national broadcasters like Channel 4 (1982) and Five (1997). Glasgow University Student Television was the first student television station to be founded in the United Kingdom, in 1964. It is the oldest student television station in Europe. Although technically, a station was founded in the United States that predates GUST, this station was staff run for students. This means that GUST is the oldest student-run student television station in the world.[2] York Student Television and Guild TV, the University of Birmingham's Television Station, followed in 1967, and was the first station to be started in England.[3]

Prior to the advent of digital video technology, particularly editing software, a student television station was costly to run and the programmes were difficult to edit. As digital technology became more available and its cost reduced, it became possible for student societies to move to digital video production.

Cultural impact

Student produced television is becoming increasingly recognised in the United Kingdom, with the National Union of Students having awards for both "Best Media Student" and "Student Broadcaster of the Year",[4] as well as the Royal Television Society's awards for student television stations and student produced content.[5] The Guardian hosts its Student Media Awards annually, offering a "Broadcast Journalist of the year" award.[6]

YSTV from its foundation in 1967 had a twice-weekly news show aimed at students, named Newsround, that pre-dated the BBC show of the same name.

In 2006, An animation called Badgered by Sharon Colman who was a student at the National Film and Television School[7] was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.[8][9]

In 2011 the short film "The Confession" by Tanel Toom, who was a student at the National Film and television School, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Film.

The National Student Television Association

The National Student Television Association (NaSTA) was believed to be formed in 1970,[10] and comprises over forty affiliated stations from all over the United Kingdom. Recently, it was discovered that the Association was formed in 1968.[11] It runs an annual awards ceremony in which eligible stations submit examples of their programming for appraisal by judges drawn from the wider broadcast industry.[12]

The earliest evidence of a NaSTA awards ceremony is the late 1970s. GUST still have the trophy that was awarded to the winners and have a video archive with interviews following the win. YSTV possess a "freestyle award" trophy from 1989. The earliest documented record of a NaSTA conference however dates from the 1995 conference, with eight member stations in attendance.[13] Each year one of the affiliated stations volunteers to be the host station of NaSTA, hosting the awards ceremony and administrating the organisation - this includes the managing of finances, communications and promotion for the entire organisation.

In October 2008, NaSTA launched Freshers TV, a collaboration of over 20 student stations across the United Kingdom providing a television channel to cover freshers' week at universities across the country. This was made available on Freewire, SUBtv and online via the Freshers TV website with the assistance of the JANET network.[14]

The first live FreshersTV show was broadcast in October 2010 by hosts, LSUTV, and another in October 2011 by new hosts SUSUtv.[15] 2012 Host: YSTV,[16] 2013 Host: LA1:TV from Lancaster.[17] 2014 Host: Demon TV (DeMontfort University[18] 2015 Host: Forge TV (University of Sheffield)[19] 2016 Host: CUTV (Cardiff Union TV)[20]

2013 saw the addition of the People's Choice awards to the annual events. The awards differed from the previous awards in that they were voted for entirely by the audience through online voting.[21] 2013 Host: SUSUTV (University of Southampton [22] 2014 Host: SXTV (University of Essex)[23] 2015 Host: XTV (University of Exeter)[24] 2016 Host: Rhubarb TV (University of Royal Holloway)[25]

NaSTAVision was hosted by StaffsTV and SonarTV in 2013, and is the NaSTA version of 'Eurovision' with live music broadcasts from Stations across the UK. After a few years of not taking place, Christopher Osborne (Development Officer) will be working with LA1:TV (University of Lancaster) to host a new version of the show in 2017. More info can be found here:


  1. "NaSTA :: affiliates". NaSTA. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  2. Abraham, Jonathan (27 February 2006). "Analysis: University TV Stations". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 31 August 2009. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  3. Dowdney, Mark (22 November 1967). "York TV students take to the air". The Northern Echo. p. 7.
  4. "NUS Awards 2009: Categories and criteria" (PDF). National Union of Students (United Kingdom). Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  5. "Student Television Awards". Royal Television Society. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  6. "The Guardian Student Media Awards 2010: Categories". The Guardian. London. 12 March 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  7. Colman, Sharon. "NFTS: Sharon Colman". National Film and Television School. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  8. "Awards for Badgered". IMDB. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  9. "Animated film-maker up for Oscar". BBC News. 31 January 2006. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  10. Wilby, P., Campus newspapers are in the red, The Observer, 24 October 1971, p. 7.
  11. Glasgow University Guardian (22 April 1982). "Student TV Second In National Conference".
  12. "Leeds Student Television wins top national award again". BBC News. 12 April 2011.
  13. "NaSTA '95 information". University of Bath. 1995. Archived from the original on 14 May 1997.
  14. "Freshers TV". JANET. 21 October 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  16. "Best Freshers Coverage - Entries for NaSTA40". University of Exeter Students' Guild/XTV (NaSTA Host Station 2012). Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  17. "Announcement FreshersTV Host 2013". NaSTA. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  18. "DeMontfort University".
  19. "Freshers TV 2015". Freshers TV.
  20. LA1TV Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. "About". NaSTA People's Choice awards. NaSTA/SUSUtv. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  22. "NaSTA People's Choice Awards 2013 - Hosted by SUSUtv".
  23. "NaSTA People's Choice Awards 2014 - Hosted by SXTV".
  24. "NaSTA People's Choice Awards 2015".
  25. "Rhubarb TV".
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