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Who's at the Switch at Boise State Television?

BTV aired a film that includes scenes of sexual assault, murder and a woman in a bridal gown being blasted to bits by a shotgun


Anyone looking to BTV—Boise State University's television station—for a guest lecture from the Frank Church Institute or a recent commencement address from President Bob Kustra may have been in for a rude awakening on the morning of March 15. That's when BTV aired a movie that included scenes of sexual assault on one woman, the murder of another and an ugly scene of a woman in a bridal gown being blasted to bits with a shotgun—all part of a 1976 exploitation film, Hollywood Man.

"We do have some content that we do have in our archives that is absolutely atrocious," said Nathan Snyder, director of University Television, who added that the objectionable content would never be used unless it was properly introduced because of its possible historical or sociological significance.

"It was a gross mistake," he said.

University Television is a division of the Boise State Department of Communication and, according to its mission, "serves the Boise State University campus and community by recording and broadcasting a wide range of educational, cultural and sports programs."

Boise State spokesman Greg Hahn told BW that the university, station and students all take responsibility and it was a "teachable moment."

BTV is part of the basic-tier platform of Cable One, which broadcasts to 50,000-plus households in the Boise metro area.

As for Hollywood Man, it is 107 minutes of bad acting and plenty of violence.

"It's biker trash against the Hollywood Mafia in a million dollar murder spree," the film producers trumpeted in the late 1970s.

"There are absolutely programming guidelines in place [at BTV]," said Snyder. "At minimum, it's PG-13 or better. I used to tell my students, 'Don't put something on the air that your grandmother wouldn't watch.'"

Snyder added that letting the images beam across BTV was an aberration.

"I'm grateful for the chance to rectify it so that it doesn't happen again," he said.

Traditionally, BTV's alternative content has included documentaries and classic animation. When Hollywood Man came to an end on the morning of March 15—with its leading man and lady gunned down in the bloody final scene—a Looney Tunes cartoon followed.