Social Network Station offers students chance to produce original work
If you’ve ever listened to a radio show or watched the television and thought, “I could do it ten times better than they ever could,” The Social Network Station has a place for you.
Jim Nico, the CEO and founder of The Social Network Station, and Jane Karwoski, a research psychologist and UNLV professor, oversee a station aimed at discussing the latest news in the world of social networking, interviewing innovative minds in the field while offering students a unique chance to create and host their own show with a chance of earning serious profits.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for a forward-looking student to leverage what we’re doing and make a name for themselves,” Nico said. “You give us a proposal, we’d approve or disapprove it, settle on a price, we’d do a pilot and help in every way we could.”
Nico founded the company after a mishap with Facebook, where he saw the opportunity to unify the limitless pool of social networks on the Internet.
“I thought of the concept of the NFL, which is a league of teams. Why don’t I form the NFL of social networks?” Nico said.
With a wealth of ideas and projects in mind, Nico and Karwoski point to the financial possibilities as well as the professional experience students can gain by being part of the network.
“This is an opportunity for handson student learning,” Nico said. “We have the honor of having a wonderful, multi-million dollar studio. If we help students start broadcasting while they’re in school, by the time they graduate they could be polished professionals. What do you have to lose? We want the school to know we’re available.”
As an online instructor, Karwoski pointed to the desire to build an online community of learners as reason for her involvement with the business. The duo’s chemistry, along with their growing expertise in the field, is evident in their interviews.
“We want people to watch, in part, because we’re a fun group of friends and you’ll feel included in that by listening. That’s the vibe we’re going for,” Karwoski said.
Nico has worked with the business information company Dun & Bradstreet to prescreen a slew of social networks for inclusion in Nico’s Social Network Association, which would allow he and Karwoski (and Internet users) to determine which networks are reputable via a Dun & Bradstreet seal on each network’s website.
“They validate the network and put a seal on the website. We only want genuine networks,” Nico said. “A list of the top 500 social networks can be viewed scrolling across the top of our website. We’re inviting 95 social networks to have shows on this station.”
Currently, The Social Network Show is the only show on the station and the duo have completed over 30 episodes thus far. Nico said that as more students become aware of the network and more shows are created, the financial opportunities grow as well.
“We’ve had a man tell us that he estimates it’ll be worth billions of dollars. We’re on our way,” Nico said. “Everyone gains because UNLV makes money, we make money, a student could make money and we go from there. Any social network could have a show on our station.”
KUNV 91.5 station adviser and operations manager David Nourse works closely with the show’s production and praised Karwoski and Nico for their ability to relate to audiences in an engaging manner.
“When you put together a radio program, the most important thing is to connect with [the] audience and personalize yourself,” Nourse said. “They have that type of expert knowledge but they’re relatable. They’re not talking to the audience like they’re above them. They talk to the audience, not at them.”
The Social Network Show’s archive boasts a who’s who of social networking gurus, influential members of the Las Vegas community and even a woman who utilizes social networking to advocate for the rights of Asian elephants in Thailand.
Some of the show’s previous guests include David Riggleman and Nancy Byrne from KCLV-TV (Channel 2), UNLV’s own Katherine Hertlein, then-KLAS-TV 8NewsNow anchor Dayna Roselli, and Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, whom Nico describes as the “top social networking expert in the world.”
“Dr. Hertlein talked about Internet dating and online infidelity, where women’s infidelity has increased with their use of social networks,” Nico said. “This show is fun. We offer an opportunity that’s unique and is not competing with the radio station.”
With an outreach of 83 countries, the KCLV-TV special about The Social Networking Show and various other ventures in the works, Nico and Karwoski are excited about the seemingly endless possibilities.
“This opportunity came up and realizing the future of it, having fun working together — everything has great promise,” Karwoski said.