Students get an all-Access pass

Tim McDaniel, producer and host of Norse Access, keeps a smile on his face through the times and tribulations of running a weekly talk show with zero budget.

“Norse Access is a completely student ran production, so there is no budget or salaries. Instead students can get credit as an independent study,” McDaniel said. “And of course we get hands-on knowledge and experience.”

Norse Access is a weekly television series that airs a new episode every Monday and runs all the way through Sunday. The show airs three times a day at 9:30 a.m., 4 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on Insight cable channels 18 and 96 and is always availbale on the Norse Access YouTube channel. All new and past episodes are posted for viewing convenience. Search “NKU” in the search bar for access to all episodes.

Every Tuesday McDaniel spends the day prepping and taping a new episode. He writes his own jokes for episode monologues, searches for funny stories on the Internet to share with the audience and does all of the hosting duties. The show gets exactly 30 minutes of studio time for each episode and not a minute more. McDaniel does a lot of improvising because in a live taping there is no time to go back and fix mistakes or re-shoot a scene.

McDaniel handles all the hosting duties because his friend and co-host, Alex Derickson, graduated last year and no one else stepped up to fill his shoes. That’s fine with McDaniel. He and Derickson took over the show during season three in 2009 so he is not a new kid on the block. McDaniel has been around for a few seasons and is prepared to handle the hosting duties alone for the upcoming season five during the 2011 spring semester.

“We were looking for consistency on the show and avoiding confusion with the audience by not switching me as host,” McDaniel said.

Student Phillip Hepfinger and Electronic Media and Broadcasting Lecturer Wes Akers are two more integral pieces of the Norse Access puzzle. Hepfinger is the director and makes sure everything gets done technical wise. He makes sure the correct lighting is used and all the camera work is correct. Akers is executive producer of the show and the faculty member in charge.

“He’s there if we need advice or have a question,” McDaniel said. “He watches all the shows and gives us feedback.”

“Tim almost always sees the areas of improvement that I see and he is usually halfway to a solution before I can even suggest one,” Akers said.

The goal of every Norse Access episode is to get students and faculty in touch with all new and relevant events and news happening at NKU. Each episode has new guests, features and interviews with NKU students and professionals as well as people of interest.

“The thing that I would like to see on this season’s show is more segments and packages that have a visual style and form that is more similar to the types of programs that students are watching,” Akers said. “They’ve mastered the basics now it’s time to be creative and I feel pretty confident they will achieve this.”

The first episode of the fifth season aired on Feb. 14 and featured a few new creative segments as well as an interview with Liz Sunderhaus (who plays Cinderella in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical “Cinderella” at the NKU Corbett Theatre from Feb. 17-27) and Tim’s top 10 pop culture moments of 2010.

The new feature “Tim’s Favorite Things” debuted during the first episode. In this feature McDaniel was presented with random items he had never seen until shooting the episode and he had to improvise reasons why he loved these items.

This time around McDaniel was presented with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sleeved blanket and a can of soup. The can of soup was a bit of an inside joke. McDaniel recently had jaw surgery and all he could eat for six weeks was soup. To find out McDaniel’s response to these unusual items check out the NKU YouTube channel.

New house musician Ashley Thomas debuted during the first episode as well. Thomas will play in and out of commercials and play a full song during every episode.

The second episode, set to air the week of Feb. 21, will have an interview with custodial and material handling supervisor Glenn Scott about this year’s RecycleMania. Also airing will be a “Man on the Street” segment (McDaniel interviews random students and faculty about a particular topic) about opinions on the Oscars and a new feature called “Tim’s Challenge,” a recurring segment where he challenged to do off-beat activities by the Norse Access staff.

“These challenges could involve me having to eat 10 hot dogs in five minutes or singing a random karaoke song,” McDaniel said.

Norse Access encourages students to come to the tapings of the show every Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Landrum 333. If interested in watching a live taping of the show, plan on showing up around 4:45 in order to secure a seat. McDaniel has one final thought for all the fans and students who may have never seen the show.

“If anyone watches the show and has a story idea let us know. We’re trying to build an online following and trying to get all our classmates watching the show,” McDaniel said.

Students can follow Norse Access on Twitter and Facebook or subscribe to the NKU YouTube channel. All questions and story or segment ideas can be emailed to McDaniel at

Story by Derick Bischoff