A Project of Boston College Magazine

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Boston College Front Row?

Boston College Front Row is a Web site that offers free access through streaming media to tapes of cultural and scholarly events at Boston College. Front Row is a service of Boston College Magazine and is produced by the Office of Marketing Communications in partnership with the colleges, schools, departments, and programs of the University.

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Who is responsible for Boston College Front Row?

Front Row is produced by the Office of Marketing Communications, a division of the President's Office, and is sponsored by Boston College Magazine, a quarterly publication of the University available free to alumni and by subscription. To view a staff list, click here.

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What are Front Row's goals?

  • To offer worldwide, around-the-clock access to Boston College's public academic and cultural presentations.
  • To provide public-domain educational programming for use by teachers and students.
  • To be an archive for scholars and researchers.

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How is content selected for Front Row?

Academic and cultural events

To be considered for Front Row, events must be sponsored by one of the University's colleges, schools, departments, research centers, or other academic programs. Presentations must not only meet high intellectual standards but also focus on a topic deemed of general interest to a college-educated audience. (See below for technical specifications.)
The editors select events from postings on Boston College calendars and from information submitted to them by event sponsors. Once a program is selected for Front Row, staff will contact the event sponsors.
In the dispersal of its limited resources for taping and digitizing tape, Front Row focuses on events that are free and open to the public. Classes or fee-paid workshops or seminars will not be considered for Front Row except under extraordinary circumstances.

Boston College history

Front Row hosts selected archival film and audiotapes related to the history of Boston College.


Front Row hosts audio files of spoken and musical performance by faculty, students, or guest artists that are related to the academic mission of the University and for which performers can secure copyright and publication clearance.
To query the editors or to suggest events that may be suitable for broadcast on Front Row, E-mail frontrow@bc.edu.

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Are there categories of events that Front Row will not host?

Yes. Front Row will not host administrative events. It will not host events where content is under copyright restriction that cannot be assigned by the performer. It will not host video of arts performance unless the video meets television production standards for arts broadcasting.

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Who does the taping for Front Row?

Nearly all tapes broadcast by Front Row are created by BC's Office of Media and Technology Services or other professional videographers hired by the sponsoring organization or by the Office of Marketing Communications for Front Row.

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Are Front Row tapes edited for broadcast?

Generally speaking, no. Front Row presents academic and cultural events as they take place, from introductions through question-and-answer sessions and concluding remarks. Occasionally, a segment of a presentation will be edited out because it does not meet technical or editorial standards. An example of the former is a question-and-answer session at which the questions are not spoken into a microphone or repeated by the presenter into a microphone. An example of the latter is a speaker introduction that veers off into a speech or administrative commemoration.

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May I submit a tape to Front Row?

Yes. The tape will be reviewed to see if it meets the editorial standards described above and technical standards appropriate for Web broadcast.

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What are those technical standards?

Tapes may be made from a single camera or microphone, but must present consistently clear sound and picture and be free of faults such as distracting backgrounds, accidental camera movement, and presenters who walk in and out of the camera frame or away from a microphone. Also unacceptable for Front Row are tapes on which a presenter refers to visual aids, such as slides, that remain out of camera range or focus.

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Is Front Row the exclusive exhibitor of the events it broadcasts?

Not necessarily. Material that is developed for Front Row may also be accessed or broadcast from other BC Web pages, typically those of the sponsoring department. Also, through a partnership between Boston College and WGBH-FM, Boston's PBS radio station, programs produced by Boston College may also be requested by WGBH for broadcast on its streaming media program, the "WGBH Forum Network." Requests from WGBH will be brought to the attention of the sponsoring organization for consideration.

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Do presenters need to sign releases assigning rights to the video or audio to Boston College Front Row?

Yes. No event will be hosted on the Front Row unless the editors have received a signed release form from the principal presenter(s). Introducers and audience members who ask questions or make comments are not required to sign releases. Release forms may be obtained by E-mailing frontrow@bc.edu.

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Should audience members be advised that an event is being taped for possible streaming?


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What browser and software are needed to view videos on Front Row?

All the major Internet browsers may be used to access Front Row, including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

Videos posted after January 1, 2011 are played back with Adobe Flash Player. To download this free software go to: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

Programs posted after January 1, 2011 may also be viewed on mobile, handheld devices, including iPhones and iPads.

Videos posted prior to 2011 are played using RealPlayer. To download this free software go to: http://www.real.com/

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Are transcripts, audiotapes, or videotapes of presentations available through Front Row?

Front Row does not provide transcripts, audiotapes, or videotapes of any events, although sponsoring organizations may do so. Please contact the sponsoring department for information.

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Are podcasts (downloadable mp3 files) of Front Row presentations available?

If a Front Row speaker authorizes us to podcast a presentation, an audio podcast/mp3 file will be made available for downloading. To find all of the podcasts available on Front Row, go to the "Browse by category" drop-down menu, select "With Podcast," and click "Go." Front Row also makes its podcasts available via the iTunes Store under the "Higher Education" category. To download the free iTunes software for Mac or PC visit the Apple Web site.

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