By luke alo
In an effort to inform and entertain, the owners of Hogi Yogi installed a gigantic television screen on a busy road, pleasing some and worrying others.
The 11- by 7-foot screen, the largest like it in Utah County, is found on the corner of University Avenue and Bulldog, next to Glazie”s.
The TV runs continuous breaking news on a crawler line underneath the screen similar to those found on CNN while having other news and advertisements on its main screen.
Some BYU students have expressed concern with the new concept.
“It”s very distracting,” said Shane Ebbert, 23, a BYU senior from San Antonio, Texas, majoring in civil engineering. “If something interesting is on the screen, you”ll pay more attention to it than the road.”
Provo police Lt. Rick Healey said no one has reported any serious issues with the TV.
“I personally am unaware of any problems that have been caused because of it,” Healey said.
Originally, Provo leaders were concerned with the idea. However, when the owners of Hogi Yogi described the purpose, leaders such as Provo Mayor Lewis Billings agreed.
“We had to explain that it could be used for things like an Amber Alert in Utah,” said Rick Clayton, co-owner of Hogi Yogi.
BYU senior Ryan Flake, 25, from Brookings, S.D., majoring in electrical engineering, did not agree with televising public safety news.
“That”s what we have radio for,” he said. “The people the TV will reach could just as easily get the same message from the radio in their car and not be distracted.”
Some BYU students appreciate the public safety concern.
“I think it”s a good idea,” said Terryl Crow, 24, a BYU senior from Jackson, Mich., majoring in electrical engineering. “It”s a good location for people to notice.”
In addition to informing drivers of public safety issues, the screen will eventually be able to swivel around to play movies in the parking lot.
Clayton said BYU athletic director Val Hale talked about the possibility of playing BYU road football games on the giant screen once it is swiveled away from traffic and toward the parking lot.
BYU intern Ron Aguilar, 24, a senior from Bakersfield, Calif., majoring in marketing and advertising played a major role in setting up the logistics of the TV and continues to work in that area.
“It”s one of the best projects I”ve ever worked on,” Aguilar said.
Aguilar said he is not concerned with potential traffic problems as a result of the TV.
“I think it actually keeps people more alert,” he said. “The screen is at eye level so you can go back and forth between the screen, and the traffic lights really easily.”
Aguilar dedicated between 300 and 400 hours on the project, Clayton said.
“Just to run a 5- or 10-second ad takes eight hours of programming,” Aguilar said.
Clayton said he believes the hard work will pay off and that drivers will appreciate the screen.