BPL Watch embarks on second season


(Courtesy of BPL Watch)

By Samantha Nichols and Leah Kennedy

Tamalpais High School’s student talk show BPL Watch, created last year by class of ‘20 seniors Sam Jefferson and Theo Koffman, is beginning a second season led by current seniors Alec McGhie, Ciara Rooke, Claire Conger, and Parker Falzone. The show will be live-streamed on the same Instagram account, @thebplwatch, on Fridays during lunch.

BPL Watch was the brainchild of Jefferson, former editor for The Tam News, and Koffman, who caught the attention of Jefferson while moderating last year’s Football Fest game. “It was an absolute blast to listen to him on the microphone commentating, [and I thought] this would be a really good team to do some sort of thing like that,” Jefferson said. He originally wanted to start a podcast as a project for journalism, but after brainstorming ideas with Koffman, they decided to create a talk show. From then on, Jefferson and Koffman hosted 45-minute episodes every Friday morning from 7:00 to 7:45 in the back parking lot, known by students as the BPL, hence the name BPL Watch. 

The show quickly gained immense popularity, especially among seniors, who enjoyed seeing Koffman and Jefferson interview their friends and peers, play games, and attempt the occasional hot wing challenge inside Jefferson’s van, where they propped up a phone and broadcasted live. 

“It was so fun, definitely a highlight of all my weeks, because I got to school at around 7:30 so it was so fun to hop in the car with some friends and watch [BPL Watch],” senior Tesha Ferrell said. 

Jefferson and Koffman hosted 17 episodes with appearances from numerous guests, including teachers, before transitioning to “Zoom Hangout” episodes after the stay-at-home order was initiated in March. Last year’s live streams received about 500 to 600 views per episode and @thebplwatch has acquired 568 followers as of Dec. 16.

“People were watching it every single Friday, it was just such a staple,” Rooke said. 

The hosts of BPL Watch aimed to focus on inclusivity and providing an accurate depiction of Tam student life. “The main goal was to try to make a show for everybody,” Jefferson said. “I think one of the best aspects of the BPL Watch was learning about people you might not have known about,” McGhie added. 

After the show’s popularity among students last year, Jefferson and Koffman wanted BPL Watch to become a constant in Tam student life, rather than a one-time production. “Time and time again, Sam and I talked about how it was the highlight of our senior year. And because it was such a great experience for us, and we know so many people enjoyed it, it just seems so natural to pass it down to some more seniors so that that experience can be replicated,” Koffman said.

Current senior McGhie assisted with last year’s BPL Watch production, so Jefferson and Koffman decided that he should continue the show’s legacy, along with three co-hosts, who were selected in order to continue the positive “vibe of the show.” Seniors Ciara Rooke, Parker Falzone, and Claire Conger, an editor-in-chief of The Tam News, will be joining McGhie as the hosts of BPL Watch’s second season. “They’re all super fun, great, funny people. I’m super excited to see what they’re going to do with the show,” Jefferson said. 

The new hosts plan to continue the sense of community that Jefferson and Koffman had fostered last year. “It’s not exactly connected to the school. It’s just something that connects the grades. So I feel like bringing that during quarantine would be really important and cool because we’re not all together, but it’s something that can connect us again,” Conger said. 

While last season’s in-person interviews and indoor social activities can’t be replicated this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and online classes, the new hosts are looking forward to maintaining the upbeat atmosphere of the show through technology. “I think we’re going to go more towards pre-recorded episodes, potentially live streaming a Zoom,” McGhie said. 

Tam is projected to transition to a hybrid model at the beginning of next semester, but as of now, the BPL watch hosts will continue to adhere to CDC guidelines via live streams and remote interviews. “There’s barriers in place, but we really want to just have a show people can watch during Fridays at lunch, and, you know, enjoy it and kind of still have that sense of the Tam community without being able to be at school,” McGhie said. 

With the show’s second season just beginning, the hosts are assessing its potential as a tradition for future senior classes. “We look forward to passing it down from our team down to the juniors next year,” McGhie added.

In a time where there is so little connection within the student body, the new hosts hope BPL Watch’s second season will return a sense of unity to Tam. “I think that having something entertaining, and something light-hearted, will be good for the year,” Conger said.