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Monday, June 29, 2009

A Vision for Community Media -Part Two

It would be foolish to write about growing a public access television presence in Contra Costa if such a presence was just a hope or some other fantasy. I remember at a Concord City Council meeting a resident uttered his demands for the city to “provide” a public access channel with sufficient staffing and a satellite receiver to retransmit “Democracy Now” over the channel. OMG. It was an idea that once framed presumed its rejection.

The plan and subset of policies I present to you is reasoned, makes possible wide and easy participation by all citizens and results in a product that educates and edifies each of us. The purpose of this blog is to connect with like-minded people who can help construct this real-life media nexus.

Some background information first.

Please forget about “Wayne’s World” as anything other than a tired old joke that served only to trivialize access television. Think, perhaps, about the two well informed veterans talking about obtaining benefits and other dealings with the V.A. This blog is a serious conversation about a substantial community service.

Community media traditionally means television programs produced and prepared by local folks. Various groups in the community would communicate via video. Making a public access program requires numerous skills and at most places much more trouble than it is worth. Imagine an enterprise that involves several people, lots of planning, audio and video recording, CG, editing and post production to obtain a product that would be shown twice.

You gotta really wanna make TV to enjoy volunteering in access television.

So, surprise! The gotta really wanna folks seem to dominate access television.

There is a better way. It is a process that includes many more people and a much wider variety of interests.

Simply put: 1) Encourage all not for profit organizations to offer their already produced video programs and fill the channel with these messages. 2) Offer professional training in public relations and marketing to leverage effect of telecasts. 3) Offer professional video services in several tiers leveraging savings due to PEG grants but explicitly avoid using the access center to, in any way, compete unfairly with professional providers or organizations.

It’s the old fashioned way. This would be the first of many baby steps.

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