Friday, January 20, 2006
Concord-Carlisle Access Television puts on a show
Ever wish you could see yourself on TV — without the embarrassment of becoming an American Idol? You may yet have your 15 minutes of fame. On January 5, Concord-Carlisle Access Television (CCTV) held an open house at the Concord-Carlisle High School to show off its newly upgraded studio, engineering room, and editing suite. CCTV is a member-based non-profit organization broadcasting over channels 8, 9, and 10 to serve the residents of Concord and Carlisle. Says CCTV President Court Booth, "Our stated purpose is communication, collaboration, and community."
Carlisle joined CCTV in December
According to board member and Carlisle resident Rick Prats, CCTV was formed by interested residents in 2004 to take over the CCHS studio, formerly operated by Comcast, and "bring a sense of ownership and pride." In its first year it was operated as a Concord station, but the Carlisle Selectmen signed a contract with CCTV in December, 2005, and in January the CCTV bylaws were amended to include Carlisle. The current contract between Carlisle and CCTV runs for three years. A Town Meeting Warrant Article will be required to extend the contract.
Town Hall, Carlisle School equipment planned
CCTV is completely financed by money given to the two towns under their respective cable licensing agreements with Comcast. Cable companies are obligated by law to fund community access programming. Before joining CCTV this year, Carlisle had amassed funds for community access as a result of its 2003 licensing agreement with Comcast. That contract provided $25,000 for capital purchases which will be used by CCTV to buy cameras and controls for Carlisle Town Hall and to assist in the upgrade of the CCHS studio. A second capital payment in 2006 of $15,000 will provide equipment at the Carlisle Public School and further contribute to CCHS studio renovation. Annual Comcast payments to Carlisle based on cable usage, also in the contract, will be applied to CCTV operating expenses.
Meetings, events, creative programming
Says Selectman Doug Stevenson, "The possibilities are almost infinite" for bringing community programming to Carlisle. He hopes Carlisle will soon be able to broadcast important Selectmen meetings, Town Meetings, and community events. Emergency information may also be provided. Past programming has included a taping of Old Home Day and of programs at the Gleason Public Library.
In Concord, Town Meetings, CCHS sports, cultural events, church services, and informational programs have been broadcast. An upcoming reality show entitled "Concord Gets Fit" will follow several Concord residents as they get in shape. Prats notes a community TV club has been formed at CCHS which includes several Carlisle students, and has already produced a program on the Concord Police Department.
Prats compares community TV to the Internet in its freedom and lack of censorship. By law, any member can have access to the channels as long as decency codes are observed. "Anything goes," he says. "People can express their own views and present topics of interest to them." He adds, "It's not up to CCTV to drive the programming. We rely on volunteers and citizens to provide that." Stevenson echoes that point, "Nothing will happen until we have volunteers to run the equipment." Training is provided by CCTV and interested volunteers can check the web site www.concordtv.org (see sidebar).
"I am very excited" says Prats, pointing to the high Carlisle turnout for the studio open house. "I want to see us work together (with Concord), but also bring some things that are 'Carlisle' in nature." He adds, "There are people in town who have tons and tons of ideas. I expect something really cool out of Carlisle."
© 2006 The