NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

What's the value of Community TV?

Britt Retherford's article Forces gather to save NCTV Facing financial problems, station looks to Comcast, February 4, 2005, raises some interesting questions.
Blaming Comcast for an impending money crisis that could lead to its closure, Nevada County Television has formed its own task force to lobby for support from area residents, and local and state government elected officials.
What is the value of Community Television?

If it is valuable to the community, why must it depend on Comcast for funding?
One plan is to spearhead NCTV's own fund-raising campaign, Sitzer said.

"I want to do a week fund-raising drive, culminating in a telethon. We are going to show the community we are a valuable station, but that won't put pressure on Comcast."
Now that is the right attitude, let the viewers of Community Television to support it. I have always wondered why NCTV and it predecessor, did not adapt the KVMR model, which is public supported radio. If NCTV is valuable to it’s viewer, then let them support it. Blaming Comcast is short sighted, and a bit self serving. However, it could be that NCTV has so few people watching that it cannot be viewer supported Then that raises the question, what is it's value?

A modern cable plant has more community value than just public television. Comcast is upgrading the cable plant and will bring much need competition to SBC, which has failed to bring broadband communications to large segments of our community. Segments that are currently served by Comcast, and more that can be with expansion of the current systems in to new neighborhoods.

With an upgraded cable plant, Comcast can offer customer new services including high speed internet, telephone services using voice over IP technology, and I-NET to public agencies. I-NET will link public facilities, with data, videos and audio services. I-NET will provides for greater integration of government services and give citizens more access to government meetings via the Internet.

So, kicking out Comcast in a fight over public television that few people watch will be a disservice to the whole community. Let’s hope our Supervisors take the larger view of the cable plants value.

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