Public Access Community Television: Not to be confused with any other types of television

Recent Community Media Database mapping indicates that there are over 1,867 community access television providers. All of us our members, on-camera guest, community producers, and viewing fans, at WCCA TV 13 is proud to be one them.

We are certainly happy that Worcester has three of such access channels serving local public schools (ch11), local government(12),and the grassroots/citizens public at large (WCCA TV 13).
“Public Access/Community television” such as WCCA TV 13, is not the same species and not to be confused with “Public Television”. Community television serves a specific community in a much broader scope. Operations are supported on a completely different funding mechanism and beyond non-profit status, the missions are completely different although continually important and valuable.

In the commercial broadcast field, it is not uncommon to find channels earning revenues that range from under 2 Million to well over 50 million dollars per year. A tip of the iceberg for Network earnings. As a cable service provider, Charter Communications made over 40 million dollars gross revenues in Worcester alone in 2010. In comparison to many network affiliates stations whose programming consist of maybe one daily news show, WCCA TV’s programming is significantly higher, while working with a lot less operating revenue.

To place things in perspective, a few episodes of one network produced “reality” show may be closer to the amount that WCCA TV has to spend on a whole years worth of community programming and that’s including the classes, equipment and studio space. How many low budget movies can even be completed with under Eight Hundred Thousand per year? More than WCCA TV’s the annual budget.

Looking at other nearby Network Affiliate stations, including PBS ( not to be confused with public access television btw), and other locally originated commercial stations, none of them , even when combined offer the opportunities that WCCA TV 13 does here locally or that any community public access television station should offer. Here in Worcester, none of those channels offer and make available, for anyone who lives, works, or is a student in Worcester, access to a public forum channel, the production tools, studio facilities and resources to encourage community participation and programming that is distributed over cable and on line. None of those channels come close to the amount of diverse-locally-community produced programs as seen on WCCA TV 13 on it’s cable and web stream. That is fact and is obvious just buy watching the channel.

Public access is NOT here to sell soap, or compete with commercial market TV, or to aspire to traditional TV values. It’s simply a different approach to television. An approach that compliments all other approaches to the medium. A public access center acts, in part, as the stewards of television technology and community produced video media and while ensuring community access, working as advocates for the people’s voice. WCCA TV places the tools of television technology into the hands of the community to empower those who need it. We are here to provide community access and we are not here to serve only a few. We are here for all to enjoy as a resource, as an opportunity to learn, build, and reach out and connect as well as to be entertained by. Some look at us as niche programming or democracy in action. WCCA strives to serve the poor, the disenfranchised, as well as those considered wealthy or for any organization, thriving or not, that wishes to share, educate, and reach out in public service to our community or to just tell their story. As far as any television facility goes, WCCA is the place to learn, create, present and connect and we are YOUR VISION television Worcester. WCCA TV 13.

We are TV By, For and Of the People because you, the people of Worcester, present works you either produced or wish to present on the public access channel. In Worcester, NO OTHER television station does that or has done that at the level WCCA TV has since it began in 1986.

I understand that there will apparently always be some that resist acknowledging the positive differences of WCCA TV community television from our commercial and even public counterparts, and for some, perhaps for personal reasons or agendas, will continue to obfuscate those differences. If you wish to learn the fact about public access/ community television, you can always speak directly to me anytime. Unlike many major network channels I think that’s another difference WCCA is local, accessible and a part of our community neighborhood.

I have said this all before. Less than verbose is not my best quality.

I wish I knew of a way to help everyone understand my point and what the strategic value public access is for a community. If there was an answer to that, be assured top Wall Street Ad industry execs would be all over it. We at WCCA TV press on, simply hoping to serve, to contribute to build community and to help provide that niche to empower from a grass roots level up.
It’s our job to do so. Another difference between WCCA and commercial TV, we are not working to reap a profit for company. Our job, what we are paid to do, is provide a service to our community.

As long as commercial television station exist, public access/community media will be needed. Obviously community need for access is visible as seen through the level of production activity, collaborative initiatives, continual learning programs, and the number of programs as well as the diversity of programs. Thanks to those in our community who care, and participate. Speaking of which, feel free to contact me if you have ideas to help us improve.


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