George Stoney, a key founder of the public access television movement, passes away

George Stoney considered by many to be the Father of Public Access television has passed away. He died Thursday evening, July 12th, 2012 surrounded by his family. Village Voice Obit and also more here from his home town paper.

During one of my first years in Public Access, I had the honor of meeting him many many years ago at an Regional gathering of community cable television associates. (The ACM had a different name back them.) He left an indelible impression on me that continues to inspire me throughout my career in the public access television movement.

It didn’t take long for me, through the few conversions I had with him over time, to realize the depth of his commitment to truth.

George’s life time career is epitomizes a soulful and tenacious focus on community, media, inclusiveness and justice. He was a visionary who understood the true potential of broadband which transcends the commercial wasteland that corporate politics and rogue capitalism tends to produce. Taking his students through the streets of NYC teaching the idea that each individual has a meaningful perspective, is important, and can provide a valuable contribution to building his/her own community. I understood that he knew the incredible empowering potential Public Access television, and, in fact, he has seen it flourish through the thousands of public access centers through the USA including WCCA TV. Many of his students are leaders in the public access movement today. He also developed unique documentary methods that people continue to use today, and he did not limit his knowledge and methods to his personal students only, he encouraged the public access movement to remove the mystery from the production process, to empower others and to push community media boundaries without apology because it was the right thing to do.

He was a creator, an advocate for the disenfranchised, a film maker, a teacher, a founder of public access, a consultant when needed, a man loved and respected by many.

My mere words can not express the profound impact George has had on our public access community or to me personally.

He will be missed, but his legacy will continue on.

On behalf of all of us at WCCA TV, we extend our deepest sympathy to his family and friends, along with sincere thanks for ALL his has done to stand tall for communities everywhere and for Public Access. THANK YOU GEORGE.

Mauro DePasquale, WCCA TV 13 “The People’s Channel” +

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