To my colleagues and friends in the Roseville Area Schools community, I’d like to alert you all to a very serious situation that may potentially destroy CTV and our Public Access Cable system, as well as deprive our community of coverage of all the sporting, musical and special events that occur every year in our school district.
For those who don’t really know me very well, I am Wayne Powers, the Supervisor of Infrastructure and Cable Services for the Roseville Area Schools. For more than 30 years, with the assistance of hundreds of young people and alumni over those years, I have been producing coverage of RAHS Sporting Events, Musical and special events programs for our community, as well as live School Board Meetings, for our Roseville Area Schools Educational Access Cable Channel.
Currently, the North Suburban Access Commission (NSAC), which oversees CTV (our Public Access Cable Television Center) and administers the existing cable franchise with ComCAST, is in the midst of franchise negotiations for the renewal of the franchise.
In this cable system, there are 10 cities: Arden Hills, Falcon Heights, Little Canada, Shoreview, Mounds View, Roseville, Lauderdale, New Brighton, North Oaks, and St. Anthony. Representatives from each of these member cities comprise the NSAC Board. Along with Executive Director Coralie Wilson, they are in the midst of difficult negotiations, the outcome of which will determine the very survival of CTV and our ability to utilize the productions trucks of CTV to cover all the events our community has become accustomed to seeing every year on cable TV.
During their 1st 30 years of existence, our Public Access Cable Television Center has received an operating grant from the cable company, plus an equipment grant. These grants funded their operations, paid for staffing and equipment…..and as a School District, we were able to reserve the production trucks and use them for our productions, without cost to myself or the school district for all of that time.
The operating grant for fiscal 2013 that NSAC/CTV received was based on $4.15/per subscriber, or about $1.5 million Dollars, which funds their production center and staff, plus an annual equipment grant of $50,000, that provides for replacement of studio and editing equipment, and the repair and maintenance of the two productions trucks.
In their current franchise renewal negotiations, COMCAST is unwilling provide either an operating grant or an equipment grant, and instead has demanded back 8 PEG Access Channels that CTV uses (Public / Educational / Government)…..one of the PEG Channels is our own Roseville Area Schools Cable Channel 18. ComCAST’s formal offer is instead only .42/per subscriber, or $158,000 for capital only……..and well and reducing the number of Public Access Channels from 12 to 3.
If this were to occur, my access to the production vehicles of CTV would virtually disappear…and as a result NONE of the sporting events, music concerts, speech showcases, MR RAHS, Variety Show, Black History Week, Asian Culture Show, and the RAHS, FAHS and ALC Graduations would likely be covered, and it’s likely our access channel itself would disappear.
While I’ve been here for nearly 31 years, I don’t have a large budget, or a staff. My crew for all these productions are high school and middle school students, plus some adult “RAHS Alumni” who were my crew members while they were in school. Each year, I have maybe $5000 a year for capital equipment. Based on the cost to commercially rent the production trucks of CTV, I would have had to pay nearly $30,000 to rent the trucks and pay for the CTV Technician’s time. That is a cost the district simply cannot absorb.
I’m asking for your support, and that you use your voices to collectively tell COMCAST and the representatives of the NSAC that you support public access television in our community, and that COMCAST should negotiate in good faith. Otherwise, it’ll be the end of 623 Productions and Public Access Television in the North Suburbs.
There will be a public hearing on April 17th, at 6:30 pm where you can make your voices known to representatives of COMCAST and the members of the NSAC (North Suburban Access Commission) about how important Public Access Television and coverage of school events are to our community.
The location of the hearing will be at either the Shoreview or Roseville City Council Chambers…and that specific information will be made available to us on Monday of next week. I encourage you to let your voices be heard, and to not let COMCAST destroy Public Access Cable Television in our community, or any other community for that matter….and many other communities in the Twin Cities will soon be experiencing the heavy hand of COMCAST in their franchise negotiations soon as well.
I’m providing a link to an excerpt from the Roseville Area Schools March 11, 2014 School Board meeting, featuring CTV Executive Director Coralie Wilson explaining in more detail the dire consequences of COMCAST’s proposal.
Coralie Wilson video excerpt:
Thank you for all your support over the years for my groups’ coverage of your events, and I hope we can continue to provide that coverage for many more years to come.
Wayne M. Powers
Supervisor of Infrastructure and Cable Services
Roseville Area Schools
Roseville Area Schools Educational Access Channel 18 became operational during the spring of 1984 and has since provided live coverage of School Board Meetings, Special Events programming,and varsity sporting events. Channel 18 transmits programming and text 24 hours a day from the Roseville Area Schools District Center.
A team of student volunteers from Roseville Area Middle & High Schools make up the "623 Productions" crew, coordinated and supervised by Wayne M. Powers -Supervisor of Infrastructure and Cable Support Services. Students from this group are also involved in a variety of public access projects in association with CTV-Roseville, the public access arm of the North Suburban Cable Commission.
Students participating in television productions with the 623 Productions group can earn a letter.
Roseville students interested in becoming members of the 623 Productions team should contact Wayne M. Powers at the District Center (651-635-1623), Sean Thao at Roseville Area High School (651-604-1473) or Greg Martinson in the RAHS Media Center. We will provide training in the use of studio and remote cameras, audio, graphics and television directing, as well as non-linear. Classes are also available at CTV-Roseville for a fee.
All School Board Meetings air live on their scheduled date, and are replayed the Wednesday through Sunday of the same week at 9:00 am & 7:00 pm unless otherwise noted.
Events such as Pops or RAHS / RAMS Concerts will air on the Monday or closest day after the Channel 18 air copy becomes available....with subsequent airings to follow.
Varsity Sporting Events will be aired beginning at 7 pm the day following the event, with subsequent playbacks scheduled after that date.
623 Productions offers live streaming feeds of Channel 18 programming, as well as programming produced throughout the year, via the web. Just click on the "Streaming Video" link to check out what's currently available.
To view streaming media files, QuickTime Player version 6 or above is required.
Copies of programs shown on Roseville Area Schools Educational Access Cable Channel 18 or recorded by District 623 staff are available upon request. A $ 10 duplication fee is charged, regardless of the type or length of the program. Please make checks payable to Roseville Area Schools.