Longtime public-access television proponent Terri Hicklin announced Monday that she is retiring from her position as access coordinator with Nevada County Television, closing out a 15-year run at the end of February.
“For many in the community, when they see my face, they immediately think of NCTV,” Hicklin wrote in an email. “Well, it is time for my face, and the person behind it, to move on and begin to take on new challenges and experience the diversity that awaits me out in the world.”
Hicklin’s departure comes on the heels of a tumultuous six months for NCTV.
The digital media center has been struggling to rebound after a decision in late August 2013 by the organization’s board of directors to dissolve the station, citing financial difficulties.
Supporters rallied to save the station, replacing the board with a new group of directors who are working to slim down the station’s operations and keep it on the air.
That group of supporters raised more than $10,000 at an October telethon to keep the station on the air, adding to a $10,000 loan that board President Keith Davies and others had personally made to the station.
The public broadcast station found a new location in downtown Grass Valley in December that was significantly cheaper to rent than its old digs at the Nevada City Tech Center. In January, board member Cheryl Noble was named station manager.
“It’s definitely been a rocky road,” Hicklin said. “I think people who care (about NCTV) have steered the course and (it) will manage to stay afloat. But it hasn’t been easy.”
Hicklin started working with the county’s public-access television when it was Foothills Community Access Television, before it “morphed” into NCTV in 2004, back when it was still housed at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center.
The station has provided community access television for western Nevada County for nearly two full decades, offering programs chronicling a multitude of Sierra foothill happenings from local elections, community events and local sports, as well as cultural programming.
NCTV’s government channel has broadcast Grass Valley’s and Nevada City’s city council and planning commission meetings, as well as county government meetings.
In the beginning, NCTV’s committed volunteers broadcast using three VHS decks, which could run two hours each before cycling to the next deck, The Union noted back in 2004. After the six hours, the whole thing would automatically restart.
“It was pretty primitive by today’s standards, but we still did it,” Hicklin said.
Over the years, Hicklin said, she served as chief programmer, station manager and access coordinator.
She described her role as more of an operations manager — “programming, trouble-shooting, dealing with the public, getting shows put on the air, helping people learn how to create shows, scheduling, helping with production.
“I’ve had many fingers in a lot of different pots, let’s say,” Hicklin concluded. “I didn’t want to get bored.”
But, she noted, this will be her second retirement, after 20 years in social services.
“I really love change, I love new challenges,” she said. “I’ve been here for a very long time.”
Hicklin said she intends to remain involved and is not leaving TV production. She simply no longer wants to be tied down to a five-day-a-week commitment.
“I want to travel and do videography in other places,” she said. “I have new horizons left to conquer.”
But Hicklin, who said, “I’ll stay a friend to NCTV always.” plans to continue to produce and direct programs and will make herself available to help with studio shoots, for example.
“It really has been a blessing and an honor to work with so many talented and creative people,” she said. “The response to my email (announcing retirement) has been very heartwarming. It’s nice to know you’ve had some impact on people over the years.”
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.