About two weeks after board members announced the impending closure of Nevada County Digital Media Center, otherwise known as NCTV, local officials from the cities, county and schools met with members of the station’s board of directors and its producers on Sept. 5 to discuss the future of community access television in Western Nevada County.
After two decades of broadcasting under ever-shifting funding models, the gathered parties recognized that community access television is a struggling model to sustain, they said in a joint statement Tuesday.
Public, Educational and Governmental community access television (PEG stations) have been hit by the recession through the decline of public donations and underwriting from local businesses, not unlike other nonprofit organizations, the assembled parties said. According to Congressional Research Service, more than 100 PEG access centers, which provide community groups and individuals free access to video production facilities and equipment, training and programming time, have closed since 2005.
One of community access television’s benefits includes programming local government meetings for Nevada County and its municipalities, cultural programing and election coverage, the statement said. This public dissemination of governmental meetings and related programming is an NCTV function that the Nevada County governmental agency is looking into taking over, according to its chief information officer, Steve Monaghan.
Meanwhile, county education entities are looking into taking on that portion of NCTV, station officials have said. Nevada Union High School officials have been involved in the ongoing talks, and the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools’ own board of directors meets Wednesday to talk about what role it can play, said its board president, Marianne Slade-Troutman.
And the producers are pursuing the possibility of forming a new nonprofit that would take over the public access programming aspect after the closure of NCTV, said prominent producer Gil Dominguez, operator of TouchDown Productions.
Interested participants from local government, NCTV producers, and the schools agreed to meet again and to continue the conversation to look at options to retain programming and explore alternative program models. The critical question is how Western Nevada County can sustain the future of PEG programing in our community.
The next regular board meeting of the Media Center is 6 p.m. Sept. 12 at 400 Providence Mine Road, Building N-3, in Nevada City, which will be open to the public,. While the agenda for that meeting includes regular business matters, a 30-minute period will be provided for public input.
The next community meeting with local government officials from the cities, the county and schools, NCTV’s board members and its producers is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 19 at the Nevada County Eric Rood Government Center, Empire Conference Room, which will also be open to the general public.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4236.