Our View: Community access TV worthy of western county’s support
October 21, 2013
This afternoon, in downtown Grass Valley, the Nevada County Digital Media Center is seeking the community's support in keeping its broadcast on local cable TV channels.
For a second consecutive year, NCTV, as it is more commonly known, is hosting a telethon to raise much-needed funding.
The nonprofit organization hopes to build on the $10,000 it raised at the 2012 event, when the telethon takes over the parking lot at Grass Valley City Hall between 1-5 p.m. today. Those who can't make the trip can catch the coverage on Comcast Channel 11, Suddenlink Channel 16 or streaming live online at NevadaCountyTV.org.
It was just two short months ago that NCTV's board of directors voted to close the station, due to a lack of funding to cover cost of operations. That vote, however, came as a surprise to the western Nevada County community that NCTV serves because the board of directors took the vote in a closed session, without ever announcing the topic was even on the table for discussion.
At that time, in this very column space, we deemed the decision short-sighted and the closed-door discussion on it misguided. That's because throughout its history here, our community access TV station has frequently faced financial struggles that threatened its very existence. On at least three occasions, dating back to its 1993 founding as Foothills Community Access Television, station officials warned that without more support from the community, they would have no choice but to pull the plug. Yet in each of those instances, the community came up with a solution.
And once again, it appears the community is poised to show such support.
With the announcement of the station's dire straits, several of its producers — many who had not been informed of the decision to close the station until reading about it in this newspaper — channeled their outrage into finding a way to stay "on the air." Discussions that followed with local government officials, though they should have been open-door meetings to allow the public to take part, appear to have led to a path forward for the station.
One key contribution to the continued operation of the station was a $10,000 loan from new board members Dan Holler, Grass Valley's former city administrator, and Keith Davies, the co-CEO of the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce. Davies was also recently elected as NCTV's board president.
Just one member of the board that decided to close the doors in August continues to hold his seat. The new board seeks to slim down the organization's operations overhead, a point made clear by its decision not to fill an executive director position, at least through the remainder of 2013.
"I think what we are asking is to get our infrastructure in place (first)," said Cheryl Noble, a board member and a station producer.
As new board members continue to comb through NCTV's finances, and what led to the decision to shut the station down, we are encouraged by a more inclusive atmosphere in how meetings are conducted, offering seats at the table beyond those belonging to the board. Providing transparency in both building the station's budget and how the board arrives at its decisions will only help retain support from the public it serves.
Make no mistake, NCTV provides a valuable service to our community. That includes broadcasting governmental meetings into the homes of residents who are unable to attend; entertaining us with musical performances and other arts programming; and bringing the wins and losses and all the highlights of the local sports scene to our TV screens.
We encourage those who value NCTV to show their support through today's telethon.
And we encourage NCTV's new board to show respect for that support by continuing to provide public access to its meetings and its decision-making process, which will directly impact the sustainability of our community access station.
This editorial represents the views of The Union editorial board, which is comprised of members of The Union staff and informed members of the community.
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