A new beginning for local media production: This is the story of the little TV station that could | TheUnion.com

A new beginning for local media production: This is the story of the little TV station that could

Susan Rogers and Lew Sitzer
Special to Prospector

Twenty-five years ago, public access television came to western Nevada County thanks to the efforts of a few community members and the City of Grass Valley. Dubbed “Foothill Community Access Television” (FCAT) and operating from the basement of St. Joseph’s Center, public access TV is a way to give communities and citizens a voice in the media.

When cable TV came on the scene as a new broadcast monopoly, the Federal Communication Commission realized other voices needed to be heard and seen. As a result, we are one of dozens of cities in the U.S. broadcasting programs that focus on local issues and providing a way for citizens to actively participate and become better informed.

In 2004, FCAT morphed into NCTV, then Nevada County Digital Media Center and finally Nevada County Media (NCM), moving from strictly TV broadcasting via three channels on Comcast and Suddenlink Cable, to including the current internet-based digital platform. During these years, NCM also moved five times and our latest, finest and hopefully our last move is our new large facility (7,500 sq ft) with vastly increased production capabilities (all available to members) at 355 Crown Point Circle in Grass Valley.

Almost completed now, we have designed and built a state-of–the-art training and production facility for videographers and filmmakers, whether local or from the surrounding region. Available to beginners as well as professionals, NCM also offers cutting-edge, high quality recording studios for our creative community of artists and musicians. For our business community, we have an event space for all types of presentations that can be filmed, streamed and archived.

We offer a comfortable lounge for member gatherings, four complete editing suites with the latest in technology, a small recording studio for bands and musicians, and a huge green-screen studio seating 125 for events and productions.

Besides broadcasting on three channels, we stream all of our filmings (such as all local government meetings) and archive them so that they may be viewed on demand by anyone, anywhere with an internet connection.

Our dynamic Executive Director Ramona Howard comes with a background in technology, having run a software company in the Central Valley that sold to major film studios both in California and worldwide until moving to Nevada County. Since then, Ramona has been on a mission, which you will clearly see when you get a tour of our new facility.


NCM will be providing regular updates about events and classes through Prospector. Or, check out our training schedule for The Academy at http://www.nevadacountytv.org/lets-learn. A new speaker series starts in February with the first event on Wednedsay, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. featuring renowned speaker Wilford Welch, a published author of “In Our Hands; a Handbook for Intergenerational Actions to Solve the Climate Crisis.” Welch is a retired diplomat, a professor of international business management and a member of a team that removed 5,000 pounds of trash from Mount Everest. Look for more details in next week’s Prospector.

The story of local media is not unlike The Little Engine That Could, with a 25-year history of passionate, determined community members pushing against great odds to keep public access television alive in western Nevada County. The latest iteration, Nevada County Media, represents the culmination of this great effort. We look forward to working with you and hope to see you soon.

The Nevada County Digital Media Center is Nevada County’s hub for all things media.

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