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Full potential: Media cooperative continues rehab of building

Nevada County Media members work on producing a cooking show called “Let’s Get Cooking” Wednesday at Nevada County Media’s expanding community media makerspace off Crown Point Circle.
Photo: Elias Funez

After enduring what many hope will be the worst of the pandemic closures, Nevada County Media has returned to renovating a space that could bring creative vision to life.

Executive Director Ramona Howard said her team is ramping up their facilities to support local projects — be they educational or aesthetically oriented — now that the county is hovering just above the state’s most restrictive tier.

Howard said she looks forward to using the space to its full potential, and is excited to see what kind of ideas come to fruition under the roof of the building on Crown Point Circle in Grass Valley.



Nevada County Media Executive Director Ramona Howard stands in front of a large green screen stage, one of many spaces accessible by members of Nevada County Media.
Photo: Elias Funez

“We’re going to have a pitch night once a month,” Howard said.

Howard said Nevada County Media, since its origin and her arrival four years ago, has always been equipped with state-of-the-art technology for video and audio recording, as well as editing.



Howard said those intrigued can think of Nevada County Media as a more digitally oriented The Curious Forge — a makerspace that takes membership fees to share resources and knowledge.

The annual membership costs $125 per individual, Howard said. With some orientation, members of the media-oriented cooperative have access to high quality production technology to create podcasts, webcasts, live streams, web series and music.

Hands on experience with podcasting, audio mixing, lighting, animation, social media, video editing and more can be had at the expanding Nevada County Media studios at 355 Crown Point Circle, Suite D.
Photo: Elias Funez

Howard said people with big ideas who lack the technical experience or team necessary to realize their dreams may hire a member of the Nevada County Media team as well as an affiliated intern for $45 an hour. Nevada County Media must also be given the rights to distribute content created at its facility.

Between the affordable membership fee and costs of renting a production team, the current iteration of the county’s public access television facility does not break even.

Nevada County Media relies on PEG (Public, educational, and government access television) funding to pay rent for the 10,000-square-foot creative space. The public grants also pay for the most up-to-date technology.

Howard said because her team is paid for through money generated by the media cooperative, she had to pare down her staff to survive the pandemic’s closures, like many organizations affected by the financial pressures of COVID-19.

From spaces big to spaces small, including sound rooms and stages for recording, are available for members of Nevada County Media to use.
Photo: Elias Funez

“We went from nine people on staff to four,” Howard said.

Howard said as Nevada County Media looks to the future, they’ve made a point to partner with local nonprofits to create a joint intern partner program.

Tal Vinicky will begin studying at Sierra College this summer, and is currently a video editor interning for Nevada County Media.

Vinicky just helped Nevada County Media film its 100th episode of Nevada County Now, where host Cole Petitt received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nevada County Now began as a joint project between the production specialists and The Union newspaper to fortify local media outlets during the first wave of COVID-19, said Andy Rolland, head of Nevada County Media’s production.

“Video is a growing medium,“ Rolland said, adding that he was happy to facilitate whatever projects are emerging from community members’ quarantined minds.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com.


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