Progress being made in NCTV discussions
Public access program producers of the unravelling Nevada County Digital Media Center backed an outside plan to salvage the station or replace it with a new nonprofit, demonstrating the requisite support county officials said they were looking for.
“What we are looking for is a stable organization to partner with,” said Steve Monaghan, Nevada County’s Chief Information Officer.
“That’s what I want,” Monaghan said. “I want a reliable partner that isn’t going to go dark on me … or bring conflict into our governance chambers.”
Monaghan, along with Assistant County Executive Officer Alison Lehman, sat down Thursday with a dozen or so producers, along with former Grass Valley City Administrator Dan Holler and Keith Logan, a sustainability consultant.
Holler and Logan partnered to craft an alternative public access programming model to the one that the Media Center’s board of directors said was financially unsustainable when they voted in mid-August to dismantle Nevada County Television.
“We do have a plan to not only save the station but reinvigorate the station,” Logan said, noting that it calls for a leaner, financially tighter organization.
Whether Holler and Logan’s model will take the form of an all-new nonprofit organization acting as a successor to the Media Center or if it will simply retrofit NCTV to their proposed financial structure remains to be seen.
And whether the current board of directors has any part in the station’s future also remains to be seen.
Holler spoke of a smaller board, consisting of five to seven representatives that could include a producer, a member of the public and people with business and financial knowledge.
“The current board’s bylaws can be modified to allow that,” Holler noted.
After Holler and Logan laid out their plan and answered a few questions, Monaghan said he would like to see whether the producers support the duo; nearly every hand in the room went up.
Representatives of the current NCTV board also expressed support in facilitating a transition of power to Holler and Logan.
“It is very difficult to get this many people focused on one thing in one room and willing to make it happen,” Logan said.
But the clock is ticking.
On Sept. 12, the current NCTV board unanimously voted to set an Oct. 15 close date to end programming with the caveat that should an estimated $10,000 in donations become available, they would be able to stall until Nov. 1 to allow more time for Holler and Logan’s proposed agency to finalize their arrangements.
“It would be nice to get another 30 days in there,” Holler said. “The element to do that comes down to the funding. There is a commitment from producers to raise those funds. To make the transition easier.”
Producers are eyeing an Oct. 19 telethon to raise funds, Holler said. A similar endeavor last year raised around $8,000.
The biggest hurdle is the Media Center’s nearly $3,000 per month rent costs for a contract that is not up for renewal until December 2014, according to NCTV officials.
“Our real issue is the rent,” said Connie Stone, the current NCTV board treasurer. “If something can be done with that lease, that absolves the organization … it would make a much smoother transition. But for us, it is all about money.”
Board president Karen Marinovich echoed that concern, noting the cost of staff and the hefty rent at the former Grass Valley Group’s tech facility pose significant challenges to the organization’s sustainability.
Logan talked of partnering with the county to foster tourism several times during Thursday’s meeting. He also spoke of creating content that people want to watch to satisfy a demand.
“The impact this group of people could have, regionally and even statewide, there is literally no limit to what this station can do,” Logan said.
With the expressed support of Holler and Logan’s plan, Monaghan said the county can begin talks with the pair about various aspects, including the continued broadcast of government meetings and its memorandum of understanding with the current NCTV, among many other details.
“Sounds like we have a path forward. I am really excited,” Monaghan said.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.
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