Support our local NCTV
If you support Nevada County, education, career development, community involvement, nonprofits, and an educated citizenry, you’ll want NCTV.
Nevada County TeleVision (NCTV) is a public access TV station airing local events and issues produced by community members. Access TV is established when a cable company comes into an area, purchases easements and assumes a monopoly. Cable companies are obligated to turn over some revenues to the cities and county.
Locally, community surveys were done both by Comcast and The Buske Group, a firm hired by the two cities, county and superintendent of schools (NCSOS) to determine the degree to which local citizens are willing to support NCTV.
The survey results differed greatly, as you might expect, as polls often reflect who is asking the questions. Results varied from few to no subscribers interested in funding local TV (Comcast) to an average of $1.61 per subscriber in support of local TV (Buske Group).
What readers need to understand is that cable companies are mandated by federal law to pay to the jurisdictions (cities and county) 5 percent of gross revenues. For us, this translates into approximately $300,000 a year. From these monies, the cities and county passed on $30,000 to NCTV to run its station last year.
In addition, cable companies usually pay the capital expenses of starting a station up and outfitting it on a yearly basis with replacement equipment, maintenance and repairs. NCSOS put up the money for the start-up and initial equipment, with the help of Grass Valley Group (Thomson), Editware and AJA Video. This saved Comcast a bundle as did permission, obtained by our local officials, for Comcast to run cable through Beale Air Force Base.
To better understand NCTV’s budgetary needs, our facility employs a full-time station manager who programs our station to run 24/7, a half-time engineer who keeps our state-of-the-art digital equipment running, a half-time technician who supports the high school and college classes, as well as station members and myself, a full-time director who coordinates all programs, producers and classes.
The operations side represents just half of the picture. In addition, we still need such basics as a bathroom, air conditioning to permit us to operate in warmer months, and lighting and studio cameras to complete our facility – all capital needs that Comcast should finance.
Presently, high school and Sierra College classes are full and expected to double in the fall. Local programming has grown as we are one of the most active stations in the nation for production of local programming, with the expectation of continued growth. NCTV is poised to become a visible resource in our community, demonstrating the independent and creative nature of our population.
All that is needed is adequate funding. Even with Comcast’s profits last year at $20 billion, it makes the most sense to me that all parties share responsibility for what is becoming a valued community resource. This means Comcast, the cities, county, NCSOS, High School ROP and Sierra College each shoulder part of the financial burden, along with local businesses as underwriters and citizens as station members. This way, NCTV will truly be a community partnership.
Some may ask, “What is in it for me, I don’t even get cable?” There are many ways to consider the benefits of NCTV.
First, it is a community resource, a training facility for our youth and adults. It provides equipment and instruction for people to use video technology in the field, as well as to create programs at our studio. NCTV also provides a forum to air cultural events and personal issues, which many locals pursue even though they don’t get cable. NCTV is career and community education at its best.
Lastly, we do have plans to reach more of the community by connecting with Alta Sierra and LOP via cable and by streaming our programming 24/7 over the Internet. Presently, we archive some of our programs on our Web site, where they are available for all to see.
So what is the future of NCTV? It is whatever we choose to make it. It is our youth,our community and our local access TV station. It is only limited by our imagination, creativity and willingness to invest ourselves.
Lew Sitzer is executive director at NCTV and a high school history teacher at Nevada Union. He has lived here since 1971.
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