And Take an Inexpensive Video Course
Excerpted From Marketing With Digital Video by Hal Landen
Public access stations are created when a cable company negotiates a franchise agreement with a local government. Not all franchise agreements include these public access channels. Some have access channels just for local governments where you can watch town meetings and other government functions.
Others are educational e.g. a school district with its own channel. Another kind is local origination, where the cable company serves the community by producing local news and sports shows. The public access channels, sometimes called Community TV, are the kind which allow citizens to produce and broadcast their own shows.
The mission of these public access channels is to encourage the widest spectrum of local programming and to provide ordinary citizens with access to the tools for producing this programming. These channels can be a great resource. For instance, the New York Staten Island Community TV channel offers a 20 hour video production course for $60 that’s open to anyone in Staten Island. You won’t find a better price anywhere. In addition, they offer studio or location production and editing packages.
Each community has it’s own rules about what can air and what can’t, but most require that the programs be non-commercial. According to Lance Armstrong, the Outreach Director at for Staten Island Community TV, a business could produce an informational show about their industry as long it’s not a sales program. Ask your own access channel about their requirements.
There are over 1000 public access stations across the country. You can find a list of Public Access Stations here or call your local Cable TV company. If your town does not have a public access channel, look into other nearby cable systems. The residency requirements are not always carved in stone. Sometimes all you need is a local resident to sponsor you. You’ll find that the public access people try hard to be accommodating.