Public access TV is back on the air |

Public access TV is back on the air

Linda Hiller

After being off the air for over two months, public access TV channel 26 is back.

The channel, which is housed at TCI Cable, was knocked off the air along with other cable channels, during the New Year’s Day flood.

Producer Dave Morgan, who hooked it up last week, said the 24-hour programming will be on a repeating looped tape until more new shows are added.

Because Channel 26 is a public access channel, it wasn’t brought back with the same urgency as commercial channels. The Douglas County Fire Department sponsors the channel and broadcasts scrambled training sessions from time to time.

“The people at the fire department have just been busy saving lives and rescuing people. They haven’t had the time to get to this until now,” Morgan said.

The Douglas County Business Council frequently utilizes the channel to air their “Douglas County Newsmaker ’97” show, he said. In addition, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department has made broadcasts of their own on the channel.

“Public access television is a strange little entity,” Morgan said. He also oversees the Carson City public access channel (10 on Carson City cable), and has obvious affection for cable access.

“Public access television is so unique. It is local TV, so it is a chance for a community to present its own face to the viewing public.”

Morgan said there are 2600 public access channels across the United States, running everything from shows like ‘Wayne’s World’ to legislative reviews, to religious shows, high school plays and shows that analyze localized politics.

He said that while our channel 26 is relatively new – under a year old – the potential is there to make it a great community resource.

“We need to get everyone’s input,” he said. “There are many talented people out there – experts in public access – who would be willing to come in and consult with us on how to make this the best possible channel. You would be amazed at how sophisticated some public access channels across the country have gotten.”

He recommended a committee be formed to create a non-profit organization and develop the channel.

“This is usually all volunteer,” he said, explaining that public access is fueled by not only the volunteer energy, but by grants and underwriters, much like public television.

“Currently, in Douglas County you have something very valuable that we lack in Carson City,” he said. “Your Douglas High School has a video production class that works with us to film events around the county. Sue Bullard, who teaches the class, has done an outstanding job of getting the kids involved and they are doing great work. Without them we would be scrambling for help in filming and editing.”

“We can shoot something like Dan Holler and his State of the County talk, edit it at the school and then give it to Dave and he puts it on the air,” Bullard said.

“I am glad we can get the channel back on the air for the people of Douglas County,” Morgan said, “and what it represents is the fact that we have a big challenge here to create an organization, and to excite and enlist people to create programs and productions to help us put on a good face.”