Increasing cooperation among local access TV stations

Several months ago Comcast on very short notice dictated to Lowell Telecommunications Corporation, the city’s public access television and technology organization, that local government programming that had long appeared on Channel 10 on Lowell cable would be switched to Channel 99. Although that transition seemed to have gone smoothly, I and many others at LTC saw it as an omen of future dictates to come. As one of several ideas on how to respond to such eventualities, we decided to invite representatives from other local cable access stations in Greater Lowell to meet for a variety of reasons. There is strength in numbers so five or six local cable stations responding to a disagreeable move by Comcast (or any other corporate monolith) might be more effective than just one. There was also interest in sharing cable TV content across municipal boundaries.

The first meeting of this Greater Lowell local access television consortium occurred yesterday at LTC. Representatives from Chelmsford TeleMedia, Billerica Access TV, Dracut Access TV, Tyngsborough Community Television, Westford Community Access TV and the Groton Channel all attended.

The topic that was most discussed was the possibility of creating a weekly regional news magazine program. The consensus was that this would be desirable but that it would also require some pooling of financial and personnel resources so it might not be a goal that is realized quickly. There was also interest, in the meantime, of sharing existing content among the various cable organizations. For example, someone in Chelmsford might already be producing a political/public affairs program that would be of interest to surrounding communities. It seems that the mechanics of getting a program from one public access station onto another’s programing schedule are completely doable. The challenge seems to be how to identify such programs and then ask for them. There are a variety of ways to accomplish that without too much additional effort on anyone’s behalf. So hopefully we here in Lowell in the not too distant future will begin seeing more content produced at neighboring public access stations on our own cable channels.

2 Responses to Increasing cooperation among local access TV stations

  1. Eleanor Rigby says:

    If you remember Lowell and several surrounding communities had a nightly local TV broadcast. It was discontinued when Comcast acquired AT&T’s cable operation and at the time Comcast vowed to replace it with a “regional” equivalent. Their “regional” equivalent was CN8 which was not local in any way shape or form. CN8 is now also long gone.

    While something like was discussed is admirable a regional news magazine program would be expensive (if done so that it would actually attract viewers think Chronicle or for those of you old enough Evening Magazine).

    It will be interesting to see what comes of this, hopefully it is not just a throwing together of people from various communiites sitting on chairs talking into the camera as is so often the case on Local Access TV.

  2. George DeLuca says:

    “Accent Lowell LIVE” airs the first Thurs of each month on LTC Ch. 8. It’s an experimental show which this past Thurs featured 119 Gallery on Chelmsford St. It was produced over a 24 hour period. I plan to send it to various stations as I have in the past, including Chelmsford, Westford, Dracut, etc.

    “Accent Lowell LIVE” replays tonight at 6pm on Ch 8 (and each Sat. through May). It also airs on Thurs nights through May at 7pm until our next show in June. The 119 Gallery feature also covers the release of their new Anthology CD which includes several local bands, musicians and artists.

    I hope people in Lowell and surrounding communities find it interesting.