Public access television and “legitimacy” | Street Jazz

Public access television and “legitimacy”

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I was having a discussion with someone in the community last week, and they were expressing their view that programs that were viewed on certain channels might be seen as perhaps having more legitimacy - my interpretation, perhaps - than others. It is an old discussion in Fayetteville, ever since the days after Fayetteville Open Channel no longer began offering everything on the channel, and the city offered the PEG (Public, Education, and Government) channels to the public.

Even at that, I’m not being totally accurate. Even though the new access provider (A4F - later C.A.T.) was no longer the sole provider of Government meetings, public access has still been the region’s station of choice for arts, politics, religious programming, music, and everything else the public might wish to see - most of which has been produced by members of the public themselves.

And now that C.A.T. is offered online - http://www.catfayetteville.org/ - a lot of people around the state are discovering this for themselves.

So why the reluctance on the part of some to offer the mantle of legitimacy to C.A.T., or even to public access itself? This even extends to some who have been involved with C.A.T., who should know better than anyone of the station’s capabilities.

I would submit that most of the time, in terms of quality,  the casual viewer cannot tell if a program is made for UATV, Fayetteville Government Channel, or Community Access Channel.

Of course, the programming runs the entire gamut on C.A.T., from serious political discussions to satire to people just having fun, but that is the nature of the beast. But in terms of talent, the folks at C.A.T. (Both staff and citizen producers) are just as good as any you might see on any other channel.

I suppose an example might be made of the public forums on the Government Channel. They could, for all intents and purposes, be done on C.A.T. as well, with no loss of quality, and garner no less respect from the viewing audience.

Sometimes people turn on C.A.T. briefly, see something that is not their cup of tea, and dismiss the station out of hand. Or. Worse, they read accounts written in newspapers by reporters or editors whose knowledge of public access couldn’t fill a thimble, and judge it accordingly.

Occasionally I am asked give talks to various groups about the value of public access. One of the things that I always do is to hand out copies of the current schedule, so that everyone can see for themselves, “What’s on TV.”

That way, a more informed discussion can be had, and the audience comes away more interested in public access.

One of my former fellow  Telecomm Board members used to suggest that I pull my head out of my public access - his cute way of saying something far more crude. 

But I respect public access, and I think most viewers do, too. They don’t care what channel something of value is on, as long as it is available to them. The folks who insist that their programming needs to run on another, more “prestigious”  channel just sort of need to get over themselves.

******

Quote of the Day

Fear not your enemies, for they can only kill you; fear not your friends, for they can only betray you. Fear only the indifferent, who permit the killers and betrayers to walk safely on the earth. - Edward Yashinsky

*****

W.R. Mayo - Pretty Little Lies, Ten Generations of Southern Hypocrisy

Fayetteville attorney W.R. Mayo has a new book released by  Cervena Barva Press.

Pretty Little Lies, Ten Generations of Southern Hypocrisy  is a journey across three and a half centuries from the origins of a Southern Arkansas family from the plantation days through Reconstruction and the Jim Crow Eras to the present following a trial of lies, deceit and betrayal.

The book is 211 pages, and is fully illustrated with 29 photos, maps and charts.

For more information: www.PrettyLittleLies.com

rsdrake@nwark.com

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