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SCVTV officials looking for cash

$300,000 needs to be raised for programming

Posted: January 9, 2009 9:32 p.m.
Updated: January 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Officials managing SCVTV must raise $300,000 to provide more programming on the valley's public access channel that informs the community and provides hands-on video production training for high school students.

"As of now, we cannot provide the same level of service that people are used to," said Leon Worden, SCVTV president.

"But we need to basically work together with all of the stakeholders, College of the Canyons and (William S. Hart Union High School District) and the local business community to come up with new and creative ways to fund the $300,000 budget," Worden said.

A state law that went into effect Jan. 1 relieved Time Warner Cable from its operational duties of the public access channel.

The cable company typically spent between $250,000 and $300,000 to run channel 20, Worden said.

The Santa Clarita City Council awarded a contract to SCVTV in December to operate channel 20, also known as the public, education and government channel.

The approval included $25,000 from the city's general fund to keep the channel in operation.

The money allowed for the hiring of one paid staff member, Worden said. The rest of the crew work on a volunteer basis.

The council also provided $150,000 to provide new equipment for the studio.

While the city of Santa Clarita owns channel 20, the contract gives SCVTV management control of the channel, said city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz.

"We in Santa Clarita don't want to see public access leave our community," Ortiz said.

SCVTV officials will meet with the city in spring for an evaluation, Ortiz said.

Viewers with channel 20 access now see the endless scrolling calendar of events in the local community, Worden said.

With a studio to operate out of, the next step is to meet with stakeholders and develop financing methods, Worden said.

He anticipates the nonprofit organization, SCVTV, to access grant money.

By the middle of January, SCVTV hopes to start running programming, including history and current-event shows, Worden said.

But SCVTV wants to improve the programming offered on channel 20 to meet the community's needs.

"People know they can go to channel 20 and they find that it is useful to them," Worden said.

Channel 20 also gives local high school students the tools to learn how to produce TV shows.

Students work behind the screen and on-screen through the Hart district's Regional Occupational Program.

"The studio itself serves as the students' classroom," said Hart board member Gloria Mercado-Fortine.

Mercado-Fortine envisions broadcasting and communication classes offered on the junior high level as well.

The channel could also serve as a tool to educate the parents of the Santa Clarita Valley through special programming, she said.

"We are tremendously excited about the possibility," she said.


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