Hi, this is snackdoodle, I've been away for a while and glad to be back. Some of you may remember I was in a car accident about 4 years ago and sustained a closed head injury misdiagnosed as a TIA (obviously at age 66 it had to be a stroke, right?). Anyway, I was a mess, missed 6 months of work, went back too soon, wound up retiring three years sooner than planned. About a year ago when the first glimmer of my former self finally peeked thru I took a giant leap of faith for someone who still looked and acted mostly brain damaged. Jump if you dare!
Orginally I had planned to spend my retirement producing quality programing for Public Access TV. I have 28 years experience mostly in news, albiet 25 years ago. The basics remain the same and I come from a time when facts mattered. A year ago a friend of mine approached me about becoming involved in a PA public affairs show he wanted to do. I thought this was a good opportunity to get my feet wet using the cable company's studio and train a crew. Two months after we started and after finally getting their equipment working properly, the cable company stopped providing support for Public Access and the day to day running of the channel reverted to the city.
With the long down time while the city built a new facility it became clear the only way we could continue production was to buy our own equipment. I cashed in my useless 401K, my son contributed a small inheritance from his father and together we bought about 25K in professional gear, The City Commons our non-profit was born. The plan was to find space and build a studio everyone could use, it didn't work out. We then taped the next eight months in a public library meeting room. Last Novemeber I was about ready to throw up my hands sell the equipment and retire for real. We had been nearly a year without proper facilities and there was no end in sight. The city had very effectively silenced its citizens. Public Access is a very powerful tool for informing and organizing people this fact was not lost on me and I got angry, really angry. I decided to go all the way to crazy town, reach for the whole dream, go big or go home. The decision was made build a studio and launch an Internet television channel providing high quality programing for the community. I decided to start driving the change.
We are not Public Access, we get no government money or support. We are not required to give time to everyone, we control our programing. Commons Television is a non-profit, non-commercial television channel built on the PBS model. Our support will come from underwriters, donations of private individuals, corporations and grants. We will always carry aggregate programing, a mix of locally produced and awarding winning programs produced by other communtiy television groups.
It has been little more than a year since I took the leap and we currently have a semi permanent home. Luckily I met a Latino activist, Reynaldo Cervantes. He saw the value in what I wanted to do and has been the greatest help to me with this monumental project. Reynaldo introduced me to Samuel Gomez-Loza an actor, film maker and musician. Mr. Gomez had a very nice recording studio he wasn't using and offered us the space for the next 8 months at a minimum. This gives us the breathing room to launch the channel, start fund raising in earnest and hopefully find a permanent home. This is our first month in our new location and we have 6 new producers with 7 shows and more on the way. To help cover our actual costs the producers pay a small amount to tape their shows, but are also able to get underwriters to help defray the cost to them. Eventually we hope to be able to provide everything free of charge, but right now what ever our short fall, I cover and being retired my resources are limited. Bootstrapping this project has been an adventure and a challenge.
Please visit our website at http://thecitycommonsstudio.org Check out the clips we have on line. I have included the Kickstarter promo video for View Point, it shows exactly what we did every Wednesday evening for eight months. There is also a page with links to the shows in development with descriptions and in some cases intros. I have provided pages for the kind of programing we will be importing, each has a link to a full program for your viewing. Please feel free to give me comments email@example.com. I will be back to let you know how things are going, now that we have Internet in we plan to start streaming live shows on youtube live in the next few weeks and launch the channel Commons TV July 4th, our independence day.
The interview Reynaldo Cervantes did the night we moved into the studio we thought was going to be our home for a while and didn't work out. Sorry about the long pauses, I am still very easily derailed and thankfully Reynaldo is getting good at reading my mind.