A Great Opportunity: Public Access Television

By Joe Griffin

What if you could afford to produce a program and buy air time on television? Certainly you would consider this a great opportunity. Yet this opportunity may be accessible to many, but few know of it. I didn’t know it existed until my wife worked as a temporary for our local station for a couple of months. The station is a Public Access Community Cable Television Station. When she came home and tole me I could put on a program free of charge I could hardly believe it.

First let me tell you a little about public access television (may be called something different in your community). Congress said that, since we have a first amendment right to freedom of speech, and since the people who make up a community do not have free access to most means of speaking out, if a cable television company is awarded a contract by a city they must make available a channel if the city wants to provide a station. This station then is to allow the people of the community to use its facilities free of charge. There is some cost associated with it however, but as you will see, it is well worth the same expense. Before you can use the equipment you have to be trained on it. Here, there is a $15 training fee and $5 a year thereafter. Though all the equipment (camera, lights, editing, studio, etc.) is furnished, you have to provide tapes, and anything else outside of this equipment. You will have to spend a minimum of fifteen hours in class, and probably more if you want to produce live programs, like a call-in program. As you can see though, for the opportunities the cost is very small.

I don’t have the space to tell you all there is to this great opportunity, but about anything you could imagine using television for, you can use Public Access to do.

The greatest catch to all this is, even thought there are several towns which have it, more do not. Call your local cable company to see if it is offered in your community. If not, you may be able to get one started. There are not five (that I know of) in the state of New Mexico which has less population fr the whole state than most cities have. If you are interested in this great opportunity (and who shouldn’t be when you consider the philosophy of most of the people who have control of the air waves), but do not have access to this, and would like to, write me and I will give you more information on how you can help start Public Access in your community. If you do have access to it, write me too, so that we may share ideas on how to use it in furthering the gospel. If you have some programs already produced send me the information on them and we may be able to air them here.

Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 6, pp. 164, 183
March 16, 1989