Checking in with Community Television
As you may remember, a few years ago, changes in Wisconsin state legislation cut 50% of Community Televisions’s annual operating budget, but Eau Claire’s local station wasn’t the only one affected — it was the whole state.
In light of the unfortunate events for these broadcasters, the city of Wausau has recently found a way to revive what they once had. The city council in Wausau has budgeted $15,000 for the city’s public access channel.
“Citizens need the kind of information we seek out and provide. People who study civic engagement in our community find that local residents want more information on local government." – CTV director Joel DesprezAfter learning about the new funding for Wausau’s public access channel, Joel Desprez, executive director of CTV, answered a few questions about how our local station is doing.
After the big budget cuts, our own station had to cut their small staff in half. Without their normal man power, they had to cut back on coverage of local performances, Desprez said. CTV has since decided to concentrate more on civic programming with coverage of government meetings, candidate forums and presentations on local issues.
Desprez thinks community television is still vitally important to the community. “Citizens need the kind of information we seek out and provide. People who study civic engagement in our community find that local residents want more information on local government,” Desprez said.
However, cable companies have made it harder for our local access channel to reach viewers by moving it further up the cable television dial (to channels 96 and 97, and digital channels 98-13 and 98-14). Desprez said they have reacted by streaming government channel programming on their website.
You can check out other local programming that has been archived on the CTV website at www.cvctv.org.