Wednesday, April 21, 2010
By Justin Mason
SCHENECTADY — Forget about SACC-TV, this is Open Stage Media.
Born out of the new agreement between the city of Schenectady and Time Warner Cable, Open Stage Media will feature three channels of public access television, internet streaming and eventually video on demand.
There are discussions in progress about airing sports at Union College and even airing Schenectady Today five days per week.
The idea is to bring public access television to the next level, said Philip Morris, Proctors CEO. While public access television is waning in other areas of the country, Schenectady will be setting an example of how to bring it into the future, he said. “This is on a whole different level,” he said during a community outreach event at Proctors Wednesday. “We’re on the reverse end of the trend.”
Public access television’s new look was even given a new slogan: Be heard.
Nearly two dozen marketing students from the University at Albany have been working with Proctors to rebrand public access television as part of a semester-long project. “We’re really trying to raise awareness and encourage people to participate,” said Chelsea Norton, a senior from Clifton Park.
Starting next week, all of Open Stage Media’s programming will be piped out of Proctors. The State Street complex will feature studios in the GE Theater, the Education Center in Proctors’ basement and an area dubbed the “digital soapbox.”
This smaller studio will feature easy-to-use production equipment that will allow people to produce their own videos, provided they receive some basic training. In addition, Open Stage Media now has the ability to accept video submitted online.
Open Stage Media began broadcasting some programs from Proctors about two weeks ago. Schenectady Today finished filming at SACC-TV’s studios on Broadway this week and will start filming in the Education Center next week. Within two months, Open Stage Media will move all of its government programming to Channel 18. Channel 16 will be reserved for public access programming, while Channel 17 will be used for education programming.
In January, the city reached a decade-long agreement for cable services and providing $100,000 to Open Stage Media, a Proctors’ operated entity aimed at modernizing SACC-TV.
Last week, SACC-TV’s membership approved the sale of its North Broadway office to Habitat for Humanity, thereby dissolving the corporation.Open Stage Media will receive $100,000 per year through a fee charged to Time Warner subscribers in the city. The public, education and government, or PEG, access fee will be 42 cents per month, up from the current 35 cents per month.
City Council President Gary McCarthy lauded the initiative to improve public access television. He said making it a component of the Proctors’ arts and entertainment district will create a model for other communities. “You see this in five years and it will be a nationally recognized model on how to do things,” he said