BAC prepares to offer community-access TV

The Brewery Arts Center expects to wrap up negotiations with Carson City for community-access television services this week.

A contract should be presented to the Board of Supervisors on June 15, if the board OKs the contract the art center's operation can begin July 1.

Then, "we'll be able to start doing business from the basement," said John Procaccini, executive director of the center. The studio is being constructed in the basement of the art center's Performance Hall, 511 W. King St.

"We're all working toward what's best for maintaining and improving community-access television," he said. "Right now, the city and us seem to be on the same page to improve it."

The new community-access service will start out small. Live programs will originate from the Sierra Room in the Carson City Community Center, where many city government meetings of boards, committees and commissions now are shown live on channels 10 and 26.

No live programming will originate from the arts center, however, because there is no fiber-optic cable allowing for it. The center needs approximately 400 feet of cable installed between the studio and a nearby connection site before live programming can be broadcast from there.

What the center initially will do from their home base is film programs for airing later, offer classes in broadcast arts, do on-site commercial television production and conduct business, Procaccini said.

The city's original contract is for $110,000. It will also pay additional costs to replace control room equipment removed from the community center once Sierra Nevada Cable Access Television, SNCAT, the current operator, completes its contract for service June 30.

"Whatever's needed to keep the channels going," said City Manager Linda Ritter. "It's an important service."

The center originally sought to raise $275,000 to start programming, and anticipated receiving a total of $183,000 from the city, Charter Communications, and any available grants and donations that could be obtained to do the government programming and other public offerings, Procaccini said.

"The unknown element is Charter," Ritter said. "They will benefit from this type of arrangement, too."

Talks between the city and Charter for providing the city with overall cable service, however, have been ongoing since mid-2002. An agreement may not be reached until new federal legislation concerning the cable industry is created. Part of this agreement will include provisions for community access service, she said.

SNCAT took over the city's community-access service Jan. 1, after the troubled Carson Access Television Foundation's contract with the city wasn't renewed. The foundation's contract ended Dec. 31.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.


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