public access

Sanctuary for Independent Media/New York Media Alliance

Troy, NY

Media Alliance was founded in 1977 to address common needs of nonprofit organizations providing electronic media programs and services to artists, organizations and the general public in areas including, but not limited to, production, distribution, exhibition, research, preservation, appreciation, and to further development of this field. Media Alliance also has a mandate to sponsor and encourage cultural, and educational activities among media organizations, artists, and the general public, by conducting research, by gathering information, by organizing and disseminating information among the membership, by effectively communicating and cooperating with film organizations and other groups, independent producers, funding sources, and the general public, by responding to issues of concern to the field, by public information programs, and by administering property.

The Sanctuary has developed rapidly as an engaged member of our economically disadvantaged neighborhood, supporting desperately needed independent local voices through workshops, peer training, & internships. We’ve offered media arts, education, production and literacy programs to local groups directly engaged in poverty-related activities, including: Missing Link Street Ministry, North Central Communities That Care, AME Zion, NAACP, Troy Public Schools, the ARK, Troy Bike Rescue, 518 Positive Reinforcement, Nutrition Consortium of NY, NY Civil Liberties Union, TAP, W.D.I. and Independent Living Center. This season our Youth Media Sanctuary project includes:
– “Children Having Children,” directed by a 22 year old mother of an 8 year old
–“Gangs and My Family,” directed by a young man sharing first person perspective of fantasies and realities of gang culture.
–“Bike Rodeo” with safety education, arts and crafts projects
–Youth Media Showcase
–Animation workshop
–Summer camp

Squeaky Wheel

Buffalo, NY

To promote and support education, access, creation and exhibition of independent film, video and digital art.

Creativity and experimentation across multiple disciplines and technologies. We embrace experimentation and risk taking as essential to the creative process.
Media literacy, promoting hands-on media making and critical thinking about media messages. We empower the Buffalo community with opportunities for media arts education for youth and community members at every level of need or knowledge.
Community connections and collaborations, from local to international, as both a leader and a partner with artists, educators, schools and community groups.
Freedom of expression and diversity of voice through supporting artists, introducing audiences to the magic of independent media arts, and teaching community groups to integrate media as a tool of cultural and creative expression.

TechARTS is a free after-school computer art program for adolescent girls from neighborhoods affected by poverty. TechARTS partners w/ community groups to effectively reach girls from economically disadvantaged families to teach them essential computer skills in a playful and nurturing setting. The Buffalo Youth Media Institute is a free program, offering participating students an hourly stipend to produce social documentaries about Buffalo-related themes, ensuring that young people from poor families can participate without economic hardship. Channels – Stories from the Niagara Frontier helps publicize issues related to poverty by matching documentary filmmakers with grassroots initiatives to produce documentaries about economic, racial, and environment issues that promote social change. (Videos produced by Squeaky Wheel’s programs can be seen at Squeaky Wheel’s workshops are offered at low cost. Screenings and equipment rental is offered at very low cost as well.

Brookline Access TV

Brookline, MA

Brookline Access Television is committed to establishing itself as a valuable first amendment resource for use by the Brookline community and surrounding areas. BATV encourages the production of non-commercial programming of local interest. BATV is committed to providing a wide range of services from locally produced programs that air on our local channels and website to training in all aspects of new media and technology.

Brookline Access Television has previously offered after school video and production training to the Steps To Success Program, “a comprehensive academic intervention and support program for low-income students and their families in Brookline”.
As a general policy BATV has waived membership fees and user dues so that their will be no financial restraints to anyone interested in BATV programs and resources.

In addition, concurrent with the completion of our recent move into the new facilities at the High School, plans to develop at wider town network of digital media and technology training and access that reaches those most in need through ties to the labs and programs in public housing, the senior center, and elsewhere (see project description below) will help insure that Brookline’s substantial, though often hidden and unseen, low-income and special needs populations will be reached directly with new resources for helping them address their economic conditions and other needs.

Chicago Access Network Television

Chicago, IL

CAN TV provides coverage of events relevant to the local community and gives every Chicagoan a voice on cable television by providing video training, facilities, equipment, and channel time for Chicago residents and nonprofit groups. CAN TV’s five local, noncommercial cable channels CAN TV19, 21, 27, 36 and 42 reach more than one million viewers in the city of Chicago.

The City of Chicago established CAN TV in 1983 to maximize involvement of Chicago residents and groups in cable television. Since then, CAN TV has provided training, equipment and channel capacity to assist thousands of people. Local residents and groups create over 140 hours each week of original programming for cablecast on five, noncommercial CAN TV channels. Low cost, easy to use services pioneered by CAN TV help Chicago nonprofits use CAN TV for public education, referrals, and recruitment. Those services include an interactive bulletin board that viewers can call for information, a 24/7 channel with “news you can use, and a live call-in studio where local experts answer viewer questions, make referrals, and do public education. Local nonprofits attest to the effectiveness of addressing poverty-related conditions through use of cable television. Low-income residents can access information about immigration, housing, health, jobs, domestic violence, and legal assistance.

National Radio Project

Oakland, CA

National Radio Project heightens public consciousness, broadens debate on critical social issues, and encourages civic participation, by giving voice to diverse perspectives and opinions underrepresented in the mass media. We also help grassroots groups access the change-making power of media and provide a national platform to amplify their work.

Our weekly syndicated radio program “Making Contact” provides information and positive solutions to problems of poverty, racism, unemployment, and other socio-economic issues in the diverse rural, suburban, and urban communities where “Making Contact” is broadcast or heard online.

CMAP/AMP Community Media Collaborative

Gilroy, CA

CMAP, Community Media Access Partnership, is a non-profit tax-exempt public, education, and government public access television station and community media center that serves Gilroy, Hollister, and San Juan Bautista.

Our mission is to train residents in using CMAP’s video production equipment so that they can produce non-commercial community-based television programs to be seen on CMAP’s local access cable channels and live and archived via the web at

CMAP provides locally relevant community content on five cable channels. CMAP also offers free technology and video production training, camera equipment, editing suites and a television studio for use by community members.

Access Monterey Peninsula’s (AMP) mission is to enable local non-commercial media programming which benefits the residents of Monterey County through access to media tools, training, distribution channels and local facilities.

Project Description: 

Project Details

AMP and CMAP have identified potential collaborations which would leverage opportunities for community engagement and capacity building locally and regionally due to the combined strengths and geographic proximity of these organizations as well as their fiscal need to collaborate.

1. Conduct Community Needs Assessment and organizational research to identify new opportunities for collaboration in the areas of infrastructure, technology, marketing, staffing and community products and services at each community media center.
a. Report to Executive Directors on the Community Needs Assessment Results

2. Out of the results from the Community Needs Assessment, work with AMP and CMAP staff to develop collaborative approaches and regional coordination to implement/integrate media education programs, curriculum and outreach, marketing and social media campaigns, and technology automation.

3. Identify potential partners and funders to sustain the coordination of the regional efforts

Project Goals & Outcomes
This project will generate capacity-building opportunities for two community media centers, AMP and CMAP, through generating:

–Greater resources through researching and integrating opportunities to increase available and future resources (financial, technical, human, and physical) available to both organizations through consolidation and collaboration for outreach, funding, new fee-based technology, marketing and video production services for non-profits, education, and local residents.

–Greater efficiency through consolidating existing technology and utilizing new open source tools for use by both stations to create automation, engage members, and distribute local video content through social media networks, streaming live video, and by creating centralized, more accessible community media resources in two regions.

–Greater effectiveness by enabling broader outreach/marketing, sharing curriculum and staff, increasing technology efficiency and greater fundraising capacity to achieve current and future fiscal sustainability for each organization

Program Need
-Organizations are technology-focused with room to grow
-Impending financial crisis to traditional funding sources is forcing innovation
-Initial collaboration has highlighted the increased need for potential regional consolidation with regard to technology, finances and marketing

The financial realities facing community media centers nationwide are sobering. AMP and CMAP currently receive 88% of their funding through local cable TV franchise agreements.

A new state-wide cable franchising law (DIVCA) was adopted in 2006 ending local cable franchises in favor of statewide franchising. Both AMP and CMAP have ended or will end their local franchise agreement with their respective cable operators in 2009, leaving their financial futures uncertain and requiring decreased budgets.

This situation calls for drastic budget cuts, (75% of operating costs) and innovative thinking by community media centers, including new ways to adapt to the funding cuts such as regional consolidation and collaboration between community media centers.

Communities throughout the state are losing their public access cable services as local governments in fiscal crisis choose to re-appropriate all or the majority of their cable franchise fees.

The rapid pace of technological change is another key challenge. Both AMP and CMAP have begun to build a foundation for emerging technologies to prepare for these new opportunities to shift the community media model. Each has developed different technology efficiencies that could be merged for greater capacity building and to leverage future revenue opportunities. New open source tools are available to streamline and automate public access systems. In collaboration, these two stations could together implement new tools and strategies to adapt, survive and thrive during these economic and technological changes.

While each station provides excellent community media resources, neither station has organizational history to access community funding commensurate with the services provided.

To move away from a government-subsidized model to a community-supported model with new revenue streams, community media organizations need to consolidate resources, technology and outreach to maximize their ability to serve their communities. This project will research and implement a new model for community media.

Project Tangibles: 
Best practices for community media centers: Currently many media centers share the same challenges as AMP and CMAP. These two organizations are well-positioned within the community media national movement to share the process of regional collaboration and best practices with other community media centers, media arts organizations, CTCs and related non-profits.
Transmission Project