Oregon Area Community Book's Blog

December 22, 2010

“Don’t Just Watch TV. . . Make It!”

Filed under: Uncategorized — oregonareacommbook @ 7:36 pm

by Liz Harlow, OCAmedia

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandated non-commercial TV channels be provided by cable companies in 1984. In 1985, the Village of Oregon authorized the nonprofit Oregon Community Foundation, Inc., to administer the franchise fees collected from local cable TV  subscribers in the operation of the local channel WOW. Jack Statz, Al  Gasner, and Bob Wickhem were instrumental in setting up the Cable TV Committee. Liz Harlow was appointed Program Coordinator in 1985. The first  office operated out of the A/V room at Oregon High School. The first  program to air was an OHS Boys Basketball game in January, 1986.

The mission of Oregon Cable Access (OCAmedia) is to protect and exercise the right of free speech by providing a communication vehicle for citizens to express themselves, and to provide programming that informs, enriches, educates, entertains, and enhances the lives of viewers. A community-wide survey of viewing preferences were: School sports, concerts, speakers, Oregon Village and School Board meetings, candidates for public offices, church services, Oregon Senior Center, Oregon Public Library, Oregon Historical Society/Museum events, etc.

Liz Harlow chats with Lisa Hustad about the Oregon Area Community Book projectat the Chamber of Commerce Business Expo, November 19, 2009.

Twenty five years later, the PEG (Public-Education-Government) channels continue to reflect the reality of life by archiving the collective memories and events of our hometown.  WOW airs public and government programs, while the second channel, ORE, airs Educational (school-youth) programs. Hundreds of volunteers and paid  high school students have contributed to this local effort.

The office moved from the small corner in the high school A/V room to the Village Hall for several years, and now occupies space at 900 Market St. The expanded facility allows for a small studio for in-house taping,  (e.g. Meet the Candidates, Panther Talk, panel discussions, interviews, demonstrations, etc.).

Digital cameras, tripods, and editing equipment for videotaping local events of interest are available to the public.  Chroma-key (Green-screen) applications are the latest additions to the video services offered. There is now an expanded digital audience online, and some programs (such as Oregon Village and School Board meetings) are streamed live on ocamedia.com.

No tax money has ever been used toward channel operations. Cable subscriber fees comprise the majority of OCAmedia’s operating budget.

Staff, students, volunteers are not just watching TV, but making it!

WOW's Matt Hill operates a camera at an Oregon Public Library centennial event.

WOW’s Dan Sutter films a “Centennial Read” discussion with Library Director Susan Santner and guests, at the Oregon Senior Center.

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