BRIAN SZABO, executive director of KMVT — Mountain View's very own community television station — rang me up earlier this week to call our attention to a story in the Mercury News which he took issue with.
The story ran June 22 and is titled "San Jose's cable-access television is democratic, creative, a wee bit nutty." It's a Bruce Newman feature on San Jose's cable community access TV station, CreaTV.
Of course, as a community TV man himself, Szabo has no problem with highlighting the benefits of community television, which he calls "one of the last bastions of free speech in this era of media consolidation." But he didn't like the too-narrow focus of this particular story.
"If you read that article you'd think they were the only game in town," Szabo told me over the phone. "They're not."
Following up on our phone conversation, Szabo sent an e-mail explaining in detail the region's community TV landscape, and how KMVT (located at 1400 Terra Bella Ave.) fits into it. His message was so thoroughly informative and well written, I thought I'd post the bulk of it here:
"The article was misleading," Szabo wrote, "in that it failed to mention a critical fact — San Jose's CreaTV is only one of a dozen such stations in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and one of about 1,000 nationwide."
Each of these stations cablecasts only to its respective city(ies), so only their residents can see that public access TV station. San Jose's CreaTV, Channels 15 and 26, can only be seen by Comcast and AT&T viewers in San Jose and Campbell.
In the article, board chairman Gerry De Young dubbed CreaTV as the "public access channel of Silicon Valley." But in fact it's only one of four such stations that can make that claim: KMVT Community Television, Channel 15, cablecasts to Mountain View, Cupertino, and Los Altos; the Media Center cablecasts to Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Atherton; and Pen-TV cablecasts to residents of San Mateo County. In addition, there are similar public access stations in San Francisco, Berkeley, Milpitas, the East Bay, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, etc.
The programming at each of these stations is rich and varied. At KMVT, we shoot over 30 ongoing resident-produced access shows in our studios monthly, many of which have been airing for over 10 years and regularly win national awards. In addition, we also "import" 17 regular monthly shows from public access sister stations from around the country. Along with public access, KMVT produces the government access programming for Mountain View, Los Altos and Sunnyvale. Our professional staff also produces award-winning promotional videos for local nonprofits and small businesses, as well as covers local elections, civic and cultural events, and a large percentage of local high school sports.
All this is available on our TV channels, as well as on our Web site at www.kmvt15.org and on our Web channel at www.youtube.com/kmvt.