As a representative of the Access 4 Producers Group, I have received a number of reports from our committee chairs regarding the current state of Access 4. As I tell everyone, since Comcast dropped the studio this has to be looked at as a three-pronged effort: transmission (the city), production (CACC, Crowdson, Moore, and others both professional, independent, or as in the case with CACC—free), and advocacy (the producers group).
In regard to the transmission, being managed by the city (which simply means the city is going to use their equipment to put the shows onto channel 4 with their fiber optic block and the log computer given to them by Comcast), the reason given by Ernie Slottag, Communications Director for the City of Springfield, for the fact that the channel is still down (now going on three months) is that the log computer/server has a bad sound card and the “fix” done by Comcast employees in trying to use the equipment they were given can no longer work and the entire server needs to be replaced.
The money for the new server is already available in the city funds for this type of repair and the Communications Office simply needs to have appropriation approval from the City Council to use it, which is a formality and will be given according to all accounts, by mid March, in about two weeks from this writing.
All the data has been preserved from the several years of backlogged shows that had been encoded into the log computer/server, however, it is likely the new server will end up containing mostly new material.
Ernie also agreed that since the new system for managing shows and the intake of new producers is completely web-based, there is a need to provide assistance to those producers and prospective producers who do not have Internet access. The Access 4 Producers Group has decided to help with that need by providing hard copies of the forms on request as well as at Brian Crowdson’s office at 1999 Wabash Ave. Suite 102 Springfield, IL 62704. Brian is not only an independent professional television producer who has provided services such as dubbing for Access producers for years, but he was also a Comcast employee during the best days of Access under that regime as well as during Insight’s reign. He now also serves as a member of our Municipal Delegation and Production Committees as a consultant and fee-based resource provider.
Ernie also pointed out that there will be a drop box available at the Municipal Buildingfrom 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. business days for those who cannot electronically send their shows in mp2 format, which is now the preferred method of getting your shows to Access. He also reminded us that Access 4 will also be transmitted on AT&T’s Universe channel 99 starting March 10th (let’s hope the shows are running by then).
In regard to production, producers have run to a variety of options, mostly costing money, since CACC ceased production due to the need for their legal team to provide a producer’s agreement. Originally it was my understanding that this agreement would be between CACC and each individual producer, however, the legal team decided to draw up an agreement with the city which was immediately denied due to the fact that the city has nothing to do with production, only transmission. Ernie said in our meeting that they need to make the agreement with the individual producers (just as I originally thought). I am still trying to find out how much longer this will cause CACC TV to have to wait if at all before resuming the free production services they offered last January at the City Council meetings.
In regard to advocacy, you may already have read on this website and on the FaceBook Fan Page that the Donation/Finance Committee raised $386 at the fundraiser at Broadway Nites on February 19th. There is a Full Group meeting scheduled for this Saturday, March 6th at the Lincoln Public Library at 6:00 P.M. at a room to be announced by Steering Committee Chair Alyce Lyle where most of this information will be presented and comments will be heard and new ideas entertained.