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Channel 6 celebrates opening of new studio

ABHUTCHISON, Sierra Sun

Stage fright was not an option at Truckee-Tahoe Community Television’s open house last week.

In a live television broadcast, TTCTV’s Channel 6 celebrated its grand opening last Wednesday in its new and remodeled facility at Tahoe-Truckee High School.

What used to be the school’s auto shop is now home to approximately 800 square feet of sophisticated television studio and classroom space, video equipment, a control room and edit suites.

Channel 6, which started eight to nine years ago as part of the statewide Regional Occupational Program (ROP) with the high school, has been in many different locations – even the school’s kitchen.

“We’re not going anywhere now, we’re set,” TTCTV’s producer and instructor John Echols said.

The channel, which is run by high school students, is funded in part by ROP, and a franchise agreement between USA Media and the Town of Truckee.

And it’s open to the public.

Echols said he hopes to use the new facility to involve community members in the station’s activities. He hopes to give the community easy access to television production facilities and air time.

“The vision is this becomes viable and gets used,” Echols said. “We’re going to be proactive and contact as many groups as we can and tell them how they can communicate to the public.”

The studio already involves different facets of the community in different ways. For example, TTCTV’s “Truckee Talks” airs twice a week and features members of the community discussing current events and relevant issues.

Part-time programmer and technician Peter Fletcher has been working on producing and filming a local music show featuring Jeff Shook and Dakota Sid Clifford. On Sunday night he had a premier party at Tahoe Taps for “Huck your Carcass,” a program that features local riders – snowboarding, wakeboarding and dirtboarding.

The station also airs regular town council and school district board meetings as a public service.

“Any group or person can put a public service announcement on T.V.,” Echols said. “We’re a community service.”

Of course, the students are the heart and soul of the station: they create and update ads and community announcements, edit, film their own shows and teach others how to use the equipment. TTHS’s Theater Tech class built the walls to the new studio.

In the summer, Echols hires students to come in and keep up the ads and update data.

“They’re able to turn the class into something as well – employment,” Echols said.

The ROP curriculum in the morning classes is also tied into work, since these are the students that essentially run the studio.

“In essence, they’re interning for Channel 6,” he said.

The studio just purchased two new 3-chip studio cameras, which Echols said will upgrade the quality of the picture. The studio also plans to get new software to make the whole system digital sometime next year.

When students leave the studio behind at the end of the school day, they can turn on their televisions at home to see their work displayed. It reinforces their enthusiasm in their work.

“They come back the next day, saying, ‘I saw my ad last night,'” Echols said.

He added, “The kids are coming in so competent, so literate on computers. I think it’s because of the real strong computer program here (at TTHS). It’s a real plus.”

Echols plans for increased programming as the station expands. He said he would like to get a local news program going at some point, and get more cameras out in the community filming various events.

“The potential for public access is so exciting,” he said. “I envision video programs for the school, but also for TTCTV to be a viable resource where people can communicate ideas, creativity … to the community.”

The grand opening featured live music from local musicians and elementary school students, tours of the new facility and two hours of live broadcasting so visitors could view the new facility at work.

Echols said the next step is for TTCTV to actively invite groups, organizations and individuals to use the facility.


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