New channel will air government, education | SierraSun.com

New channel will air government, education

By Jenny Goldsmith

Sierra Sun

Community television has been a bit too successful in the North Tahoe area.

Coverage of Truckee-Tahoe government meetings has overwhelmed the public-access programming the region’s cable provider broadcasts to its viewers in the Truckee-North Tahoe area.

To stay true to its mandate of providing the public its own broadcast outlet, Truckee Tahoe Community Television will add a second public-access channel to improve community coverage.

On Dec. 19, Suddenlink Cable will shift CNN Headline News from Channel 24 to Channel 69, and Community Television will launch its second station on Channel 24. The community station already programs Channel 6.

“Essentially what’s happened is availability for public access has suffered because we’ve had to choose whether to run public access or government meetings,” Executive Director Cristie Bray said in an interview.

An Auburn native, Bray moved to the Tahoe area because of her love of snowboarding. In 2005, the California State Monterey graduate took over the reins of Truckee Tahoe Community Television, and has increased its offerings to the point that it needs a new channel.

Bray said Community Television’s overall goal is to provide more government meetings and educational programs on Channel 24, eliminating the conflict between public access and government coverage on Channel 6.

Channel 6 has provided feeds of Nevada and Placer County meetings, but the coverage has been neglected somewhat due to the lack of airtime, said Eric Matlock, the channel’s technician and programmer.

In cooperation with Nevada County TeleVision, Matlock said he anticipates more coverage of government forums and rebroadcasts on the new channel to maximize community awareness.

Additionally, the expanded airtime will allow Bray and Matlock to add more national-education programs from such organizations as NASA, the Kennedy Performing Arts Center and the Annenberg Network.

“This is going to make it a lot easier to schedule community programs like public-service announcements and local event notifications on Channel 6,” Matlock said. “The extra room will allow us to put some really nice programming up.”

As a community station, Matlock said he would like to see more Tahoe-based nonprofit groups, as well as local residents, produce original programming on Channel 6.

“Our professional camera equipment is so under-used,” he said. “Anyone that has something to say can come in and we will help them express themselves.”

Nevada County Supervisor Ted Owens said when he was first elected, he was surprised to learn the board of supervisor’s meetings were not televised.

“I’ve been a big supporter of this from my first day on the job,” Owens said. “It behooves the public to drop in and pay attention to what’s going on countywide.”

Matlock shares Owens’ anticipation for the new channel’s launch and the benefits it may provide the community at large.

“I’m really excited that the Truckee-Tahoe area is able to take the next step toward becoming a more involved community,” Matlock said.