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ABOUT WCCA and some History about public access in Worcester

Public Access ( WCCA TV ) provides an important outlet for those who are not afforded media coverage as easily as City Officials. Compare the attention given on local commercial outlets of City Officials, business leaders and political figures, against community, cultural, neighborhood groups, and religious and non profit organizations.

WCCA TV helps level the playing field for these. However with channel reach restrictions WCCA is under, it still does not adequately compete against such media access disparity. That’s why we advocate for greater distribution reach.

This why I advocate to further WCCA and its mission and expand its ability to enhance opportunities for Community hands on participation. If you feel this level playing field is needed then WCCA is your media TV station.

Some background History and facts :

The City of Worcester, around 1985, under City Manager Mulford, organized a community group and charged them to form a non-profit organization in 1985 to facilitate and advocate for public access ( as a free speech venue opened to ALL citizens and organizations, including religious,via the cable channel(s)). This newly formed organization was to run as a private autonomous community non-profit, this became Worcester Community Access Inc., aka WCCA TV in 1986 . We continue this work and mission today and proud to have established a large community of partnerships city wide, while serving public access, as an institution that stands for media democracy, media literacy and creative innovation. We provide a free speech platform to all , rich or poor, of all backgrounds, creeds, and heritage, to tell their stories, share their points of view, express and celebrate their vision and dreams. We also add public vitality to downtown, and community engagement, with students and volunteers systemically connected through the City six days each week. We serve as a TV studio, a “STEAM”Educational facility, and a neighborhood center in one facility seconds away from City hall at the heart of downtown.
I have been the Executive Director for the organization since 1990.

In 2014, City collected about $2.1 million in 2014 from the cable license of that $1.3 was allocated to the 3 PEG channels, (P) WCCA received $765,166.85 of that while the City channel received $347, 803.11 , the WPS received $278,242.49 and the City holding on to 1,391,212.45 which they seemed to have dedicated to INET, and Admin Fees. As I understand it, under current Federal Telecommunications Act /Cable Franchise law, municipalities are not allowed to utilize license funding for general use. The same law allows for public/community input during these renewals. WCCA submits detailed financial and activity reports to the city on a quarterly basis along with an independently conducted audit annually. We have done this for at least 20 years or so.

As one may see from the above, currently, WCCA does NOT receive 55 % of the license fee annually, it does, however currently receive 55% of the PEG allocations annually. These are moneys that are provided to the City through the cable licensed cable provider, in Worcester’s case, Charter.

FURTHER:
During the last Cable franchise renewal, WCCA conducted a full community ascertainment that demonstrated a community need to expand the public access operation. We expressed a vision and plan to carry that out to the City, as have during every renewal period. We never expected the City’s Cable funding to fully meet Worcester’s community media needs, however if a chance exist to further public access and community participation, the people of Worcester deserve a chance to discuss it in an open way. That is where our advocacy comes into play and why I occasionally address issues before the council.
WCCA greatly appreciates what is allocated to serve the public access mission we carry out. That funding is also supporting , in large part, a staff of 10, run it’s building, and programming. WCCA does not wish to take funding away from the E and G channels. In fact we want to see them thrive. We just feel the city council and citizens deserve to know what is going on and have some say about it and to seek out opportunities that allow for further growth of the public’s portion of the PEG channels. WCCA has operated with a strong vision for development to enhance and better meet community needs and mission. We are excited to soon share our plans to expand our studio and class room space as well as to better assist creative business with their media needs.
So, on behalf of the people we serve, that’s where I speak up on occasion.
BTW
WCCA is NOT shown in HD. Charter’s system only allocates an SD channel for public access use. We stand with our community to continue to fight for this as well as for additional funding, and broader distribution for the community public access channel throughout the region.

Learn more at http://www.wccatv.com and by watching Worcester cable channel 194