BOE May Seek School Channel
In franchise negotiations with Comcast about 10 years ago, officials sought two local origination channels, one for the school district and one municipal channel. A studio was built at Maxson Middle School, but the school channel never came to fruition. The city’s Channel 74 saw spotty use and was recently overhauled with the help of consultant Parris Z. Moore. The city now publishes a monthly schedule on its web site.
On June 30, former Community Relations Director Louis Rivera taped a special school board meeting, which officials gave to the city’s communications staff for airing on Channel 74. But board member Patricia Barksdale said she was told it could not be aired because the July schedule was already in place.
Barksdale said she spoke with Public Information Officer Jazz Johnson and Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson regarding a shared services agreement the district has with the city, and she intends to discuss it also with City Administrator Marc Dashield as well.
“This can’t happen,” board member Christian Estevez said. “We can’t give a tape and wait a month. I don’t think we should be treated this way.”
Estevez said anyone is supposed to be able to submit tapes to the public access channel and have them aired. He said he will speak to Councilman Don Davis, the City Council liaison to the school board.
Barksdale suggested engaging students in television production and activating the district’s own channel in the future.
"We're entitled to a channel that we control," board member Rasheed Abdul-Haqq said.
Channel 74 has been plagued with both technical and production issues for years. At present, programming consists of re-runs of community events and new “Hello Plainfield” and “Plainfield at Work” segments developed by Moore and city communications staff. The channel also airs “Democracy Now” and some other outside shows. Click here to see the July schedule.