Cape Ann TV is dedicated to producing institutional programming and to providing a forum for the free exchange of information and ideas which reflect the talents, skills, interests, concerns and diversity of the Cape Ann community.
Cape Ann Television serves the City of Gloucester, and the Towns of Essex, Rockport and Manchester-by-the-Sea on Comcast Cable channels 12, 20 and 67.
We are a public access community television station, often called “PEG Access.” PEG stands for the three types of non-commercial programming we provide:
Public free exchange of information and ideas that reflect the talents, skills, interests, concerns and diversity of the Cape Ann community
Educational our schools
Government municipal and town meetings, public hearings, boards and commissions
Channels 12, 20 and 67 Programming is made by the community, for the community:
Our facility offers a three-camera studio, portable field equipment, Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro editing suites. Membership and training are pre-requisites for equipment and facility use.
A Cape Ann TV membership is for everyone who lives and/or works on Cape Ann.
Cape Ann TV is an important community resource that gives everyone a voice.
A Brief History of Community Access Television
Today there are as many stories about how community access television began, as there are community access TV stations in the United States.
There is a nearly apocryphal video program called “Everyone’s Channel.” Part of the story involves the beginning of cable TV itself, and some Pennsylvania coal miners who couldn’t watch the ballgame in their local bar because a hill stood in the way of over-the-air broadcast signals. In response to this and countless other communities beyond the reach of broadcast television, pioneering entrepreneurs built community antenna TV systems (CATV) where broadcast waves could not go. Instead, cables hooked up to antennae on high spots or tall buildings carried the broadcasts to TV’s. These CATV entrepreneurs were the men and women who began what we call Cable TV today.
Quickly thereafter, two facts converged: CATV operators learned they could carry more channels – as many as twelve – than broadcasters were providing (6-8 in the 1950’s and 1960’s), and in communities where local CATV operators built the nascent cable systems, people thought “Can they cover our local issues like broadcast affiliates do in big cities?”
Add to this mix the academicians and philosophers of media and culture who came up in the 60’s. Marshall McLuhan said “the medium is the message,” talked of a “global village,” and a man named George Stoney felt that the time was ripe for his film documentary students to do more than make personal statements. He wondered whether they could teach “ordinary people” to make their own TV programs.
Stoney was instrumental in getting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to mandate that cable operators modestly fund public access for equipment, training, and airtime. “That was in 1972, and at that time the people on the FCC weren’t beholden to the broadcast industry,” he says. “Now the broadcasters can own the cablecasters.”
The all-encompassing image that fits community access TV everywhere is that our Bill of Rights protects individual citizens’ rights to free speech, and that in the electronic media present, the ancient soapbox is now provided by public access TV and Internet videoblogging.
The history of public access contains a key element: public-private partnerships. Unlike telephone, gas and electric, cable television is not essential, not a “lifeline” service. Therefore, the U.S. Congress decided that the for-profit cable operators should be able to provide benefits to the local communities in which they string their cables. These benefits have taken shape as community media centers. This “give back” by cable operators has become mutually beneficial. Communities get a vital media communications resource, and cable operators get exclusive, locally targeted programs which help sell their product in exchange for their access to the community’s public rights of way.
Today, public, educational and governmental access television stations across America, and around the world, annually produce more hours of original, non-repeated programming than ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Network combined.