In 1984, a piece of legislation called the Cable Franchise Policy and Communications Act became law. This Legislation requires U.S. cable television companies to fund local organizations to provide training and access to media technology and cable distribution on the local cable systems. Public access TV is an excellent example of democracy and a vehicle for free speech for all citizens. Any member of a community may take advantage of public access TV.
Here in Grafton, MA, we have many resources available free of charge, including a TV studio, trainings, and all the equipment needed so that anyone can produce a TV show, either live or pre-recorded. Grafton Community Television manages three channels, 11, 12 and 13. Channel 11 is for general interest (public access) programming, Channel 12 is for local government programming, and Channel 13 features school programming and high school sports events. Three channels are fairly common on public access television and is called “PEG access”, short for Public, Educational, and Governmental.
Aaron is very interested in film making and spends much of his free time making movies, including filming, acting, and editing his own movies for youtube. He would like to eventually work in the film industry. Last summer he took the GCTV Kids Summer Video Class and he really enjoyed the class.
A couple of times a year the station also offers adults a producers class. Aaron wanted to take this class too, but since he is under 18, he needed an adult to be responsible for him and he also had to get special permission from the Grafton Cable Television Oversight Committee, as well as several references. Permission for Aaron to take the class was granted and last fall Aaron and I took the course together. We both had a great time and we learned so much about television producing. Now, Aaron has is own TV show on Grafton Public Access and I think he is the youngest producer with a regular programing slot. His show is called “Dark Nights of Grafton” and it airs 3 times a week.
The same show airs 3 times a week for 2 weeks, so he has to have a new video every two weeks. Since he is such a prolific film maker, this is not a problem. He just dropped off episode #17 at the studio yesterday.