The City of Erie Cable TV Access Corporation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit membership organization in Erie, Pennsylvania, dedicated to our vision of Empowering Community Voices and Visions. Doing business as Community Access Television (CATV) and incorporated as a Pennsylvania nonprofit in late 1996, the organization came into being as a result of the work of a cable access board that was formed in the mid 90s to advise the City of Erie how to best use the resources provided by Erie Cablevision through its cable franchise agreement with the City. The recommendation to form a nonprofit corporation to control and manage those resources was approved by City Council and then-Mayor Joyce Savocchio in September 1996 and affirmed by Council resolution on April 16, 1997.
Community Access Television (CATV) allows individuals access to the tools of media production, training, the space and the channel to address the needs of this community. Access is provided through both individual and organizational membership levels. Once members join they can receive training in several different workshops. After they have been trained, members are able to reserve equipment and facilities and begin producing their own programs, with some additional assistance. Our staff then helps them with post-production that ranges from cable-casting on our station to uploading to their organization’s You Tube channel. CATV empowers citizens of Erie County, assists them in elevating their career skills and provides a valuable outreach source. The nonprofit community has also used CATV to its advantage in bringing local issues to the forefront of local dialog as well as a tool in building their own marketing materials.
In fact, CATV offers an extremely low cost alternative to create video productions for mass media. Without the services CATV offers, many non-profit groups would be limited in their abilities to reach out to beneficiaries and donors. Organizations as diverse as the Sisters of Mercy, Erie Homes for Children and Adults, Mental Health Association of NWPA, Charter School of Excellence, and the Amazing Grays have become organizational members in order to produce a variety of programming including several long-running and successful series. CATV also documents several music festivals each year including Roar on the Shore, the Blues and Jazz Festival and Celebrate Erie.
In addition, individuals from all walks of life and areas of interest are represented on our membership roster and produce a multitude of non-series programs. Our members produce a wide variety of programming that runs the gamut from promoting community organizations to providing unique local, original entertainment. CATV is the only channel in Erie that cablecasts full-length, original, locally produced non-news programs. During the past year CATV held over 30 classes and educational workshops that varied in length from one hour to four weeks. In 2016 our membership produced over 6,000 hours of programming for the Erie community.
Today, Community Access Television is a small but thriving asset to the Erie community. With a membership of dedicated producers, we have continually built our programming base. There are several groups that regularly produce new episodes and about a dozen producers who generate non-series programming. In addition, with the help of our members, CATV shoots two multi-day festivals, charity benefits and a number of political forums each year. In any given year our members contribute over 3,000 hours, valued at approximately $75,000 using figures validated by Independent Sector at www.independentsector.org