Simsbury is a great place to live. It’s beautiful, has a great school system, AND a well-run and open government. Not only are agendas and minutes available on the town website, critical board and commission meetings are broadcast on our very own Simsbury Community TV station allowing you to watch what your elected boards and commissions are doing.
But this easy TV access to Simsbury’s open government is in danger of disappearing because SCTV which brings you government meetings is facing a crisis caused by changes in broadcast and media technology.
This is happening in several ways. First because of changing technology we are losing TV viewers which reduces our funding. At the same time, new technology has been growing at an unprecedented pace and has raised the public’s expectations about how and where to watch their government. Finally, the cost of changing technology is growing rapidly just when state government budget problems have cut funding which once assisted Cable Access TV to keep up with the changes.
How are we are losing TV viewers and how does that impact our budget? With the coming of high definition TV, Comcast moved most of its programming to the upper digits of its lineup leaving very few viewers watching on the lower tier where our Channel 5, 95 and 96 are located. And AT&T, now Frontier, was allowed to segregate public access on difficult-to-access Channel 99. Many potential new viewers do not even know these channels exist.
Secondly, we are losing viewers and funding because rising cable costs have led many to stop subscribing to cable. They are probably unaware that when they cut the cable cord, they also cut funding for SCTV which gets a tiny fraction of each subscriber’s cable bill. Subscriber fees have traditionally provided more than half of SCTV’s budget.
Another reason TV viewership is declining is that Simsbury residents have gotten used to watching HD television which SCTV cannot provide. Other busy residents would prefer easier access to meetings via our website. Furthermore, they want LIVE coverage from more sites than current SCTV technology can regularly accomplish.
The SCTV Board and staff have been trying to keep up with technology as frugally as possible, but paying for new technology increased our budget by 20% over last year at the same time income is dropping.
Now we need your help. Simsbury Community TV is in the middle of a fundraising campaign to ask residents to contribute to our operating budget. We hope that all town residents who believe in open government will do their share by making a donation. Of course, we want as many people as possible to watch us on TV. But even if you never watch us, or go to our website, please donate so that we can continue to operate and improve and keep your government open and you informed. Someday when there is a crisis, you will want us to be there.
Send your donations today to Simsbury Community TV, PO Box 767, Simsbury, CT 06070. SCTV is 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and donations are tax deductible.