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PV offering broader cable

Intern James Decker and Mark Stone, a cable access technician, set up Prescott Valley’s cable master control prior to a school board meeting Tuesday night.

Intern James Decker and Mark Stone, a cable access technician, set up Prescott Valley’s cable master control prior to a school board meeting Tuesday night.

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Residents here have a broader selection of local cable television viewing with the startup April 14 of Channel 15, also known as PV 15.

Channel 15 carries live and recorded coverage of Town Council, commission and Humboldt Unified School District board meetings, and town-sponsored events and programs. Technicians broadcast the programs either from the studio on the first floor of the Civic Center or on live-remote locations.

"PV 15 is a government-only channel, so it is designed to deliver to town residents information about their local government and even some federal government programs of interest," Colleen Auer, assistant town attorney, said, referring to Pentagon Channel programming. "We are getting people some more direct information about their community, about programs that their community is involved in."

Auer took part in negotiations with representatives from Cable One in March. Those talks led to the establishment of Channel 15.

Under the 10-year agreement, the town increased the license fee from 3 percent to 5 percent of Cable One's gross revenues. Town Manager Larry Tarkowski estimated that the revised fee would come to $213,000 a year for the town.

The agreement with Cable One separated educational from governmental programming, Auer said at the time.

Before the agreement went into effect, Prescott Valley and HUSD programming aired on available time slots on Channel 13 in Prescott. The nonprofit Prescott Community Access Channel runs the station and PV 13 serving Prescott Valley.

Besides covering meetings, Channel 15 carries programs such as "Art Power" and "The Morning Show," said Prescott Valley community relations coordinator Briana Lonas, who oversees the channel.

"We are working with the Public Works Department to create short infomercials such as road projects (and) chip sealing," Lonas said.

Lonas said the Arts and Culture Commission sponsors the art program, and Victoria Cananea, executive assistant in the Town Manager's office, hosts "The Morning Show."

The Channel 15 crew usually tapes the weekly morning show on Monday afternoon, cable access technician Mark Stone said with a laugh.

Stone and co-worker Duane Prince produce the programs for Channel 15.

They do pre-production work in advance of the shows, Prince said.

Pre-production involves setting up the studio, cameras and microphones, Stone said.

"We might have some still pictures that we use in programming," Stone continued. He added prep time takes an hour to an hour and a half.

Prince said town staffers who appear on shows talk about what will be on a program he and Stone are producing.

"It makes sense because when we record this, it will be recorded live," Prince said. "We rarely do any retakes."

The shows are not scripted, Stone said. However, he added, "We do some post-production."

Post-production could mean editing broadcasts of events to fit into a shorter time slot, he said.

"If we think the event itself is going (long) enough as it is, we can run the full length. If it is shorter than an hour, we can fill with some PSAs (public service announcements) or promos."

While not working on shows, Stone and Prince maintain the channel throughout the day and work on projects, such as making a program out of video and photos Town Council members and staff took while visiting Pascagoula, Miss., in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

Both technicians said they do not work closely with Cable One, but they call the cable operator if they need technical support.

"We provide the channel. They (Channel 15) provide and handle all the programming," Cable One General Manager Dennis Edwards said.

Edwards said Cable One has no way of measuring how many people view Channel 15 programs, unlike the national Nielsen ratings.

Another drawback of Channel 15 is that Prescott Valley residents who do not subscribe to Cable One have little access to its programming, Lonas said.

The town's Web site, www.pvaz.net, explains why subscribers to satellite networks may not view the programming. However, Lonas said that non-cable subscribers may view Town Council meetings live or recording by logging on to www.pvaz.net from their home computers.

Viewers may obtain a program guide from the same Web site.

Contact the reporter at khedler@prescottaz.com

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