Cable commission seeks permission to channel 60

The Muncie Cable Television Commission is working to get public and government access channel 60 back on air, and if possible, to split government and public access into two separate channels.

The commission held a meeting Wednesday at Burris Laboratory School to discuss the potential candidates for the access coordinator position. The access coordinator will work on collecting material from community members to air on the channel. The access coordinator also will be responsible for shooting video of government events.

Alan Richardson, former chair of the Cable Television Commission, said they expect to hire the access coordinator by next week. The channel is expected to be on air by Feb. 1.

"Originally we were working on having [the equipment] set and the personnel by Jan. 1," he said. "But we couldn't because of budget approval."

Channel 60 was run by Comcast until March 2009. The channel then went blank and the control was handed to the city.

Eric McCoy, candidate for the access coordinator position, said the city had no way to operate the channel while there was no personnel available and the city did not have the funds to hire.

After the budget approval the commission moved towards setting the equipment, which was sold to them by Comcast. With the approval from Ball State University, the commission found a space at Burris to set the equipment. Richardson said although programming will come from Burris, Ball State will not be making programming decisions.

"Ball State partnered with us because they wanted to see it happen," he said. "We had previously considered locating the channel at the Muncie Public Library because it was downtown, but there was no room there."

Richardson said the commission also is working to have two channels for government and public access because government interest is increasing and because they want more material from local groups to run.

"Ball State students used to put some of their material on air," he said. "And once channel 60 starts running they can bring more material in."

However, it is not yet clear how long it will take the commission to get a second channel.
The commission will stay in function until 2012, when their legal agreement with Comcast expires, leaving the state to take over. The commission will have the control over the channel, but will no longer have the ability to legally mandate any changes, Richardson said.


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