Public Access: City of Fayetteville Provides Free TV Services

Public Access: City of Fayetteville Provides Free TV Services
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Staff Photo Nick Brothers
Dan Robinson, executive director of Your Media, directs local band The Glorious Birds during a studio lab session at Fayetteville Public Access Television, Jan. 24.

As Dana Louise and Adams Collins —a.k.a. The Glorious Birds — performed sweet sounding folk songs under the warm lights of the Fayetteville Public Access studio on 101 West Rock St. Saturday, Jan. 24, a team of video producers worked around them.

Diana Shepherd was on camera duty. As the folk duo continued to play their soothing music, Shepherd framed a close up on Louise, grooving to the rhythm as she worked.

“Nice shot,” Martell Jackson says from the studio control room. The two communicated via headset.

With another click of a button, Jackson advised Shepherd to frame a new shot. After watching the “preview” screen zoom to a new angle, Jackson crossfaded camera one to camera two, giving a close up on Adams Collins’ jazzy vibraphone playing. The two were working to make The Glorious Birds look and sound as good as possible, and they were doing it for free.

The ensemble involved in the production were there as students, and better yet, the hands-on experience they got from the studio lab came at no cost, all thanks to the services provided at Fayetteville Public Access Television. After the editing process, the band got to use the videos for their website, electronic press kits and booking gigs.

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Staff Photo Nick Brothers
Diana Shepherd (left) and Martell Jackson (right) discuss their plan of action for filming local band The Glorious Birds in studio during a studio lab session. The hands-on experience class is given for free on Saturdays.

“If you hired someone to do this, it could cost hundreds, maybe thousands depending on how involved it is,” said Collins, afterwards. “To get to come do it for free and work with cool people who are excited and like, ‘Thanks for coming!’ It’s like ‘No, thank you!’ Y’know, it’s nice.”

The City of Fayetteville offers free amateur to advanced classes for editing, videography and studio production, among several other advanced classes for free to its residents at the Fayetteville Public Access Television. The only stipulation? It gets broadcast on their channel at 218 on Cox Cable, AT&T Uverse channel 99, and online at least one time. Students get to keep the video for their own personal use afterwards.

“It’s an incredible thing,” said Jackson, after finishing his studio lab. “Anything the news network can do here, we do through Fayetteville Public Access. If you’re just a regular citizen, and you want to do something or say something, there’s plenty of opportunities.”

In addition to the free classes, the station has a variety of cameras, microphones and tripods for those who have passed the entry level classes that they can check out for 24 hours. In effect, any Fayetteville citizen could potentially train themselves at the station to a professional level in editing and filming for free.

Staff Photo Nick Brothers Dan Robinson (right) instructs Diana Shepherd on how to properly frame the band performing in studio.

Staff Photo Nick Brothers
Dan Robinson (right) instructs Diana Shepherd on how to properly frame the band performing in studio.

“It’s usually a small class of two to three people, so you get direct contact with the instructors,” Jackson said. “The staff they have here are so knowledgeable and helpful who are willing to do anything to help anybody with any kind of project. There’s no wrong answer here.”

Other than programming by the city government channel, the content broadcast on Fayetteville Public Access consists of productions made by Fayetteville citizens. To protect freedom of speech, no content is censored, and programs containing adult content can be streamed from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. via Federal Communication Commission rules. Essentially, the only thing that won’t be published is pornography or “obscene” content.

The channel has been operating for 20 years, and within that time frame a community of people developed who often utilized the services. Richard S. Drake has been producing his talk show “On the Air” for 20 years, as well as “Roger and Dan” who produce the occasionally political, human health themed “One Whirled View.” An infamous show at the station, “Abbey of the Lemur,” was notorious for getting complaints with its absurd and often grotesque content, but none of it (which was broadcast after midnight) violated any FCC rules. There’s also an archive at the station of every program produced there in all the different forms of media within the last 20 years.

Current programs include “Fayettetunes,” where local bands are brought in for an interview and live performance, the late night community talk show “Later with Jason Suel” and Short Takes on Wednesdays, where the public is invited to say or do whatever they want for five minutes on air.

“There aren’t many public access channels left. They are actually a dying thing,” said Dan Robinson, executive director of Your Media — the non-profit service provider for Fayetteville Public Access Television. “For Fayetteville to make this a priority, to hold on to it for it to actually be growing is very different from the norm around the nation. We’re very proud of that. We feel like it’s something that definitely reflects the funky culture of Fayetteville.”

Staff Photo Nick Brothers Wai-Kay Carenbauer, director of education for Fayetteville Public Access Television, works with a student on editing a video.

Staff Photo Nick Brothers
Wai-Kay Carenbauer, director of education for Fayetteville Public Access Television, works with a student on editing a video.

As for the future, the station is expected to get a major overhaul in equipment to switch over to high definition this summer. With the upgrade in tech, one of the new possibilities the station can do is create 3D-active backgrounds on green screens where the digital background adapts to the live camera’s perspective.

“To me, (Fayetteville Public Access TV) is a wonderful launch pad for people looking to start a career in producing,” Robinson said. “Before you’re making money with it, you have the opportunity to come here. Usually the biggest obstacle is not having the equipment and resources.”

For those interested in utilizing the services, residents are encouraged to go to to learn about the classes offered. You can also call the station at 444-3433 during their operating hours, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

“I’ve always been interested in what’s going on in the community and this is a good way to keep a pulse on that,” said Wai-Kay Carenbauer, director of education for the station. “Helping people through the process of doing whatever they’re talking about doing is very rewarding.”

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