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Erika Storlie.

Evanston’s Human Services Committee voted Monday to have city staff take over management of the city’s public access cable television channel.

Administrative Services Director Erika Storlie said the move to replace the non-profit Evanston Community Television as the channel’s operator would still provide opportunities for community volunteers to use the studio facilities in the city’s service center at 2020 Asbury Ave.

ECTV has had difficulty over the past four years in achieving financial viability as the city scaled back contribution of cable franchise fee revenue to the group.

The city took over management of the government access channel in December 2014 after technical difficulties prevented cable broadcast of some meetings. School District 65 also cancelled its agreement with ECTV at the same time, and the city assumed responsibility for operating the school channel as well.

Michael Petroshus.

ECTV board member Michael Petroshus pleaded with aldermen not to cancel the deal. “Please don’t kick us while we’re down,” Petroshus said. He said the group has partnered with the Evanston Art Center to provide video classes for children and said a recent video of a local food truck festival had received “almost 200 views.”

Cindy Cort.

Another board member, Cindy Cort, said she’s been working with ECTV since the early 1980s. She argued that the franchise fee “is the citizens’ money” and should go to ECTV.

Storlie said the full-time employee the city has hired to run the government and school channels would also be able to manage the public access channel and work with volunteers to produce original programming.

The proposal, approved on a 5-0 committee vote, still requires full City Council approval. That vote is expected at the council’s Monday, Aug. 15, meeting.

Related stories

Fade to black for ECTV? (7/5/16)

City to manage meeting videos for school district (9/15/15)

More talk but no more money for ECTV (1/6/15)

ECTV fans speak of hopes for revival (1/6/15)

City, schools cutting ties with video non-profit (12/24/14)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Smart move

    I welcome the city taking over the entire public access cable television operation for better results and more accountability.  Citizens will benefit when a well-trained professional is running these facilities.  Production of the government channel and D65 channel has improved noticeably since the city assumed responsibility for both of those channels.

    The current volunteers (not certain how many there are as only two are quoted in the article) can focus on creating quality programming without having to run the entire operation. Hopefully, they will see that this can be a positive change for them and the rest of us.

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