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.
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."
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.
Fade to black for ECTV? (7/5/16)
More talk but no more money for ECTV (1/6/15)
ECTV fans speak of hopes for revival (1/6/15)