Airing your own Program or Video
Research your local city to find out if you have any Public broadcasting. (in Canada CBC is really great this way, especially radio)
Most Cable public access channels have a public service shows and announcements. They usually are in need of material and welcome new material. You must though be a resident of the area and not all cable companies carry public stuff anymore and have opted out for paying customers.
Visit your stations and ask for a submission form and list of guidelines from the programming manager. Explain how you will promote the program. The station may appreciate more viewers
Remember publicity is free and effective
Advertising cost and is less effective
The Public broadcasting departments of the media may be willing to air your videos, events etc., especially if you have a recognized high profile member of the community in attendance.
Get in touch with the programming manager of your Public Broadcasting media. Explain your position, your program, video or your event. Give them supporting material. Invite them to cover meetings of your organization.
Get a written commitment to air your video or event. Give them lots of contact information. Keep in regular contact with the station. promote the station.
If your public broadcasting media decline your offer, do not give up. start a letter writing campaign supporting airing of your program or event. Show them in a positive way that the community supports you.
For an in-depth guide, contact: The Video Project, 5332 College Ave., Suite 101, Oakland, CA 94618 415-655-9050 and ask for “How to Get Environmental and Peace Films on Local TV.”
You can create your own programming or air a pre-produced video, many of which are available from alternative TV organizations.
(Paper Tiger Television has an entire library of programs that activists can air on cable access. You can contact them at 212-420-9045, or write to 339 Lafayette St. NY, NY 10012.
Free Speech TV provides weekly progressive programming for cable access channels: Call 303-442-5693, or write P.O. Box 6060, Boulder, CO 80306.)
DO NOT MAKE ANY AGREEMENTS TO AIR VIDOES AND PROGRAMS YOU HAVE NOT PRODUCED. GET PERMISSION FROM PRODUCERS OF ALL VIDEOS AND PROGRAMS.
Check the technical requirements of the station. Do they require 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch VHS? Note deadlines and what type of messages are prohibited. For instance, most channels will not allow programs to include any kind of fundraising pitch or message that could be construed as a commercial. Usually a program can include the name, address and phone number of the organization which produced the video or of a local contact. Some organizations even offer free organizing kits, prizes or other such gimmicks to increase their response rate. Producers can often add such a message at the end or cut out a fundraising pitch if they need to.
List the program in mainstream and alternative newspapers, local TV or cable guides, and the cable bulletin board. See if you can get on a local radio show to discuss the program or call in to a local talk show on a related issue. If you have access to a mailing list of people interested in the issue, send a postcard describing the program, mentioning the air date and time and encouraging viewers to call the station after the show to voice their appreciation. Remember: Begin weeks before the actual airing of the program, because TV guides and media outlets have their own deadlines to deal with.
“Cable Access: Community Channels and Productions for Non-Profits,” from the Benton Foundation, 1720 Rhode Island Ave. NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20036, or call 202-857-7829.
Video House Party
A good way to educate your community while raising money for your local media activist group is to organize house parties or community showings of relevant programs. These can be either video screenings or group viewings of a program that people in the community have gotten aired on the cable access channel.
Have everyone sign a sign-up sheet as they arrive. Serve refreshments, and let people chat. After the film, allow time for people to voice their reactions to the film and discuss what to do about the issues. Group discussions serve to move people to action as well as make the evening more interesting and fun.
Pass out pens, paper and envelopes. If you have watched a program airing on cable access or PBS, ask people to write the channels to voice their appreciation of the program. Depending on the issue, you might have them write their legislators, a television network or a specific program. Collect the letters on the spot and mail them yourself.