13s fuzzy picture
One of the more intriguing scenarios coming out of the Villages
2003 budget is the way the boards that oversee the Village Mediation Program
and the local public access channel are reacting to cuts in their budgets.
Both VMP and channel 13 are losing funding for their part-time workers,
forcing the VMP Steering Committee and the Village Cable Advisory Panel
to find ways to keep the programs going. Both bodies will use volunteers
more to cover the cuts. Members of both bodies also are generously getting
more involved in their programs. Beyond this, however, the two committees
responses go in different directions.
Last month the VMP Steering Committee held a public meeting to discuss
the future of the program because the Village will no longer employ a
coordinator for VMP. The committee has a plan to get through this year
and secure grant money in 2004 to fund its most crucial function, reacting
to villagers problems. In 2003, the committee plans to cover the
function, which is similar to a case-management responsibility, with volunteers
and a part-time person. The committee will pay that person by squeezing
some funds from its budget and by using stop-gap money from the Village,
which the committee secured last week from Village Council.
The Cable Advisory Panel also has a plan sort of, we think. Like
VMP, channel 13 is losing a paid position, a volunteer coordinator who
helped keep the channel running for the last couple of years. The gist
of the panels strategy can be summarized in a response recently
made by its chairwoman, Elsie Hevelin: channel 13 has been run by volunteers
in the past and it will continue to be run by volunteers. Otherwise, the
panel has been vague about its plans. While the cable panel was asked
to attend Councils meeting last week to discuss the budget cuts,
the panel instead gave a report on its 2002 activities, only briefly discussing
its strategy for this year.
Though the panel is working to better define the different tasks at channel
13 to help new volunteers get involved at the station, its members have
not explained how they will get more volunteers to contribute more programming.
The panel also has said that it wants to increase meeting coverage to
include the Miami Township trustees and the Village Planning Commission.
While showing tapes of meetings is a great community service, it does
not always make for great television. Channel 13 should do more than just
The reality is Yellow Springs is too small, and the Village has too many
needs, to pay someone to run cable TV. This means those associated with
the station need to have a vision for channel 13 as well as understand
what the community wants from the station. With channel 13 in a transition
period, the cable panel needs to do a better job explaining what it sees
as the future of public access television in Yellow Springs.