stackesWebWhat is public access television?

Your community television access center is your center; it is television by and for the community. Started in the 1960s, public access is a television center/channel provided through cable companies, supported by federal law and municipal government, and available to the community to express their opinions and views. There are many different types of access centers since each is established to meet individual community needs. Some are run by an independent non-profit corporation, others by the cable company, the municipality or a school. However, all access centers share the common goal of facilitating the production of television programs by and for the local community. By becoming a member and learning how to use the studio and video equipment, you pave the way to producing your own programs. Whether it’s the creation of a public service announcement or documentary, a talk show or live series — it’s up to you to make it happen. Since public access television centers are non-profit organizations supported by funds from the cable companies as well as private and public sources, they are able to offer equipment and classes for very little cost to members. A nominal fee is often requested for membership and classes, while equipment (cameras, studio, editing rooms) use and channel time are free.

What channel are you on?

We are on channel 3 in Somerville. You can watch our channel live here:  Live Stream

Where are you located?

90 Union Square, Somerville.  For directions click here.

When are you open?

Hours of operation:  Monday – Thursday:  noon-10PM  Fridays and Saturdays:  10AM-4PM

Who can become a member? 

Check out our Membership page.

How do I get my program on SCATV?

Somerville residents who would like to put their program on the channel should fill out a program proposal form with the public access coordinator. For proof of residency we ask that you bring in your ID and a bill that has been mailed to your Somerville address along with your program on a -R DVD.  Non-residents also need to fill out a program proposal form and will need a Somerville resident to sponsor their program.  The local resident should come to SCATV with an ID and bill that has been mailed to their Somerville address and the program they wish to sponsor on a -R DVD.

Will SCATV own my program? 

SCATV producers own their programs and may keep the master videos.  SCATV may keep a copy of any program and cablecast it an unlimited number of times.  Any producer can arrange limits on re-runs with the Programming Coordinator.  With permission of the producer, SCATV may also use the program for promotional purposes related to SCATV.  SCATV may discard any DVD three months after it was submitted if the sponsor does not pick it up or arrange with SCATV to collect their footage.

How do you decide what programs to show?

SCATV is a public access TV station, meaning the residents of Somerville choose what programs are on channel 3. Much of the programming you see on SCATV is produced by members of the Somerville community.

SCATV is a local media center for free expression by the residents of Somerville.  Any resident of Somerville is free to say or do anything he or she wants on his or her SCATV program, provided they can assure us that their program does not contain any illegal content. This illegal content is defined, in part, by our cable television access agreement with the City of Somerville.

We maintain a public forum for free expression as long as we prohibit all of the following types of content in programs:

• Commercials or advertising

• Libel or slander

• Obscenity and pornography

• Any violation of copyrights, publicity rights, or invasion of privacy

• Any violation of FCC regulations

• Any violation of any local, state, or federal law.

If you’d like to know how the FCC defines obscenity, and the very different type of content called “indecency,” you may read their Consumer Fact Sheet at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/obscene.html

While SCATV is not directly regulated by this FCC policy, which is applied to broadcasters like the local network stations, we do follow this policy, especially as concerns the scheduling of so-called adult programming after 11 PM. (Note: There is currently no such programming on SCATV.)

How can I promote my business on SCATV?

As a SCATV sponsor, your business will have a slide displayed on the channel many times each day.  The slide may including the name of your business, the address, as well as, contact and web information. We do not allow calls to action, promoting sales, or listing prices as a sponsor.  The sponsorship fee is $100 per month.

How does SCATV fund its operations?

Most of SCATV’s funding is provided by a cable access fee collected by each cable operator in the City of Somerville. Federal law allows cities and towns to collect a fee from cable operators for their use of the public rights of way – the city’s streets, poles and underground conduits. These fees provide SCATV with equipment, facilities, channel time and classes.

Some of our funding is derived from charitable donations and grants. SCATV is an independent, non-profit corporation, and we accept donations from supporters.

Can I put my show online?

Yes, you can put your show online but if you make more than two thousand dollars we request that you pay a rental fee and give us a high five.

What are the rental rates?

rental rates

How is SCATV organized? Who runs SCATV?

SCATV is an independent, non-profit corporation created in 1983 to receive funding from the City designated for a public cable TV access corporation to operate in Somerville.  SCATV is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.  Members of SCATV elect individuals to serve on this board. The Executive Director runs the day-to-day operations, (see SCATV Staff) and is given an operating budget by the Board to hire staff and pay for day-to-day expenses.

Do I have to be a member to volunteer? 

We would love for you to volunteer but we do require a membership.  If you are interested in an internship, click here.

Do I have to air all of the programs I work on using SCATV equipment?

Yes, all videos made with SCATV equipment and facilities must be played on the channel to avoid rental fees.

When is my show on?

Check the Program Schedule

How do I get involved with SCATV? 

Come to one of our upcoming orientations. 

What class should I start out with? 

You could start with or Basic Studio Production or Basic Portable Production.

Do I need experience to join SCATV?

Nope, experienced or not, we want you to join!

Can I use SCATV’s equipment?

Certified members may use SCATV’s equipment and facilities to create programming for SCATV.  To gain certification you must take a production class or “test out” by proving your knowledge of the equipment.

What happens if I break or lose something? 

SCATV has an insurance policy for equipment while members are using it. SCATV pays the premiums and the policy is in SCATV’s name. Members are completely responsible for the SCATV equipment and facilities signed out to them. This includes responsibility for the actions of assistants, guests, and others.

In the event that equipment is stolen or damaged and the insurance company honors the claim, the member is responsible for the deductible payment charged by SCATV’s insurance company. In the event the insurance company does not honor a claim, the member must reimburse SCATV for the equipment’s full replacement value.

In order for the insurance company to honor a claim in the case of theft:

  • a police report must be filed,
  • equipment must not have been left unattended,
  • there must be proof of forcible entry, and
  • equipment must not have been left in a car overnight.

Do I really have to live in Somerville? 

For equipment membership we ask to see an ID and a bill that has been mailed to your Somerville address for proof of residency.  If you do not live in Somerville, you can still have a contributing membership and take the classes.