May 2017 Zippy Brief

All I can say is BRRRRRRRRRR….while writing to you on this cold, rainy May day.  The good news from all of this, is that Massachusetts officially considers its drought to be at an end. While we wait for things to warm up I wanted to touch upon several things.

First, Somerville Media Center has renewed, for the next three years, its contract with the City of Somerville as the provider of Public Access Television services to the residents of Somerville. The funding received through this contract constitutes the bulk (by far) of our operating budget. And by extension is the primary driver in enabling this place to provide training, staff support and services, as well as technology, equipment and facilities so that our members can make and share media. The three T’s of access television, in addition to the Training and Technology components, also includes Transmission. From the standpoint of the contract with the City of Somerville, that specifically refers to cable casting content on channel 3 in both the lineups for RCN and Comcast. This is what we have been doing longer than any other media center in the commonwealth. And this is what we’ll continue to do.
This year we have celebrated the introduction of a new umbrella name, Somerville Media Center, to better reflect the widened scope of activities provided and supported here – activities that include simultaneous web-casting of channel 3 content, Boston Free Radio, as well as taking advantage of social media video delivery YouTube, YouTube Live, Facebook Live and this is independent of members’ own distribution arrangements (, Vimeo, personal YouTube sites, etc). And we encourage folks, and have provided training on various ways to expand your distribution footprint as many of you seek to grow your audience both within and outside of Somerville. That said, I wanted to remind our membership of the obligations that you as users of Somerville Media Center facilities, equipment and expertise, have as far as sharing the media you make. For a nominal membership fee you have access to facilities and equipment on a free-to-borrow basis…with the stipulation that the content produced is shared on the channel. And this is what is beautiful about community media – we’re bartering tools and facilities for media creation in exchange for the content by-product of that use. Again, this should not limit your grander, larger, global distribution plans, but the core component that is non-commercial, community-produced media for sharing on SCATV channel 3 must always remain.

Secondly, I wanted to thank everyone who came out to view the 2nd Annual Cinema Somerville event. While we were frustrated by the dictates of the weather, and some technical challenges to boot, Somerville justified its reputation as being true supporters and advocates of the arts. The main studio was filled with movie goers who gave “good audience” for the 20 video submissions that had a link to Somerville.

Lastly, be on the lookout for upcoming communications from Somerville Media Center, specifically SCATV, as we roll out the launch of Video-On-Demand (VOD) services to our community media producers by month’s end.