Vol. IV No. 2 1/15/2023
By Anita Schwerner
After becoming a member of the Five Town Cable Advisory Committee, I was surprised to learn that a high percentage of the funding for CTSB is based on the number of Spectrum subscribers. CTSB is paid a percentage of the Spectrum subscribers in the 5 towns of Stockbridge, Lenox, Lee, Great Barrington, and Sheffield.
The committee is currently negotiating a new 10-year-contract with Spectrum and an important negotiable item is CTSB's budgetary needs. Those who have Cable TV services pay a monthly fee that is for funding Public Access Channels. As a non-profit organization CTSB is dependent on this funding to function, to update equipment and provide high quality and high definition programming which is available on their website and the Cablecast app. However it is only being broadcast in standard definition on Spectrum TV which is not pleasant to watch and not in keeping with our contract.
The 3 different CTSB stations are supposed to be broadcast on Spectrum TV stations below channel 50 but instead they are on Channel 1301, 1302 and 1303. This is a problem for those who don't receive these channels and it's also a problem because the broadcasts are not in high definition, In addition, the only way to see the current tv guide listings is to go to the CTSB website because the cable guide does not list the individual programs.
I went on a tour of the CTSB offices and studios with Rich Frederick, the Executive Director, and learned that CTSB provides so much more than recordings of meetings. Their studio and equipment is available to community members to use to produce content that is informative, educational or entertaining and there are some amazing programs that are being created.
A few highlights on Channel 1301 (Public) include Community Highlights, Solo Creatives of the Berkshires produced by Sherry Steiner, musical performances and much more. The Education Channel 1302 includes the 34th Annual Fall Festival of Shakespeare, Monument Mountain TV productions, school sports and all kinds of school committee meetings including the 8 Town Regional. And the Government Channel 1303 shows meetings from the 5 towns. The ability to watch and participate in meetings in real time as well as to access them anytime on CTSB has been widely embraced by the residents of Stockbridge, both full and part-time.
I encourage you to explore the programs available on the three channels and take advantage of the opportunity to produce your own. You're all invited to stop by and visit CTSB to learn more.
Photo: Patrick White