Twenty-five years ago, Pittsfield leaders formed what's now known as Pittsfield Community Television. Now, as the organization celebrates the quarter century mark, station leaders say they're looking for new ways to keep viewers interested. Brandon Walker has more.
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Twenty-five years later and Pittsfield Community Television has become what its name says it is, a part of the community. But that wasn't always the case.
"I think at one time, we were sort of this thing in the corner with a channel and we did a few local programs," said PCTV Executive Director Bernard Avalle.
That was in 1986 as outlined in this 25 year retrospective. There was the Berkshire News Network, music programming, political talk shows. As the programs came and went, over time, PCTV caught on among viewers.
The idea for public access TV came in the early 80s.
Local leaders came together at city hall to discuss starting a TV channel in Pittsfield on something called cable.
"Equipment was purchased. Went on that year. First program was the Fourth of July parade," Avalle said.
They broadcast that live every year. They've also broadcast some high profile visits, from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to James Taylor.
Avalle said, "I tell you the most important productions was Deval Patrick's inaugural concert."
The station also covers city council meetings and other committee hearings as part of a three channel public package. Members shoot and produce programming, working with industry-standard equipment.
"The level of technology existing in the broadcast world right here," Avalle said.
Looking forward, Avalle says he and his staff are met with the same challenges facing commercial broadcasters: Searching for ways to keep viewers coming back.
"So you'll have to use all the current technologies to do all of those things. And so it's driven by the demand of the consumer and how they want to access that information," said Avalle.
Staying competitive in order to be around for the next 25 years.