Air your very own TV program on PACT-TVThe PACT TV office has been helping people create and air many types of programs, on cable channels 7, 16, and 20, that reach approximately 28,000 viewers. PACT stands for Public Access Community Television and it's been around since 1974.
By: Thomas Vaughn, for the Duluth Budgeteer News
If you’ve ever wanted to give Steven Spielberg a run for his money, a small office in Duluth City Hall is the place to start. With a production studio on the third floor, staff at the PACT-TV office has been helping people create and air many types of programs, on cable channels 7, 16 and 20, that reach approximately 28,000 viewers.
Kevin Silverio has produced a Bible study program with PACT for the past five years. “I love the PACT crew. I have had serious times when something is not going right before show time and the crew will come in with a good sense of humor and get things up and running in time,” Silverio said.
PACT stands for Public Access Community Television and it’s been around since 1974. In order to have access to production facilities and support, membership in PACT is necessary, at $25 per year for an individual and $50 for an organization.
New members of PACT take classes to develop media skills. The digital camera classes cover operation processes and lighting techniques. A digital editing class, using basic software found on PCs, is also offered.
If someone wants an “industry standard” experience, a Final Cut Pro class is also available.
After teaching the technology, PACT staff brings it together during studio production classes that help members learn the basics of in-house production with new high-definition studio cameras. There is also an editing and image lab with eight editing stations that can be used by members.
The PACT office is open 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every weekday.
Shows do not need to be produced in the studio or with PACT equipment. PACT is willing to take DVDs from members, filmed either on location in the studio or produced by others outside the studio. PACT staff then converts them for airing in the cable cast room.
Jon Donahue schedules the programming. Channels 7 and 20 allow for more scheduling flexibility, while channel 16 is run off a hard drive and adheres to a running format (community calendar) set on a 24-hour continuum.
Donahue has been working with PACT for seven years as a cable cast coordinator and has been associated with PACT for 14 years. He teaches the
introductory class for new members and hosts a show called “The Average
“I started producing shows back in 1998. Anybody who wants to get involved with PACT is welcome,” Donahue said. “We’re here to help them get off the ground and to help them with studio productions. They can learn TV production within a few months if they’re serious about it.”
Liz Minette holds a degree in liberal arts and has been the administrative assistant at PACT for 12 years. She volunteered at first, serving on the board, then applied for a full-time position in the office.
“I enjoy my coworkers and the creativity that’s possible with video and audio, working with our members and meeting new members,” she said.
PACT is open to all kinds of programming and rarely has to deny airtime for a project.
“The only two things we have to watch out for are commercialism and obscenity,” said Jerry Moscatelli, executive director of PACT-TV. “It’s feedback from the viewers that tends to get the attention of the staff. We’re reactive. We don’t preview shows. We’re kind of like the gatekeepers of the First Amendment.”
PACT-TV is a nonprofit organization with funding from the cable franchise fee that the City of Duluth collects from Charter Communications. PACT is under contract to run the cable access channels. The 37-cent fee on a Charter bill supports the purchase of equipment and long-term projects.
To learn more about PACT-TV, go online to www.pacttv.org or call 723-3686.