The other day, I turned on our local Public Access station to find out a little about their programming policy.
You see, I'd run out of more exciting tasks, like learning how to spell my name backwards. In any case, I watched something called "Health Talk," where a podiatrist did a brutal expose of the orthotics industry- and named names! After my heart rate returned to the low 80s, I resolved to find out more about Rye and Blind Brook's local stations.
Here's what all the fuss is about.
First, you should know that Rye has several cable access stations. I think they may be showing all the same things, however. But no one has been able to watch any one long enough to find out. The editing is quite snappy. But, of course, I said the same thing about the 14 part series, "Berlin Alexanderplatz." The shooting style of our stations is fairly static. But one critic did compare it to a legendary TV show. Okay, it was The Christmas Eve Yule Log. But a classic is a classic.
Channel 75 is The Government Public Access Channel. Which has "gavel to gavel" coverage of all city council meetings. Mostly, this is pretty sedate stuff. Except that time the city councilman whacked the gavel and everyone spontaneously launched into "Like A Rolling Stone."
It was so good, Bob Dylan posted it on his website.
Sometimes, the government channel simply posts announcements. For example, the best way to deal with garbage or when Blind Brook's Senior Chorus will meet again. Frankly, I think there should be a commercial or something between these two announcements. The seniors got them all mixed up. And the next thing you knew, they were rehearsing at the city dump.
Channel 75 was nominated recently for an Emmy for Best Musical/Or Variety Program. It's those times that make up for the six hour discussions on waste treatment.
Channel 76 handles all the Community Access stuff. This can be anything from a football game in Rye to a musical at Blind Brook High School. Is there much difference? As always, it really depends on who's directing.
If you're a non-profit organization and wish to advertise events and services, Community Billboard is where you do it. These announcements also appear on the government station. In order to save time, the mayor of Rye Brook was asked if she would read the list of the aforementioned upcoming events. She agreed, but insisted she should get double-time for this. Since it wasn't in the budget, both parties agreed to give the mayor a second title. On alternate days, she is to be addressed as The Town's Cruise Director.
For youngsters interested in learning more about TV, Rye holds workshops to teach you what to do. Which means in a week, you'll be qualified to replace Sue Simmons. The two courses that are taught are Studio Production and Location Shoot/Editing. This sounds like a great deal. But you're really just replacing the kids who were sent on location and never returned.
The worst thing about this? The equipment was never returned.
Anyone who completes these courses is automatically qualified to volunteer at the station. This is a good deal. Basically, because, as long as you're working at local Public Access TV, you're in luck. Because it means, as you've probably figured out, that you don't have to watch it.
Peter Gerstenzang is a freelance videographer and entertainment and humor writer based in Rye. His humor column about life in the Rye area, "Wry Observations about Rye," will appear twice a month on Rye Patch.