Pastor Jerry Young, chairman of URTV board of directors, has sent a letter to the [Asheville] City Manager's office announcing the pending shut-down of our public-access station.
This financial collision was what I and others who were paying attention had become deeply concerned about since early 2008. Numerous attempts to alert both our elected officials and paid staff at the city and county of the impending doom fell upon deaf ears. It's as if they wanted this travesty to occur. Certainly a powerful forum like a TV channel is something the powers that be may not be keen upon. Instead, it was easier to look upon us a troublemakers or malcontents out to destroy URTV.
I have done research on the Internet via foundationcenter.org by keying in either "public access" or "community television" for fiscal year 2008 (the last [form] 990 I find from URTV, to do a comparison), and I can find very little in comparable stations (either population size or amount of funding received) that are in such dire financial straits. Most stations are able to expand upon their assets, not deplete them as the current management has done. Taxes are still being collected to fund a public-access studio, both by Charter and also satellite-TV service. If URTV / WNCCMC cannot manage on the funds they receive, then they should step aside, and another entity [should be] contracted to run our public access.
We must pressure both the city and county to consider alternatives to merely quitting. There are other options. This could be in the form of simply dropping DVDs off to Charter Cable, to combining with either the government channels or the [education] channels, to paring back to an 8-by-8-foot room and having one employee man a much smaller (but functioning) facility.
Bottom line, URTV / WNCCMC is a private nonprofit contracted by the city and county to run our public-access station. Our public-access station is not permanently wedded to this private nonprofit. If the management and board of directors cannot manage with the funds they have, they should turn the keys over to another entity that is dedicated to growing our public-access station into what it was envisioned to become. The city and county have the power to appoint an interim panel or committee to form and run a revived facility. But they need to know that people care about this.
… Please take some time and write our elected officials and staff about considering alternatives. We still have the equipment, the channel, and the funding, which comes to approximately $150,000 annually. There is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water.
— Davyne Dial