Blurt out the name URTV quickly, and instead of hearing the individual letters U-R-T-V, what smoothly rolls off your tongue is either the phrase ““You Are TV” or “Your TV.” Either way, it works.
Yes, you have your own community media resource, found on Charter Cable channel 20, and it’s focused on you—your community, your news and the events in your area. Now in its second year, the public-access station is inviting the community to help celebrate with the URTV Media Fest, a combination open house and birthday party.
As you might suspect, community involvement is key to keeping URTV going, because—unlike a network television station—URTV doesn’t produce any of its own material. Instead, the station relies entirely on content generated by the local community. If you’re itching to produce your own television show—or simply looking for an alternative to the same-old from the mainstream—URTV can help.
“That’s the beauty of a community media resource,” explains Pat Garlinghouse, URTV’s executive director. “It’s whatever the community wants it to be.”
One way the station does this is by providing people in the community with access to cameras, lighting, audio equipment, studio space and editing software. As a result, the station is filled with locally made programs that cover a broad variety of topics, from local politics and music to in-depth interviews.
Although the station has become well-known in the community, there’s always a need for community-based groups to remind the public of their existence and their needs. Hence, an awareness-raising birthday party.
“Media Fest is an opportunity for us to make ourselves visible to the community,” says Curt Arledge, URTV’s director of programming and outreach. “There’s still a lot of people who don’t know who we are.”
So what, exactly, is the URTV Media Fest? The goal is simple: To bring a few more friendly faces into the growing URTV family and to show a little thanks for those who have supported the station.
Media Fest kicks off with an Opening Night VIP Gala on Friday (free and open to the public, despite the name), offering a chance for curious newcomers to mix with URTV regulars. An after-party at The Garage on Biltmore will highlight locally produced music videos and feature live music by The Cheeksters, Nevada and Saint Solitude.
On Saturday, TV-production workshops will be held at the studio, covering topics from animation and podcasting to lighting and field recording. In a rare treat for non-members of the station, each workshop will cost only $10 to attend. An after-party at Westville Pub features live music by Rat Jackson and Black Hook.
Closing out the festival on Sunday are the “Urtie” awards, held at Cinebarre, which honor “excellence in programming” in the past year. For local public-access shows, these awards are more than a fun way to spend an evening out—they are a validation of their efforts.
Whether you’re inclined to stand in front of the camera, work behind it or just love to support the efforts of those who do, there’s probably an event or two you’ll enjoy at the Media Fest. As Garlinghouse points out, “URTV Media Fest is our way to give back to the community and to celebrate their contribution of local programming.”
[Viktorija Krulikas is a freelance writer based in Asheville.]
who: URTV Media Fest
what: A three-day event in honor of URTV’s second birthday
where: Various locations
when: Friday, June 13, through Sunday, June 15 ($10 per workshop; free for members; $5 donation to attend after-parties. For a complete schedule, visit www.urtv.org or call 255-8848 for more info)