City: URTV will go dark in 1-2 weeks as equipment removed

The city of Asheville begins an inventory today of equipment at the public access channel URTV, currently in the midst of a dispute with Buncombe County over funds, and Lauren Bradley, the city’s administrative services director, tells Xpress that the channel will go dark in one to two weeks as equipment is removed. She adds that staff are not recommending a renewal of the center’s contract with the city.

“We have received a detailed inventory of the equipment they have,” Bradley says. “Since they have vacated the space, we’re working with the landlord, will do a walk-through, and compare the physical assets with the inventory they have provided.”

The walk-through happens today, May 23, and Bradley adds that “once we have a handle on what’s there, what’s ours and what’s not, we’ll be moving that equipment in the next week to two-week time period. Once we go through the equipment and dismantle it, the channel will go dark.”

The WNC Community Media Center, the nonprofit that runs URTV, shut down studio operations on May 14. While its battle with Buncombe County, whom it claims is withholding funds the channel is legally owed, continues, the channel is broadcasting pre-recorded material on Charter Channel 20. Currently, the center has no paid staff.

Staff and some Council members will discuss the matter further at the meeting of Council’s Finance Committee at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, in Room 623 of City Hall.

Bradley adds that the center’s agreement with the city has expired and adds that at the same meeting, staff will recommend that “we formally notify the [center’s] board of the city’s intent not to renew or extend the existing agreement.”

The city is staying out of the legal issues between Buncombe County and the center.

“Our decision [not to extend the agreement] is based on the fact that the space is vacated, they’re not maintaining staffing anymore, the service is essentially not available,” Bradley tells Xpress. “In recent months, URTV made a funding request for $115,000 and Council communicated back, saying they wanted to see an alternative proposal that’s a little more creative, less cost-intensive and we’re open to new models and other ideas, so send us your ideas that work within the revenue you know you’re going to get. They said they were unable to do that because of fixed expenses and limited ability to collect other revenues.

“Because of their response and the fact the service is just no longer there, the city is contemplating the decision to not extend the agreement and pursue other types of services,” she adds.

— David Forbes, senior news reporter


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16 thoughts on “City: URTV will go dark in 1-2 weeks as equipment removed

  1. For some time now this facility has not reflected the diversity, the dynamism or the culture of our community.

    Hopefully something new will arise from the sad ashes…and shows like the Vet program and “What’s really going on in WNC,” will come back stronger than ever. Lots of good shows / producers were run off, I hope they can come back too.

    The strong arm tactics shown at recent commissioners meetings were the tip of the intimidation iceberg that went on behind the scenes of what was supposed to be a facility for all members of the community. Instead URTV devolved into a private little club for the few who didn’t ask questions and heaped constant praise on a failing facility. All at the taspayers expense….and has been a gross failure of the public trust.

  2. Illuminatti_01

    Youtube clip: A Board Member trys to blame Holly Jones @ County Commissioner’s meeting 4/3/11

    Holly Jones is having none of it, and lays responsibility of URTV’s issues squarely where they belong on URTV’s “failed management.”

  3. Barry Summers

    No comment.

    Nice try, but couldn’t pull it off completely, could you?

  4. Lasereye

    OBSERVATION: There will be no freedom of expression for the diversity of the people in our community and their points of view.

    It’s gone forever!

    This was all political premeditated gamesmanship created by our local governments to disenfranchise the people of Asheville Buncombe County from their 1st amendment rights to freedom of expression as stipulated by law many years ago.

    To see how the game was played out go to:

    Here you can witness how your government works in mysterious ways to bring about change as we continue to lose our democratic republic by the people.

    Ask yourself who benefits by this action? Who loses? Our local government does not want the citizens to have a community voice of the people with an open public access cable channel to speak directly among themselves.

    Now if this position as posed is incorrect – you will see our local governments reinstate the communities public access cable TV channel with a NEW non-profit contractor to allow any citizen his 1st amendment rights to freedom of expression – then you will know the truth!

    My bet – you will never see it again!

    Enjoy your “Free Speech TV” until the plug is pulled – government today can’t handle diversity – it runs against Corptocracy’s master plan of government with access too-big-to-fail deep pockets.

  5. Bjorn

    What URTV’s opposition fails to grasp is, they too are loosing the right to create & air local TV productions. It wasn’t about securing the right of free speech for the few, but ensuring for the many & anoyone from the community who desired to use URTV.

    Does this now mean everyone’s Charter bill will be reduced, since the franchise fees are no longer being used in Asheville to fund Public Access?

  6. Lasereye

    URTV was always avaiable to the public to come forth and speak and there was a diversity of shows from the community for those who chose to take the initive and time to participate.

    Dream on about “bill being reduced”. You have just been screwed! Use to be 43 cents per cable TV subscriber. Now it’s 7.5% tax on the bill.

    Doesn’t you government work in mysterious ways? They took away PATV by killing it under the guise of budget cuts and raised your taxes. Both the state and local government get to take part in the bounty while local control is lost to state level to the benefit of the Corptocracy handlers.

    God, How I love our government servants!

  7. Bjorn

    I’m sure if there was an offer to privatize Public Access the ‘powers that be’ would’ve found some more funds from that mysterious ‘Blackhole.’

    Wonder how much longer before they try privatizing Municipal Water…?

  8. Illuminatti_01

    @ Lasereye
    If it is in fact true that Government wants the PEG fees for themselves…then the management and Board of Directors of our local public access gave them the excuse to do so by flounting their non-compliance with many of the terms in the management agreement. So the Board and Management gave the Government URTV’s head on a silver platter. Lasereye’s posts on here are attempt to smokescreen URTV’s responsibility in this travesty and betrayal of the people’s trust. For shame!

  9. WAVLokel


    I would rather continue paying to charter than see URTV on the air.

    It’s not about freedom of speech, it’s about tax payers paying for your playground. Go ahead and air your garbage, but pay for it yourself or through donations. There is absolutely no reason why somebody should be forced to contribute to that garbage.

  10. Lasereye

    Right – you keep believing and making misinformed comments!

    Ok let’s play – if government is behind the cause of giving the citizens of Asheville Buncombe County an open platform cable TV channel, you will see PATV rise again like a Phoenix from the ashes. Belief means nothing when you factor in the politics of control which disenfranchises citizens from exercising their 1st amendment rights to freedom of expression among their fellow citizens in a realm of a vigorous community debate and dialogue.

    I stand by my comment – “You will never see it again” – because they know what they do!

    In God we may believe – but all others must verify!

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