Public-access TV: Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater

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 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

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2 thoughts on “Public-access TV: Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater

  1. Tired of Hearing from Davyne Dial

    Same old Davyne, just more forthright now about her longtime plans to co-opt public access.

    Hey, how about some actual proof of financial mismanagement?

    What exactly qualifies Davyne to operate public access?

    What makes Davyne think she could have done better than the current management given the situation inherited from the folks who initially set up URTV so sloppily?

    Davyne is, as always, spinning every fact and dumbing down every complicated situation. She is a loudmouth with a lot of time on her hands to make vague accusations and zero proof to actually stand on. You could count the people who actually support her on one hand.

    The extent to which the Mountain Xpress has validated Davyne’s empty talk is downright astonishing. Granted, she has a pretty sophisticated narrative about her past and present role with URTV. But has anyone questioned its validity or her motives? Certainly not the MX. Which is a real shame, given the amount of accusations about other people she throws around so frequently.

    People are not stupid and they can make up their own minds about this situation. Davyne always just wanted control over public access, and she has done everything in her power to co-opt or sabotage URTV every step of the way (including while still a board member).

    Davyne, you have done nothing to earn my trust or respect, and I am so tired of hearing your two cents in the Mountain Xpress.

  2. Um, that’s precisely why Pat Garlinghouse cowed the rest of the URTV Board into kicking her, Richard Bernier, and Peter Brezny off the board. They demanded access to financial information that they not only have the right–but the responsibility as a board member of a 501(c)3 organization–to view.

    And this goes back to 2006–mere weeks after URTV went on the air for the first time–when a group of former member producers (myself included made the same demands for information. The writing was on the wall then. According to the original six-year budget forecast (which disappeared from the URTV website about that time), the organization would run out of money in 2010 unless fundraising was done.

    Garlinghouse, a fundraising “expert” was hired because of her so-called experience. With the exception of a few half-hearted attempts as grant writing, however, no significant effort was put into bringing more money into the organization–which is what is done by every other successful nonprofit (including most public access stations across the country).

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