Your article on the financial condition at URTV was interesting ["Broke," June 9]. Having operated a profitable production company and served on the board of a community-access channel, I continue to be amazed at how complicated URTV has made its financial picture.
The financial operation of a station the size of URTV is fairly straightforward. Money comes from primarily one source, the county, and may be supplemented by a local jurisdiction — in this case, Asheville. The jurisdictions typically allocate funds from the money collected from the local cable company (Charter Communications). This income is derived from a formula and then used to support activities like the county channel, the city channel and the public-access channel. The distribution process is open and based on percentages, which may change, but usually benefits the same organizations. The organizations receiving funds broadcast over Charter's network, so everyone benefits.
Often, as was done here, upfront money is supplied by the county and/or city to provide for capital costs. This money comes from general funds and is not dependent upon Charter.
The end result is that accounting for where the initial money came from, how much was received and how it was spent is a fairly simple process. When I first arrived in Asheville, I joined URTV and, based on nothing more than experience and looking around, I could not equate the production facilities I saw with the sums of money that have been described as being spent.
Once capital expenditures have been made, monthly operating costs should be designed to be covered by funds received through the county/city from Charter based on each year's distribution formula. URTV should be able to present an annual budget and base its operating decisions on how much money it is scheduled to receive.
URTV is a small business and needs to be operated as such.
— Karl Katterjohn