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City, School District, Collaborate On Use Of PEG Funds

The City of Alameda and the local school district are collaborating to put to work funds for public access television. (Google Street View)

The City of Alameda and the local school district are collaborating to put to work funds for public access television. (Google Street View)

There are few, if any, details on precisely how the money will be spent, but the City of Alameda and the Alameda Unified School District are collaborating on how to put to work accumulated funds intended for public access to television broadcasting and facilities.

In October of last year, Action Alameda News reported that funds for Public Access, Educational and Government television were accumulating in a city account.

In other nearby cities, such as Hayward, where Chabot TV operates out of Chabot College, such so-called “PEG funds” are allocated to studio and broadcast operations, with public access to same.

Alameda has not had local publicly accessible television broadcast or studio facilities for several years, since Alameda Power & Telecom exited the cable television business, becoming Alameda Municipal Power, and Comcast closed its studio in Marina Village.

Representatives at Chabot TV have repeatedly approached City of Alameda officials with regards to opening the facility there to Alameda producers, in return for an allocation of PEG funds, but have been rebuffed.

Last year’s story prompted city and school officials to look at how to put the funds to use locally; the conclusion being to apply the funds to the school district’s Broadcast Media Career Technical Education (CTE) Pathway program.

Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) superintendent Sean McPhetridge told Action Alameda News that the district is “replicating its Broadcast Media CTE Pathway at Encinal Junior Senior High School, particularly because that program has been a source of great inspiration and pride for students and staff alike at Alameda High School for years. The new program at Encinal is composed of two course pathways really.

“One will be taught by veteran AUSD teacher Kevin Gorham and represents a way to introduce students to radio broadcast journalism while partnering with Alameda Community Radio and providing students hands-on project-based learning to attain new skills and actually get out on the airwaves using KJTZ as its radio station call letters.

“The TV/video broadcast classes will be taught by Paul Igaz, an AUSD alum and Encinal teacher who went to film school years ago and is now able to bring his passion and training in that pursuit also to his students there. Paul is also working with John Dalton of Alameda High School to learn from his award-winning TV Media CTE program there, and we are delighted students on both side of the island will now have hands-on high-tech CTE opportunities to learn how to write and produce broadcast content for both radio/podcast listeners and video/film viewers alike. Hopefully we will have a ribbon cutting ceremony in months ahead as the lab/studio at Encinal is completed.”

“This summer the AUSD Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities staff built a brand new learning space there that was based on months of design and consultation with these teachers and with broadcast professionals, and we look forward to Encinal students benefitting from that new space and new CTE pathway. Finally, we are totally thrilled that the City of Alameda is partnering with us to envision how we can work together to create a Public/Education/Government broadcast space that combines resources of AUSD and the City of Alameda so we can work toward getting members of the greater public a way to also learn and produce content for local broadcast.”

Alameda city manager Jill Keimach told Action Alameda News, “This is a very collaborative project between the City and AUSD that is intended to provide Alameda residents with a cable televison station and allow AUSD to offer classes on broadcast journalism. The City of Alameda and AUSD are continuing to work together on the details of this project, but we are excited about the partnership and the possibility of having a studio back in Alameda.”

However, neither the school district nor city officials are yet able to provide a detailed expenditure list for the PEG funds.

The school board will receive a staff presentation at Tuesday’s meeting on the broadcast media pathway program with a focus on a partnership between the school district and Alameda Community Radio, which will see a lower-power FM radio station launched at 96.1 on the dial, shared between the school district (KJTZ LP), Alameda Community Radio (KACR LP), and Poor Magazine (KEXU LP).

The district is renovating space at Encinal school to include two radio broadcast studios and television production studios to support the pathway program.

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