Cable providers Mediacom and Charter Communications recently ended their funding of the Columbia Access Television Channel. This has left the channel in a terrible financial situation. CAT3 has less than $7,000 left to fund the channel, which is grossly inadequate.
It is predicted that if action is not taken soon, Columbia Access Television will be off the air by the end of 2007.
It is crucial that this channel still be available to the citizens of Columbia. Therefore, it is essential that the city assert its legal power and raise the franchise fee on the cable companies. This increase in the fee would result in an adequate cash flow that would support CAT3 for years to come.
CAT3 serves as a wonderful outlet for filmmakers and is an important source of information to learn what is going on in the community.
I host a show on CAT3, and it has been one of the most amazing things I have experienced in my lifetime. I am hopeful that this will also be available to many future generations. However, if the current financial situation does not change, it will be impossible for other individuals of the community to share such a remarkable experience.
Additionally, it is becoming more and more evident that Columbia is destined to be a major film hot spot. The True/False Film Festival has exploded in popularity and receives international attention each year.
In order to continue such a powerful reputation, it is invaluable to maintain the CAT3 channel as a creative outlet for the equally creative and eclectic citizens that populate Columbia.
This city has always valued imagination and the arts, and to lose the only Access Television Channel would be a crippling blow to Columbia.