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Government access station hits cable soon

Scott N. Miller
NWS Channel 5 SM 7-28-06
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EAGLE COUNTY – Can two be too much?In this case, that small number will be the number of community-access cable TV stations operating in the valley as soon as Eagle County’s TV station is up and running in September.That station, which will be on Channel 18 on cable systems from East Vail to Gypsum, will provide video of county meetings, talk shows hosted by county commissioners, and a “news magazine” show that features county news and programs.The channel will be the first local TV station to truly bridge the “Wolcott wall,” thanks to a new fiber optic line CenturyTel is running from Eagle to Avon. “Channel 8 is on now, but this will be broadcast quality,” said Justin Finestone, who’s running the new station.

The county’s oldest TV station is looking to get over the Wolcott wall, too. The station, Channel 5, is now on cable from East Vail to Edwards. The board of the station, which depends on donations from local government paid for through the fees cable companies pay to do business in towns – has been trying to breach the Wolcott wall for years.”I think we’re closer than ever now,” said Channel 5 board member Terry Brown. “We want to get our signal down there, to serve the whole valley.”Brown is a bit worried about having two community access TV stations in the same valley. A veteran of the Denver TV scene, Brown used the example of that market, which has two public TV stations in it.That’s very rare, Brown said, and the result is a lot of duplication of programs on those stations.”There’s a duplication of effort, and of money, to do that,” he said.Brown said something similar could happen with two community access cable stations in this valley.

“Channel 5 can do it all,” Brown said. “It would be nice to have a joint effort instead of a dilution of resources and output.”If the day comes when the county and Channel 5 are both on cable systems through the whole valley, the two stations could find themselves looking for some of the same kinds of programs.For now, Finestone and his two-person crew are looking at ways to keep images on their new channel.”There are lots of opportunities for partnerships,” Finestone said. “I talked to the video production teacher at Eagle Valley High School a few weeks ago. We’d love to speak to the kids, and if they produce county-related video, we’d love to have it.”While the county is getting ready to launch its channel, Brown and the folks at Channel 5 have plans of their own.



“Channel 5 is poised to become something bigger,” Brown said. “We would like to work together to bring out good products. But our plans are to move forward. It would just be a lot easier working together.”Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado


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