Saturday, August 24, 2013

Cheyenne and Arapaho Television: CATV 47

As many of  you know I was hired in March 2012 as the Director of Operations and Production at CATV47 a low power  public (non commercial) broadcast television station owned and operated by the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. The first year was challenging to say the least. I spent much of my time chasing down gremlins and bugs in the system. The on-air video server was developed in Bulgaria and in my opinion, wasn't quite "ready for prime time". But after many months of frustration and waiting for the software developer to work the bugs out of the system we are finally up and running smoothly.

I want to thank my boss Teresa Dorsett who has been tremendously supportive and understanding during our 1st year shake down cruise. She understood that this would be a process of developing processes, procedures, staff and generally "working the bugs out". This has been a challenging job and has tested my patience and resolve to see this project through.

I was tasked with developing the TV Station to meet the needs of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribe by providing programs for 1. both Cheyenne and Arapaho language education 2. Recording and preserving the stories of Tribal Elders, 3. Educating and inspiring tribal youth, 4. provide information for tribal services for drug and alcohol prevention, suicide prevention, Indian child welfare, domestic abuse etc.  I have also purposed to bring programming that is uplifting, inspirational and motivational in nature to our tribal audience.

In April of 2012, I hired Darren Brown as my first content producer and he has done a wonderful job producing extended news packages called "CATV Community" and a news magazine style show called "Indian Road" He recently was awarded 1st and 2nd Place at the NAJA National Media Conference in Tempe, AZ this year for "Best TV Feature Story".  He also hosts a community affairs program called "Tribal Topics" We are very proud of Darren and his work.

Also just recently, I hired Mark Welch a veteran of broadcast video production with over 36 years experience under his belt. Mark is the consummate professional with a wide range of skill sets and expertise. I am excited about what Mark brings to the table and look forward to see his creative ideas come to fruition.

Lately I have been developing a website for CATV 47 and it should be on-line soon.
I have also been in talks with FNX - "First Nations Experience" in hopes of becoming an affiliate and airing some of their programming to help fill out our broadcast day.
We have also struck a deal with Cox Communications to give us our own "On Demand" channel on Cox Cable system. This will be a free "on demand" channel that viewers can access 24/7 and play videos that interest them at their discretion. Unfortunately, while this will allow viewers in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa Metro areas to view our content, It still does not reach our tribal members out in rural Western, Oklahoma. This is an issue that I am still trying to resolve in one way or another.

This issue of figuring out the best way to get our signal out to our tribal members in rural Western Oklahoma is one of my biggest struggles.  Being a "low power" broadcast TV Station local cable companies are not required to carry us and absolutely choose not to, due to the limited bandwidth that is available to them. The FCC is currently looking to auction off more bandwidth to Cell service providers and soon will be asking many TV Stations to look at moving to a different frequency within the broadcast spectrum. I am not sure how this will play out for us.
We are discussing other options. Unfortunately, all of the options are going to cost a lot of money.

Running and operating a TV Station isn't as easy as it sounds!