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New cable director wants more local input



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New CPAC Director Joe Barnhart. Photo by Trevor Keiser (click for larger version)
March 21, 2012 - New Cable Public Access Center (CPAC) Director Joe Barnhart hopes to see CPAC become a thriving place for the community.

"I'd like this to be like the library where we provide resources and expertise for the community and then they can come in and take advantage of that," he said. "We're not truly here to create the television programs for people as much as we're here to help a person create their television programs that's the goal of community access."

Putting a little money into the facility as well as equipment, Barnhart believes it can be done. They currently have around $400,000 in PEG fees, which can be used for equipment upgrades.

"There have been a couple years it's been unspent and building up," he said. "But we're going to spend it and get this place into shape so we can better serve the residents of Independence Township."

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He not only wants residents to play with the equipment, but he'd like to get to the point where everything is on-line and viewable on the internet where they can stretch beyond the borders of just Independence Township.

"Other media has its strengths, but I think video is extremely powerful," he said. "I think as people learn to use it we can help people create a lot better content than what most people are used to seeing on YouTube and stuff."

Barnhart came from the public television station for Michigan State University WKAR-TV, where he worked for 23 years in a variety of positions. He said the experience has helped prepare him for his current one, where he will be wearing many different hats.

"I got my degree from MSU in telecommunications and video production. I am a Spartan and I don't deny that," he said with a laugh. "Today is a good day to be a Spartan."

He lives in Langsberg near Lansing with his wife Sheryl and their four kids, Josh, 20, Rachel, 17, Drew, 14 and Anna, 10.

"My four kids are in school there and my wife has a job in the Lansing area," Barnhart said. "We are kind of entrenched where we are."

However, he is very excited to be working in Independence Township and the opportunities he's been given.

"I think this place is loaded with potential," Barnhart said. "It's neat to start somewhere fresh. I've never had the chance to do that before and bring some fresh ideas and a different perspective to the place."

Clarkston cable programming will soon also include ClarkstonTV shows produced by The Clarkston News! More details soon to come.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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