April 16, 2014 - Oxford Community Television (OCTV) has a new channel, some top-notch new equipment and a new attitude that invites viewers to not only watch shows, but become part of them by working both ends of the camera.
MEET THE OCTV TEAM – (Counter-clockwise from bottom left) Station Manager Bill Service, Production Manager Teri Stiles, Chief Engineer/Anchor/Cameraman Elgin Nichols and Editor Kyle Snage. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
"We're stepping up the professionalism," said Production Manager Teri Stiles.
Beginning Tuesday, April 22, Oxford and Addison residents who subscribe to the Charter cable television service will be able to watch OCTV on Channel 189.
Currently, OCTV is broadcast on Channel 97 in Oxford and Channel 19 in Addison.
Residents who get their cable television through AT&T U-verse will still be able to watch OCTV on Channel 99.
As viewers enjoy their favorite OCTV programs, they will undoubtedly notice the increased production value.
That's due to all the new equipment the station purchased such the TriCaster, a portable live production unit that allows a show's video and audio to be edited and mixed while it's being taped. It also allows the user to insert graphics and green-screen effects.
"It saves a lot of editing time and it makes it look a heck of a lot more professional," Stiles said.
The station purchased five new high-definition (HD) field cameras that are compact in size.
"The more portable they are, the easier it is for us to go out and do field work," Stiles said.
The station also purchased four large HD cameras for shooting sporting events and filming in-studio productions, new professional lighting, new headsets, new tripods and two teleprompters for the news program.
"The more equipment we have, the more things we can do for the people," said Station Manager Bill Service, who noted the Oxford Area Cable Communications Commission previously approved spending up to $60,000 for this new equipment.
Not only has all this equipment made a "tremendous improvement" in the quality and variety of OCTV's programming, according to Stiles, it's also vastly improved the station staff's morale.
"We're not using Band-Aids and bubble gum anymore," she said. "We're able to be professional and produce a professional product."
But just because the station has all these great new toys doesn't mean it's not willing or eager to share them with the public. Stiles said OCTV is planning to collaborate with the Oxford Township Parks and Recreation Department to offer television production classes.
"Public access (television) belongs to the community," she said. "We need to teach them how to use it. And we're finally in a position to be able to do that. We have equipment that's not going to break every time you turn around and a staff that's really professional and knows how to help."
"It's a more open atmosphere here," Stiles noted. "It's more welcoming for people to come in and use public access the way they're supposed to. It's for them. I think interest is growing."
Stiles is particularly interested in expanding opportunities for youth at the station.
"We desperately want to get kids involved," she said. "The earlier kids get involved with this, the more likely they're going to stick with it in high school."
Stiles said OCTV is planning to offer a camp for middle school students to teach them how to produce programs.
"Kids are producing so much stuff to put on YouTube, it would be nice to teach them what to do and what not to do, what's ethically appropriate and what's not, and how to make it something people want to see," she explained. "Kids are becoming stars by singing on YouTube. Let's help them out by showing them how to produce a video that people are going to be drawn to. That's not hard to do."
To help generate additional revenue for the station, OCTV does offer underwriting opportunities (or sponsorships) for the Oxford High School sports it broadcasts and many of its local programs.
These underwriting opportunities range from $100 to $500.
To learn more about OCTV, please visit the station on-line at www.occtv.org or call (248) 628-9658.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.