Lauding Access volunteers

By CHET KOZLOWSKI

As a former volunteer to Access 12 I feel somewhat qualified to comment on the proposed change to the stations operation.

When Access 12 was in the planning stages, hours of negotiations with Adelphia were held to secure equipment needed to put the station on the air. An Access 12 chairman was appointed and board formed to do this, and since that beginning Danny McGill has been chairman. Christa Haynes volunteered to be Access 12 coordinator and with her husband, Steve, set a course for many years of successful operation and programing.

If memory serves me right, $50,000 in provided equipment was negotiated with a reluctant Adelphia and a studio found and the station was on its way.

Countless hours were put in by many volunteers to get the station up and running and for a time things went smoothly. Sets were constructed, sometimes with money from volunteer pockets and Danny and Christa kept on top of whatever freebees they could get to enhance the operation.

I was council liaison during much of this and I know it was a fight to get a lot of cooperation from the city, even though Chairman McGill constantly negotiated thousands of dollars into city funds from Adelphia yearly as part of the franchise agreement.

During the years that followed, Danny and Christa constantly had to fight to maintain the station’s location, which was moved several times. Volunteer enthusiasm started going downhill during those years of uncertainty and then Adelphia went under and it was even harder to maintain funding.

I do not believe the city fathers really understood the value of the station and countless hours and sacrifice it took to run it. Efforts were made to reduce Chairman McGill’s role of negotiating funding, even though he always came through with a package that benefited the city every time.

Christa worked at keeping the station on the air even though volunteers were leaving because the city did not seem to support the operation like it should have.

I know for a fact it was a fight anytime something was needed because the value of the station was not really appreciated by the city.

Many times the volunteers almost walked away from the operation because of lack of interest, yet Danny and Christa hung in there trying to keep it going. And let’s not forget they received no compensation for the many hours they put in and the family events they missed to do a special program or sporting event.

In closing, I need to say I feel that past administrations played a big role in limiting the station by not understanding its value, constantly moving the station’s location after much reconstruction work was done by the volunteers and by limiting the budget for its operation even though Danny negotiated thousand of dollars for the city yearly.

I commend Christa and Danny for their years of dedication and am proud to have been associated with them and so many dedicated volunteers who worked against many obstacles placed before them over the years. The city plans to pay $1,000 a month now for what was free, but if the cooperation and assistance needed is not there, then the new operators will soon learn why it did not prosper in the past.

Thank you Christa Haynes, Dan McGill, Steve Haynes, Chip Riewaldt, Vinny Polowy, Ed Eaker and so many others who took an idea and made it real. I am proud to have played a small part in all of that.

Chet Kozlowski is a resident of Monaca, Pa.