Access 12 operators submit reports

The new operators of Dunkirk’s Local Access 12 station were in attendance Wednesday at a meeting of the Cable TV Advisory Board.

Mike Carbone and Andre Cobham were introduced by Mayor Anthony J. Dolce to the board and talked about their efforts to date, and some of the problems they have encountered. The issues were detailed in two reports that were submitted for the board’s perusal.

In one, the Common Council was thanked for the opportunity before it moved on to detail what the company saw as problems at Access 12 and how the problems were solved. The report stated the company spent more than 35 hours on cleanup and restoration operations.

“Ordinarily, through our company, we both charge $40 an hour for this sort of work, however we will reduce it to $30 per hour in the invoice. … We will charge for manual labor costs, as well as the cost of eliminating redundancies and performing maintenance on the broadcast system,” the report stated. “The service that we have provided to Cable Access 12 falls outside of the responsibilities in our contract. What we have provided is a professional service to restore the station to some degree of operational state. The cleanup and restoration required a professional service for completion, and for other companies the rates would be much greater than what we are charging.”

The report states the normal charge would be $2,800, while the reduced rate would be $1,800.

“We like you guys, so as a gesture of good will, we will only charge the city $500 for the services rendered, in addition to the payment for the first month of our Program Director services ($1,000).”

A rundown of the station’s condition followed, stating Studio 1 was slightly disorganized and its inventory was boxed and moved to Studio 2 for storage until an inventory can be done.

“Studio 1 will be used this summer to continue producing future episodes of “Camera Side Chats” produced by our newest station volunteers. It is ready for use in productions that do not require live broadcast,” the report stated.

Re-wiring of the master control office must be completed, until then it will have limited use. A green room was converted from a control room to an open space. It currently houses modulators, switchers, and media playback devices (DVD players). The station’s broadcasting equipment is outdated as well, so old support is no longer provided by the manufacturer.

Edit Suite 1 was listed as ready for use but needing a desk and computer. Studio 2 is being used for storage purposes at present.

“All screens and electronic devices have been set next to each other in order of their relatedness. As we go through the equipment we will decide what can be decommissioned and sold/donated,” the report stated.

The second report states the lack of programming is a “result of the obsolete switcher, which limits our capacity to create an actual programming schedule. … The Leightronix Pro 8 is capable of scheduling a DVD player to play at a certain time, or a VHS player. We can also “cheat” modulation where we currently switch data through a television (which is switched to channel 5 for Fredonia Access) from the fiber optic channel which then converts to video data, and is then sent into the Leightronix Pro 8, and finally switched back out to the community. Our contact at Time Warner also controls the network “hub”, and has been very helpful with interfacing with most of the old systems. As a result of an obsolete switcher, and critical pieces of missing equipment, we are unable to fulfill the “programming coverage” aspect of our contract.”

The problem is being worked on, but there are other issues involved with the equipment.

“During our inspection we are noticing a lot of important parts and pieces of equipment missing from the station. Purchase orders and other records from the years of 2005-2013 were either never recorded, or moved from the station before we arrived.”

Access to the station was another issue, as currently the mayor, along with Carbone and Cobham have the only keys. A touch key system was proposed to allow volunteers access.

The station operators said they will attend the board meetings and work to keep the board and council informed.

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