MO: CAT TV May Say Goodbye

Posted on September 23, 2007 - 9:11pm.

from: KOMU TV

"CAT" May Say Goodbye

COLUMBIA - Imagine watching your favorite TV show and all of a sudden the screen goes black- off the air. That's just what may happen to Columbia's cable access channel.

The cameras and equipment are enough to give anyone a hunger for the limelight. At Stephens Hall, a room downstairs is starving for cash.

The city's trying to keep Columbia access television, or CAT, on life-support with a bit more cash to spruce up the place.

"It was never intended to operate on a small amount of money," says CAT treasurer Stephen Hudnell.

Right now, the station operates with a budget of $30,000 a year.

Chase Thompson spends a lot of time volunteering at Columbia access television, making it all work. Thompson says,"The station does a lot of good because it provides an alternative view to a lot of situations."

"You cannot run a public access channel with a volunteer staff," Hudnell said.

But it's not new for this crew. Thompson said,"We've been able to scrape by every year just barely making it. If this light burns out right now, we won't be able to replace it. We're down to our last $600."

That was before the city voted to give CAT $15,000 to keep going. In addition to the money, city leaders want area cable companies to give 5% of their profits to the city in order to help fund projects like CAT.

"It's giving the citizens a place to go, to communicate with their local public," said Hudnell.

It could give CAT a stake in tax revenues, which are expected to be nearly $300,000. That could mean a big boost to a hungry beast. Thompson says, "We need to feed the CAT."

The city council still has to decide how to divvy up the cable franchise funds.

Posted by: Mike Rawlins
Reported by: Jason Lamb

Published: Sunday, September 23, 2007 at 6:40 PM

( categories: MISSOURI | State Franchises )