TVSB Welcomes Colleagues from Across the Nation - and Cops Six Industry Awards While Doing It
By Hap Freund
Despite cold and inhospitable weather, 168 cable access directors, producers, board members and TV equipment vendors descended on Santa Barbara last week and enjoyed great warmth and hospitality anyway.
The Alliance for Community Media (ACM) West Region’s annual conference and trade show was held at the Mar Monte Hotel from February 22-24th, with other events at the Cabrillo Pavilion. The very first ACM West Regional Conference was held in Santa Barbara in 1982.
On a personal note, I was hired in 2003 to shepherd the local community access and educational channels (Channels 17 and 71) from Cox Communication ownership to non-profit management. So it felt particularly rewarding that Santa Barbara hosted the regional meeting of cable access stations, from six states, to mark that 20th anniversary.
Coincidentally, and happily, the three people who followed me as Executive Director of TVSB -- Keri Stockstad, who served two years in the post; Matt Schuster, who held the position for 5 1/2 years and current director Erik Davis, on the job since 2017 -- were all here for the event.
Erik and TVSB served as the local host, with a big assist in planning the event from Tony Ruggieri, head of Santa Barbara City TV, and from an ACM off-site committee.
“We were very excited to participate in this important conference, which supports diverse community voices, through Public, Educational and Government Access channels and other forms of media,” Davis said. “The event showcased the important work that media access centers provide communities lucky enough to have them.”
The western region encompasses Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Nevada. Community producers, executive directors and board members from all those states attended, as well as others from Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and North Carolina.
TVSB shone, not only as host, but also in the Western Access Video Excellence (WAVE) Award ceremony, which recognized the best shows, films, and short form video on Thursday night. The local station and its staff and community producers walked away with six WAVE awards.
Newsmakers with Jerry Roberts, which I co-produce, was a finalist in two other categories - close but no cigar,. Wait'll next year.
(In any case, we're still glowing from last year’s achievement - winning first place in the ACM’s national Hometown Media for our Mayoral Debate program in the best Virtual Event video category. Plenty of free parking).
This year’s regional conference also featured workshops on diversifying funding ideas; new products and tools; engaging the youth market; building equity and inclusion; and community radio and podcasting. Local participants included Ruggieri, Geoff Green, James Joyce, Sarah Gorman, and Cynder Sinclair.
Josh Molina, a regular on Newsmakers TV, and I shared ideas and answered questions on a panel discussing community-centered journalism.
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Images: TVSB staff, producers and board member celebrate WAVE awards (Erik Davis); L-R: Current TVSB Executive Director Erik Davis and past directors Matt Schuster, Keri Stockstad and Hap Freund (Sarita Relis); Hap and fellow panelists talk community-centered journalism (Josh Molina).