Thursday, September 10, 2009

KEET World Returneth

Posted By on Thu, Sep 10, 2009 at 3:48 PM

click to enlarge keetworld.jpg

For most folks, anyway -- and likely not without some tech-wrangling.

KEET's press release last week announcing that KEETWorld would no longer be available on Suddenlink cable channel eight annoyed fans of Tavis Smiley , Alan Alda and science . It seems Access Humboldt has held the rights to the channel all along and was simply loaning the space to KEET until they (Access Humboldt) chose to claim a fourth (!) public access channel. (And they have rights to a fifth, should they want it.)

Today, KEET Executive Director Ron Schoenherr told the Journal that Suddenlink found another spot for KEETWorld -- digital channel 108. And where the heck's that, you ask? Schoenherr explains:

If you currently receive the two KEET channels over the air [as in, through old-fashioned broadcast technology] you will continue to do so. If you have cable service through Suddenlink and a digital TV you will be able to receive [KEETWorld] on channel 108. If you don't have a digital TV, subscribers will need to exchange their analog cable box for a digital cable box.

Got it? If not, don't worry. Schoenherr said people will be around the KEET offices to help folks figure it out on the day of the transition -- September 15. "We're going to expect some phone calls," he said.

Access Humboldt Executive Director Sean McLaughlin said he's not a KEETWorld hater. In fact, he and his wife enjoy their programming at home, and he was happy to hear there will be a new spot for it.

"For us, [reclaiming the channel] wasn't so much because we had a lot of other local content...", he said. "Access Humboldt -- our whole thing is 'local voices through community media.' We look at the channels as venues for community people to speak."

He said channel 12 is the "anything goes channel." The recently opened channel 11 is for everything from interactive, live and experimental programming to overflow from other channels. Ten is the civic channel -- "like our local C-SPAN," McLaughlin said -- airing meetings from the County Board of Supervisors, city councils, planning commissions, even the Harbor District (coming soon!).

Which leaves eight for education. (It's being rebranded as "EDUC8.") It will be available to all local educational institutions, including HSU, CR and area school districts. Access Humboldt's new high-definition digital media center -- a big instigator in the digital land grab -- will be located in the old woodshop building at Eureka High. Local educators are encouraged to contact Access Humboldt if they're interested in getting something on the air (click the link above).

McLaughlin said KEET employees and viewers were certainly disappointed about getting the boot, but he stood firm in his defense of public access.

"We're not commercial TV," he said. "We're not about the most popular programs. Our mission is the First Ammendment."

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Ryan Burns

Ryan Burns

Ryan Burns worked for the Journal from 2008 to 2013, covering a diverse mix of North Coast subjects, from education, politics and marijuana to human suspension, sex parties and amateur fight contests. He won awards for investigative reporting, feature stories and news coverage.

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