The History of EBCTV
East Bridgewater Community Television was formed in June, 2000, to oversee the local access television studio and local access programming in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Prior to the creation of EBCTV, the local access studio, its equipment, and programming fell under the auspices of the cable provider (previously Continental Cablevision, then MediaOne, and finally AT & T Broadband). In the 1980's and 1990's, municipalities, including East Bridgewater, would require the cable providers set up studios and develop a certain amount of local access programming. This requirement would be spelled out as a stipulation of the company's license agreement to provide cable services to the residents of the community. Early on, when many of the cable providers were small, locally owned companies, this arrangement between the municipalities and the companies worked fairly well. But when the smaller cable providers began to get gobbled up by larger conglomerates, local access programming began to take a back seat. The requirement to provide local access opportunities became a thorn in the side of many large cable providers. Local access facilities in many towns were merged with those of neighboring communities. Local Access Directors, who were employees of the cable provider, would be spread thin, as they were assigned to provide assistance to several communities. Many smaller local access studios, including the studio in East Bridgewater, were all but abandoned, with East Bridgewater’s local access programming originating from other towns.
By the late 1990’s, as license agreements were being renegotiated, a new era in local access television evolved. East Bridgewater was given a choice. The town could go into a regional access facility, owned by the cable provider and shared by several other communities, or it could retain autonomy over local access programming, by creating an independent, not-for-profit entity that would be responsible for its own local access facility. East Bridgewater chose the latter option, and East Bridgewater Community Television was born.
The first order of business was to assemble a board of directors, to be made up from citizens of the town. Three members were appointed by the Board of Selectmen, one member was appointed by the Superintendent of Schools, and the fifth and final member was appointed by the now defunct cable advisory committee. After a few months of figuring out what to do, the board proceeded to look for a Local Access Director to run the day-to-day operations of EBCTV. In December, 2000, the board hired Terry Mason Aicardi to be Local Access Director.
2001 and 2002 were years of rebuilding. The equipment EBCTV inherited from A T & T was worn out, and barely functioning. The board approved a master plan which called for the replacement of the antiquated equipment, with new, state-of-the art digital cameras, and support gear. As EBCTV embarks on its third year, with the new equipment on line, the focus will now shift to attracting more East Bridgewater residents to become members, and for those new members to develop new and exciting programming to air on EBCTV.
In 2004, EBCTV welcomed Russ Hannagan as our new Executive Director. Since arriving, Russ has done a superb job improving the overall look of EBCTV, and has attracted many new members.