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Scituate cable TV grows with student input

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  February 1, 2013 11:17 AM

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Two years after getting a cable TV studio up and running at Scituate High School, Scituate Community Television is starting to gain some serious traction.

No longer just a outlet for broadcasting selectmen's meetings live on TV, the cable studio is now staffed with several paid high school students, who do everything from produce their own shows, to edit public service announcements.

The group has even stepped up its presence in social media, utilizing YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook more regularly to grow their audience.

“[We’re] doing [YouTube] more and we’re doing it very effectively,” said John Roser, executive director of Scituate Community Television. “Meetings happen and within 48 hours they are uploaded to YouTube. They have to be converted, edited, watermarked, rendered, and that takes several hours per meeting … We have a very effective way of producing the videos and uploading them. [We’re] interactive on twitter and Facebook every week, we have at least three posts, and when we make PSAs we put them up.”

Roser said the Television Department’s mission has always been to provide resources and information to the community, but with such an engaged staff who is now trained enough to pull together programming on their own, things are taking off.

The group has also expanded their town coverage area, broadcasting controversial Board of Health meetings that are debating the merits and potential health impacts of the turbine, and showing up to Planning Board, Zoning Board, and Conservation Commission meetings on a regular basis.

Despite the already rapid growth of the program in the past year, the group is still working on plans to advance the community asset.

According to Roser, the studio just started preproduction with a Scituate businessman who hopes to start his own cooking show. A shooting schedule was also just created for a program called “Style on the South Shore”.

Over 40 businesses in Scituate will participate, organized by a woman who owns a store on Front Street. Shooting will start in February.

Most of the growth can be attributed to the passion of the high school students who have become involved, Roser said.

Gina Brazao has become the point person for broadcasts in front of the camera, while Meredith Sullivan has been heading up production and editing for public service announcements and public theater.

Jan Humphrey has taken on an administrative assistant role. Along with Katie Albanese, who films all selectmen meetings, and Max Fenton, it’s no wonder programming has expanded.

“The reason all this stuff is happening is because of all these kids,” Roser said. “They are going to the meetings and recording them. I’m paying them to do it, but that commitment -- showing up on time, doing a good job, being comprehensive in your work -- that allows me to concentrate on building this resource.”

Roser also credited the work of Tracy Kiddie, the newly appointed chairman of the Television Advisory Board.

“She has kids in the school and has a lot of video experience. Tracy really started bringing us [together] a lot,” Roser said.

After recently setting up green screen capabilities, Roser also said the studio is working on being able to broadcast live from the studio in high definition, which should be up and running within a few months.

Even with all these developments, Roser said it’s still just the beginning for the program.

“This will get done. It will be an amazing resource for citizens in Scituate, and hopefully one day we’ll have a place on Front Street, too, and be a nonprofit,” Roser said. “But right now, we have a good setup and we’re starting to produce good programming that’s timely on a regular basis.“

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