Rich Goulart, Executive Director of Area 58 Community Access Media, excitedly talks about his plans for the new tri-town media studio that is set to officially come into being any day now. He bustles from room to room in his new studio, showing off the various bells and whistles of the newly renovated space.
All that is left are a few signatures and some legal loose ends as the final agreements are drawn up, according to Goulart, and the Carver-Halifax regionalized public access studio will become a three-town studio with Plympton as the third member.
Plympton will bring its public access cable money to Area 58, but it still represents only about 1/8th of the total operating budget. Carver pays about 50 percent, with Halifax representing the remainder.
As this transition occurs, the studio is transforming as well. Brand new equipment such as digital cameras, shiny Apple computers and large televisions have taken over ever corner of the (at the moment) sign-less building in North Carver.
Graphics are being finalized, signs ordered, and a new website and Facebook page developed, all in preparation.
Although by no means a shoe string operation with so much modern equipment and plenty of room, the staff of six, two full-time and four part-time workers (and several contract camera people) means that an enormous amount of work has to be done by everyone.
By law, cable companies must provide towns and cities public access television studios and equipment to the communities they serve. A surcharge for the service is collected on each cable bill, and this money must be used for public access television. As negotiated currently, the surcharge will be 4.5 percent, with .25 percent of that amount paid by Comcast.
This buys the three towns three stations each, a shared television studio, equipment, and access to the network. These resources are beyond what Plympton would normally be able to afford on its own, including recordings of meetings and events being uploaded to YouTube, and eventually live broadcasting. In the meantime, Goulart encourages the public to drop by the studio and check it out at 96 North Main Street, North Carver, 508-866-1019. They are always willing to teach people all aspects of television production, from behind the camera to in front of it.
The Express looks forward to working with Area 58 and will keep readers up to date with on-going progress. Their online presence should be finished within a week or two. The next annual board meeting, open to the public for any questions or concerns, is July 9 at 6:30 p.m. See photos the Plympton-Halifax Express Facebook page.