1970s| 1980s| 1990s| 2000s
Ann Arbor Community Access Television's path took a dramatic turn in 1991, with the combining of previously separate Access Coordinator and Cable Administrator functions into one position (Cable Communications Administrator.) Still managed by the City of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Community Access Television (now calling itself AACAT, pronounced a-cat) became a division within the City Clerk's Office, taking on a much broader role in service to the public. This included:
- Expanded government meeting coverage
- More public information programming
- New training workshops
- Quicker access to the public access channel (Access Soapbox and Access Ann Arbor)
- A coordinated marketing campaign
- A fourth access channel (Channel 11 - AALINC)
- Increased live programming
- New coalitions with local non-profit organizations
- Increased citizen advocacy for the concept of community media.
1991 also marked the year AACAT began to take an active role in the City's annual Ann Arbor Art Fair. The Access at the Art Fair Booth is one of the most popular stops for many of the half-a-million visitors during the 4-day event.
In 1992, AACAT launched a new service designed to outreach directly to non-profit organizations. The Peer Group Training program provides production training to enhance, promote, and educate the community about these organizations. The PGT program is offered quarterly for Ann Arbor non-profit organizations. They are trained as a group in Studio or Remote Equipment, with their first production ready for telecast at the end of training.
Also in 1992, the Cable Communications Commission formed a new committee, The 1992 Cable Act Implementation Committee, to assist the City and cable operator in making a smooth transition to new federal requirements. A review of Columbia Cable's performance for 1985-1990 was also completed.
In 1993, CTN celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a community open house. It represented an accomplishment few access organizations have matched: twenty years of providing technology, training, and programming to the community. CTN also hosted the 1993 Spring Regional Conference of the Central States Alliance for Community Media. With 180 members in attendance, it marked the largest regional conference of the Alliance. One of the co-founders of the access movement, Dr. George Stoney of New York University, gave the keynote speech.
The Alliance for Community Media honored CTN in 1994 as the recipient of the Community Communications Award for Public Access, the highest award bestowed by the ACM. The award recognizes a public access organization for consistently demonstrating outstanding achievements in overall performance; creative use of community resources; impact on local community; ability to generate diverse programming and public participation; and innovations in television production.
1995 marked a significant change in AACAT's image and approach to advertising. The organization began the year by changing its name to Community Television Network (CTN) and developed a new logo. With the change we launched a new community awareness campaign theme, TV by Me! Advertising and promotional brochures began to spotlight CTN clients to better connect the organization with the community. Within six months of implementing the new marketing strategy CTN experienced a 10% growth in the number of non-profit organizations utilizing our community media services.
After more than three years of research and planning, FY 1995-1996 saw the City's Office of Cable Communications and Community Television Network move into a larger and more functional administrative and production suite in the Edison Center in downtown Ann Arbor (425 S. Main, Suite LL114, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104.) This transition dominated our organizational efforts throughout the year.
Under terms of an agreement negotiated by staff and approved by City Council, the City has a 10 year lease for 6,346 square feet of space on the lower level of the Edison Center. The new facility includes over 1200 sq. ft. of fully functional studio space. Overall, CTN's new home is three times the size of its former facility.
The sale of Columbia Cable of Michigan to Continental Cablevision was also completed in FY 95/96. Since 1985, the City, CTN and Columbia had enjoyed a close, mutually beneficial relationship. With the arrival of the much larger Continental Cablevision, the City's Office of Cable Communications and the Cable Communications Commission began to create a similarly cooperative relationship.
In September 1996, CTN expanded its business hours to 12 hours/day, open for business Monday-Friday from 10 AM-10 PM.
In early 1998 CTN started a partnership with University of Michigan Television (UMTV), the campus cable system. The joint venture allowed the UMTV to reach a broader audience interested in University of Michigan information, as well as showed that the City and University can work together for mutual benefit.
Later that year CTN's "Access Ann Arbor" received national recognition from the Alliance for Community Media. The show was honored as a finalist in the Hometown Video Competition in the Live category. "Access Ann Arbor" was developed to give citizens and non-profits quick access to communicate with the community.
In October 1998 CTN celebrated its 25th anniversary. The event was celebrated with an anniversary dinner for volunteers and clients as well as a week long "Open House" with hands-on demonstrations of CTN’s facilities. Nearly 200 people attended the anniversary dinner.
In May 1999 the first "Media Literacy" seminar was held, a public service that has become an annual event. Second through twelfth grades were invited to participate in the first workshop. The Media Literacy seminars and workshops are half-day events to teach how special effect tricks and the marketing magic of advertisers can shape your thinking.
The CTN news magazine "For Your Information" received the Judges' Choice Reward for both "News & Information" and "Magazine Format" categories in the 1999 Alliance for Community Media's International Hometown Video Festival. The following year the success continued when "For Your Information" was selected as the overall winner in the "Municipal Series, Professional Division".
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