Community Media Center stays tuned in West Allis

Channel 14 provider isn't gone yet, but some equipment has been sold

Aug. 14, 2012

West Allis - The Community Media Center board of directors voted last week to dissolve the cable station, but there might still be a bit of hope that the station can stay in the city.

A meeting will be held, possibly this week, with City Administrator Paul Ziehler about potential help West Allis could offer to prevent the Community Media Center from ending 30 years of cablecasting locally.

In the meantime, the center has continued its plans to shut down its West Allis operations, possibly with an eye toward relocating, with New Berlin discussed as one potential location for a new studio. The board was also expected to meet this week to consider its options.

Last weekend, the center sold off a lot of its equipment from the West Allis location at 7210 W. Greenfield Ave. However, the station didn't sell its electronics, which could be used elsewhere, said Sharon Rhode, board president.

The sale netted between $800 and $900, which Rhode said was good considering the items that were sold. They included two refrigerators, a stove, television sets, humidifiers, furniture, seasonal decorations used to decorate sets and fake fireplaces and other props.

The Community Media Center, commonly known as Channel 14, offers training and equipment to anyone who wants to provide public access television programs.

The station - which airs over cable channel 14, the public access channel - is in financial trouble it lost funding traditionally provided by Time Warner Cable, which due to a change in state law no longer had to provide dedicated fees for public access programming. (Time Warner still has to contribute toward a government access channel, which the city uses to televise meetings, some public events and present other programming.)

The Community Media Center is still on the air, but because its production studio is now closed the programming consists of live events and reruns, Rhode said. Whether cablecasting goes beyond August will depend on the outcome of the upcoming meetings, she added.

- Jane Ford-Stewart

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