Paul Durwin speaks to the Pittsfield Community Television's 26th annual meeting after being presented a 'Cassie' Award by Access Pittsfield coordinator Norman Shaffer.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Community Television celebrated 26 years of local access cable programming at its annual meeting Thursday, recognizing volunteers and welcoming new members to its board.
As has become traditional, station staff first presented a couple of summary video presentations. A musical montage offered a brief overview of the past year's coverage highlights, and a humorous short film using vintage educational footage provided an overview of the station's mission and the ease of the membership process.
Anyone who lives or works in Pittsfield may become a member of PCT for an annual fee of $15, and can then receive free training on how to film and produce their own shows as well as assist in providing the station's broad location coverage in the city and surrounding communities.
Vice President Warren Dews Jr. and Treasurer Peter Marchetti filled in to preside over the meeting for retiring Board Chairman John Krol, whose son Arden was born Thursday at Berkshire Medical Center.
Marchetti congratulated the hard work by the station's staff of seven and small army of volunteers who film and produce around 15,000 hours of original programming per year on its three local access channels.
"If everybody in Pittsfield did that, for that nominal membership fee that we charge," Marchetti mused. "Can you imagine what the organization would really be like, and the information we could put across?"
"The shows are amazing, the content and information you get is amazing," said Dews, "I applaud everyone here."
As in previous years, PCTV presented awards in several categories. Directors for each of its three cable access channels gave out a "Cassie," awarded to "an outstanding member of PCTV who has contributed to the quality of community programming." Recipients of the 2012 honor were Paul Durwin for Access Pittsfield (Channel 16), Howard "Jake" Eberwein for Educational Access (Channel 17), and Terry Kinnas for CityLink (Channel 18). The awards for Kinnas and Eberwein were accepted in absentia.
The "Annie" Award, which is given for outstanding achievement by a member organization, was presented this year to the Lions Club, for their work in creating and maintaining their program "The Lion's Den."
PCTV Treasurer Peter Marchetti, left, and Vice President Warren Dews Jr. presided over the meeting for Chairman John Krol, whose son was born Thursday. See more photos at GoPittsfield.
"They've been here for a number of years, and I think it's really high time to acknowledge the fact that they are the organization that they are the organization that they are, and they have such great attitudes about life and giving," Executive Director Bernard Avalle said of the charitable group, "and they've been using the television programming here to best do that."
Members present voted from among six candidates to fill four seats for which terms expired this year. Marchetti, along with fellow former City Councilor and show host Lewis Markham were re-elected, while Pittsfield High School Principal Tracey Benson and local business owner and radio talk show host Donna Todd Rivers were chosen to join as new members of the 13-person body.
In other station developments, Avalle reported that over the past year, the station has completed integration of high-definition equipment, allowing it to film and transmit fully in HD, though cable viewers are not yet able to reap the benefits of this resolution quality because the station has not been granted the necessary bandwith for HD broadcast.
Marchetti told members that despite increased equipment expenditures for "an air-conditioning problem that could have put PCTV into some serious trouble," the organization had still managed a savings of $43,910 from its projected 2012 fiscal budget, with expenses totaling $646,579.06.
Pittsfield Community Television is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which is primarily paid for via an ongoing franchise agreement between Time Warner Cable and the city of Pittsfield under which PCTV receives about 5 percent of the cable provider's annual revenues from the area.
Full disclosure: Cassie Award recipient Paul Durwin is the father of correspondent Joe Durwin
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