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SNCAT Ceases Operations

- Although this is not downtown Reno related, it's something near and dear to my heart, so I am reporting on it. I've always felt that community outreach in the form of the arts is essential for any city in order to maintain a balance of art, culture, and education. It says something about a community that offers and supports avenues for people interested in various art media, including broadcasting.

Today, we're losing one of those avenues for outreach. I received news from an official source that SCNAT will be ceasing operations and losing its doors on July 1. It's truly a sad day for the community, as SNCAT provided numerous services and outreach programs that most don't even realize existed. SNCAT is the only outfit in town where as a citizen, one can go take a class on training, and then use the facilities to their heart's content to produce whatever kind of show they want, almost all for free. No censorship, no oversight. Just citizen media.

For nearly 20-years, SNCAT has been the gateway for the community to public, education and government (PEG) access on cable television and over 5,000 local producers have taken classes at SNCAT, recorded shows, and broadcast them on our community's local public access channel and online at sncat.org.

SNCAT shaped the future careers of many would-be producers, anchors, actors, talk show enthusiasts and more, fostering an interest in filming and producing shows.

SNCAT is/was a 501 company, which means NON PROFIT. SNCAT was here for the benefit of the community, and relied solely on donations and contributions in order to survive. Unfortunately, those have dried up, leaving SNCAT with no budget to operate. Below is a letter the Board of Directors wrote, which definitely conveys how they feel about the whole situation.

"After almost twenty years of service to the Truckee Meadows, SNCAT will cease providing tools, transmission and training to the community.

We regret that we will be unable to provide a community wide resource to learn and practice the latest technologies.  We regret that broadcast equipment and Internet access for those who cannot afford to purchase their own will no longer be available.  We regret that one of the last public places in which to exercise and broadcast the First Amendment will no longer be accessible.  And we are saddened by the apparent apathy of the public to maintain its rightful place in the public airways.

The people have spoken through their elected representatives.  Neither City nor County cares to budget operational support for Public Access.  State legislators further annihilated the platform upon which public access was built with the 2007 passage of AB 526.  The educational institutions never actualized the Education Consortium to which they originally committed.

It is no secret that the economy has put tremendous pressure on individuals, civic organizations and foundations that formerly provided additional funding to support public access to dedicate their precious donor funds to humanitarian needs.

Technology development over the last two decades has created the affordable tools through which a citizen may film news, entertainment, editorial and personal commentary.  Edit it with a flick of a finger, and upload it to the Internet for instantaneous worldwide distribution – all via their “telephone” within minutes.

On a national and international level, the political fights, acquisitions and mergers of corporate telecommunications continues at a “Star Wars Galactic” pace.  The FCC is frenetic; the courts are filled with litigations stemming from cases such as the NBC/Comcast marriage.  

Thus, in deference to our fiscal responsibilities and a bleak future, the SNCAT Board of Directors have concluded that dissolution is the most responsible next step in SNCAT’s long history of service to northern Nevada.  We regret to inform the public that these actions commence immediately on July 1, 2010.  Broadcast on Charter channels 216/16 will cease operations immediately following.

For two decades, the lively discourse of opinion, the breadth of people’s talent expressed in the arts and the joy of self-discovery through skill development has been nurtured and recorded at SNCAT.  Thousands of Truckee Meadows residents have participated in some way; many more thousands have viewed their efforts.

We leave you each with these memories, whether they be on 3/4 inch tape, cd, dvd, electronic stream or just in your own vision.  A vision made consistently more enriching by the staff, volunteers, donors and supporters of Sierra Nevada Community Access Television (SNCAT).

SNCAT Board of Directors, June 30, 20




Post your comments
Posted by: nettie - 7/1/2010 4:55:04 PM
This is SO sad...for all of us. Our team of volunteer camera people, directors, editors and interviewers did 16 years of arts and culture coverage through SNCAT - "City Stages" and more recently "Curtain Call". When I think of the legions of arts and culture organizations and individuals who've been brought into local homes via TV and all across the world when SNCAT started its web streaming, I'm stunned at the ripple effect. Mike, you said it. Sad day indeed.

Posted by: Billy - 7/1/2010 7:46:32 PM
Aren't the cable companies mandated to provide for community access? Is one of the reasons they had to close was the City no longer used them for broadcast? That revenue helped provide access for the rest of the community. Dang. I had a show in development. Guess I'll have to post to YouTube. Thx for reporting RD.

Posted by: Matthew A. - 7/1/2010 8:48:47 PM
This is sad news indeed. A bunch of my friends and I produced a show when we were all Juniors and Seniors in high school (circa 1999-2000). It was called "The Big Picture". Not for school credit or anything either - just for fun and for the sake of some unknown viewers. It was great. The people that worked there were great. This is a true loss to the community.