Austin Film Society on the Air
New two-year public access deal with city takes effect today
By Richard Whittaker,
10:00AM, Fri. Oct. 2, 2015
October 1 sees the start of a new era in public access television in Austin, with Austin Film Society officially taking the reins at Austin Public Access Television.
After an open bidding process earlier this year, AFS beat out current management team PACT (operating as channelAustin) and three other entities to take over the city's contract to run both the city's three cable access stations, and the city-owned facility at 1143 Northwestern Ave. (see "Austin Film Society Wins Public Access Bid," Aug. 21).
In a statement, AFS Executive Director Rebecca Campbell wrote, "AFS is excited that we were chosen to manage this precious asset for Austin, through a competitive public process. We have 30 years of experience bringing the community and film together, and public access has operated for 42 years in Austin under various umbrellas. We saw this as a way that AFS could expand opportunities for the people of Austin to learn creative media skills and appreciation – increasingly necessary to flourish in today’s media-rich world."
The new look station also comes with new management, with two new hires announced:
• Mirasol Enriques as director of community media
• Former Houston Cable One manager and KXII-TV producer/director Darla Doshier as Austin Public Access manager
There is also some continuity, as three veterans of the station will stick around:
• Brian Blake will remain as IT manager.
• Former programming director Doug Gray becomes community media facilitator.
• Charles Wright will serve as equipment and lab coordinator.
AFS is still finalizing plans for exactly what the content of the new public access channels will be, but are already hoping to increase storytelling opportunities for Austinites, as well as more educational collaborations and professional development (see "Meet the New Boss," Sept. 4).
There will be a bedding-in process as AFS gets ready to move forward. For example, for the next two weeks the building will be open, but AFS will not be releasing equipment to producers, or booking studio space. However, the expectation is that the reservation system will be back online by Oct. 16.
For more details, visit www.austinfilm.org/Austin-Public-Access.