Viewers of either public access Channel 11 or arts and government affairs Channel 98 in the past week may have noticed the occasional plea for financial contributions, as Treasure Valley Community Television closes in on the end of the year. That's when, unless the station can put together a revenue stream equivalent to at least $5,000 a month, TVCTV will go dark.
"The clock is ticking," TVCTV Board President Bob Neal told Boise Weekly.
BW first reported in November that the station was facing closure in the wake of state legislation eliminating funds funneled to TVCTV from fees paid by cable subscribers and the cancellation of a service agreement with the city of Boise that swept away a combined $54,000 of the station's $60,000-a-year operating budget (BW, Citydesk, "TVCTV May Go Dark," Nov. 13, 2013).
Now, with a deadline of Dec. 31--when bridge funding from the city of Boise expires--TVCTV is scrambling to stay on the air.
For Jon Adamson, longtime host of the Channel 11 show Property Line Today, that means appealing to area businesses. He is trying to find 50 local businesses willing to commit $150 a month to the station in exchange for 60 "mentions"--as a nonprofit, TVCTV can't air advertising.
Neal reported that just prior to a meeting with the city last month, an unnamed party expressed interest in buying the station--ownership of which would revert to the city should TVCTV close its doors. The deal didn't go any further than discussion, but Neal said it "brings up a whole new ball of questions."
Ideally, according to Neal, the station would be sold to a public institution of some kind--preferably for educational ends.
"Somebody with the institutional wherewithal to make such a purchase, as well as the pool of labor behind it," he said, adding that students of journalism, broadcast technology or emerging technology could benefit.
For Adamson, who characterized his position with the station as "acting, volunteer, unpaid, willing-to-resign-at-any-time executive director"--a title Neal seemed surprised to hear Adamson was using, though Adamson maintains Neal asked him to serve as acting executive director--the future of TVCTV is to diversify with robust events coverage.
"If we can be the place to go to find out what's going on and what you missed, people will start tuning in more," Adamson said. Otherwise, losing the station would be a blow to free speech in the Treasure Valley.
"If we lose TVCTV and [Channel] 98, we don't think there's a way for the public to have a voice," he said.