Do-it-yourself TV Is Hallmark Of Lower Cape Community Access Television

By: Ed Maroney

Topics: Arts , Orleans news

Lower Cape TV Executive Director Teresa Martin is one of the welcoming faces at the community access station for Orleans.  ED MARONEY PHOTO

ORLEANS If you're reading this on Thursday, Dec. 1, why not call Lower Cape Community Access Television at 508-694-3500 to book a slot for today's PSA Day?

This invitation to tape a brief public service announcement is for members of the nonprofit community with connections to the five towns Lower Cape TV covers: Brewster, Eastham, Orleans, Wellfleet, and Truro, but it illustrates the welcoming nature of the whole operation. These people want you to make your own TV, and they'll serve as mentors to get you started.

Paul Cass is the Orleans member of the LCCAT board (there's an opening for one more from the town if you're interested). He's a volunteer producer who has been taping performances in the Brick Hill House Concert Series and plans to be on the village green next to Snow Library Dec. 4 to capture the Musician's Strike rally and concert.

“We are of the community,” said LCCAT Executive Director Teresa Martin, so what you see on cable channel 99 is what you want – not what network execs think will sell soap.

For instance, the schedule includes a weekly Mass in Latin, just because a fellow in Wellfleet asked. “The Gregorian chant version is beautiful to listen to,” Martin said.

Want to keep up with the issues? For national and international news, there's Amy Goodman's feisty “Democracy Now” Mondays through Fridays at 5 p.m. Jack Peak of Truro has a weekly local show that has examined topics such as aging in place and, with Rich Delaney of Orleans, climate change.

Any of the Lower Cape's small-business owners could benefit from “The Tax Experts,” another local offering which has looked at the sharing economy and at “taxes and boats.”

Is baseball your thing? Last summer, the service did live, multi-camera cablecasts of the Cape League games of the Brewster Whitecaps, complete with replays. Martin, who said she would “love” to show Orleans Firebirds games also, noted that LCCAT had game excerpts and follow-up interviews when Nauset High's boys soccer team won the state championship.

News is a significant interest for Martin, who has a degree in journalism and experience on papers such as the Quincy Patriot-Ledger, known in its time as a regional powerhouse. Later in her career, she was part of the Knight Ridder team that developed the first “tablet” newspaper.

Here on the Lower Cape, viewers can watch local news updates three times a day. A recent report on issues in the fishing community had the look and sound of a network newscast, with the distinct advantage of attractive Cape backdrops.

Equipment is first rate, as is the studio itself. “The lighting designer who set this up did the new WBZ set-up,” Martin said. “You don't have to look like a 1970s access show.”

Martin marshals her staff plus college interns, part-timers, and volunteers to keep things interesting at LCCAT. Appropriately for its location on the Nauset High campus in Eastham, the service makes education a priority. Frequent workshops offer training in video, sound, editing, and more. “We won't do the work for them,” Martin said, but lots of friendly coaching is available.

LCCAT also produces programming for cable 22, the education channel for the Nauset and Truro schools. There's a “Sunday School” sampler of shows (on Sundays, natch) from 6:30 a.m. (Nauset High news produced by students) to 11:30 p.m. (a rebroadcast of the most recent regional school committee meeting). In between, there are programs on mental health awareness and human rights issues as well as sports and music performances.

“The school district is very pleased to have such a gem on our high school campus,” Nauset Superintendent. Tom Conrad wrote in an email. “The growth of the program is in direct relationship to the excellent leadership of Teresa Martin.”

During a recent tour, Martin pointed out a space that will be converted into a “green room” where guests and hosts can prepare. “Like a real TV studio,” she said, “because we are a real TV studio.”

You can sample programming by viewing channels 99 or 22 in Orleans or by going to lowercapetv.org or vimeo.com/lctv. PSA Days are held four times a year. Call 508-694-3500 or write to mlist@lowercapetv.org for a reservation.