Former Orleans Printery Could Make News Again

By: Ed Maroney

Topics: Infrastructure

The former Cape Codder printery on Namskaket Road.  FILE PHOTO

ORLEANS “Roll tape” may replace “roll the presses” at the former Cape Codder printery on Namskaket Road if Lower Cape Community Access TV opens a new headquarters there.

The non-profit content and community access provider was to go before the site plan review committee yesterday (July 7) for informal review of its plan to build two studios (one with a working kitchen), an audio recording booth, and even a “zoom room” in the soaring space where once the presses thundered and, later, grunts and groans arose from gym rats.

“We were engaged in a strategic search process” to find a central location for the service for towns from Brewster to Truro, Executive Director Teresa Martin said in an interview Monday. At the same time, LCTV was aware of substantial renovation plans, including some demolition, at Nauset Regional High School in Eastham, its current site.

“The school has been a lovely place to be,” Martin said. “We support both school districts (Nauset and Truro) and all the individual town districts with elementary schools. We’re really committed to making accessible to all students all types of education.”

That’s consistent with LCTV’s mission, which has its origins in the federal Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984. Martin, who called now-U.S. Sen. Ed Markey “instrumental” in creating the legislation, said it “acknowledged that municipalities were giving away things of value to for-profit entities” as cable companies offered to provide services. “It could be a way to request that something of value come back to the municipality” in exchange for use of its rights of way, “a little sliver of profits” that would fund the government channels each town uses to show its committee meetings.

The cut of revenue would also fund education and public programming, but to a lesser extent. Leaders in the five-town area (Brewster, Eastham, Orleans, Wellfleet, and Truro) decided to pool those limited funds and contract with LCTV, which provides equipment and training for members of the public who want to share their work on cable Channels 22 and 99. In recent years, LCTV has been adding original content of its own.

As technology has become more widely available and less expensive, “other things are in short supply, like support for a local voice,” Martin said. “If you want to find information, it’s a lot more challenging. We don’t have local commercial TV.” That led to the creation of LCTV’s non-profit newsroom (lowercapenews.org) and coverage of the arts (artslight.org), among other initiatives.

The spacious former printery in Orleans is perfect for TV production space, with its high ceilings allowing for placement of lights and overhead boom mics. An existing exercise room used by outside fitness instructors would continue in that role, but with the added advantage of providing space to record exercise videos. The space’s mezzanine would be made available for rental to related businesses.

Martin said LCTV has the building under agreement to purchase, “but so many things can happen. We’re working through the process.” She praised the town’s policy of bringing department heads together for initial informal reviews of projects before applicants have committed all their resources.

There were two other informal reviews on yesterday’s site plan review committee agenda. WorldWide Antenna Systems, LLC, was back for another look at its plan to reinstall an antenna on Bog Hollow Road for WFPB-AM 1170, which carries the signal of WUMB, the Boston-based, folk-centric University of Massachusetts station. Also, Coastal Storage, LLC, was due for review of its plan for the former Academy of Performing Arts classroom building on Giddiah Hill Road, which includes preserving apartments and dance studios while converting offices to storage space.