PAtV gives community access to tube

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The next story you see on PATV Great Neck-North Shore could be your own.

PATV is The Public Access TV Corporation’s access station cablecasting on Cablevision Channel 20 and Verizon Channel 37 for 15 incorporated villages on the North Shore of Nassau County, including Flower Hill, North Hills, and villages in Great Neck and Lake Success, where its production studios are located.

For Shirley Bruno, PATV executive director, the objective is to deliver community-based programming – often produced by community members themselves – that don’t resemble the content produced by commercial broadcast and cable networks.

“My goal is to provide a wide variety of programming you can’t see anywhere else,” Bruno said.

This past Sunday, PATV aired the latest iteration of its annual Playwright’s Showcase, featuring two short plays by local authors, “Blind Date” by Tanis Galik and “The Interview” by Lucile Lichtblau.

It’s a project begun in 1995 that has presented two plays 10 or 15 minutes along with interview segments of the authors. The showcase has presented 21 plays on PATV in the past 15 years.

“We bring theater to the public,” said Bruno, who added that the showcase aims to provide insight into the creative process.

One of its other signature projects is The Veteran’s Project, a series of half-hour shows featuring interviews with two or three World War II veterans. Since the beginning of the project in 2009, PATV has conducted interviews with 30 veterans, with all but three of the interviews having been aired to date.

The veterans who collaborate are interviewed in one-hour sessions that are then edited down to ten-minute segments to fit the format of the shows. The veterans receive a copy of the full interview for their personal use.

“It’s a labor-intensive project. But it’s well worth it,” Bruno said, adding, “I’m going to keep going with this.”

The next phase of the project will feature interviews with veterans of the Korean War, often referred to as the “forgotten war” among military veterans.

Astoria Federal Savings Bank has been among the biggest supporters for all of PATV’S projects, according to Bruno, who said the public TV operation seeks grants funding and private contributions to keep its programming on the air.

PATV maintains a skeleton staff of five, including Bruno, who said the continuing challenge is continuing to prove the worth of what the public access operation produces to keep going.

“You have to show people the value of your projects,” she said.

That becomes a more vital aspect of its not-for-profit mission as it is on the verge of renewing its franchise agreement with Cablevision Systems Corp., the dominant multi-system operator on Long Island. The expense of leasing its space in Lake Success will no longer be covered by Cablevision, although it will continue to receive approximately 1 percent of franchise fees that Cabevision pays the respective communities where it maintains franchises on the North Shore.

“We will work within what we have,” Bruno said.

As of January, when the new agreement takes effect, PATV will be seeking funding from the New York State Council of the Arts and other sources.

For those interested in learning more about the Town of North Hempstead candidates in the November election, PATV will be screening the “Meet the Candidates” forum sponsored by the Manhasset League of Women Voters that PATV recorded at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manhasset on Oct. 14. (A schedule of screenings through Election Day is posted on its Web site at patv.org.)

Another of PATV’s signature projects is its Women in Technology project, which features women from north shore communities who are trained to produce programs with assistance from the PATV technical staff.

“I felt women were underrepresented in the technology field,” Bruno said.

Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel has secured state grants to support the Women in Technology produce.

The other staple series PATV has produced starting two years ago is a Youth Project, which has featured high school students from Herricks, Chaminade, Great Neck, and this year, Mineola and Baldwin conceiving and creating their own shows on a range of different subjects.

Past shows have included one about Internet privacy and a recent segment featuring a Mineola student interviewing a bicycle repairman. And next up, one of PATV’s student producers is planning to explore the tax cheating scandal that promises to maintain its currency as a topic, and enhance the immediacy that public television programming can convey.

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