Public-access TV operation in Northern Dutchess needs new home, influx of funding

Daily Freeman-1 year before

PANDA board Chairman Eric Riback told the Rhinebeck Town Board on Monday that the group's effort to find a new location in ongoing and also that it needs $7,000 needed to cover the cost of connecting to Spectrum's cable TV service.

Also, he said, "the cable company has shown no interest in pursuing new franchise agreements with the municipalities. They really have no reason to. They’re all working under franchise agreements signed three cable companies ago.”

PANDA (formerly Public Access Northern Dutchess Area) has agreements for 2019 to record and play back board that occur in the town and village of Rhinebeck, the town and village of Red Hook, and the village of Tivoli. Taken together, the contracts are worth about $73,000.

Riback said PANDA is concerned that the group will not be able to maintain its current level of service because more and more people are discontinuing use of cable TV service in favor of streaming shows over the internet.

“One of the risks is that as people sign off of cable, that revenue is going to go down,” he said.

Riback also voiced concern that Spectrum will move PANDA broadcast from Channel 23 to a channel that won't be as easy for customers to find.

“Cable companies do not view stations like ours as an asset,” he said. “They are really doing things to hurt public-access stations.”

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