Getting CBTV back on the air…
[ By Mark Reaman ]
While CBTV is currently not included in the Gunnison County Metropolitan Recreation District (Met Rec) over-the-air television line-up, there seems to be a desire on both sides to reach a deal that would bring the local station back to the Met Rec airwaves.
After a year of discussions, CBTV and Met Rec were not able to come to mutually agreeable terms over the renewal of a multi-user agreement that allowed CBTV to place equipment in the Met Rec studio facility. That equipment is necessary to keep CBTV on the Met Rec airwaves and the equipment has been located there for years.
The multi-user agreement renewal became conflated with a Met Rec desire to perform a ‘channel swap’ with Noah Wight of CBTV. Met Rec contends the swap would improve service in CB South but CBTV’s Wight instead wanted to give them a free lease of the desired channel frequency for which he has an FCC license. Met Rec district manager Hedda Peterson said the lease as presented would not solve the CB South issue. That stalemate resulted in the multi-user agreement not being renewed and CBTV’s equipment was removed from the Met Rec facility late last week.
“The ramifications of removing the equipment last Friday (May 13) are that Met Rec is no longer broadcasting my channel on the over-the-air TV,” said Wight. “Without the computers there they would need to find a different way to pull it in. When I told them I was removing my gear from the studio, negating the need for a multi-user agreement, I had offered to give them the necessary encoder to pull down a digital feed of CBTV. I have been working on the streaming apps, etc. for the last year and was planning on removing my gear from Met Rec so that I could encode and deliver CBTV from my studio to Met Rec which would be impossible with my playback system in the Met Rec facility.”
Peterson said Met Rec is open to putting CBTV back on the Met Rec airwaves. “Given the value of CBTV’s local programming, Met Rec is more than willing to work with Noah to continue providing CBTV on Met Rec’s over-the-air channel line-up,” said Peterson. “CBTV and Met Rec are in agreement that it would require a carriage agreement, which Met Rec would request from CBTV.
“The desire for Noah to accommodate a channel swap with Met Rec remains, as it is critical to our effort to improve signal in the CB South area,” continued Peterson. “Moving forward, we’re more than happy to review a carriage agreement and CBTV’s future plans with the understanding that CBTV is a valued community resource.”
Wight said CBTV viewers reached out to him last week asking that he continue to try and work out a solution in order to keep the station in the Met Rec lineup. “I received lots of requests to try one more time to work with them from disappointed viewers, so on Thursday I sent them a note basically saying that I would agree to the trade, etc.” Wight said he hadn’t heard back from Met Rec about the offer and had made it clear that if he picked up his equipment the swap offer was no longer on the table. “That is the direction they chose,” he noted.
Peterson said the district’s goal is to work out an agreement to get CBTV back in the Met Rec lineup and ideally to accomplish the channel swap. But those are separate issues to be worked out independently. “Going forward, there is no need for a future multi-user agreement with CBTV if equipment is not installed at the studio,” said Peterson. “Met Rec still desires to work with CBTV to accomplish a channel swap and is certainly open to try to develop a mutually beneficial Carriage Agreement to transmit CBTV programming as part of the Met Rec line-up. While these two actions are separate, it would be a plus to accomplish both together.”