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Our Opinion: City serves notice of canceling JCTV funding

Our Opinion: City serves notice of canceling JCTV funding

News Tribune editorial

October 8th, 2012 in News

Jefferson City may not be picking up its public access channel after the June 2013 season.

The news of JCTV's possible cancellation was delivered by City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus.

He told the JCTV Steering Committee he was directed to present the notice of termination, but did not specify the director. Was it the mayor, some or all City Council members, a combination?

The city administrator notified the panel the city will end its funding unless a commitment is made by the station and Lincoln University to provide revenue. The station is located on the campus and is intended to help educate students in communications classes.

The city recently budgeted $110,000 - a $55,000 funding cut - to continue JCTV operations through June 2013.

In delivering the city's message, Nickolaus also apologized for "harsh words," which included a dressing down of both JCTV Station Manager Gloria Enloe and Lincoln University.

"We have never lived up to any of the promises that have been made," Nickolaus said. "I blame Gloria, she didn't do what she was supposed to do, and I blame Lincoln because they failed to supervise her."

Those harsh words were softened somewhat by the administrator's assurance that the city will reconsider its subsidy if the station and school step up.

"I don't think that's where it has to end," Nickolaus said. "I'm not the enemy of JCTV, I'm certainly not an enemy of Lincoln. But I'm a realist."

Realistically, JCTV has been a chronic under-achiever since the City Council, in 1988, approved a one-year, $50,000 contract with LU to operate the station.

The vision for the station - at its inception and during an attempted revival in 2008 - was bold. It included engaging community members in creating programming, attracting viewers, training LU students and encouraging private sponsorship and contributions.

Over the years, that vision has been promoted by much talk, but little action.

City government has been more than patient.

If JCTV cannot engage community, and financial, support, pull the plug on the funding from city taxpayers.