Columbia Access Television hosts grand re-opening

The station also unveiled plans for a new high definition studio.
Columbia Access Television Executive Director Jennifer Erickson cuts the ribbon Thursday during the opening ceremony at Stephens College. CAT's ribbon ceremony celebrated the re-opening of the independent media center.

Columbia Access Television held a grand re-opening ceremony Friday complete with live music, snacks and a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Chamber Ambassadors, part of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, hosted the ribbon cutting and announced the new executive director of CAT, Jennifer Erickson.

As part of its re-opening, CAT gave a preview of its new studio, which will soon offer high definition and tapeless capabilities to those shooting video. According to the station, the new studio will be the largest of its kind in the state of Missouri.

Members of CAT are welcome to use the studios and all the equipment to make news shows, movies or any other program they want.

“It’s not about watching television, it’s about making television,” Program Director Ryan Walker said, “It will cost less to be a member of CAT and make television than to subscribe to cable.”

Viewers can find the station on channel 85. In exchange for their use of public property, television providers must broadcast public access channels such as CAT.

“People (can) make whatever show they want, whatever they think TV needs or doesn’t have,” said Chase Thompson, president of the station’s board of directors.

Any Columbia resident can become a member of CAT and be the director, audio engineer, camera operator or graphic designer for any video piece. CAT also trains members in post-production editing.

“Journalism students don’t necessarily have equipment they can check out until a year or two into the program, but they could come to CAT and the day they show up, they can direct a show, they can be hands on with the cameras,” Walker said. “It unlimits (sic) their potential.”

Thompson said the hands-on experience users of CAT can gain in a studio with such new equipment could lead to jobs in the future. He said the uniqueness of CAT resides in the training provided to members who may have never used a camera before.

Erickson said CAT hopes to increase participation and awareness of public access.

“CAT is what the community makes it, and we happen to have some really creative people here,” she said. “It’s local, its people just voicing their opinions.”

The station is also available to stream online through its website, columbiaaccess.tv, where live viewing or “On Demand” streaming are both available.

CAT also gives classes and instruction on how to use programs such as Facebook, and it lends a hand to those who would like to learn how to use their cell phones.

“We can start you from the ground up, no one has to know anything about anything, if they just have interest and are dedicated, they’ll go a long way,” Thompson said.

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