Channel 16 Celebrates 20 Years of Quality Programming


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010

Oct. 29, 2004

 

Channel 16 Celebrates 20 Years of Quality Programming

Fairfax County Government cable Channel 16 is celebrating its 20th anniversary this fall. Launched on Sept. 10, 1984, the channel cablecast a Board of Supervisors’ meeting that day. The Nov. 15 live broadcast of the board meeting will mark the 575th such proceeding to be telecast.

Two decades later, viewers remained tuned in to the gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ meetings.

The channel’s year-long commemoration was kicked off by Fairfax County Chairman Gerald E. Connolly at the board’s Sept. 13 meeting. For viewers who missed this live cablecast, they can watch a retrospective, “Channel 16’s 20th Anniversary,” at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, at 5:30 p.m. on Fridays and Sundays, or anytime with video on demand at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dtcs/channel16/default.htm.

“Delivering important county government news and information to viewers is the same mission we’ve had for 20 years,” said Gail Eskew, the acting director of the Fairfax County Department of Cable Communications and Consumer Protection.

While telecasting board meetings continues to be the channel’s core purpose, producers work with county agencies to devise other attention-grabbing but informative shows.

Channel 16 delivers more than 850 hours of programming per year, including Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals meetings. News-to-use features are offered through award-winning shows like “County Magazine,” “Your Community, Your Call” and “Information Avenue.”

“County Magazine” presents a wide variety of educational information about programs, services and events of interest to everyone living and working in Fairfax County. “Your Community, Your Call” features expert advice on homeowner association issues. “Information Avenue” shows that the Public Library is more than just a building; it’s a gateway to other worlds.

Channel 16 also serves another important role. County leaders use the station to quickly deliver emergency information. Emergency alerts can be broadcast in a matter of minutes, whether in response to a weather event like a hurricane or a terrorist incident.

During the post-9/11 anthrax attacks, the channel broadcast live a press conference at the county’s Government Center when antibiotics were distributed from the building. And, Channel 16 aired a town hall meeting about bioterrorism.

Not surprisingly, the channel’s flair for creativity has twice earned it the title of Best Government Access Station in the nation by the Alliance for Community Media’s Hometown Video Festival. Since 1989, Channel 16 has received 63 Hometown Video awards, 31 CableACE Awards, 14 Telly Awards, and 49 National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors Awards.

Over the years, Channel 16 has produced its content without cost to taxpayers. Its budget is funded by franchise fees paid by cable companies to use county right of ways. More residents have access to the channel than ever before. In 1984, Media General brought the channel to 1,300 households. Today, more than 257,000 households can watch on the Comcast and Cox systems.

Eskew says the future is bright. Channel 16 is embracing the digital revolution. Not only is the channel moving towards digital pre- and post-production, but also it uses digital technology to deliver content to audiences. Viewers can watch programming online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dtcs/channel16/default.htm — either through live, streaming broadcasts or through a video-on-demand service.

For more information about Channel 16 or its anniversary, please contact Gail Eskew at 703-324-5930, TTY 711.


FAIRFAX COUNTY IS COMMITTED TO A POLICY OF NONDISCRIMINATION IN ALL COUNTY PROGRAMS, SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES AND WILL PROVIDE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS UPON REQUEST. TO REQUEST SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS, CALL 703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935. PLEASE ALLOW FIVE WORKING DAYS IN ADVANCE OF EVENTS IN ORDER TO MAKE THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS

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