Welcome to Mad River Valley Television (MRVTV), a public access station serving the communities located within the service area of Waitsfield Cable Company. As a member of the Mad River Valley community you are entitled to fully utilize MRVTV facilities and equipment to produce programming for broadcast on Channel 44, the channel designated for public access use. Governmental and municipal programming is generally aired on Channel 45. Although the subjects and content of your public access programs are generally unrestricted, public access producers must assume an array of responsibilities toward public access viewers, other producers, the Mad River Valley Community, the MRVTV staff, and regulatory entities. This handbook outlines policies, procedures and guidelines which will help you produce programs which meet those responsibilities. For your convenience, the handbook is organized in four sections: (1) General Information – Public Access Standards and Guidelines, (2) Code of Conduct and Public Access Policies (including the Public Access Program Producer’s Agreement which must be submitted as a condition for access), (3) Non-Commercial Programming Guidelines, and (4) Frequently Asked Questions.
Much of the information in this handbook was adapted, modified, revised, reformatted, and, in some cases, copied directly from the publications of existing public access stations throughout Vermont. The MRVTV Board of Directors wishes to express its gratitude to the following stations for sharing their advice, ideas and materials:
- Adelphia Cable Green Mountain Public Access Facility (Burlington)
- Brattleboro Community Television
- Catamount Access Television (Bennington)
- Lake Champlain Access Television (Colchester)
- Mount Mansfield Community Television (Richmond)
Section 1: GENERAL INFORMATION, COMMUNITY ACCESS STANDARDS & GUIDELINES
Detailed below are the Community Access Standards and Guidelines that govern the general operation of MRVTV, particularly in relation to public access use of facilities, equipment and airtime. Community Access Standards and Guidelines represent an overarching goal to provide programming which (a) meets a variety of community needs and purposes, (b) provides for the unfettered exercise of constitutionally protected free speech, (c) represents the range of views and opinions of Mad River Valley Community Members, and (d) complies with all pertinent federal, state and local regulations. Community Access Standards and Guidelines also represent an effort to operate MRVTV safely, efficiently and effectively, in a manner which best serves the Mad River Valley Community.
The mission of MRVTV is to provide public access to the airwaves and our online platforms through a publicly administered non-profit entity. MRVTV will give community members a voice allowing them to use the medium to express views and opinions on topics of local or personal interest. MRVTV will provide the equipment and training. Airtime will be available equally to all trained community members. The channels are also used by MRVTV staff and volunteers to provide coverage of local governmental meetings, as well as community happenings, school events, public debates and other relevant local events.
MRVTV is a designated AMO, or Access Management Organization, as recognized by the Public Service Board and verified in the contract with Waitsfield Cable, meaning that programming provides a balance of public access, educational and governmental themes and topics. Each type of programming is described below:
Public Access Programming
Public access programming is produced or submitted by members of the Mad
River Valley community, and covers an almost limitless variety of subjects. MRVTV exercises no editorial control of public access programming and assumes no responsibility or liability for its content. The content of public access programming is limited only by federal, state and local statutes that govern obscenity, copyright, hate speech, treason, etc. MRVTV does reserve the right to schedule programming of an adult nature after 11:00 PM and to append those programs with viewer advisory messages.
Educational programming includes school board meetings, programs produced by students and teachers, updates by school officials, programs of educational interest obtained from other public access stations, and special programs such as school concerts, plays and athletic events. Although MRVTV generally operates on a first-come-first-served basis, an effort will be made to provide each school with equal access to airtime.
Governmental programming consists primarily of municipal meetings, including select boards, zoning boards, community informational meetings and hearings, and election-relation programs such as candidate forums. An effort will be made to provide a balance of governmental programming from all of the towns in the Mad River Valley, as well as regional, state and national governmental programming.
PUBLIC ACCESS AIRTIME PRIORITIES
The following priorities will be used for scheduling public access airtime:
Priority Level 1 – Programs Produced by MRVTV Volunteer Producers
Top priority will be given to programs produced by Mad River Valley Community Members who have earned volunteer producer status by completing the Producer’s training and have read the Public Access Producer’s Handbook. Training and the producer’s handbook, offered free of charge by the MRVTV Staff, cover operation of equipment, videotaping tips and guidelines, and restrictions and requirements for persons who produce public access programming. Use of MRVTV equipment and facilities is restricted to MRVTV volunteer producers with the permission of the MRVTV Staff.
Priority Level 2 – Programs Produced Independently by Mad River Valley Community Members
The next level of priority will be given to programs independently produced and submitted by Mad River Valley Community Members using their own equipment, facilities and tape. Note: the Staff reserves the right to refuse submissions that do not meet MRVTVtechnical standards.
Priority Level 3 – Programs Submitted by Mad River Valley Community Members but Produced Elsewhere
The third level of priority will be given to programs submitted by Mad River Valley Community Members but produced by organizations or individuals from outside the Mad River Valley Community. Persons submitting copyrighted material must provide signed authorization for broadcast.
Priority Level 4 – Programs Produced and Submitted by Individuals or Organizations from Outside the Mad River Valley Community
Lowest priority will be given to programs produced and submitted by individuals or organizations from outside the Mad River Valley Community. These programs must be submitted to the MRVTV for prior approval. Programs of specific interest to the Mad River Valley Community, which meet MRVTV legal and technical standards, will be broadcast as time is available. MRVTV reserves the right to reschedule or cancel submissions from outside sources in order to meet the priorities listed above.
Please Note: Groups, organizations or individuals that wish to produce regularly scheduled “series” programs must make application to MRVTV for a reserved time slot. The reserved time slot will continue as long as regular programming is provided. If an installment is missed, the time slot will revert to open scheduling.
In addition to programs submitted by Mad River Valley Community Members, MRVTV will frequently make arrangements to broadcast programs of special interest from the broader regional, state, national and worldwide community. MRVTV will schedule special programs at the most appropriate times, taking into account the airtime priorities and regularly scheduled programs which may be effected. However, to best serve the Mad River Valley Community, pre-empting a regularly scheduled program may be required.
PROGRAM CONTENT GUIDELINES
In general, program content that falls within the parameters of constitutionally protected free speech is appropriate for broadcast on MRVTV, in accordance with the following guidelines:
Neither the MRVTV Board of Directors nor its employees will exercise any editorial control over public access programming. Presentation of all content, materials, views and opinions will be entirely at the discretion of Mad River Valley Community Members who produce programs for broadcast. The community members who produce programs for public access will also assume full responsibility for programming repercussions, legal and otherwise. Public access program content is subject to the following statutory and regulatory restrictions which include:
- Content which violates state or federal law relating to obscenity
- Illegally obtained material or content subject to copyright restrictions
- Content which violates statutory prohibitions related to hate speech
- Any material that is libelous, slanderous or results in defamation of character
- Unlawful invasion of privacy or violation of statutory protections of confidentiality
- Sedition and treason
- Any content or material which is intended to defraud the viewer or is designed to obtain money by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises
- Content that violates any other federal, state or local law, regulation or ordinance
Although MRVTV will not knowingly broadcast programs that violate any of the above statutory or regulatory prohibitions, public access submissions will not be previewed for such violations, nor will MRVTV assume any liability for public access program content. Community members who produce public access programs must be aware of applicable statutes and regulations, and will be liable for any violations thereof. Accordingly, all public access programs broadcast on MRVTV will be preceded by the following disclaimer:
The images, statements and/or opinions expressed in this program are those of the community member(s) who produced the program and are not necessarily those of any other persons, including:
- The MRVTV Board of Directors
- The MRVTV Staff and Volunteers
- Waitsfield Cable Company
Neither MRVTV nor Waitsfield Cable Company exercises any editorial control over this or any other public access program and assumes no responsibility for its content.
Although not strictly prohibited, programs containing violent images and actions, adult language, nudity (except for medical, educational or scientific purposes) or sexually oriented content will be broadcast after 11:00 p.m. The community members who produce public access programs are encouraged to precede their presentations with a viewer discretion message. MRVTVreserves the right to precede any program with a parental discretion advisory, disclaimer, or other pertinent viewer information.
COMMERCIAL USE OF MRVTV
Commercial use of MRVTV is strictly prohibited. Commercial uses include:
- Selling a product
- Advertising a business
- Soliciting participation in lotteries or games of chance
- In general, any solicitations, or offers to exchange goods or services for money or other methods of payment.
These restrictions are not meant to discourage program submissions by local merchants, artisans, or craftspersons. However, content must be informational rather than commercial. For example, it would be appropriate for a local baker to produce a program on the history of bread making. Likewise, a public accountant could provide viewers with tips for completing tax returns, or a potter could offer an on-air course in ceramics. It would not be appropriate for any of these individuals to broadcast their location, business hours or specific products they have for sale, or to display their products with prices and information on how they can be purchased.
FUND RAISING BY NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
With the permission of MRVTV, non-profit and charitable organizations from within the Mad River Valley may use public access for fund-raising activities and events. The organization must submit a letter of application to the MRVTV Board of Directors, providing the following:
- Name, location and overall purpose of the organization
- Description and purpose of the fund-raising activity or event
- Amount of airtime requested and preferred time slot
- Percentage, if any, of total donations which will be allocated to fund-raising expenses
- Proof of nonprofit status
Non-profit and charitable organizations may also use MRVTV’s community bulletin board for fund-raising, subject to approval by the MRVTV Staff. Use of the community bulletin board is restricted to Mad River Valley Community Members for non-commercial purposes. Political Parties or individual candidates for public office may not use public access airtime or the community bulletin board for fund-raising.
CANDIDATES FOR PUBLIC OFFICE AND ELECTION-RELATED PROGRAMMING
Providing election-related programming is an important function of MRVTV. Use of public access by candidates for public office is encouraged, subject to the following guidelines:
- Use of public access by candidates for public office will follow the same priorities and guidelines applicable to other community members who produce public access programs (e.g., submissions by MRVTV volunteer producers are given highest priority, followed by independent productions by Mad River Valley Community Members, submissions by Mad River Valley Community Members produced elsewhere, and outside submissions approved by MRVTV, in that order).
- Submissions must be in the form of an informational program, at least one-half hour in length, which outlines the candidate’s views and proposals on key issues. MRVTV will not broadcast short political advertisements, nor will MRVTV broadcast statements of endorsement or support for a candidate.
- Submissions by candidates may not solicit donations to campaigns or any other type of financial support.
- When a candidate’s submission is aired, the opposing candidate(s) will have the right to equal time. However, MRVTV will not assume responsibility to contact the opposing candidate(s), seek opposing viewpoints, or to ensure that all viewpoints have been represented.
- Candidate forums and other programs designed to inform voters on relevant issues and the scope of viewpoints will be given priority over programs which present only the views and opinions of one candidate. Likewise, programs that provide information and updates from elected officials will also be given priority status.
PUBLIC ACCESS PROGRAMS INVOLVING MINORS
In many cases, minors who produce or appear in public access programs cannot be held liable for the content of the speech, or for possible infractions of other laws and regulations governing public access television. Although MRVTV encourages Mad River Valley Community members under the age of 18 to participate in producing public access programs, the following restrictions will apply:
- Programs produced by minors must be done so under the supervision of an adult who will assume liability for the program content. The adult advisor must cosign the Producer’s Agreement.
- The words and actions of minors who appear in public access programs are the direct responsibility of the person who produced the program. The producer of the program must also obtain permission from parents for the minor to appear in the public access program. When producing programs that involve school students, the producer is responsible for ensuring that the program is produced in accordance with the school’s policies relating to videotaping. In general, the producer must take full responsibility and liability for the appearance of minors in public access programs, and must acknowledge liability in the Producer’s Agreement.
- Programs produced by minors in conjunction with school clubs or organizations are preferred.
RETENTIONS OF TAPES AND REQUESTS FOR DUBBING
MRVTV will maintain a master tape of all programming. Production tapes are the property of the station, and will be erased and re-used. Submitted tapes will be returned to the producer if requested. Requests for dubbing of any program an hour or less in length will be made for a flat fee of $20.00. Requests for dubbing of longer programs should be negotiated with the Staff.
GRIEVANCES, CONCERNS AND COMPLAINTS
Generally, grievances and complaints concerning the operation of MRVTV should be addressed to the MRVTV Board of Directors, with the following exceptions:
- By law, neither MRVTV nor Waitsfield Cable can exercise any editorial control over public access programming and, therefore cannot arbitrate any complaints regarding program content. Viewers who have grievances with respect to a specific program should contact the person who produced the program. If a viewer believes a specific program violates state or federal statutes, either the Vermont Department of Public Service or law enforcement officials may be contacted.
- Questions and concerns about the way that MRVTV is funded, particularly with reference to cable service surcharges, should be addressed to Waitsfield Cable. Grievances related to public access funding may also be brought to the attention of the Department of Public Service.
- Program producers or viewers who may take issue with laws regarding public access should express their concerns to their elected officials, the Department of Public Service, or to the Federal Communications Commission.
The MRVTV Staff or Board of Directors will be glad to help producers or viewers who have grievances, concerns or complaints locate addresses and phone numbers for appropriate agencies or officials. See page 24 for names and phone numbers.
Section 2: NON-COMMERCIAL PROGRAMMING GUIDELINES
The goal at MRVTV is to make the widest variety of programming available to the Mad River Valley Community and to provide community members with the ability to produce programming on any subject, without censorship or editorial control. Under the guidelines of the Federal Communication Commission and the Vermont Public Service Board, public access programming must be free of commercials and commercial content.
In the course of producing public access programs, producers may encounter gray areas where a guest, producer or topic may be of general and widespread interest but may also be somewhat commercial in nature. Therefore, the following guidelines are provided to help determine what is and is not acceptable content for public access programs.
Please note that business and commerce are very much a part of the Mad River Valley Community, and have a place in the conversations, presentations and debates that may be presented in a public access program. The limitations on commercial content are in no way intended to limit or restrict programming about topics of commerce, but rather to keep programs in conformance with state and federal public access laws and regulations.
TITLES, FORMATS AND PRODUCER AFFILITATION
Any Mad River Valley Community member can be a producer of a public access program. However, community members cannot produce programs that promote products, services or professional affiliations. For example, a musician may certainly perform music on a public access program but may not use the program to advertise or sell a recording of that music. Therefore, it is important that each producer chooses a name for the program that is descriptive but non-commercial, and that does not promote the producer or guest in an overtly commercial way. Here are examples:
- Acceptable Title: “All About Chocolate”
- Unacceptable Title: “Pete Williams, Master Confectioner, Presents…”
It is also necessary to design a program so that it is educational and informative but not an “infomercial. To use the same example:
- Acceptable Format: How-to demonstrations, interviews with candy makers, and sharing recipes using chocolate as a major ingredient.
- Unacceptable Format: A display of all the candies for sale at Pete’s store, with a discussion about each, prices, availability, etc.
GRAPHICS PRESENTED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE PROGRAM
Lower third graphics superimposed throughout the program may identify the producer, guest or other participant by occupation and by an individual work, but may not contain commercial references to titles of books, recordings, paintings, prices, where works may be purchased, etc. Examples:
- Acceptable Graphic: Mary Smith, Teacher and Author of Learning by Doing
- Unacceptable Graphic: Mary Smith, Teacher and Best-selling Author of Learning by Doing, Available at Amazon.com
However, when introducing a guest, a producer may note that the guest is an author and that the book is a bestseller, as long as no reference is made to price or where the book can be purchased.
IDENTIFICATION OF GUESTS
It is acceptable to identify guests by their occupation, and to mention any product or services associated with them. It is unacceptable to include commercial content or solicitation in that introduction. Examples:
- Acceptable Introduction: “Our guest today is Joan Brown, massage and aromatherapist and owner of Mad Massage, who will talk about the healing benefits of massage and aromatherapy for patients undergoing chemo-therapy.”
- Unacceptable Introduction: “Our guest today is Joan Brown, massage and aromatherapist and owner of Mad Massage, the best massage spa in the valley, located on the River Road. Joan will talk about the healing benefits of massage. Over the next two weeks, anyone mentioning this program will get a $10 discount on any of Joan’s services.
PROPS AND VISUAL AIDS
It is acceptable to have books, recordings, paintings, etc. by the guest on the set. It is also acceptable to have the guest hold up a copy of the work at the beginning and end of the program. It is unacceptable to use the object as a full screen chromakey (background) behind the interview, or to display prices or purchase location, although it is acceptable to mention that the work or service is available for purchase. Examples:
- Acceptable Prop or Visual Aid: “Earth Farm organic vegetables are sold at local farmer’s markets.”
- Unacceptable Prop or Visual Aid: “Earth Farm organic vegetables are sold at the following locations.
PROMOTIONAL MENTION OF A PRODUCT OR SERVICE
Promotional mentions (e.g., a guest promoting the use of a certain product as superior to other products, encouraging viewers to use a product, general endorsements or a particular product or service) are unacceptable. Examples:
- Acceptable: “When styling very fine hair, I like to use a linseed oil based mousse.”
- Unacceptable: “When I have a client with very fine hair, I always use Pretty Head Mousse, which is an excellent product only available at my salon.”
It is never acceptable to mention prices, range of prices or price lists for products, services, accommodations, or any other form of commercial enterprise.
It is acceptable to list a credit at the end of a program that acknowledges production support and in-kind contributions. This credit must be in plain text against a neutral background. Displays of logos, addresses, phone numbers, websites, etc., are unacceptablein these acknowledgements. It is acceptable to define exactly what the in-kind contribution consisted of (i.e., “the pasta used in this cooking show was provided by Noodle Boy”). It is also unacceptable to present the underwriter’s name above the credits or to incorporate the name into the title of the program. Examples:
- Acceptable Acknowledgment: Studio flower arrangements donated by Pansy’s Posies
- Unacceptable Acknowledgement: Studio flower arrangements donated by Pansy’s Posies, home of the widest selection of roses in Vermont. Located in the Market Place.
It is also unacceptable to list any prices for services, goods or products and to give any sort of identifying slogan after the name of the business (i.e., brought to you by Elmo Electric “Plugged into the Community”).
ADDRESSES, PHONE NUMBERS, WEBSITES, ETC.
It is possible to give information for contacting a producer or guest on a program. If the guest is an author, performer, provides a service (e.g., massage therapist, furniture refinisher, baker, etc.) or has a product or service to promote or sell, you must present any contact information (e.g., phone, address, e-mail, website), over a neutral background. A neutral background would be defined as a plain colored or black slate or an image that is not connected to the guest or product. For example, displaying the contact information for a performer over a picture of the album cover is unacceptable.
Providing numbers for viewers to call for business appointments should be discouraged as it gives the impression that the program was produced solely for the purpose of promoting the business. Therefore, phone numbers should be for information only, not the number of the business or practice or the number used for scheduling appointments. If no “information only” number is available, an address should be provided and viewers should be encouraged to make contact in writing. Examples:
- Acceptable Contact Information: For more information about the Rolling Stones, contact:
- Unacceptable Contact Information: To book the Rolling Stones to play at your next party, call:
Producers who work in a particular industry or field and who are creating programs about that field need to be particularly careful about making sure that a program is not simply a soft sell sales pitch for the product or business. Whenever possible, a non-profit organization is a more appropriate producer than an individual practitioner. For example, the owner of a canoe and kayak store might want to produce a show in conjunction with a local white water club.
If you have questions or concerns about the commercial nature of program content, please discuss the matter with the MRVTV Staff prior to taping. The Staff will probably have suggestions on how you can present your material without violating regulations concerning commercial content in public access programming.
Section 3: CODE OF CONDUCT AND PUBLIC ACCESS POLICIES
Mad River Valley Community Members who produce public access programs for broadcast on MRVTV are entitled to their own beliefs, opinions, convictions and faiths, and are guaranteed the use of equipment, facilities and airtime for the purposes of free expression within the limitations of state and federal statutes. However, constitutionally protected free speech does not include the right to suppress the free expression of another community member. Access to MRVTV’s equipment, facilities and airtime will be governed accordingly. All public access producers must refrain from interfering with another producer’s ability to work peacefully and without intimidation, interference, restriction, threat or coercion. There will be no fighting, recriminations, obstruction, physical or verbal abuse in the MRVTV facility or in association with the production of public access programming. Any public access producer who behaves in a fashion that is harmful to other producers or MRVTV staff, or that is detrimental to the safe and effective operation of MRVTV will be asked to leave the facility, and will be referred to the Board of Directors for possible suspension of access to equipment, facilities and airtime.
In order to assure efficient operation of MRVTV and to provide maximum benefit to all interested Mad River Valley Community Members, the following Public Access Policies will apply:
BECOMING AN MRVTV VOLUNTEER PRODUCER
Use of MRVTV equipment and facilities will be restricted to Mad River Valley Community members who have been certified as MRVTV Volunteer Producers. Volunteer producer status can be obtained in three ways:
- Completion of the Producer’s Training and reading of the Public Access Producer’s Handboook which is offered by the MRVTV Staff,
- Verification by the MRVTV Staff of equivalent training, and/or
- Successfully demonstrating competence to the satisfaction of the MRVTV Staff
PUBLIC ACCESS PRODUCER’S TRAINING
The MRVTV Staff offers training on a one- by one basis that provides Mad River Valley Community Members the opportunity to learn how to use MRVTV equipment and facilities to produce their own public access programming. The training includes the following information:
- Use of remote videotaping equipment.
- Access to video editing equipment and other studio facilities
- Video production tips and guidelines
- Restrictions and requirements effecting public access programming
- MRVTV policies and guidelines for public access
- Other topics at the discretion of the MRVTV Staff and Board of
Community members who complete the training and demonstrate equipment-related competency will be designated MRVTV Volunteer Producers. MRVTV Volunteer Producers will be given priority access to equipment, facilities and airtime.
POLICIES GOVERNING USE OF MRVTV EQUIPMENT
- Remote equipment may be signed out for a maximum of three consecutive days unless special arrangements are made with the MRVTV Staff. To assure that equipment is available, reservations should be made at least one week in advance. Otherwise, access to equipment will be on a first come, first served basis.
- Equipment must be signed out personally by the program producer. Equipment must be returned on time. Equipment should never be borrowed or returned without he MRVTV Staff’s knowledge.
- Use of equipment is restricted to adults, or to minors under the supervision of an adult.
- Damage or loss of equipment is the responsibility of the public access program producer. If the equipment is stolen while in a producer’s possession, a claim should be filed with the producer’s homeowner or auto insurance as if the camera was the producer’s personal property.
- Equipment should be protected from excessive heat, cold, dust, smoke, grease, pets, small children, and above all, extreme moisture. In general, equipment must be returned in the same condition in which it was borrowed.
- Any loss, breakage, theft or damage of equipment must be reported immediately. Program producers should not attempt to repair broken equipment, or make other arrangements for repair. Normal wear and tear of equipment will be the responsibility of MRVTV. Repair costs resulting from misuse will be the responsibility of the program producer.
- In cases of equipment damage, additional equipment may not be borrowed until issues related to the damaged equipment are resolved to the satisfaction of the MRVTV Staff. In general, additional equipment should not be borrowed until previously borrowed equipment has been returned in good working order.
- Program producers should not attempt to change, rewire, or in anyway tamper with the normal operation of equipment.
- The equipment must only be used by the producer(s) who signed it out. The producer will not loan the equipment to any other person, including other MRVTV volunteer producers. All arrangements for access to equipment must be made directly with the MRVTV Staff.
- The equipment is provided exclusively for the purpose of creating public access programming and should not be used for any other purpose or for personal gain. MRVTV does allow educational and community groups to use the equipment for their educational, training, and archival purposes, provided it is not for any commercial gain.
- A project or program must be completed and submitted for broadcast before equipment is made available for a new project or program. The MRVTV Staff reserves the right to limit access to equipment when frequent use does not result in a completed program.
- The MRVTVStaff reserves the right to refuse access to equipment or facilities to anyone who appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol or is obviously impaired.
- The MRVTV Staff reserves the right to require a producer to repeat the certification process at any time the producer appears to be using equipment inappropriately.
- The MRVTV Staff reserves the right to limit the amount of equipment borrowed by any one program producer.
- While using MRVTV equipment, a program producer may not misrepresent him or herself as being an employee of MRVTV, or of acting in an official capacity on behalf of the station.
POLICIES GOVERNING USE OF MRVTV FACILITIES
- MRVTV facilities may be used only during scheduled hours, and only when the MRVTV Staff is present.
- There will be no smoking, eating, or drinking in the studio or editing facility. Pets, young children or unnecessary guests are not permitted.
- Facilities must always be left in the same or better condition than they were found. Any damage or malfunction of equipment should be reported to the MRVTV Staff. Program producers should not attempt to repair or recalibrate equipment. Props should be removed after production and the studio should be restored to its original condition.
- Reservation should be made for use of facilities. Otherwise, access to facilities will be on a first come, first served basis. Use of facilities is limited to a maximum of two hours per visit.
- Reservations will be honored for 15 minutes beyond the scheduled time and then will be opened for general access.
- Reservations should be cancelled 24 hours in advance.
- Use of facilities is restricted to the MRVTV studio. Access to other parts of the building is prohibited.
- Minors must be accompanied and supervised by an adult.
- Use of the phone is limited to emergency calls and only with permission of the MRVTV Staff.
- The MRVTV Staff reserves the right to request persons who are under the influence or drugs or alcohol, or who are otherwise impeding the safe and efficient operation of the station, to vacate the facility.
- Facilities may only be used for producing a public access program. Other uses such as editing personal videos is prohibited.
VIOLATION OF POLICIES
Major violations include, but are not limited to:
- Infringing, obstructing or in any way curtailing another community member’s right to free expression.
- Harassment of any public access producer, MRVTV staff member, or visitor.
- Theft, unauthorized removal, vandalism, or willful damage to MRVTVequipment or facilities
- Commercial use of equipment, facilities or airtime
- Misrepresentation to others of affiliation with MRVTV or Waitsfield Cable
- Taking equipment or using facilities without permission
- Abuse or misuse of equipment, including attempted repair or alteration
- Possession or use of a weapon, or illegal substance at MRVTV facilities.
- Knowingly presenting any programming which violates state or federal law or regulation
Consequences for a major violation may include:
- Immediate 90 day suspension of privileges. Restitution for any damages incurred by MRVTV.
- Any subsequent major violation may result in the permanent loss of access privileges, at the discretion of the MRVTV Board of Directors.
Minor violations include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to cancel a reservation 24 hours in advance
- Failure to clean up after using facilities
- Eating or drinking in studio or editing facility
- Smoking anywhere in the facility
- Accessing restricted areas of building
- Late pick up or return
- Allowing persons who are not MRVTVVolunteer producers to use equipment. Transferring equipment to other MRVTV Volunteer producers without notifying the MRVTV Staff
- Failure to notify the MRVTVStaff when picking up or returning equipment.
- Attempting to alter, disassemble or repair equipment
Consequences of Minor violations:
- The first violation will result in a warning
- The second violation may result in a one-month suspension of access, at the discretion of the MRVTV
- Subsequent and repeated violations may result in permanent loss of access, at the discretion of the MRVTVBoard of Directors.
- Public access program producers should attempt to resolve conflicts with the MRVTV
- Any public access program producer wishing to appeal an action of the MRVTVStaff must submit a written request for a hearing to President of the MRVTV Board of Directors
Mad River Valley Television PUBLIC ACCESS PROGRAM PRODUCER’S AGREEMENT
As the producer of a public access program, I understand and acknowledge both my rights and responsibilities, and affirm each of the following:
- I acknowledge that MRVTV cannot exercise any editorial control over the content of my public access program and I accept full responsibility for following state and federal laws and regulations governing public access.
- I acknowledge that my right to free expression does not permit me to infringe on any other community member’s right to free expression. I will not in any way prevent the production or broadcast of public access programming by other community members, or disrupted the peaceful operation of MRVTV.
- I have received a copy of the MRVTV Public Access Program Producer’s Handbook, have reviewed the standards, guidelines, code of conduct, and policies governing access to equipment, facilities and airtime, and agree to produce my public access program accordingly.
- I agree to use equipment and facilities according to recommended procedures and accept responsibility for the cost of repair or replacement of equipment that is lost, stolen or damaged through misuse.
- I understand and acknowledge that violation of standards, guidelines, and policies may lead to temporary or permanent loss of access privileges.
- I release and indemnify MRVTV, its Board of Directors and employees from and against all claims, losses, or damages, of any kind, arising out of the foregoing responsibilities undertaken by me.
(FOR ADULT SUPERVISORS OF PRODUCERS UNDER 18) I understand that producers under 18 cannot be held liable for many of the regulations governing public access and accept full responsibility for this production.
Section 4: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is MRVTV?
Mad River Valley Television (MRVTV) is a community-based television channel dedicated to giving the community access to the airwaves. MRVTV is part of Waitsfield Cable’s basic tier of service, broadcasting on Channels 44 & 45. MRVTV broadcasts locally generated programs with a focus on public, educational and governmental (PEG) programming.
How did it start?
MRVTV was incorporated in March 1998 by a small group of Mad River Valley residents who wanted to bring public access television to the community. Following incorporation, an interim board of directors surveyed community organizations, sought support from municipal boards, and in the spring of 2000 completed negotiating a contract with Waitsfield Cable.
When did it go on the air?
During the winter of 1999-2000, MRVTV completed the process of acquiring basic videotaping, editing, and broadcast equipment, and established a studio in conjunction with existing facilities at Sugarbush Resort. It began broadcasting a community bulletin board in March 2000. MRVTV’s first public access production, the Lareau Swim Hole Public Meeting, was broadcast on April 1, 2000.
Who can use the television station and equipment?
Any Mad River Valley Community Member with appropriate training can use the station and equipment in accordance with the MRVTV broadcast standards and guidelines. MRVTV provides the training to film events, produce public accessing programming, and will help to edit the program. MRVTV also has space available for studio taping and accepts prepared tapes and DVDs for broadcast providing those tapes meet technical quality standards. Use of equipment and facilities, and access to airtime, is restricted to Mad River Valley Community Members, except with the express permission of the MRVTV Staff.
What types of programs are shown on MRVTV?
MRVTV broadcasts tapes of local government and school board hearings, events such as the Warren Fourth of July celebration, Harwood Union concerts, forums on current issues, and many other school and community events. MRVTV looks to community members to learn to tape events, and also works with Harwood Union and GMVS to train students to cover local events. Additionally, MRVTV airs locally produced talk shows, political debates, specialty shows and other programs generated by members of the community.
Where is the studio located?
MRVTV is currently located on the ground floor of the red clapboard building in the Bridge Street Marketplace, at 4429 Main St., Suite 1, in historic Waitsfield village.
How is MRVTV funded?
MRVTV is primarily funded by Waitsfield Cable, as required by state and federal cable television regulations. Waitsfield Cable also provided start-up funds for equipment and organizational fees. MRVTV also accepts local municipal sponsorship from the towns of Waitsfield, Warren, and Fayston, as well as donations and grants, although commercial use of the station is strictly prohibited.
Who are the MRVTV Board Members?
Members of the Board of Directors are Lisa Loomis, (President), Rob Williams, Liz Levy, Dan Eckstein, Jon Daniell, Lisa Italiano, Brian Shupe, and Ilse Sigmund. Board members are elected annually to serve two-year terms and represent the different communities MRVTV serves. Their bios can be found here.
Who should I contact if I have a question, want to volunteer, want to be trained to use equipment, or want to share a programming idea?
MRVTV Staff are Keith Berkelhamer, Executive Director/Station Manager, and Tony Italiano, Technical Director Media Manager. Their contact information and the station’s mailing and street addresses can be found here.
This website is a source for the station’s schedule, mission statement, resources, policies and other important information.