CCTV-55 switching hands from CHS to CP&R


The Cullman High School Broadcast Network (Bearcat News Network,some members seen here) will still contribute programming of school events to CCTV-55 and will continue to produce live streamed content for Cullman High School. / Courtesy of Bearcat News Network on Twitter

CULLMAN – Cullman Community TV, CCTV-55, is changing hands from Cullman High School to Cullman Parks and Recreation.  While the Cullman High School Broadcast Network (Bearcat News Network) will continue to contribute some programming, CP&R will have primary control.  The city agency’s staff anticipates several positive changes for the Public, Educational, and Government access (PEG) station.

CP&R Marketing, Programs and Events Director Waid Harbison shared some details.

“We’ve got a grant that covers the TV station, but we’ve got to cover those three things: we’ve got to cover the public, education and government, said Harbison. “The high school has been in charge of running the operations of the day-to-day TV station.  They were solely responsible for all parts of that, so they were having to send just student volunteers to cover government meetings and community events, and things like that.  So it really wasn’t a good setup for them, because during the summer months there’s not kids there.  You have different kids in classes, some of your talent comes and goes; so the City felt like we could do a whole lot more with it if we took over from a parks and rec standpoint.”

According to Harbison, the students at Cullman High School will continue to cover and broadcast events like sports, but CP&R will broaden the station’s focus on the community and its own program offerings.

Said Harbison, “It think one of our things we’re really focused on with our parks and rec department is our marketing and communications.  We’ve got a marketing team with about four or five people on it: a great staff with some people who can handle videos and do videos really, really well.  So it was just a really good fit for us to kind of take that over.

“The schools are still going to be involved from the education side: they’re going to cover the football games, they’re going to cover all the events they have been covering at the schools.  But parks and rec will now kind of be over covering the government meetings, we’re going to be going out to the festivals and communities, and things like that. 

“But we’re actually planning on really ramping it up and doing a lot more with the PEG station, now that we have it and we’re able to do a little bit more with it.  But we’re currently making a studio over at the Civic Center, so we’ll have a studio, quite a bit of new equipment.  The PEG Board just approved us to get a considerable amount of equipment like cameras and some new lighting, and things along those lines.  So it’s going to be a really, really good upgrade.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of really cool content.  We’re going to be doing some longer, like 10- to 12-minute videos on some of our parks and places in Cullman, and of course some of our upcoming events and things like that.  We’re going to try to put a focus on health and wellness, which is something we try and do at parks and rec: fitness tips, health and wellness tips, ways to get active.  We’re also going to have some people like our golf pro come on and do golf tips, and things along those lines.  We’re going to be covering the city council meetings, probably going to be doing some things from the City standpoint, too: having a monthly update, maybe the mayor coming on talking about some of the things going on in the city that month, or road closures; just, basically, anything that people can be informed on in the public side of it.  (We’re) really looking to step it up with us taking over, and being able to do a lot more with it, since we have a full-time staff that can be dedicated to doing it.”

John Drake, Cullman High’s broadcast team supervisor, explained that his school’s recent entry into the National Federation of State High School Associations (known as NFHS) made live streaming school events much easier than it had been with the old television station.

“Our main production is live streaming sports events,” said Drake. “We can broadcast almost anything: sports games, plays and other things.  The NFHS Network has made it easier to branch out.”

Additionally, according to Drake, the reconstruction of CHS took away the studio his students had used, making in-house production difficult.  Nathan Anderson, Drake’s former assistant at CHS and current CP&R director, approached Drake with the idea to take charge of the television station.

Drake explained, “I have a great relationship with Nathan at CP&R.  We talked about it for a long time.  The principals and administrators from all the schools came over to talk.  I think we worked out a good deal; they were careful not to take anything away from our students at CHS.”

Drake added that CHS will continue to supply CCTV-55 with content from games and other school events.  While live broadcasts from the school production team will not be available, the NFHS and Alabama High School Athletic Association have authorized the school to send recorded content to the station.

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