Page 40 - Wallingford Magazine Holiday 2019
P. 40

 by Susan Adele Huizenga
More people may know about the two-story ti- ger mural painted by ARCY on the South Orchard Street building across from Center Street Cemetery, than what actually belongs to them, inside. WPAA- TV is inside. It is one of the Town of Wallingford’s three local television stations. It is the one operated by volunteers for use by the community. Volunteers started an adaptive renovation of this 1924 cow barn in 2010. WPAA-TV and Community Media Center is now a welcoming public space. The barn’s former hayloft, a versatile performance and media space, is called studioW.
Some people may remember surfing TV channels and stumbling upon WPAA Cable 18. Viewers can now watch the TV content three ways. Comcast Ca- ble subscribers living in Wallingford watch on chan- nel 18 or 1070 and Frontier’s channel is 6091 viewable from anywhere in Connecticut. The Internet, via the website, is the third way to watch anytime 24x7.
In 1993, the nonprofit Wallingford Public Ac- cess Association, Inc. (WPAA) was formed. Found- ing members coined the phrase ‘Your Town, Your Station.’ This adventure in free speech and democ- racy is now called Community TV. The phrase has been updated to #YourTownYourStationYourVoice, a hashtag used in social media. The hashtag #wpaatv is the quickest way to find out more about the station on the Internet.
This year WPAA-TV was awarded ‘Best in the USA’ for Community TV centers with budgets of $300,000 or less for their Celebrate Wall- ingford everyday approach. WPAA-TV’s budget is approximately $80,000 annually. Previously, for an unprecedented two years in a row, 2014-15, WPAA-TV won the New England region “Overall Excellence Award” for the work of its volunteers and citizen producers for “What We Do Together.”
It was in 2013 that for the first time the organi- zation had full-time staff, albeit volunteer, increasing the station’s capacity to serve. The volunteer Execu- tive Director, Susan Huizenga, maintains it is still too common for people coming through the doors for the first time to say, “I did not know this was here.” Susan says, “Unfortunately, what we do is literally tied to whomever does walk in the door. As the Wall- ingford Public Library suggests that their doors are open to endless possibilities, we remain eager to do the same.”
Striving to thrive, WPAA-TV expanded ways for citizens to contribute, and for local organizations to collaborate. Viewers can now see global news in Spanish and English midday, six days a week, Record-
Journal stories and other local news daily and learn by watching “Life-long Learn- ing” educational content. Citizens and organizations can represent programs they consider good enough to share. For example, the library represents shows about books and authors. These shows are produced elsewhere. The show “Book Lust” hosted by best-selling author, librar- ian, and literary critic, Nancy Pearl comes from the Seattle Channel. On Thursdays, Book Lust follows a locally produced LIVE independent wrestling talk show with a
Wallingford Magazine – Holiday, 2019

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