Facility of the Quarter
Itasca Community Television, Inc. (ICTV)
Grand Rapids, Minnesota: It’s in Minnesota’s Nature. That double entendre refers not only to the area being blessed with woods and water, but also to the level of service provided to its visitors and residents. Itasca Community Television, Inc.’s (ICTV) role in this is to strengthen the Itasca area communities through public access media.
ICTV was established in 1982 as part of a local boom in community service. The station began modestly with a camera aimed at a clock and weather station. Two Itasca Community Collegeprofessors produced a program on beaver trapping and public access cable television was born. The nonprofit station incorporated in 1983.
ICTV contracts with the Grand Rapids Area Cable Commission (GRACC), a joint powers board. Major franchise and PEG fee support is collected from the four GRACC communities; the cities ofGrand Rapids, LaPrairie and Cohasset and the town of Harris. The two providers, Mediacom and Paul Bunyan Communication, carry ICTV to an additional eight communities in the county. Other major support comes from the Blandin Foundation, Itasca County, members, sponsors, and the station’s program services. With a modest budget averaging $310,000, ICTV operates three stations, with six full-time employees, one paid intern and a host of volunteers.
In recent years, ICTV began streaming video and is launching a new web site at www.watchictv.org this summer. Built in-part with a Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities grant, the new site will strengthen its video-on-demand of government meetings and studio programming, plus vastly improve FTP uploads. “In recent years ICTV has gone from a very good small station, to a station that is truly standing out in the rural pubic access cable television world,” said Executive Director Beth George. “We are proud to cooperate with our local units of government and the public to have a wide array of public, education and government access programming.”