TODAY is the last day of Public Access television in Athens, Ohio, and I am mourning. It was such a beautiful concept and contributed so much to those who watched regularly and those camcorder artists/enthusiasts who volunteered their time and creativity to the project. My heart is too involved in it to share a rational unbiased version of causes of its demise, but I’d like to as a townsperson thank Bob and Lois Whealey for their two separate weekly shows, relative latecomer Alexa Ross who bore almost the entire volunteer load to the end, commedienne Jane Penwell , co-producer with me of Athens Kaleidoscope, and backwards in time to the great and talented Ken Dobo, Jamie Tevis and Joe Agranoff for Friends and Neighbors, the Junior Producers and Richard Sams with their call in shows, John Spofforth, and the many creative Athenians who stepped up to the plate as volunteer producers. …and Charlie Grubbs as Indian Charley and his nature shows; I must stop because there are so many Athenians who welcomed and utilized and watched and produced as volunteers the life and doings of those of us in this small appalachian university town…and the Video Volunteer action group who raised funds in the early days through bake sales and yard sales.
My own introduction to the great creative palette that was Public Access was in 1989, when my son left the house headed for the Rec Center, and within a half hour to my surprise I saw him appear for the first time on the talk fest with Ken Dobo and others on Ken’s Trouble on the Network Show. There were annual awards nights and… I’ll shut up and either share a link or present Steve Zarate who sang both early on and recently the song he wrote and played, “The Public Access Song” for the last time: