This editorial by SBCAN Associate Director Jeanne Sparks ran in the Santa Maria Times on April 13, 2017:
What a delight it is to watch Merrell Fankhauser and his professional recording artist friends on his “Tiki Lounge” television show. Many know him as the original writer of “Wipe Out,” that popular surf song from the 1960s.
I’m listening to Merrell sing “Hello Mary Lou” as I write this. Nice. He lives on the Central Coast, having made the choice to move back to the area where he lived in his teens and to cablecast his show here.
We are lucky to have Santa Maria Community Television, a public-access station that makes programs like this and many others available to residents of Santa Maria and Orcutt on Comcast channel 25.
Other producers put out shows about local history, how to draw, how to play guitar, science, politics, religion, culture and more. Sometimes nonprofits will put on programs about the issues they are working on. Any topic can be addressed on this channel. It’s all about providing an outlet for local residents and organizations to get their messages out to those who live in the same community.
The city of Santa Maria runs the local public-access station and studio. For only $25 a year, anyone living in Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo counties can become a producer and have shows run on channel 25.
The SMCTV Board of Directors advises the city on issues facing the station. I’m a member of the board. We are facing two issues that threaten the future of the station — not enough locally-produced programs and a shortfall in funding.
The programming issue can be solved by more people becoming producers and submitting shows to the station. The station has a studio with three cameras, furniture, props, a green screen and editing bays. Individuals or organizations can use these resources to produce shows. We hope you will. We need to show the City Council how valuable the station is by putting out more programs.