KANE — The Kane Area School District is moving forward with an educational and governmental cable television channel that will serve the borough.
Kane Borough Council voted to enter into a 10-year agreement with Comcast at an earlier borough council meeting. Borough solicitor Tony Alfieri said while the contract needs to be formally finalized, it has been agreed to in principle. The agreement will include a grant of approximately $4,600 for the school district’s endeavor.
Dr. Maryann Anderson, superintendent, said the school board as allocated an additional $5,000, and $7,000 in donations has also been received from the community at large. Anderson said that additional equipment will need to purchased for the channel, but that equipment will also be used as part of the educational curriculum.
Assistant technology director Chris Nicklas said the additional equipment has a dual purpose, and it can also be used to stream video over the Internet. Nicklas said this will allow non-subscribers to still view the programming produced by the new channel.
Anderson said that not only will the channel be a means to get information, such as school delays and emergency alerts, out to the borough, but also to be able to showcase the skills of the district’s students who are active in learning media production. She said the programming will be student produced, and is already being taught as part of the school district’s curriculum by Brian Wymer at the high school and district enrichment teacher Mary Filjones at the middle school.
“The information we want to get out is the talents of our students,” Anderson said. “The projects that they’re doing, the competitions that they’re entering and winning. They’re knocking it out of the park.”
Nicklas said the channel has the potential to inform the community about what’s going on in the schools. He said that while there are many people who usually get online, there is still an audience for television. Nicklas also said there is a void in broadcast media that was created when WLMI was sold to Colonial Media and regionalized in August 2006.
Nicklas said the station for the viewing area will include not only Kane, but also will include Wetmore and Highland townships, and Mount Jewett Borough. He said that one of the issues that will need to be addressed by Comcast are some areas that are with Kane’s Comcast service area but not within the school district.
Nicklas said for the time being, all of the programming will be pre-produced, as live programming the early stage of the channel will not be economically feasible, but such programming could happen in the future as the station grows. However, he did say that some events, such as football games, could be produced and aired on a delayed basis.
He added that the station could serve other purposes in the community, such as covering borough and township meetings. Nicklas said that community meetings and events would give the students more programming to produce.
Anderson agreed, saying that not only would the students benefit from such coverage, but the community would as well.
“I think it keeps people in check when they know they’re going to be on TV,” Anderson said.
Anderson is excited about the future of the station, and the students are the key to its success.
“The possibilities are endless in terms of the outreach,” Anderson said. “I do think it depends on how we market it in the classroom and how we energize the kids to understand the potential in what they can become involved in. It’s just a great community tool and educational tool.”