By Robin Jovanovich
While one of the City’s smallest departments, RyeTV does more than its fair share of keeping the community connected. That was the message delivered in an impressive presentation by the Rye Cable and Communications Committee to the City Council Wednesday night.
During the 2017 budget discussion process, the Council asked RyeTV to provide them with an overview of their programming, services, and finances. With Rye High School now needing some of the longtime 1,000-square-foot studio space — the control room, in fact — for an expansion, RyeTV Access Coordinator Nicole Levitsky, about to celebrate her 19th year here, and the Cable Committee worked quickly to present a picture of what they do, and the central role they play.
As Councilwoman Julie Killian said before the presentation, “I didn’t know how talented a group we had until I became the Council liaison.”
Committee member MaryEllen Doran led the presentation, which included a video demonstrating why listeners and nonprofit organizations value RyeTV. Doran asked the Council and listeners to picture a few of the ways our public access station connects the population — a homebound senior citizen who wants to keep up with government news, a dad coming home late from work who wants to learn more about his child’s curriculum, children trying to find out the measurement specifics for Halloween Window Painting, families wanting to watch the Rye Rec Basketball Championship, again.
In addition to offering first-rate programming — 600 distinct programs in 2016, including a five-part series on substance abuse — and broadcasting meetings and public service announcements, RyeTV offers workshops and classes that fill a number of needs. They ran a Minecraft program over Christmas break that had a wait list. They offer an afterschool video club (next one starts March 2) and work with special needs students. A RyeTV News program is also in the works.
Mayor Joe Sack said, “I don’t need to be convinced RyeTV is a good thing. The question before the Council is what type of investment the City can afford to make in RyeTV.”
The last equipment upgrade for RyeTV was in 2009. The need to move the control room is of immediate concern. Committee members are hopeful that empty space in City Hall can fill the bill. Stay tuned.
Nicole Levitsky, third from left, with Cable and Communications Committee members Kate Conn, Steve Fairchild, Ken Knowles, MaryEllen Doran, and Paula Fung