GrassRoots TV is finally coming to Glenwood, Carbondale
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
It took the emergence of the digital age in broadcasting technology, but GrassRoots Community TV is finally realizing its 38-year goal to be a resource for local television programming throughout the entire Roaring Fork Valley.
Cable television provider Comcast is set to launch GrassRoots TV, based out of Aspen, as part of its digital service package on Channel 82 for Glenwood Springs and Carbondale cable subscribers beginning April 22.
The new local channel offering became possible as part of Comcast’s migration to digital from the old analog signal delivery system. The new method opens the spectrum to more channels.
The same technology switch also allowed Pitkin County to offer GrassRoots and other local and network channels over its translator system, serving non-cable TV viewers who have a digital-ready television set, antenna and line-of-sight to one of the county’s translators.
“The original vision [GrassRoots TV founder] John Smith had when the GrassRoots network began in 1972 was to have programming and production capacity in all of the towns throughout the valley, so it’s been a long time coming,” GrassRoots TV Executive Director John Masters said.
GrassRoots TV has been trying for several years to bring its programming down valley, but has only extended as far as the Basalt/El Jebel area since about the early 1990s, he said.
Masters’ efforts to take GrassRoots further down valley began about five years ago, when a community cable needs assessment was done in Carbondale. One of the recommendations was to include GrassRoots among the town’s cable offerings.
However, because the Carbondale cable system has been limited in the number of channels that could be included on the old analog system, there wasn’t room to add GrassRoots until now.
“This is all part of Comcast’s digital migration, which will allow us to offer a number of new channels, including more HD [high definition] channels and more ethnic programming,” Comcast regional spokesperson Cindy Parsons said.
Additional channels will be added to cable systems in Glenwood/Carbondale, Aspen, Rifle, Granby and Winter park this summer, she said.
The new channels, including GrassRoots, are only available to digital package cable customers and those who have a digital adapter, which can be installed by Comcast, she said.
GrassRoots produces a variety of original programming, and offers time slots to a variety of community-produced programming from nonprofit organizations, individuals and groups. Already, much of the programming has been from the down-valley area, but the signal expansion should serve as incentive for more programming from the Carbondale and Glenwood communities, Masters said.
“Programming is entirely up to the members of the community,” he said. “We are hopeful that more individuals and organizations will start using this open channel of communication.”
In addition to the new cable presence, GrassRoots TV also recently launched a new website [grassrootstv.org], which provides free global access to GrassRoots programming, including on-demand video archives, live streaming of current programming and regularly updated program schedules.
GrassRoots TV’s main offices are in Aspen’s Red Brick Center, however efforts are under way to have a presence, including a production space in Carbondale, Masters said. Those plans are not yet finalized, he said.
GrassRoots will also have a local reception as part of the May 7 First Friday in Carbondale, at Carnahan’s Tavern.
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