RCTV provides news for Rifle residents
March 10, 2018
Have you ever watched a City of Rifle Council meeting or a Rifle High School sports game on Channel 10 or searched for information on Rifleco.org or RifleNOW.com? Just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, it's time to pull back the curtain and meet the City employees running the Rifle Community TV Department (RCTV) who are hard at work keeping you informed. These staff members strive to create a forum for honest, transparent and easy access to local information.
Michael Churchill, Community TV Manager, started working with the local TV station, Channel 10, when he was only 14 years old. His mother thought it would be a good way for him to get in some volunteer hours. He was already working at Village Inn where his father was the manager and at a family owned business that has grown to become the ArtillumA Dance Company here in town.
In 2007, Michael became assistant manager of RCTV and has been manager since 2015. His philosophies and values are reflected in every aspect of the Community TV Department. Michael lives in Rifle with his wife, Shandice and his two children Kialynn and Kaden (with number three on the way).
Salvador Tovar-Guzman, another longtime Rifle resident, attended school here from elementary through high school before studying mass communication at Colorado Mesa University and Colorado Mountain College. When asked what he likes most about Rifle, Guzman replied, "Rifle is reserved-almost exclusive. Quiet, but we get to reap the benefits of living in the mountains."
A passion for computer aided design (CAD) and video editing led him to Rifle Community TV. Both gentlemen are very invested in the community they serve and are passionate about providing Rifle citizens with easy to access, accurate, timely and useful information.
Community TV started out years ago as a simple electronic bulletin board with a single contract employee. Today the department manages all of the workings of Rifle Community TV, all three city websites and various social media accounts. The staff also assists the city as a whole in the implementation of communication technologies.
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RCTV has grown to having one full-time staff member, one nearly full-time staff member, plus six paid part-time employees and three volunteers who help out with larger events. Community TV covers everything from public meetings, local shows and concerts and youth sporting events to large community gatherings. Their coverage is then broadcast on a diverse range of mediums from Channel 10 to Facebook.
Churchill and Guzman see themselves as a conduit for information.
"We don't have a personal buy-in. It is neither our job nor our role to taint the information", explains Churchill, which is why they provide what he describes as "gavel to gavel" coverage of their events.
No edits, no clips. No sound bites. They aren't reporters-they simply provide coverage. He analogized their role to being similar to asking a friend for a recommendation for a dentist. The friend has no financial interest or ulterior motive in providing a reference. They are just passing on experience. "People connecting to people".
So where do we go from here? Churchill and Guzman would like to see more local government and quasi-government organizations invite Rifle Community TV to film and broadcast their board meetings. This helps promote a sense of transparency and honesty among citizens and gives them a better understanding of local decision-making processes.
Continued growth into social media is underway. This will give the citizens of Rifle an even faster method by which to get their information. There are also weekly articles in the Citizen Telegram and videos on RifleNOW.org designed to highlight the people and projects of the City and the community. A program to help sum up a month's worth of local activities for Rifle citizens is in the works. Each aspect of Community TV is designed to affect the culture and foster human connections and human relationships. And with Churchill and Guzman at the helm, Rifle citizens can most certainly have confidence in the content they watch or read. Honest.
Rifle Rapport is a monthly article featuring the people and projects of the city of Rifle. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact Kathy Pototsky at 970-665-6420 or firstname.lastname@example.org.