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Part I - Thoughts on PEG Delivery Platform Preference: Cable or Online?

PUBLISHED: 
September 16, 2021

Grassroots Community Network’s John Masters reflects on the performance and metrics of cable, over the air and web platforms at GRCTV

Decades ago, the Pitkin County Translator System was established. The tax-supported system rebroadcasts FM radio and TV station signals throughout Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley, because broadcast signals are unreliable in the mountainous terrain. Part of the effort included installing a transmitter at GrassRoots Community Network. And that’s why residents can watch their local nonprofit PEG channel over the air, along with the local network affiliates.

While an OTA signal is unusual for a PEG channel, GrassRoots also has a more traditional presence on cable. John Masters, executive director of GrassRoots Community Network, said the channel is available to about 18,000 Comcast subscribers (roughly 30,000 potential viewers), though he admitted the station has no way to actually measure its cable audience.

However, GrassRoots can measure how many viewers are watching them online – and in 2020, station programming attracted 1.2 million views. Many views were concentrated on a handful of videos. Certain government meetings, for example, attracted a lot of online attention. “I doubt we ever had 1.2 million views before,” Masters admitted.

“We’re fortunate in that we serve a very politically engaged community.”

A live stream is available at grassrootstv.org, and GrassRoots has about 12,500 subscribers for its YouTube channel. The station already has more than 5,000 programs online, which are stored on its Cablecast VOD server, but close to 15,000 more tapes need to be digitized and added to their online archive. Is an online presence really that important for PEG? Masters offers his take in Part 2, subscribe to our PEG Experts Digest to receive this content directly in your inbox.

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