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Amherst Media

Annual Report 2016


A force for community building,
information sharing,
& social justice.

Table of Contents
Board of Directors

3

Staff

3

President’s Report - Steven D. Brewer

4

Executive Director’s Report - Jim Lescault

5

Director of Media Technologies’ Report - Nick Ring

6

Director of Programming’s Report - Joe Ameur

8

Production Report

9

Amherst Media Programming Report 2015-2016

11

Financial Report

14

Ascertainment Letters of Support

18

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

2

Board of Directors
Steven Brewer - President, Board appointed, term expires 2019
Matt Heron Duranti - Secretary, Member elected, term expires 2019
Rick Hood - School Committee representative, term expires 2016
Mat Lebowitz – Board appointed, term expires 2018
Leo Maley – Board appointed, term expires 2018
Lynn Pasquerella - Higher Education representative, term expires 2016
Ed Severance - Treasurer, Member elected, expires 2017
Demetria Rougeaux Shabazz – Vice-President, Member elected, term expires 2019
Josh Stearns - Member elected, term expires 2017
Adrienne Terrizzi - Select Board Representative, term expires 2017
Joseph Wronka - Member elected, term expires 2016

Staff
Jim Lescault, Executive Director
Nick Ring, Director of Media Technologies
Ari Hayes, Director of Interns and Productions
Joe Ameur, Director of Programming

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

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President’s Report - Steven D. Brewer
Amherst Media has been everywhere in Amherst this year. From the Chamber to the Schools,
from Local government to State-wide OfYice, from Academia to The Bruce Show, from the Holyoke
Range to the Survival Center, from Orville to Gertrude Dinglehoffer, Amherst Media gives Amherst
residents a voice.
The Town of Amherst has Yinally completed the renegotiation of the franchise agreement with
Comcast. In a process where seemingly everything that could go wrong did, we came through
about as well as I could have hoped. Amherst Media played an important role, supporting the
Cable Advisory Committee and drafting a plan for meeting Amherst's needs. Did the Town get
everything we need? No. But it wasn't from a lack of effort or commitment on the part of our
many advocates and supporters who went to the mat over and over again to argue our case.
Another positive outcome of the cable ascertainment process was a growing recognition that
Amherst Media does not only serve cable subscribers -- all of our content can be viewed online.
Given the Comcast's refusal over giving us access to the interactive program guide, it's actually
often easier to Yind Amherst Media programming online. And, while Comcast still refuses to let us
broadcast in HD, when you watch online, you can see our programming in HD too.
Furthermore, there is a growing recognition that it's not realistic for only cable subscribers to
bear the entire cost of providing services that beneYit everyone, like the Town's institutional
network and the extreme governmental transparency that Amherst residents crave. We hope we
can partner with the Town to discuss how best to Yind the necessary resources to meet the
growing needs of the Town. We look forward to this conversation which, we hope, will be less
contentious than the one just completed.
The number that everyone was focused on in the negotiations was the capital request to replace
the Amherst Media equipment -- some of which hasn't been replaced for more than 20 years. One
question that hasn't been addressed, though, is where to put all the new equipment. Eversource
still wants us out of our existing building and we still haven't yet found any suitable location to
move to. Finally, however, we have a plan.
As you know, in 2013, Amherst Media purchased property on Main Street and Gray with the goal
of building a technology center there. Unfortunately, we were unable to realize those plans at
that time. Since then, we've looked again at every option in town. We initially thought the merger
of the Middle School and High School might result in a good Yit for Amherst Media near the
auditorium, but with the deferral of those plans, we were back to square one.
Ed Severance, who's been through the process of looking for new homes for Amherst Media more
times than he cares to count decided that enough was enough. He persuaded the Rotary Club of
Amherst to sponsor Amherst Media with their 2016 annual auction. With the proceeds of the
auction as matching funds, we begin our Capital Campaign with a huge boost. But we now need
to raise the money to match the Rotary Club's gift -- and more -- to get us there. We hope you'll
support us and come with us on this journey.

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

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Executive Director’s Report - Jim Lescault
As I Yinish up my ninth year and reYlect on what we have accomplished I am always amazed to see
the raw numbers of how many shows we, or our members produced. As much as the sheer
quantitative impresses so does the qualitative. The diversity of voices heard and faces seen
representing a wide breadth of those who call Amherst their home in tandem with regional
voices are further augmented by others bringing national and international perspectives.
This past year has been one of tremendous effort from our dedicated staff with the assistance of
our 40 interns and community members. The staff’s diligent work in preparing the interns
through training and oversight resulted in a 60% increase in government meetings recorded
from the previous year, shown on channel 17. Nearly 30% of all of the 188 meetings were
non-contractual or obligated.
While some saw this increase in government programming as a boon there was a direct
correlation to what happened on our Public and Educational Channels 12 & 15. These channels
saw a 26% decrease in local programming. The 168 shows were 63 less than the previous
year. This decrease was due in great part to the allocation of our personnel and limited camera
equipment to cover the fore mentioned increased government meetings and forums.
The year also saw Amherst Media taking a large role in assisting the Town during the
renegotiation of a new 10-year contract with Comcast. During the process known as
“Ascertainment”, Amherst Media was instrumental in educating, organizing, and recording the
important public hearings. Over 100 people attended the two public hearings and 25 letters from
organizations and individuals were submitted. Written and oral testimony was presented
identifying the community’s needs and support for the work of Amherst Media.
Staff continued to be greatly involved with the Town’s Cable Advisory Committee (CAC)
throughout the negotiations. Our integral knowledge of how the cable system operates further
informed the CAC to better understand the speciYic components as they related to the contract
negotiations. One such document was our inventory of all of our equipment, identifying the
critical components that were installed in the 1990’s. Additionally we provided a very Yiscally
sound and modern inventory for new equipment to be purchased with Capital funds from the
contract.
It is with great satisfaction that Amherst Media was instrumental in moving Comcast’s original
Capital amount offering from $450,000 to the Yinalized $1,125,000. The next critical phase is for
Amherst Media to obtain a contract with the Town with adequate funding to provide the
programming requested by the community and for the community.

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

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Director Of Media Technologies’ Report - Nick Ring
In his report, Director of Programming Joe Amuer details the age and condition of our playback
server that bears the burden of scheduling and playing out programming for channels 12, 15, and
17. It, like much of our equipment, is in desperate need of overhaul. As we reach the end of a
franchise period, we Yind ourselves navigating aging equipment while committing ourselves to
produce and to train members in producing programming of the best possible quality.
Our studio cameras and our main master control infrastructure date from 1991, a longevity that
is fairly unheard of it within the industry. The fact that it has remained in use for so long is a
testament to the staff of Amherst Media, past and present, who have done a terriYic job of
maintaining equipment and keeping it in service long past when it would be retired in many
other realms. This has been done in part due to Yinancial necessity, but also to a commitment to
frugal use of our available resources.
Amherst Media is presented with both the necessity and the opportunity to improve the technical
capacity of providing the town with quality production. I look forward to implementing these
greatly needed improvements over the next several years.
Cable Franchise
Certainly one of the dominant items on our tech calendar for the year has been the 10-year cable
franchise renewal between the Town of Amherst and Comcast. Amherst Media was happy to
work on the town's behalf to commit Comcast to the best arrangement possible for the town.
This process provided us with an opportunity to take a detailed look at the current state of PEG
equipment we possess and what would be needed to provide the services requested by the Town.
As I mentioned, much of our infrastructure is aging. Because the underlying technology is
changing from composite SD video to HD-SDI and Video Over IP, a fairly complete structural
overall is necessary for implementation.
One example of how the transition will impact us is on the current and potential modes of signal
transmission from remote sites. On the next page I include a diagram which demonstrates the
differences in transmission from the middle school auditorium to broadcast.
To further highlight this transition, the last community member using our SD miniDV cameras
moved over to HD to produce his program. Now, all Yield shoots are produced in HD and
increasingly, our studios shoots are, though utilizing the same limited supply of Yield cameras.
Website
We have continued to improve the structural backend of our website and constituent
management utilizing the open-source tools of Drupal and CiviCRM. Addionally we took up a site
re-design to present a cleaner interface and provide more immediate access to content. I
appreciate the collaborative support of board members Rick Hood and Steven Brewer in working
with me.


AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

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Live Meeting Signal Path
Current and Proposed

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

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Director Of Programming’s Report - Joe Ameur
We continue to air all content across our three channels via our Tightrope Media Systems SX-4
video server which runs Tightrope’s Cablecast digital broadcast software. Our channels run 24/7
with programming comprised of Amherst Media produced shows, member-submitted shows,
and shows from external sources such as PEGMedia, Telvue Connect, Free Speech TV, TED.com,
Vimeo, and more.
The SX-4 video server is eight years old and Amherst Media will be in need of an upgrade this
coming Yiscal year. During the 2015-2016 Yiscal year there were a several technical malfunctions
including a failed power supply and general instability (freezes, crashes, restarts). Due to the
system’s age we are no longer able to use an external management computer which compounds
the many malfunctions. Upgrading the system will not only make for more reliable broadcasting
but will allow us to provide a highly requested feature: improved video on demand. Our current
system for VOD utilizes archive.org which, while invaluable as an archiving resource, is not an
optimal VOD system–the streaming itself is slow and long meetings can take 2-3 days to process.
Upgrading to Tightrope’s more modern hardware will give us the capability of online VOD as
soon as the video is ready for air.
Throughout 2015-2016 we were notiYied by community members about failures with our Free
Speech TV and Classic Arts programming; both of which are delivered to us via a Dish Network
subscription. In June we were visited by a Dish technician who found we were equipped with an
obsolete antenna which he replaced along with much of the relevant wiring. Democracy Now!
(FSTV) and Classic Arts continue to be some of our most popular programming and the new Dish
equipment has been running smoothly since the upgrade.
With the help of interns and volunteers we continue to preserve our Town’s history by digitizing
and uploading VHS tapes from our forty years of locally-produced programming and meetings,
including collections from Amherst Media and the Jones Library. Over 1,100 archival videos are
now available on Archive.org/amherstmediaarchive for download and streaming. We have
digitized over 2000 tapes–a number which keeps growing. With a staff transition in December,
further consulting with John Hauser of Access Humboldt/Archive.org will be required to manage
the remaining uploads.
We are approximately two thirds of the way through digitizing the VHS collections, which then
leaves the ¾, beta, and MiniDV collections. Beginning this process will require many technical
requirements due to obsolete and faulty equipment. Nick Ring, the Director of Media
Technologies will work with myself and interns to move this forward in the 2016-2017 Yiscal
year.


AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

8

Production Report
Make no mistake about it, the viewers of Amherst Media’s channels 12, 15 and 17 often referred
to as PEG programming have their preferred channels and high expectations.
But rest assured we have a wide variety of shows for people who have caught up on their
government boards and committee meetings and want to know what else is happening in the
greater Amherst Area. Here’s a quick glimpse of the type of programming created this past year
by our members, interns and staff of Amherst Media.
Children and adults alike have been raving about Dorothy Cresswell’s “Curious Giraffe”, and the
“Reader to Reader “shows.
Science continues to be offered by Makers @Amherst Media, introducing middle school age
students to new technology gadgetry and helping bring families together through our after
school program., expertly led by Christine Olson.
Makers has evolved into a true by-product of a positive Town/ Gown relationship with many of
its steering committee members being faculty and students from area colleges.

A milestone was passed this year when long time local producer Bruce Smith, often referred to as
the man on the couch, reached over 100 programs. New member Rev. Anita Morris has already
produced 30 shows in her series Theological Devotional.
Bruce also covers the Boys High School Basketball games. Others have covered local Boys Hockey
as well as the dynamic play of Roller Derby
Our college connection continues with Western Mass Media Justice Network highlighting
community efforts such as UMass journalism students teaching in SpringYield schools or National
Yigures discussing cutting edge technology issues on the 5-College Digital Humanities lectures.
Our viewers witnessed the passing of the torch when former Mt. Holyoke President Lynn
Pasquerella, introduced, Demetria and Amilcar Shabazz as the new hosts of her DifYicult Dialogue
Series.

This past year saw a spike in the number of “special government forums”. The topics ranged
from Solar Energy to the assessment of needs for additional parking in downtown to multiple
meetings per day on the proposed Wildwood School reorganization, multiple Town Manager
interviews to a joint Town and Community Forum on Homelessness.
We must not forget to thank the many residents who came out to testify at the Comcast
Ascertainment Hearings. We appreciate your continued support as we strive to build a new
facility in the very near future.

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

9

Local coverage continued with the Historical Society’s lunchtime series “History Bites” as well as
Charter Commission meetings and forums on Black Lives Matter.
Amherst Media was there to cover the events.
With six candidates vying for the Third District ‘s State Representative seat, Amherst Media
covered 5 forums, co-sponsoring one with the Amherst Education Foundation.
We have continued to produce the videos for the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Awards Dinner,
honoring John Musante and State Representative Ellen Story among others. These videos have
become one of the highlights of the event.
Another special tribute video was made for long time and truly loved Amherst Regional Public
School teacher Brian McNamara in the “Story of MAC”.
We were pleased to be asked to produce a 10 minute video for 5-College Inc for their 40th year
celebration being convened in Northampton.
Viewers have come to appreciate the thoughtful and provocative conversations Marcie Sclove
brings into her show “Going Deeper”, and Joe Wronka’s series, Creating A Human Rights Culture.
New this year was Western Mass Calling: where national, statewide and regional ofYicials discuss
issues and policies confronting the region.
Local Culture was fully on display with the Magic Triangle Jazz series Panel discussion on Wild
Lines about Emily Dickinson and those inspired by her work.
Community gatherings and celebrations such as the Taste of Amherst and Merry Maples have
been greatly enhanced with the successful addition of the BID’s Block Party. Where policies and
positions are left aside for communal celebration.
The last annual event to mention is the Amherst Rotary’s Auction, now in its ninth year. Amherst
Media is proud to have been selected this year’s recipient by the Rotary. The money raised this
year will be the foundation to our New Building Fund Drive.
Our deep gratitude and thanks to the many volunteers and supporters who strive to make this
community inclusive and diversiYied. From many voices comes true democracy.

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

10

Amherst Media Programming Report 2015-2016
Programming Ch. 12
Total airtime: 7695 Hours of aired content
55% of aired content was Amherst Media/member produced and 45% was imported
88% of channel time was aired content
12% of channel time for Carousel message board
Programming Ch. 15
1923 hours of aired content (excluding Classic Arts)
60% of aired content (excluding Classic Arts) was Amherst Media/member produced and 40%
content was imported
97% of channel time was aired content (including Classic Arts)
3% of channel time for Carousel message board
Amherst Media Community Production
In 2016, Amherst Media staff & interns produced 108 shows, members produced 60 shows, with
a total of 168 programs
This content is shared between both Channel 12 and Channel 15
Ch. 12: 122 hours of original Amherst Media/member produced content
Ch. 15: 85 hours of original Amherst Media/member produced content
Programming Ch. 17
7802 hours of aired content
100% of programming is locally produced
In 2015-2016 there was 306hrs of government programming. Special gov. programming (noncontractual) accounted for over 100 hours of programming.
Within the Yirst 6 months of the 2016-2017, we’ve had 187hrs of gov. programming
89% of channel time was aired content
11% for Carousel message board
Amherst Media Government Production
188 individual programs
Average meeting/program length: 2hr8m
Special Government Programming accounted for an additional 180 hours of production
Non-Contractual Special Government Programming June 2015-July 2016
53 individual programs
Meetings
Charter Commission Meeting (11)
Jones Library Feasibility Committee - Public Hearing 6-28-16
Parking Working Group 6-28-16

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

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Forums
Amherst Housing Forum: 9-30-15
Route 9 Public Forum 10-5-15
Amherst Elementary Forum 12-08-15
North Amherst Village Center Intersection Public Forum: 12-08-15
Town Manager Community Forum 01-19-16
Amherst Elementary Building Project Forum: 1-13-16
School Building Forum 04-07-16
Amherst Warrant Review: 10-13-15
TMCC-LWV Warrant Review 4-12-16
Elections
League of Women Voters Charter Commission Candidates Night: 3-14-2016
League of Women Voters Amherst Candidates Night: 3-22-16
Live Coverage - Amherst Town Elections: 3-29-16
Amherst Survival Center Candidates Debate 6-15-16
State Rep. Debate Town Hall 6-21-16
Amherst Town OfYice Candidate Statements 2016 (8)
Charter Commission Candidate Statements 2016 (18)
Special Government Programming July 2016-December 2016
Meetings
Charter Commission Meetings (18)
Jones Library Design Subcommittee: 7-19-2016
Jones Library, Inc. Design Subcommittee 10-26-16
Zoning Board of Appeals 12-1-16
Zoning Board of Appeals 12-8-16
Charter Listening Session PSA
Forums
Homelessness Forum 7-14-16
Town Meeting Warrant Review 10-25-16
Elections
AEF State Rep. Candidates Forum on Education 7-26-2016
2016 Hampshire County Sheriff’s Candidate Statements (3)
2016 State Representative Candidate Statements (6)
NAACP Candidate's Forum 8-8-16
LWV: Candidate's Forum 8-25-16
State Rep. Candidates Forum on Climate Change 8-29-2016
Amherst Media Produced Programming
(108 Shows)
2015 Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce A+ Awards
2015 AEF Trivia Bee

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

12

2015 Amherst Media Promo
Afro Asian Music Ensemble: Fred Ho Tribute Concert 04-19-15
Amherst LWV Presents: Dave Sullivan
Amherst Media's 2015 Jean Haggerty Award Presentation: Jerry Gates
Aspirations for John Musante
B-Green (5)
Black Lives Matter An Evening of Beautiful Struggle
Conch Shell Awards 2016
Craig's Place Ribbon Cutting
Creating a Human Rights Culture (8)
The Curious Giraffe Show (9)
DifYicult Dialogues (2)
Family Peace Concert
Five College Digital Humanities (4)
Going Deeper (12)
HEALth as Praxis Ep.1: Stephen Andrew
Holiday Fun With Hillary (2)
Interdisciplinary Studies Institute Presents: Danielle Citron
Let's Talk About It (3)
Magic Triangle Jazz Series: Panel on Wild Lines
Makers @ Amherst Media (4)
Nerd Summit (4)
News @ AM & Western Mass Calling (13)
Reader to Reader: The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Roller Derby: Quabbin Missile Crisis vs Bandits 6-25-16
Sammy Awards 2016
Science for the People Conference: Toxics and Occupational and Public Health Panel
Taste of Amherst Promo
The Amherst For All Follies (2)
The Quiz@ Amherst Media (3)
Thirteenth Amendment Commemoration: 12-18-15
Voices From Our Schools (9)
Voices of Change DST (3)
Western Mass Media Justice Network (3)
Member Produced Programming - 60 Shows
Amherst Regional High School Sports (11)
The Bruce Show (14)
Fiber Arts
History Bites (9)
Julian
Juneteenth 2015
Restoration Retrospectives: Giving New Life to the Art at The Jones Library
Theological Devotional (22)

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

13

Financial Report
Jun 16

Ordinary Income/Expense
Income
COMCAST FUNDING
COMCAST Quarterly Payment
Total COMCAST FUNDING
FUNDRAISING
Fundraiser Income
Total FUNDRAISING
MEMBERSHIP
Non Profit
Member
LifeIme Members
Total MEMBERSHIP
SERVICES & WORKSHOPS
ProducIon Income
Other Service Income
Equipment Rental
Dubbing & Technical Svces.
Sales of Computer Media
Facility rental
Total Other Service Income
Digital Media Sales
Sales of Digital Media
Total Digital Media Sales
Courses
Apple Training
Master Class &Workshop TuiIon
Course TuiIon
Total Courses
Total SERVICES & WORKSHOPS
OTHER REVENUE
Interest Earned
Total OTHER REVENUE

Jul 15 - Jun 16
100% of year

Annual
Budget

$ Over
Budget

% of
Budget

0.00

311,511.36 304,415.98

7,095.38

102.33%

0.00

311,511.36 304,415.98

7,095.38

102.33%

275.00

4,655.00 10,000.00

-5,345.00

46.55%

275.00

4,655.00 10,000.00

-5,345.00

46.55%

100.00

500.00

1,000.00

-500.00

50.0%

230.00

1,265.00

2,265.00

-1,000.00

55.85%

0.00

250.00

330.00

2,015.00

3,265.00

-1,250.00

61.72%

11,841.00 15,000.00

-3,159.00

78.94%

0.00
0.00

450.00

600.00

-150.00

75.0%

300.00

1,734.00

1,700.00

34.00

102.0%

0.00

0.00

200.00

-200.00

0.0%

0.00

800.00

500.00

300.00

160.0%

300.00

2,984.00

3,000.00

-16.00

99.47%

0.00

66.00

100.00

-34.00

66.0%

0.00

66.00

100.00

-34.00

66.0%

250.00

500.00

5,000.00

-4,500.00

10.0%

0.00

0.00

800.00

-800.00

0.0%

95.00

425.00

1,000.00

-575.00

42.5%

345.00

925.00

6,800.00

-5,875.00

13.6%

15,816.00 24,900.00

-9,084.00

63.52%

645.00
27.89

288.04

280.00

8.04

102.87%

27.89

288.04

280.00

8.04

102.87%

GRANTS/DEVELOPMENT
ContribuIons, Unrestricted
Grants & Contracts

0.00

5.00

500.00

-495.00

1.0%

0.00

850.00 10,000.00

-9,150.00

8.5%

Total GRANTS/DEVELOPMENT

0.00

855.00 10,500.00

-9,645.00

8.14%

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

14

Total Income
Expense
Restricted Project Expense
Maker Space
Archiving
Total Restricted Project Expense
PROGRAMMING
Democracy Now
Total PROGRAMMING
INSTRUCTION COSTS
Apple Training InstrucIon Cost
Apple MarkeIng Cost
Apple Training Center Costs
Master Class & Workshop Exp.
Total INSTRUCTION COSTS
STATION STAFF
Government Prod. Coordinator
Media Access Coordinator
Development Coordinator
Director's Salary (Exe.Dir.)
Instructor
Program Manager
Total STATION STAFF
EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
PAYROLL TAXES
FICA
Medicare
SUTA
Total PAYROLL TAXES
Health Insurance-Net
Health Insurance Premiums
Total Health Insurance-Net
Worker's CompensaIon
Total EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
EQUIPMENT
Equipment Rental
Interest Expense
Equip.Maint.& Repair
Equip.Maint.& Repair - Other
Total Equip.Maint.& Repair

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

1,277.89

335,140.40 353,360.98 -18,220.58

94.84%

0.00

396.06

0.00

0.00

1,000.00

-1,000.00

0.0%

0.00

396.06

1,000.00

-603.94

39.61%

53.10

664.24

560.00

104.24

118.61%

53.10

664.24

560.00

104.24

118.61%

0.00

0.00

5,000.00

-5,000.00

0.0%

0.00

0.00

200.00

-200.00

0.0%

0.00

75.00

0.00

0.00

1,600.00

-1,600.00

0.0%

0.00

75.00

6,800.00

-6,725.00

1.1%

2,851.20

37,190.50 37,065.60

124.90

100.34%

3,771.12

49,365.44 49,024.50

340.94

100.7%

9,000.00

-318.97

96.46%

66,816.33 66,891.29

-74.96

99.89%

0.00
5,145.48
0.00

8,681.03
300.00

2,730.76

31,017.70 40,367.25

-9,349.55

76.84%

14,498.56

193,371.00 202,348.64

-8,977.64

95.56%

833.84

11,204.43 12,084.29

-879.86

92.72%

195.01

2,620.37

2,803.56

-183.19

93.47%

-1.88

997.16

1,769.08

-771.92

56.37%

1,026.97

14,821.96 16,656.93

-1,834.97

88.98%

2,786.01

22,039.02 22,000.00

39.02

100.18%

2,786.01

22,039.02 22,000.00

39.02

100.18%

700.00

88.00

112.57%

37,648.98 39,356.93

-1,707.95

95.66%

0.00
3,812.98

788.00

75.96

265.56

150.00

115.56

177.04%

0.00

0.00

250.00

-250.00

0.0%

0.00

30.53

2,000.00

-1,969.47

1.53%

0.00

30.53

2,000.00

-1,969.47

1.53%

15

Technical Supplies
Digital Media Expense
Total EQUIPMENT
CONTRACTED SERVICES
Consultant
Bookkeeper
Janitorial Services
Engineer
So^ware Consultant
Freelance Services
ProducIon Asst.
Freelance Services - Other
Total Freelance Services
Workstudy
Total CONTRACTED SERVICES
OUTREACH & MARKETING
Special Events Cost
AdverIsing & PromoIon
Total OUTREACH & MARKETING
BUILDING EXPENSES
Gray St Landscaping
Gray St Mortgage Interest
Building Maintenance & repair
Building Supplies
Rent
UIliIes
Total BUILDING EXPENSES
OFFICE EXPENSE
Comcast Audit Cost
Travel
Paypal Fees
Website Maintenance
Lodging
Errors & Omissions Insurance
Insurance - D&O/EPLI
Meals
Legal Fees
Bank Card Service Fees
AccounIng Fees
Bank Service Charges

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

0.00

175.86

1,000.00

-824.14

17.59%

0.00

59.90

300.00

-240.10

19.97%

75.96

531.85

3,700.00

-3,168.15

14.37%

0.00

300.00

230.00

4,582.50

5,500.00

-917.50

83.32%

300.00

2,700.00

2,600.00

100.00

103.85%

0.00

0.00

300.00

-300.00

0.0%

0.00

0.00

150.00

-150.00

0.0%

0.00

1,933.00

2,500.00

-567.00

77.32%

0.00

0.00

8,000.00

-8,000.00

0.0%

0.00

1,933.00 10,500.00

-8,567.00

18.41%

0.00

1,556.37

5,000.00

-3,443.63

31.13%

11,071.87 24,050.00

-12,978.13

46.04%

530.00
83.52

900.02

1,000.00

-99.98

90.0%

0.00

0.00

1,500.00

-1,500.00

0.0%

83.52

900.02

2,500.00

-1,599.98

36.0%

160.00

1,463.98

1,000.00

463.98

146.4%

11,517.38 11,064.00

453.38

104.1%

999.01
97.50

932.00

1,100.00

-168.00

84.73%

0.00

14.97

100.00

-85.03

14.97%

20,880.00 20,880.00

0.00

100.0%

7,400.00

-773.94

89.54%

41,434.39 41,544.00

-109.61

99.74%

1,740.00
621.64
3,618.15

6,626.06

0.00

200.00

119.70

149.30

40.00

109.30

373.25%

0.00

15.51

250.00

-234.49

6.2%

0.00

106.12

1,200.00

-1,093.88

8.84%

0.00

403.21

900.00

-496.79

44.8%

0.00

2,990.00

3,000.00

-10.00

99.67%

0.00

998.00

1,000.00

-2.00

99.8%

107.47

596.41

700.00

-103.59

85.2%

0.00

760.00

2,000.00

-1,240.00

38.0%

12.33

378.88

650.00

-271.12

58.29%

0.00

5,200.00

6,500.00

-1,300.00

80.0%

0.00

34.00

16

Book Purchases
Dues and SubscripIons
Insurance
Office Equipment
Office Furnishings
Office Supplies
Payroll Service
Postage and Delivery
Office PrinIng
So^ware - Office
Tax Filing Fees
Telephone
Internet Services
Total OFFICE EXPENSE

0.00

31.83

20.00

11.83

159.15%

27.72

1,719.04

800.00

919.04

214.88%

0.00

1,575.00

3,550.00

-1,975.00

44.37%

0.00

0.00

250.00

-250.00

0.0%

0.00

0.00

300.00

-300.00

0.0%

1.00

1,521.10

2,000.00

-478.90

76.06%

30.00

896.27

700.00

196.27

128.04%

0.00

354.69

400.00

-45.31

88.67%

0.00

0.00

100.00

-100.00

0.0%

0.00

419.17

0.00

143.50

150.00

-6.50

95.67%

139.18

1,648.90

1,700.00

-51.10

96.99%

61.50

176.34

100.00

76.34

176.34%

20,317.27 26,310.00

-5,992.73

77.22%

498.90

BOARD/STAFF DEVELOPMENT EXPENSE
0.00
Board Development
0.00
Travel & Meals & Lodging
0.00
Staff Development
Total BOARD/STAFF DEVELOPMENT EXPENSE0.00
FUNDRAISING COSTS
Total Expense
Net Ordinary Income
Other Income/Expense
Other Income
CAPITAL CAMPAIGN INCOME*
Interest
Total CAPITAL CAMPAIGN INCOME*
Total Other Income
Net Other Income
Net Income

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

0.00
23,171.17
-21,893.28

502.70

500.00

2.70

100.54%

864.19

2,500.00

-1,635.81

34.57%

440.00

1,000.00

-560.00

44.0%

1,806.89

4,000.00

-2,193.11

45.17%

811.95

5,000.00

-4,188.05

16.24%

309,029.52 357,169.57 -48,140.05

86.52%

26,110.88 -3,808.59

0.01

0.13

0.01

0.13

0.01

0.13

0.01

0.13

29,919.47 -685.58%

-21,893.27 26,111.01 -3,808.59 29,919.60 -685.58%

17

Ascertainment Letters of Support
Scott Livingstone, Amherst Chief of Police
League of Women Voters of Amherst
Sharon A. Sharry, Library Director, Jones Library
Don Courtemanche, Executive Director, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce
Mindy Domb, Executive Director, Amherst Survival Center
Anna Holhut, President, Rotary Club of Amherst
Tony Maroulis, Director of Community Relations, UMass Amherst
Erica Scharrer, Professor and Chair, Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Martha Fuentes-Bautista, Professor, Department of Communication & Center for Public Policy and
Administration, UMass Amherst
Mari Castañeda, Professor, Department of Communication, UMass
Janice Hanson, Professor, Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Sheila Klem, President, Five College Learning in Retirement
Amilcar Shabazz, Professor W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, UMass
Amherst & Faculty Advisor to the Chancellor for Diversity and Excellence
Lisa Fontes, Senior Lecturer, University Without Walls, UMass Amherst
Magdalena Gomez, Teatro V!da
Sonji Anderson, Director, Youth Action Coalition & Vira Douangmany Cage, YAC Board of
Directors Chair
Jonathan Kane, President, Amherst Baseball, Inc.
Sarah McKee
Dorothy Cresswell
Josh Wolfsun
Charlie Schweik

AMHERST MEDIA ANNUAL REPORT - 2016

18

JONES LIBRARY
NORTH AMHERST LIBRARY • MUNSON MEMORIAL LIBRARY


September 15, 2015



Cable Advisory Committee
Amherst Town Hall
4 Boltwood Avenue
Amherst, MA 01002

Dear Committee Members:

I am writing this letter in support of Amherst Media’s services.

We at the Jones Library have long recognized Amherst Media’s contributions to the greater Amherst
community. Here are some of the benefits of our association with Amherst Media:

• Library events, conferences, and seminars have been taped by Amherst Media volunteers and
aired, enlarging the audience.
• Often, the above events have been posted online for more viewing opportunities.
• Amherst Media has provided access to equipment so that the Library can create podcasts.
• Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) are aired by Amherst Media, contributing to the quality
of life in Amherst.
• All Amherst residents can utilize training programs, including Apple certified training programs,
enabling them to master the art of videography and editing.

I heartily endorse Amherst Media as an essential service to the Town of Amherst. I honestly don’t know
what this community would do without them.

Sincerely,

Sharon Sharry

Sharon A. Sharry,
Library Director

LEARN • DISCOVER • CONNECT
joneslibrary.org

Sean Hannon, Director of IT
Town of Amherst
4 Boltwood Avenue
Amherst, MA 01002

!

September 24, 2015
Dear Mr. Hannon:
I am writing to express my wholehearted and strong support for Amherst Media.
The Amherst Survival Center connects close to 6,000 low-income and homeless residents of western
Massachusetts with food, health care, wellness, clothing and community each year.
As a local non-profit, we rely heavily on our community for resources in order to fulfill our mission.
Amherst Media is a vital partner in our effort to share information about our services and opportunities.
Not only do they run PSAs for our regular food, clothing and furniture drives, but they have also featured
the Amherst Survival Center on some of their hosted shows, and they have made beautiful short videos of
some of our key events. Many of these over the years have been instrumental in helping us raise the
resources we need to operate and grown, as well as in assisting us to increase awareness of our programs
for many people in need. Their coverage of Town Meeting also helps many in our community connect to
town decisions that affect the Center’s programs and community.
How do we know that Amherst Media has been so important to the development of our organization?
Community members interested in volunteering will often cite Amherst Media as where they heard about
the Center and Amherst Media’s coverage as what sparked their interest in the Center.
Beyond the exposure Amherst Media offers our organization, it offers a major service to Amherst
residents who wish to learn more about production. We’ve known many in our community who have
gained skills in filmmaking as a result of Amherst Media. Learning a skill can give individuals a focus and
help to build his self-esteem - important steps in his getting off the street and getting a job.
I know we are just one of many organizations that could testify to the vital role of Amherst Media in our
community. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like more information.

Mindy Domb, Executive Director
cc: Jim Lescault, Amherst Media

138 Sunderland Road P.O. Box 9629 North Amherst, MA 01059 Tel. 413-549-3968 Fax. 413-549-5860

!

www.amherstsurvival.org!

ROTARY CLUB OF AMHERST
P. O. Box 542

Ÿ

AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS 01004

Sean Hannon
IT Director
Town Hall
4 Boltwood Ave.
Amherst, Ma. 01002
Dear Sean,
The Rotary Club of Amherst would like to voice our strong support for Jim Lescault and the staff
of Amherst Media for their invaluable help with our Annual Rotary Auction.
After 7 years of promoting, producing and broadcasting our annual rotary auction they have
helped us raise over $225,000 that we have been able to use to fulfill a great deal of needs in our
community.
With the addition of this fundraising event we have been able to continue our support to many
local non profit agencies in our community and offer scholarships to deserving students going on
to higher education. It has also allowed us to offer for the first time a large community grant of
$25,000.00 to one worthy project per year. To date we have been able to help build a new
playground for the Crocker Farm School, the new kitchen in the Amherst Survival Center's new
facility, equipment for our local public radio station, cafeteria upgrades at the Wildwood School
and the new Hitchcock Environmental Center.
Their help has also given our club more presence in our community and gives us an opportunity
to reach members of the community that were previously not aware of the good work we do in
the area.
As we move toward negotiations for a new contract with Comcast and Amherst Media please
understand the importance of what their work means to us all in Rotary and to everyone in the
community.

Anna Holhut
President
Rotary Club of Amherst

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS
AMHERST
Integrative Learning Center, third floor
650 North Pleasant St.
Amherst, MA 01003-9278

Communication

voice: 413.545.1311
fax: 413.545.6399

September 24, 2015

To Whom It May Concern:

I’m writing as Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in
strong support of Amherst Media in the context of the current public hearings between Comcast and the
Town of Amherst. I’m sorry I’m not able to attend the hearings to share my comments in person.

It is abundantly clear to me that Amherst Media is a tremendous resource to the community, including to the
students, faculty, and staff of the Department of Communication at UMass. Indeed, Amherst Media is a
longstanding community partner of our academic department, a site of multiple, long-term, mutually
beneficial collaborations that solidify town-gown relations, strengthen our campus’ land grant outreach
mission, and provide an invaluable opportunity for the creation and distribution of hyperlocal programming
produced in association with the personnel of the Department which results in viewing options for the public
not found in any other media outlet. Examples include the filming and broadcasting of interviews with
prominent guest speakers whom we bring to campus, typically carried out through interviews with our guests
conducted by our faculty in Amherst Media’s studios; our faculty serving as hosts of public affairs
programming at Amherst Media; and our faculty and graduate students having a central role in the creation
and maintenance of the Maker’s Space at Amherst Media, in which members of the public can come learn
digital media production and engage in creative self-expression. Amherst Media has also been host to a large
number of interns from our Communication undergraduate student population over the years, providing
them a richly valuable experience in hands-on production, programming, and community relations. Indeed, I
know of at least one former intern Communication major who was hired for a paid position by Amherst
Media after graduation.

We are pleased and proud to have had such a vital role in collaborating with Amherst Media over the years to
help produce the type of programming and services that provide the town’s residents with a uniquely local
source to serve their needs and interests as citizens. We look forward to many more years to come in the
partnership of Amherst Media and the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts
Amherst.

Sincerely,



Erica Scharrer
Professor and Chair, Department of Communication
scharrer@comm.umass.edu

The University of Massachusetts is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution

Printed on Recycled Paper

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS
AMHERST

!

Integrative Learning Center, Room N310
650 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003-9278

Cable!Advisory!Committee!
Town!of!Amherst!
Town!Hall,!4!Boltwood!Ave.!
Amherst,!MA!01002!

Communication

voice: 413.545. 1311
fax: 413-545.6399

Amherst,!October!4,!2015!

RE: Comcast!Ascertainment!Process!!

Dear!Committee!Members,!
!
I!write!this!letter!as!a!media!technology!policy!scholar!and!active!member!of!this!community,!to!
express!my!unreserved!support!for!continuous!and!robust!funding!for!Amherst!Media!
operations!in!the!context!of!ongoing!deliberations!for!the!renewal!of!the!local!licensing!
agreement!with!Comcast.!!
!
Since!I!joined!UMass!Amherst!seven!years!ago,!I!have!collaborated!with!Amherst!Media!in!
community!service!learning!courses!that!serve!undergraduate!and!graduate!students!as!well!as!
in!research!projects!of!community!media!services!that!explore!information!and!communication!
needs!of!local!audiences!in!the!emerging!digital!media!environment.!In!all!these!projects!
Amherst!Media!has!impressed!me!an!innovative!community!media!organization,!and!a!vital!
source!of!local!information!that!significantly!contributes!to!the!civic,!cultural!and!economic!life!
of!the!Town!of!Amherst,!and!the!region!as!a!whole.!!
!
A!program!evaluation1!of!Amherst!Media!services!I!conducted!in!2012!revealed!that!the!
organization!serves!and!connects!diverse!publics!of!Amherst,!the!region!and!beyond!through!
the!cable!system,!online!video!services,!and!through!multiple!events!hosted!at!their!community!
center.!Although!there!has!never!been!a!comprehensive!study!of!PEG!organizations’!
performance!in!the!country,!I!found!that!Amherst!Media!indeed!follows!most!of!the!best%
practices!of!local!PEG!operations!as!identified!by!the!Federal!Communication!Commission;2!
Amherst!Media!meets!these!standards!by!supporting:!!
• “Digital%and%civic%literacy%training,”!through!community!education!workshops!such!as!
Video!Vanguards,!AM!MakerXspace,!and!the!Five!College!Learning!Retirement!
community,!all!of!which!engage!and!serve!citizens!of!different!ages!and!backgrounds;!
• “Vocational%training,”!combining!traditional!video,!camera!and!editing!classes!to!new!
classes!like!certified!Apple!trainings,!while!hosting!more!than!60!internships!for!college!
students!every!year;!
1

!Access%360:%Building%Engaged%Communities%in%the%Digital%Age.!A!report!for!Amherst!Media!by!
Martha!FuentesXBautista!(Dec!2012)!Available!at!
https://amherstmedia.org/sites/default/files/building_engaged_communities_in_a_digital_age
_X_amherstmedia.org_X_executive_summary.pdf!!
2
!Information%needs%of%Communities:%The%changing%media%landscape%in%a%broadband%age.!A!
report!for!the!Federal!Communication!Commission!prepared!by!Steve!Waldman!(see!173X174)!
Available!at!!https://www.fcc.gov/infoXneedsXcommunities.!!

“Government%transparency,”!our!study!also!revealed!that!Amherst!Media!facilitates!
local!governmentXcitizens!relations!by!informing!the!public!on!local!governance!issues,!
while!enabling!unfiltered!citizen!monitoring!and!deliberation!of!those!issues;!
“Local%and%national%connections,”!Amherst!Media!serves!as!the!“local!hub”!for!the!
production!and!distribution!(through!the!cable!system!and!online)!on!current!event!
programming!such!as!“Difficult!Connections,”!the!“Western!Mass!Media!Justice!Series,”!
and!“Democracy!Now;”!and!
“Providing%open%access%to%communications%infrastructure”!and!digital!equipment!for!
citizens!of!Amherst.!

!
It!is!important!to!point!out!that!in!recent!years,!and!amidst!the!technical!and!financial!
challenges!of!the!digital!transition!of!broadcasting,!many!communities!across!the!country!have!
lost!their!PEG!access!organizations.!Although!the!impacts!of!these!changes!have!yet!to!be!
systematically!studied,!national!survey!data!shows!that!local!broadcast!media!play!a!critical!role!
in!keeping!Americans!informed.!As!studies!of!the!Pew!Research!Center3!indicate,!more!than!
70%!of!Americans!identify!local!television!and!cable!as!their!top!source!of!local!news!and!
information.!The!importance!of!cable!PEG!channels!cannot!be!understated!as!they!bring!
unfiltered!information!of!local!government!and!community!events!not!regularly!covered!by!
commercial!news!media!outlets.!In!a!changing!digital!environment,!securing!resources!and!
funding!for!PEG!access!projects!for!the!longest!term!possible!of!the!franchise!is!not!only!smart!
but!also!critical%for!the!fiscal!and!operational!sustainability!of!these!efforts.!Likewise,!more!
attention!should!be!paid!to!operational!cost!of!revamping!and!upgrading!community!content,!
and!outreach!and!training!programs.!
!
In!sum,!I!would!like!to!express!my!unreserved!support!to!Amherst!Media.!Their!work!truly!adds!
to!the!civic!life!and!prosperity!of!the!Amherst!community!and!Western!Massachusetts.!I!look!
forward!to!seeing!these!contributions!recognized!through!the!allocation!of!necessary!resources!
for!the!continuous!operation!of!their!digital!community!access!center!and!programs.!
!
Respectfully,!
!
!
Martha!FuentesXBautista,!Ph.D.!
Director!of!Engaged!Research!&!Learning!
Department!of!Communication!&!Center!for!Public!Policy!and!Administration!(CPPA)!
Integrative!Learning!Center,!Room!N372!
650!North!Pleasant!Street!
Amherst,!MA!01003X1100!
mfuentes@comm.umass.edu!!
3

Miler!et!al.!(Sep!26,!2012).!How%people%get%local%news%and%information%in%different%
communities.!A!report!of!the!Pew!Research!Center!Internet,!Science!&!Technology,!available!at:!
http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/09/26/howXpeopleXgetXlocalXnewsXandXinformationXinX
differentXcommunities/
2

UNIVERSITY of MASSACHUSETTS
AMHERST

Dept. of Communication
Mari Castañeda, Ph.D.
Professor

S328 Integrative Learning Center
650 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003-9313

Voice: 413.545.1307
Fax: 413.545-6399
www.umass.edu/communication

RE: Letter of Support for Amherst Media
September 23, 2015
Sean Hannon
Director of IT at Town Hall
4 Boltwood Ave. Amherst, MA 01002
Dear Mr. Hannon,
I’m writing in support of Amherst Media’s relicensing on our local cable network. As a resident in
Amherst and employee at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I deeply believe in the mission
of Amherst Media and appreciate all the programming and services it provides to the community
and beyond. I know relicensing negotiations with the cable company, Comcast, are currently
underway and as part those discussions, the town and Comcast are negotiating the financial
assistance that will be provided to Amherst Media (channels 12, 15 and 17 on our local cable
system) during the next license period.
I sincerely hope you will support this hyper-local media outlet not only because it broadcast town
government meetings, including school committee meetings, but Amherst Media is also an
important resource in the community, especially underrepresented populations. My interest in media
studies began when I was in high school in California, and I became a member of my local
community television access center. I developed leadership and production skills that are still
yielding fruit today, and I believe Amherst Media’s various partnerships with youth organizations is
doing the same for our town’s children today.
I am also a founding member of the Western Massachusetts Media Justice Network, and Amherst
Media has been a central participant in creating as well as extending the network’s reach.
WMMJNet would not have been as successful if it wasn’t for Jim Lescault’s extraordinary
commitment and generosity. In addition to providing space for participant meetings, Amherst
Media is also a co-sponsor of the Media Justice Network series where local and visiting activists and
community organizers are interviewed by WMMJNet members. The series not only provides
content and information, but excellent opportunities to learn from leaders in area of social justice.
https://amherstmedia.org/content/western-mass-media-justice-network
Thank you for taking time to read this letter, and for your continued support of Amherst Media.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you wish to further discuss my involvement and endorsement
of Amherst Media.
Sincerely,
Mari Castañeda, Ph.D. / Professor
mari@comm.umass.edu 413-545-1307

Dear Friends,
I would like to write to let you know what a valuable service Amherst Media is to
this community. My role as a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts
has allowed me to see how vital Amherst Media is to the ongoing education of
students in grade schools, high schools, and in the Five College Consortium.
Several undergraduates of mine have learned about television production, the
role of the media to contribute to civic engagement, and media literacy through
internships at Amherst Media. I have spoken to groups of young people and their
parents about the need for local production and the way Amherst Media has
developed programs to include minority interests and persons of different cultural
backgrounds. One of my graduate students is currently involved in the Makers
Space project, which invites community members to Amherst Media to explore
new media in bold and creative ways.
I have also used many of the programs created at Amherst Media in my classes,
such as the multi-cultural events programs and interviews with visiting dignitaries.
From interviews with governors and civic leaders to influential authors, Amherst
Media has developed a valuable corpus of programming that enhance learning,
not only in my classes at UMass, but in the many schools in the area and across
the globe. I have a colleague at City University of Hong Kong who regularly
accesses Amherst Media programs over the Internet for his classes and for his
programs in intercultural communication.
I should also state that I have hosted some programs at Amherst Media; the
"Technology Matters" series in which we spoke with Commonwealth policymakers about Governor Patrick's "Creative Economy" initiatives, and some of the
"Encounters" programs with visiting authors from other parts of the world whose
work is of interest to a number of people in the community. I know that these
programs have also had an impact on localities outside of the Amherst region,
because I am occasionally contacted by the press or scholars who want to know
more about specific subjects, and other resources available through Amherst
Media.
In my estimation, Amherst Media is one of the finest local origination
programming facilities in the country. It is much more than community television;
it is a community center that reflects the values of this unique community, and
actively reaches out to people to hear their voices and tell their stories. In recent
years my estimation of the organization has only grown in positive ways. Amherst
Media is a valuable resource that connects different members within the
geographic area by mind and heart. And, it has been a valuable resource to the
community by publicizing the quality of life and the characteristics that make our
region so inviting to others. I'll even go so far as to say that Amherst Media is the
pulse of this region.

I support Amherst Media with no reservations, and hope that every effort is made
to keep this extraordinary organization a vital part of our community.
Sincerely,
Jarice Hanson, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Communication
University of Massachusetts at Amherst

LETTER OF ATTESTATION AND SUPPORT FOR
AMHERST MEDIA
Three years ago, I wrote a letter in my capacity as chair of the
W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-Studies on the UMass Amherst
campus regarding the work of Amherst Media in the greater Pioneer
Valley Community. In the letter, I wrote of how my department had
benefited from the outstanding work of dedicated staff and interns at
the community television station. In this letter, I would like to write
from a different vantage point. For the past three years, I have been a
member of University’s central administrative leadership and, in my
life away from work, I have had the privilege to serve as an elected
member of our town’s school committee. Amherst Media impresses
me as one of the premier forces in the democratic life of our
community. It informs, it connects, and it interrogates. It is used by
all facets of our community—from the students who form the
majority of our town’s population, to local government, and to the
public at large.
What our Amherst town commons constitutes for the social and
physical landscape of the wider community, Amherst Media is for the
town’s digital footprint and communal cyberspace. Everyday a
diverse range of viewpoints is aired on Amherst Media that fosters a
high level of community engagement. In its coverage of our weekly
governmental meetings from the planning board, to school issues, to
library and other governmental affairs, Amherst Media informs and
educates and has become a vital journal of record. I have had the
opportunity to appear on a show the president of Mount Holyoke
College created that engaged me and other area community members
on major issues in the news. I find it vitalizing that someone I do not
know may approach me in the grocery store or at a parent’s meeting
and start a conversation with me because of having seen me on a
local program. Amherst Media deserves support and the funds that it
needs to do the profoundly important work it does for our region.
The equipment in our school site is quite old and breaks down. We
must so better for Amherst Media remains a good investment.
Amilcar Shabazz

To The Cable Advisory Committee: Town of Amherst

My Dear Amherst Neighbors,
Amherst Media is an absolute treasure and it part of what makes this town such a great place to live. I
hope it can be given the maximum possible funding so it can continue to do what it does so well—give
our community members access to information. And by “access to information” I don’t mean just
consuming it (we can all do that through the Internet) but also producing it. Let me give you some
examples:
1) As a teacher of adult education, I recommend that my students learn specific skills and engage
in internships at Amherst Media. I know they will be well-treated, exposed to highly professional
role models, and be able to work with up-to-date technology. We must make sure Amherst
Media is well-funded so these opportunities can continue. They help make for a more educated
citizenry—among the teens and adults who study there--
2) Amherst Media worked on short videos related to a book which I recently published on a form
of intimate partner violence called Coercive Control. Amherst Media uploaded these videos (2
minutes each) on Youtube which was a tremendous service to me and will make this form of
violence better known in our community, so it can be reduced and adequate services provided.
It was a pleasure working with Jim Lescault and Ari Hayes and the intern on this project. They
were highly professional at all times and the final product is first class.
3) The Amherst Media cable channels is where we find out what’s “really happening” in our town.
There is no comparable resource. Yes, we have a weekly paper, but that’s not the same. Only
Amherst Media programs give us the opportunity to hear local political discussions and see
what’s happening around town with our own eyes.

I hope you will do all you can to preserve this treasure.

Thanks for your consideration,
Lisa Fontes, Ph.D.
Strong Street
Amherst

Teatro V!da

(a project of the Latino Breakfast Club)

September26. 2015
James J. Lescault

OFFICE

Executive Director

P.O. Box 80722
Springfield, MA 01138

Amherst Media
246 College Street

PHONE

413.330.8210
EMAIL

Amherst, MA 01002
Dear Jim,

Ensemble@activist.com
WEB

www.teatrovida.com

I’m writing as the Artistic Director and Co-founder of Teatro V!da, the first and only Latin@
theater in the history of Springfield, MA.
On behalf of our ensemble and supporters, I wish to extend our deepest thanks for the countless
ways that you and you staff have made our work possible. From training our youth members in
digital media, to documenting our projects, workshops and events since 2007; to sponsoring
diverse and intergenerational regional collaborations in Amherst and Springfield; to offering us live
audience performance venues; to putting our programs on-line and extending our reach, and for all
your creative collaborations for our live, multi-media performances, we will always be grateful.
Amherst media has been an integral part of our success and national recognition in arts and
education. The vast archive you have created with is will be permanently housed at the Thomas J.
Dodd Research Center, at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and will be available in perpetuity,
not only to those scholars interested in our history, but to anyone with a library card.
You have also supported us in our collaborations with internationally acclaimed composers such as
the late Harvard Arts Medal recipient, Fred Ho, and composer, Taylor Ho Bynum. You supported us
in bringing the legendary actor, Janis Astor del Valle to join us as we packed the house at CityStage
in Springfield, and again in her live performance at Amherst Media with our adult women’s
ensemble.
Since the beginning, our students and members of all ages have felt welcome and safe to express
themselves creatively, with our most recent AM/TV collaboration of an all young women’s poetry
CD, (Un) Spoken Words, where they felt safe to record work that dealt with issues many would
fear to express in a public venue.
You have always been there for us, and we will always be there for you. Please let us know how
we may be of service in supporting the continuation of Amherst Media, not only a bastion of the
First Amendment, but a hub where diverse people from throughout the region may creatively
express those things in life of which they are passionate.
You don’t just tout social justice, you activate it. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you ever
need us to activate our supporters on your behalf. They know that Teatro V!da thrives because of
Amherst Media.
Sincerely,

September 23, 2015

Youth Action Coalition
256 North Pleasant Street, Suite 2
Amherst, MA 01002

Cable Advisory Committee
c/o Town Manager's Office
4 Boltwood Avenue
Amherst, MA 01002

RE: Letter in Support of Amherst Media

Dear Cable Advisory Committee:

Youth Action Coalition (YAC) is a local non-profit founded over
twenty years ago serving area youth to foster an integrated
love for arts and social justice. We have provided after-school
programming on site at the middle and high schools and at
Amherst Media.

On behalf of the YAC community, board of directors, youth
and families, we write to express our strong support of
Amherst Media, an organization YAC has been extremely
fortunate to have enjoyed as a partner for our work with
youth of color and allies in the Town of Amherst.

From Video Vanguards over the years to our most recent
production, Digital Storytelling Intensive, a six week project to
capture what youth felt important in their lives and produce a
digital story and screening of their work, Amherst Media staff

was able to play an important role in orienting, coaching, and
training in the technical aspects of production. YAC is deeply
grateful to Amherst Media for opening, extending and
welcoming its facilities to our youth and their families.

Responding to our youth's growing demand, consumption and
the increasing popularity and omnipresence of digital media in
our lives, and to remain relevant and dynamic, YAC is
projecting we will need a state of the art media facility that
can keep up with fast speed technological advances and
progress. Our programs must evolve to meet and harness the
creativity and innovation of our youth as we develop their
leadership, confidence and critical thinking skills as media
makers. YAC is hopeful Amherst Media is moving in that
direction and we will do all we can to galvanize the support of
the community to make this happen.

As such, we hope Amherst Media will receive your most
generous consideration to continue to play the important and
critical role for the success of YAC programs, the future of our
youth and community.

Sincerely,

Sonji Anderson, YAC Director
Vira Douangmany Cage, YAC Chair, Board of Directors

Amherst Baseball, Inc.
P.O. Box 3501 Amherst, MA 01004
amherstbaseball@gmail.com

September 23, 2015
Cable Advisory Committee
Town Manager's Office
4 Boltwood Ave
Amherst, MA 01002
Dear Cable Advisory Committee:
I am writing to urge you to support increased funding for Amherst Media as part of relicensing
negotiations with Comcast. Amherst Media is a valuable asset to the community and plays a vital role in
preserving Amherst’s rich history.
I had the opportunity to work directly with Amherst Media in 2012 and 2013 as I was planning a
gala to celebrate Stan Ziomek’s retirement after 60 years at the helm of Amherst Baseball. I met with
Jim Lescault and his team at Amherst Media to brainstorm ways in which Amherst Baseball and
Amherst Media could collaborate in celebrating Stan’s decades of public service. Jim and his staff
offered to comb through historical photographs and interview Amherst residents to create an oral history
of the life of Stan Ziomek. The video, which moved from concept to finished product in a short amount
of time and was as professional and polished as most documentaries aired on network television, was the
centerpiece of our event and will not soon be forgotten by the hundreds of attendees. The stories of
1950s and 1960s Amherst are priceless, and because of Amherst Media’s generosity, these stories will
be available to future generations. On top of everything else, Amherst Media also recorded the gala
itself, documenting this once-in-a-lifetime event for the historical record.
It goes without saying that Amherst Media supplies an essential service to the community by
providing public access information and public service announcements and by offering a treasure trove
of online videos. It must be stressed, however, that the organization is extraordinarily civic-minded and
willingly contributes the time and talents of its staff to help make Amherst a very special place to live. I
hope that you take this into consideration during the relicensing negotiations with Comcast.
Very truly yours,
Amherst Baseball, Inc.

By: Jonathan J. Kane, President

Town of Amherst
cable@amherstma.gov
Re: Licensing of Comcast as cable provider to the Town of Amherst: For
Amherst Media
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a pleasure to write in support of Amherst Media's extraordinary contributions
to the calibre of life in the Amherst area.
In addition to its indispensable role in facilitating Amherst civic life, Amherst
Media is essential to the life of the arts in the Valley. For instance, it has been
instrumental during the past year or more in making Amherst Ballet much better
known throughout this area.
AB is more than 40 years old. It lives its commitment to Ballet for All! in many
ways. It welcomes dancers of every age and physical configuration, and
produces professional-quality shows annually, with complimentary tickets for
senior centers and pre-school programs. It regularly sends young dancers on to
train with such academies as that of Gelsey Kirkland and the Harlem Dance
Theatre, as well as sending graduates to study a wide variety of subjects at, e.g.,
Brown, Fordham, and the University of Chicago.
In addition to the young dancers' poise and self-discipline, they are also really
nice and encouraging to one another, as well as to us adult dancers.
Upon joining the board in 2013, however, I discovered that Amherst Ballet was
not generally known. Amherst Media has been a tremendous help in changing
this.
Last fall, Amherst Media started showing videos of AB productions, including
intriguing behind-the-scenes footage. The interest that this generated helped to
fill more than 525 seats in Bowker Auditorium for last December's Amherst Ballet
production of Cinderella!
Then, in the spring, Amherst Media was instrumental in publicizing the visit to the
Pioneer Valley of Bolshoi Ballet master Ilya Kuznetsov. A grant from the
Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts brought Kuznetsov here to
teach classes throughout the Valley in which more than 150 dancers, from a
dozen dance programs, participated.
Amherst Media offered its facilities to broadcast and record the kickoff program, a
dialogue about Ballet for All! between Kuznetsov and Amherst Ballet board

president Andrew Fisk, as well as for a reception following the program.
This was a new type of initiative for Amherst Ballet. No one could have been
more expert or accommodating than Amherst Media executive director Jim
Lescault. The results were highly satisfactory.
This letter is in my individual capacity: I'm no longer on the Amherst Ballet board.
As an active member of the Amherst community, however, I strongly urge the
continuation of an arrangement that has proved so valuable, in so many ways, to
our community.
Sincerely,
Sarah McKee
9 Chadwick CT
Amherst, MA 01002-2825
413.256.6129
smckee@post.harvard.edu

Sean Hannon, Director of IT
Town Hall
4 Boltwood Avenue
Amherst, MA01002

September 19, 2015

Dear Cable Advisory Committee,
I am writing to express my admiration and gratitude for having a local TV station right here in
Amherst. For years I have known that high school and college students were trained there.
I was aware that local meetings and events were often recorded and shared on their channels.
But this past year my appreciation became personal.
I am a nationally board certified early childhood educator and due to health reasons I retired
early. But my love of children did not retire. About a year ago I had a dream of creating a
children’s TV show called, “The Curious Giraffe Show.” Through songs and stories I wanted
children to be able to have a good time in a multi-sensory setting while being given the chance
to ask questions and have their thoughts heard. I had written a song about a giraffe who asked
lots of questions and that became our theme song.
I knew nothing about how to do such a thing, but ideas kept coming into my mind. Topics,
stories, songs, guest speakers—-the possibilities were many. So I wrote a query letter to
Amherst Media and asked if they might be interested in working with me. I heard right back
from Kayla Creamer and Ari Hayes and they’d love to have more programming for children!
They advised me on how to choose my cast, and how to create a stage setting. They would
provide the camera people and a floor manager/director. They would record, edit, and produce
the show!
My show involves real live children and this hard-working team was welcoming and tolerant of
sometimes imperfect behavior. We worked as a team to help the kids know what was expected
of them in the recording area.
Over the weeks and months we now have six episodes of “The Curious Giraffe Show: For
Curious Kids of All Ages.” I can honestly say that this dream would have remained a dream if
they had not provided me with training in camera work and editing, the camera people, and did
the editing. As we progressed they helped me with promotion on the internet, setting up a
Facebook page, and providing showtimes for local viewers and links for those far away.
This has been an exciting adventure which was only possible through the local availability and
friendly professional support of Amherst Media’s team. This fall we plan to continue the second
season of “The Curious Giraffe Show.”
Please continue to fund Amherst Media. It is a boundless asset to our community.
Sincerely,
Dorothy Cresswell
dcresswell@charter.net
413-668-4189

 

 
September  30,  2015  
To  whom  it  may  concern:  
I  first  walked  into  Amherst  Media  eight  years  ago,  when  I  was  13  years  old  -­-­  and  all  I  wanted  to  
do  was  make  movies.  I  had  made  one  short  film  with  a  few  friends  of  mine  a  few  months  earlier,  but  we  
had  no  training,  no  mentors,  and  no  real  equipment.  Over  the  following  five  years,  our  small  team  grew  to  
more  than  40  teens  across  the  Pioneer  Valley,  and  together  we  produced  three  more  short  films,  one  of  
which  was  featured  in  a  national  film  festival,  along  with  a  youth-­run  news  show  (​Student  News​)  and  a  
sketch  comedy  show  (​Lights  Up  From  Youth  in  the  Valley​).  Those  experiences  prepared  me  to  become  the  
lead  filmmaker  and  video  editor  for  the  Progressive  Change  Campaign  Committee  for  three  years  right  
out  of  high  school  and  work  in  National  Content  Development  at  WGBH  this  summer.    
Those  shows,  films,  and  invaluable  experiences  are  all  thanks  to  Amherst  Media.  Where  else  
could  a  rag-­tag  band  of  14-­year-­olds  with  no  monetary  backing  go  to  start  their  own  monthly  news  show?  
What  other  organization  would  have  looked  us  in  the  eye,  placed  a  little  faith  and  a  lot  of  support  in  us,  
and  landed  us  in  the  living  rooms  of  families  across  our  local  community?  
On  ​Student  News,​  reporters  and  anchors  interviewed  hundreds  of  students,  parents,  teachers,  
community  members,  and  numerous  public  officials  including  Amherst  school  committee  members,  state  
senators,  and  U.S.  Congresspeople.  When  it  felt  like  the  teen  perspective  was  rarely  valued  and  often  
disregarded  in  public  and  private  spheres,  Amherst  Media  has  gave  us  a  voice  –  a  place  where  we  could  
speak  our  minds,  cover  our  news,  and  hold  our  representatives,  public  officials,  and  communities  
accountable  to  our  interests.  They  allowed  us  to  get  our  issues  out  there.  That’s  powerful  stuff.  
But  Amherst  Media  did  not  just  provide  us  with  the  equipment  and  the  airtime  for  the  two  shows.  
It  also  provided  us  with  support  to  make  those  shows  the  best  they  could  possibly  be.  Amherst  Media  
provided  trainings  on  using  the  studio  and  field  equipment,  nonlinear  editing  software  like  Final  Cut  Pro,  
filming  and  lighting  techniques,  and  special  workshops  on  video  reporting  by  local  multimedia  
journalists.  Whenever  we  asked  Amherst  Media  for  support  or  advice,  their  friendly  and  knowledgeable  
staff  were  right  there  to  help  us.    
Numerous  times,  Amherst  Media  also  went  above  and  beyond  the  call  of  what  public  access  
stations  are  obligated  to  do.  Over  the  years,  Amherst  Media  has  gone  to  great  lengths  to  update  its  
facilities  and  provide  its  programs  with  the  best  equipment  possible  to  produce  great  video.  This  is  
perhaps  best  exemplified  by  Amherst  Media’s  purchase  in  2010  of  an  expensive  set  of  teleprompters,  the  
use  of  which  made  ​Student  News  ​ look  more  professional  and  made  the  show  more  enjoyable  to  watch.  In  
addition  to  the  teleprompters,  the  existence  of  all  these  films  and  programs  is  due  in  large  part  to  Amherst  
Media  for  the  other  innumerable  equipment  loans  and  updates,  including  wireless  microphones  in  the  
studio,  state-­of-­the-­art  editing  software,  and  field  equipment.  
However,  Amherst  Media’s  incredible  successes    as  a  resource  for  the  community  have  been  won  
in  spite  of  some  serious  obstacles.  In  the  age  of  HD  video,  the  fact  that  Amherst  Media’s  broadcasting  is  
limited  to  standard  definition  severely  limit  the  audiences  public  access  television  can  attract,  and  detracts  
from  the  overall  quality  of  the  programming.  Furthermore,  programs  repeatedly  face  the  challenge  of  
viewers  not  knowing  when  to  watch,  due  to  the  fact  that  the  program  schedule  does  not  appear  in  
Comcast’s  calendar.  Amherst  Media’s  staff  do  all  they  can  to  elevate  the  voices  of  everyday  community  
members  -­-­  but  without  significant  shifts  to  allow  for  HD  programming,  video  on  demand,  and  easy  
access  to  the  public  access  schedule,  it  will  remain  difficult  for  these  voices  to  be  heard    
Amherst  Media  is  one  of  our  town’s  real  treasures.  We  ought  to  wholeheartedly  support  their  
efforts  to  empower  the  people  of  Amherst  and  train  the  next  generation  of  media-­makers.  
Sincerely,  
 
Joshua  Wolfsun  
Amherst  Regional  High  School  ‘12  
404  State  Street,  Amherst  MA  01004-­3227            Phone:    (413)  687-­1809          Fax:    (888)  539-­4616  
www.riverwolfproductions.org  

 

amherstmedia.org

246 College Street

Amherst, MA 01002

413-259-3300