Thinking Out Loud: Columbia Access Television and Monticello's Peter Hatch

Aug 26, 2014

Many people work behind the scenes to enliven Columbia's public access television channel, CAT-TV. This week KBIA's Trevor Harris talked with a handful of CAT founders, members and staff to find out how they use the medium of television to get their voices heard. Also on this week's program, Trevor talks with Peter Hatch, director of gardens and grounds at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home outside Charlottesville, Virginia. Hatch visited Columbia this week for a series of lectures celebration of the MU Botanic Garden's 15th anniversary.

Columbia artist and Columbia Access Television member Kate Gray uses the station's resources to capture her artistic process. Hear Kate and other CAT members, staff and founders in this episode of Thinking Out Loud.
Credit Trevor Harris/KBIA

Columbia Access Television, or CAT-TV, occupies a work-space on North Tenth Street in Columbia, and studios at Stephens College. The operation is ten years old and in that ten years members have produced countless hours of video on everything from prescient local talk shows to yoga instruction and music videos to local non-profit promotional spots.

The budget for the non-profit is mainly from City of Columbia cable franchise fees paid by cable operators for us of existing cable. CAT-TV Executive Director Jennifer Erickson explained how she and her board are working to diversify the organization's funding in anticipation of reduced or eliminated City of Columbia funding.

CAT had a five year contract with the City of Columbia starting in 2008. It was $200,000 a year and that allowed them to work to grow as an organization and they had a solid plan for growth and they stuck to that. Two-and-a-half years into that five year plan they decided to hire an Executive Director. That is acknowledging the fact that it is a full non-profit and they needed leadership like that. We have made sure that we have diversified income. The first two years almost exclusively was money from the City. After that second year CAT was able to increase income through membership fees and Missouri Arts Council funding.

After several years of continuous funding, the City of Columbia's support for the city's public access television channel may end this year. The Columbia City Manager's proposed budget for 2015 does not include continued funding for CAT-TV.

Curious about what's on CAT-TV? You can view programs on many platforms be visiting their website.

A promotional brochure for former CAT-TV program Das Karnival. The program was produced by Chase Thompson who bears an uncanny resemblance to Das Karnival host Ian Cognito.
Credit Chase Thompson