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The Secrets of Public Access TV: Five Steps to Becoming a Local TV Star
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Solo Entrepreneur Articles > PR Articles > Public Relations Articles
Local public access TV stations may be the best kept secret in America. Where else can you get free access to training, equipment, support and the local airwaves all in one location? For solopreneurs, local access TV is an opportunity to produce your own TV show, become known in the community and build your reputation as an expert in your field.
Perhaps even more important, taping a public access TV show gives you media and materials that you can repurpose to use on your own website, or to sell CDs, DVDs or podcasts/webcasts of your on-air appearance.
Here are five easy steps to becoming a local cable maven:
Check your local listings:
Not every town has public access, but with over 3,000 community media centers across the country, chances are there's one near you. Check your town's Web site or contact your town hall. Another misconception: You do not necessarily have to live in the town to utilize their community access station. Most access centers are eager for new producers and new programs.
The Alliance for Community Media
is a national, non-profit organization that promotes and supports public access TV. They maintain an extensive database and links to local access centers. Look for your town there.
Take free training:
Most community media access centers provide frequent producer orientations, equipment training and studio instruction. The focus is typically on getting you up and running in one or two sessions. Volunteers and producers are the life blood of public access, so you'll find plenty of accommodating help.
If you'd like to get a head start on your training, try a free, online course like the TV courses offered by Cybercollege.com
. If you want to become a more serious TV producer, start with Videomaker magazine
Produce your show:
As long as you're armed with an idea, you're ready to produce a show. If you're not quite ready for your close up, start by assisting with another show, or by being a guest on another's producer's program. There's no shortage of opportunities in front or behind the camera, so just dive in.
For more ideas and information, check out the Public Access TV
Blog, which has some suggestions for getting started. The Alliance for Community Media's online bookstore
also features books and videos for additional training or inspiration.
Fix it in post:
You can produce your program "live to tape," if you're doing a talk show or just want to do your show "on the fly." In most cases, you're probably going to want to edit your tape. Post production is where you can make your program look more professional by editing mistakes, inserting graphics or adding music. Most home computers now include basic editing or movie-making software, and those starter programs are relatively easy to master.
is ideal if you're on a Mac; Windows Movie Maker
is adequate if you're on a PC platform. When you're ready for more professional editing, bump up to Final Cut Pro
for the Mac or Adobe Premiere
for the PC.
Promote and distribute:
Once your show is complete, find out from your public access station when it's going to air so you can promote your premiere! You may find that they run it several time per week. In addition to the local airing, you should definitely consider expanding your distribution. One way to extend your reach is to ask your channel to bicycle, or share your show with other access centers. A more direct approach is to upload your show to free video hosting sites such as the ones listed here.
Most video sites restrict uploads by file size (100MB) or length. Go beyond the obvious sites like YouTube
and Google Video
, and upload your video (or shorter clips) to Blip.tv
. These are very-user friendly, free video hosting sites with lots of great features.
Finally, here are a few more quick tips for local video stardom:
Public Access TV need not be cheesy. The technology and equipment have come a long way - so take advantage of the resources available.
Expand your video from local public access to the Internet. Web users are downloading 7 billion videos per month!
Be sure to save your video as an electronic file for the web, such as a Quicktime movie (.mov), or a Windows movie (.wmv). After you upload your video, many video sites will provide the HTML code so you can embed your video on your own website.
A study by the Wharton School of Business reports that video can be 600% more effective in communicating a message than print. Tap into that power!
Visit Lou Bortone's website for more!
About the expert:
Lou Bortone is an Online Branding
Specialist who helps entrepreneurs and coaches build breakthrough
brands on the Internet, so they can have more visibility, credibility
and profitability. Lou’s clients get more business and make more money,
because Lou assists them with innovative online branding strategies,
including social media marketing and online video coaching. Lou is a former television executive who worked for E! Entertainment
Television and Fox in Los Angeles. He is also an author and ghostwriter
of six business books, a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach and a Book
Yourself Solid Certified Coach. |
© Copyright 2007, Lou Bortone