On Tuesday, September 12th the Oakland City Council Finance Committee to discuss a proposal, that if approved, would establish Oakland’s first public access television station.
While the City has two educational channels, KDOL and Peralta College TV, and one government channel, KTOP, there is a growing need for a public access station.
Bishop J.E. Watkins operates OWH Studios (Overcomers With Hope), a local television media production and training studio in the historical Liberty Hall-Marcus Garvey Building in West Oakland. He says his students and his facility is well prepared to fill the void.
“We are proposing the City approves a public access television station be added that has the sole intention of serving the community of Oakland citizens,” said Watkins. “This will be our first hearing and we have the support of Councilmembers Lynette McElhaney and Rebecca Kaplan, so far and hope to gain even more support.”
Cable companies contribute up to five percent of their profits to the city fund to support public access channels. According to Watkins, a public access station in Oakland will be a great necessity in the community, providing a creative outlet, viable job training.
“We have the capacity to generate jobs and opportunity for people living right here,” said Watkins. “Funding is ear marked for a public access station, so why doesn’t Oakland have a public access channel?”
Having recently upgraded his studio with state of the art equipment, Watkins believes his students can create broadcast quality programming for the public “right now.”
“When media surrounds us and influences every aspect of modern life, doesn’t it make sense for Oakland to have a platform of expression via public access television,” said Watkins. “Please join us at the hearing and support our efforts to ensure Oakland has a public access station.”
The Finance Committee hearing will take place at City Hall on Tuesday, September 12 at 4 p.m.