Community access channel returning

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Channel 2, the community access channel on cable TV that operated from 2003 until 2007, is coming back, maybe by the end of the month, according to Darwin Cross and Richard Scott, both of Paris, who will volunteer time to operate the channel.

The channel showed Paris football games, City Council meetings and announcements before a lack of volunteers forced it to cease operating. Scott approached former State Rep. and House Speaker Herschel Cleveland of Paris a few weeks ago about getting it operational again. Cleveland was on the original board that oversaw operations.

A new board has been named to oversee operations and set policy. Board members include Scott, Cross, Chester Koprovic, Dr. Lee Lane and Denise McHughes, all of Paris.

Cross and Scott stressed that starting up later this month is just an estimate.

“We’re in a big learning curve,” Cross said.

“We’re hoping it’ll be by the end of the month,” Scott said. “Sudden Link has to come in and set up the uplink so it can broadcast to them.”

Cross and Scott began working on the project six weeks ago. Their first task was to clean up the building formerly occupied by Channel 2.

“It was a mess,” Scott said. “It took a good eight hours just to go through the stuff. And, we have to update the equipment first.”

Programming details have yet to be determined because the board hasn’t met yet, but Scott and Cross have some ideas they’re talking about.

“We’re talking about City Council meetings and football games,” Scott said. “We taped the March City Council meeting as a run-through and we’re taping Monday’s meeting. We’re talking about having people come in and tell us their memories of Paris and Mount Magazine. We’re thinking about some old movies.”

“But that’s all in the discussion stage,” Cross said.

Cleveland said the original goal of the effort is still in place.

“It was set up to provide information to the community, give announcements and things of that nature,” he said. “Ozark and Booneville had one and I thought Paris should have one. I think it can be a good thing. All I asked them to do is do the right thing and be fair to everybody. I think they’ve got a good board.”

Cross and Scott said that the effort is a non-profit but fees, which have not been set yet, will be charged.

“We will need to pay the bills and keep the equipment updated,” Scott said.

Once a date has been set to commence broadcasting, an grand opening will be held in cooperation with the Paris Area Chamber of Commerce.

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