On Friday, September 6, 2013, I attended the first ACM bus tour with fellow Michigan ACM members and MichiganNATOA members. The first center was state of the art beautiful. I was jaw dropped jealous at the entryway, facilities, even the bathroom!
The next two centers were clearly working on a shoestring budget; no one needed to ask. On the one hand, it was inspiring to see what they were doing and able to create with very little money. On the other hand, it was truly just plan sad.I learned how much they have to fight for every dime and any inch of space year after year.
The first center; Orion Television receives all of their franchise fees and the latter two receives none. The difference between all three shocked me. I had no idea what I was expecting but it wasn’t that and I was awakened to how centers function without franchise fees. Media Network of Waterford has an outfitted mobile truck but most everything needs an upgraded.
As Executive Director at HOMTV, I am proud of our township board (Meridian Township) for supporting our operations and continually designating the franchise fees to be used for the purposes intended; community media programming and information to our residents. Visiting PEG centers on Friday where franchise fees go directly to the general fund was clearly evident by the VHS tapes still being used by one center and another center operating out of a garage shed. That same center, just received air conditioning last year. Imagine my astonished look. Wish I had a picture of their lights affixed to steel beams sitting on top of set walls.
I was humbled and am grateful for the HOMTV operations, support from the many board members who have held offices over the years, and support from Meridian Township, Haslett, and Okemos residents.
This particular trip allowed me to make connections with a center who could use some of our equipment from a previous upgrade to our facility. Without this trip, I would not have known who to truly reach out to. I highly recommend MichiganNATOA members attend the next bus tour. You never know who you will connect with and what you will get out of it. Thank you to MichiganACM for putting this on and I look forward to the next one.