Members of Public Allies present their plans for a Manchester TV show created by and featuring Manchester residents at a meeting on March 19. (Photo/Henry Clay Webster)
Come on down, Manchester. You’ve been chosen to receive your very own … TV show.
That’s right. At a community meeting on Friday, March 19, members of Public Allies unveiled their plan to create a public-access television show about the Northside neighborhood as their service project to the community.
Working in tandem with interested community members, Public Allies, a yearlong service program for young adults, plans to launch the regularly scheduled program on PCTV to help the neighborhood counteract its less-than-stellar reputation.
Jasmine Cho, a member of Public Allies’ Manchester team, said they have been canvassing the neighborhood since the fall, and one of residents’ largest concerns was Manchester’s negative image in the media.
To combat that stereotype, the TV show will feature a variety of segments made by residents about the neighborhood. Team members said the content will vary depending on the whims of its creators, but will likely include interview and how-to segments.
“Our group has a hope to get Manchester youth involved. Youth are an underserved population here,” Cho said.
Members said the TV show will help Manchester build community pride, connect residents and utilize community assets such as PCTV, which is less than a mile from the heart of Manchester on Western Avenue.
“This TV show will only be limited by the imagination of Manchester residents,” Cho said.
Darlene Terry, PCTV’s outreach director, said the public-access channel broadcasts to more than 100,000 households in the Pittsburgh region and also puts its programs online on YouTube to connect to a larger audience. The channel is available for free to anyone with a digital converter box. Local Comcast subscribers can watch it on channel 21, and Verizon subscribers have it on channel 47.
Manchester residents who want to create programming for the show must pay a $52 yearly fee to borrow camera equipment and use PCTV production equipment. PCTV offers additional workshops to teach filming and editing skills for $15 apiece.
“We’re not just transitioning into a production team,” cautioned Allies member Adam Walters. “We’re working with PCTV and the steering committee to make sure this lasts longer than our stay here.”
Public Allies’ main mission between now and its program’s final day on June 30 is establishing this steering committee made up of longtime residents. The steering committee will be tasked with planning content.
The Society of St. Vincent De Paul on Fulton Street will offer technical assistance and headquarter space for the TV show’s early formation.
Wallace Sapp, a longtime Manchester resident, volunteer at Manchester PreK-8, and former Americorps member, waxed poetic when asked what he thought about the show’s promise.
“This is the first fruit of a child that we hope will blossom some day,” Sapp said.
If you are a resident of Manchester and would like to get involved, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.