Spotlight Woodbridge: Building and Managing a Municipal Access Cable Station

By Lee Beckerman, Station Manager, Woodbridge Channels

In the mid-1980s, Woodbridge Township was contemplating starting a cable TV channel of its own.  They had secured a channel on Suburban, set up a governing board and had purchased a random assortment of equipment.  And then…nothing happened.  At some point they decided it was time to bring on a person to manage the station and move the project forward.  I was fresh out of college with a degree in video production.  Doing freelance and having a hard time finding fulltime work in my field, I jumped at the opportunity.  It was not my dream job, but I thought it might be an adequate place holder to build my resume, and, lacking other options, I took it.  I was eventually shown to a packed projection room/closet, told it was my new office and to have at it.  No further instructions were forthcoming.  No one had apparently thought past the idea of having a TV station and considered what to do with it.  I rightly deduced that the first part of starting a community television station involved getting all the crap out of your new office and finding a desk.

Spotlight Bloomfield:Rebuilding For Now and The Future But Recognizing The Past

By Bob Duthaler, Station Manager, Bloomfield

And So It Began… WBMA-TV (Channel 35) in Bloomfield, NJ has been in operation for over 45 years, making it one of the oldest municipal channels on Comcast.  Its purpose was and still is to inform the Bloomfield Community of events happening throughout the township, while supporting open government through the playback of meetings on the cable channel.  It started out like many stations across the state have, in a small space, a bunch of VHS players and a graphics system.  Over the years the space in which the station operated grew larger, but much of the equipment stayed the same.  VHS players, mixed with SVHS with shows being recorded on mini-dv, were the flavor through the early 2000s.  Unfortunately, due to the death of the station manager, and a couple of short-term interim managers, the station was starting to fall by the wayside.  Thankfully, a new board member who was experienced professionally in the industry, kept the station on life support, convincing the Township of Bloomfield and the Cable Advisory Board that the station needed to change both the way it operated and the technology at hand.

Spotlight Asbury Park: A Year of Two Milestones

By Ed Salvas, Secretary. Asbury Park Cable TV Advisory Committee

January 2023 marked the start of the eleventh year of operation for Asbury Park TV, known as APTV.  Seen on Optimum channels 77 and 116 and on Verizon FiOS on channels 28 and 30, APTV is programmed around the clock with the usual Public Access programs: City Council, and Board of Education meetings, as well as the Planning and Zoning Boards. APTV can also be seen on streaming services Roku and Apple TV, YouTube and online at

Spotlight: West Milford – A Thank You Note

By Geoff Belinfante, West Milford TV

I have a ritual.  Every Thursday morning it’s my responsibility to program our channel, WM77 here in West Milford, for the following Saturday.  Why Thursday?—because our council meetings are held on Wednesday nights and I want to make sure that the latest meeting is available for viewing at 11:00 Saturday morning for those who can’t catch it during the week at its regular times—7:00am and 7:00pm.

From a Need to a Necessity

by Stan Olochwoszcz, Coordinator, South Amboy Television

Once upon a time, on the banks of Raritan Bay in Central New Jersey, South Amboy Televison (SATV) was created to keep the residents of the City informed about what was happening in town.  The Government channel was a side-of-the-desk task assigned to Senior Services / Recreation. Initially a bulletin board comprising of white words on a blue background – pretty much the default screen configuration of a Videonics Titlemaker 3000 – and recordings of events such as the City’s well-known St. Patrick’s Day Parade and other events produced by volunteers using personal equipment started to appear sporadically.  The ebb and flow of municipal funding allowed for the progression to more sophisticated equipment. Over twenty or so years ago, the station was automated using a Leightronics Mini-T-Net connected to VCRs and DVD players.  That system required much manual manipulation, such as frequent visits to the station location to change tapes and disks.

PEG Stations—Then, Now, and Into the Future

By Dave Ambrosy, Station Manager, East Brunswick

Some of you may remember starting out back in the day and the fun and excitement of creating new local programming. Discovering local talent in town to announce your sports coverage or become reporters and interviewing your neighbors so they can tune in to their cable channel and watch themselves. Convincing your mayor and council that yes, people will watch. Or maybe you remember the frustration of carrying those heavy cameras the size of a microwave and attached to an even heavier tape deck that recorded a whopping twenty minutes of footage on U-matic cassettes. If you were lucky, maybe you had a production assistant watching the audio meter and time remaining. The frustration of working all day on your deck-to-deck edit only to have the boss ask if you can add a section in the middle. Or hear the awful sound of the pinch roller crunching the tape sending the deck into warning. What is a pinch roller anyway???

Spotlight: HPTV – A History of HPTV

By Monica Jackson, Station Manager, Highland Park Television

The broadcasting of video recordings of Highland Park, NJ public meetings by HPTV is an accepted fact in the Borough and a well-regarded public service.  Yet it may surprise some observers to hear that the development of the channel was by no means simple or amply supported.

Spotlight: Cranford – Darkest day gave way to its brightest future

by Christine Hoffman, Staff, Cranford Television

PEG TV35 in Cranford was born in 1986 with the help of then Township Committeeman Dan Aschenbach, who understood the benefits of public access to his community.  It started at the high school but was moved to the township to give greater community access. That is where it remains today.  Cranford resident H. Edward Davenport was asked to help lead the effort to start it up.  He had little funds, so he gathered old and used tech equipment and duct taped it into a station that instantly brought local news and interesting stories to Cranford.  Ed worked full time at pharmaceutical giant Hoffman LaRoche.  He headed its media department which was tasked with making commercials and worldwide product announcements.  But for years he volunteered every night at the station and slowly molded the beginnings. 

Old Bridge Television

by Aime Alonzo Station Manager

My name is Aime Alonzo. I am the newly appointed Station Manager of Old Bridge Television or as we call it, OBTV.  I was pleased to learn about JAG and to meet many of its supportive members on the phone and at this year’s Eastern Video Expo.  Let me tell you a little about myself and the station.

I am an actor and a member of SAG/AFTRA.  In college I majored in Theater and Film Production, but life’s twists and turns took me to Law School.  After earning my Juris Doctorate Degree, I worked traditional jobs, but the yearning to be creative kept nagging at me.  I went back to acting.  I acted in award winning independent projects, produced some independent films and directed an independent series.  I also worked as a background actor on TV shows like “Law & Order”, “The Equalizer”, “FBI” and movies like “Players”, and “Your Place or Mine” which will be out soon on Netflix.   I am very happy to have joined OBTV.  My duties also include overseeing the township website and serving as the Business Administrator’s executive assistant.