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.

Spotlight: WestMilford – Stations Come in Many Sizes

by Geoffrey Belinfante, West Milford

West Milford is one of the smallest stations to be a member of JAG.  We are run by a seven-member volunteer board lead by Chairman and JAG Trustee Bob Nicholson.  We operate on a meager budget of $4800 a year which we get from Altice, the one and only cable provider in town—no Fios up here in the Highlands.  We do produce content on a regular basis and while the pandemic changed the kind of productions we attempt, we are slowly returning to a more normal production schedule.  We continued to stream the Town Council and Board of Education meetings even during the pandemic.  Since the meetings were not open to the public much of 2020 and the first part of 2021, the town council and mayor really appreciated our efforts to provide coverage of the meetings to our residents.   We also produced a virtual Memorial Day message from the mayor in lieu of the traditional parade in 2020 and we carried the virtual high school graduations in 2020 and 2021.  All these efforts provided a sense of normalcy in what was anything but a normal time for our town.

Spotlight Clark: New Facility is a Very Busy Place in Clark

By Don Smith, Staff, Clark TV

Clark TV-36 is owned and operated by the Township of Clark as OurClark Media TV36 which is part of the Communications and Business Development Department under the Direction of Elizabeth Clee.  The TV-36 Staff includes Phil Scardilli, TV/Multimedia Teacher at ALJ High School who has been with the station for 20 years and Don Smith who brings over 25 years of experience in local television.

Spotlight: Princeton “Within crisis, are the seeds of opportunity” – Marilyn Monroe

by George McCollough, Princeton

The crisis for Princeton Community Television began in 2019 when the organization was unable to negotiate a contract to manage the access channel with the Town of Princeton.  In a startling decision the Town decided to take advantage of a recent law which allowed a Town to utilize its franchise fees to offset property tax increases.  Public outcry could not reverse the decision.  Like many public access stations across the country, Princeton TV found itself at a crossroad.

Spotlight: Hopewell – Growing a Station Takes Time

by Joy Arena, Hopewell Township

Hello fellow JAG members, my name is Joy Arena and I am a mother of three young men: Christopher, Matthew and Daniel, all in their 30’s now.  I had to raise them pretty much on my own since I became a widow when they were very young.  I just became a grandmother on October 2nd–a baby girl named Shalyi Eva Arena, Irish name picked by her Mother who is Irish. I grew up with five brothers, finally a girl in the family!

NJ Advocates for Aging Well   

  Susan Brooks, Communications Manager, NJAAW

“People tend to think that aging is something that happens later in life. In reality, we’re aging every day,” says Cathy Rowe, DrPH, Executive Director of JAG associate member NJ Advocates for Aging Well (NJAAW).

“Right now, more than 23% of New Jersey’s total population is over 60,” she adds.  “The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2030, America will have more 65-and-older residents than children, and all Baby Boomers – and one-fifth of the total population – will have reached the traditional retirement age of 65.”

Montclair TV34 had to adapt to the COVID-19 Pandemic       

  by Rick Gearhart, Montclair

Like many other entities, Montclair TV34 had to adapt to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  The last official meeting that was in person was on March 9, 2020 – A Planning Board Meeting.  Once the state of emergency took effect, the township immediately found a solution to host our meetings virtually.  The Township uses Webex, a virtual meeting platform.  To get these on TV, I use the program OBS – this allows me to capture the Webex window and stream it directly to my broadcast server (and Youtube for online viewers).  The online meeting program works well with not only the Council Meetings.  With the pandemic, I realized the importance of live video.  All official meetings are streamed live, and will be streamed live even after the pandemic is over.  We also implemented a call-in feature allowing the public to participate.  I hope to get back to in person meetings sometime this year, as the Township purchased a new TriCaster model and 3 PTZ cameras, which gives us the ability to stream live in HD to both our cable channel and Youtube.  With Youtube Live, the meetings are available right away after they finish – there is no wait time for anyone that missed the meeting.  The TriCaster was installed the same month that the pandemic hit.