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.

JCETV: Origin and present day status of Jersey City’s Educational and Municipal Channels.

My video production experience began in the mid 1980’s when cable television came to Jersey City.  At Seton Hall University in the early 1970’s I was taught filmmaking and television production on the then “portable” 1 inch machines. I also learned a lot about broadcasting and hosting a radio show for three years on the pre-Heavy Metal WSOU.  But the 1980’s arrival of Suburban Cable to the second largest city in New Jersey looked to me like uncharted territory for producing local commercials.

Spotlight Miriam – Producing a Show During Covid

by Miriam Rosenberg, Independent Producer

My name is Miriam Rosenberg and I am an independent producer, and the writer and host of Sing-a-Long with Miss Miriam which I produce in cooperation with the staff at HTTV in Summit.  I have been producing and airing a children’s show with HTTV for about 5 years now.  I currently have 19 episodes on the JAG TelVue server, and 52 stations have picked up the shows.

The themes include: Caring for our Planet, Planets, Courage, Spring, Magic, Puppetry, Science, Positivity, Kindness, Sports, Living Your Dreams, Trying New Things, Teamwork, Learning Popular Songs with Acting a Part, Diversity, Therapy Horses, and a Mr. Rogers tribute.  Each show has a unique theme, a featured craft, an interesting guest, an original song and story time.  It’s aimed at children from three to eight years old.

Spotlight: Fanwood Dealing with the Pandemic

by Eddy Cologna, Fanwood Television

I have been working with the Borough of Fanwood for several years.  Towards the end of 2019 when China was in lockdown and we in America weren’t even dreaming of such a thing, the Borough was upgrading their sound system in the Council Chambers and looking into a multiple camera remote system.  The purchase has been moving slowly due to the pandemic.

Fast forward a few months to February 2020, the Mayor of Fanwood, Colleen Mahr, and some health officials had a 4 camera shoot about the dangers of Covid, and what could happen.  All this was shot in person, with some social distancing but no masks because the information was confusing, even for health officials.  Not long after that, the lockdown occurs.  Masks were required, social distancing enforced and only essential personnel were allowed to physically come to work in borough hall.

Fair Lawn Spotlight: Transition from Analog to Digital

by Dimitry Mikhaylov, Vice President, Fair Lawn Television

We in Fair Lawn were just dreaming to switch our old analog plant to digital. In fact, the digital upgrade didn’t begin until 2019 when our old Leightronix server was suddenly dead, and we got a chance to replace all our outdated equipment at once. As late as 2019 seems, there are some surprising advantages to coming late to a new technology. Digital workflow was a mature, robust system that was adopted by broadcasters at every level, and we had the advantage of learning from all those who were on the bleeding edge of adoption.

Member Spotlight: The New Post-Pandemic Normal Or You Want Us to Do What??

by Cindy Hahn, Executive Director, C-NET

Cindy Hahn

Here’s my big confession: I do not like technology.  I don’t trust it, I don’t enjoy it, and I generally believe that things work better without it.  But I am running a PEG organization… I naturally deal with it.

Things were going just swimmingly at C-NET prior to March of 2020. Our tiny staff and crew of Penn State interns were traveling around the County with cameras, microphones and an array of other equipment to cover the meetings of sixteen different entities — Seven municipalities, two school districts, the County government, a regional Council of Governments, three regional Authorities, the local Library and Penn State.  We produced over 500 programs in 2019.