For the candidates in this year’s New Castle town election, Thursday is a highly anticipated night.
The League of Women Voters is hosting a candidates forum at 7 p.m. at the Chappaqua Public Library, featuring the hopefuls for supervisor, town council, town justice and county legislator.
It will also be an important evening for the town’s public access station, New Castle Community Media Center (NCCMC). Thursday’s forum will mark the first event that will be televised and streamed live over the NCCMC website since the station and the library embarked on a joint venture earlier this year.
An agreement between the two entities has brought NCCMC’s studio to the former projection room at the library’s auditorium. Once the space at the top of the steps behind the seating area was cleared of antiquated equipment and stacks of old tapes and renovated over the summer, the station moved out of its previous home at 400 King St. and will now save considerable money on rent and other overhead.
“First of all, it’s consolidation of services and revenues but the community is getting so much more even though it looks like we’re cutting back. But we’re not,” said Barbara Kornreich, NCCMC’s board vice president.
While NCCMC is now able to reduce expenses, thereby significantly cutting its operating deficit, it will also be able to increase its programming and other offerings to the community, said Board President Lyle Anderson. Events that are held at the library, including concerts and shows, can now be televised and streamed. It also may attract a wider range of events that can be held because of the new technology available, such as meetings by organizations using power point presentations and film festivals.
As part of the $150,000 project, new energy efficient LED lights, that will help reduce electricity costs, and a new sound system have been installed in the auditorium, Anderson said. There are also three cameras in the assembly room providing different angles and perspectives, including a high definition camera just outside the old projection room window.
Anderson said the move came as NCCMC was forced to downsize. Last year its deficit was $63,000, caused primarily by the rent on the King Street studio. With the collaboration, the 2014 fiscal projection is a loss of just $6,000, he said.
The station had the money on hand to do the work because it has plenty of funds available for capital projects, something that isn’t unusual for public access stations. But that money can’t be used to cover operational costs.
“We were literally throwing away money on rent,” Anderson said. “We weren’t getting the response we expected or wanted and it started diminishing. Everybody’s got their computers at home. The world’s changed.”
NCCMC Executive Director Carrie Krams said interest in the studio was waning because more people wanted to do on location spots. As technology improved with smaller and lighter equipment, the station had to adapt. Now it has equipment that is lightweight and easily transporable.
“More people are doing on location because the cameras are getting smaller and smaller and better and better,” Krams said. “They don’t need (a studio) unless they’re going to have an audience.”
The NCCMC board started looking for alternatives last winter. Library Director Pam Thornton, who is on the board, and other members proposed the idea of the partnership. Thornton broached the possibility to the library board. All sides agreed, contracts were signed in June and most of the work was done during the summer.
“We don’t have all the in-house expertise they did,” Thornton said. “It’s a collaborative effort. They’re on the board and I’m on the board and we were constantly ‘What are we going to do? What are we going to do?'”
For more information or to watch Thursday’s candidate forum, visit www.nccmc.com.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/