How Do I Get a Public Access TV Show? What’s Allowed?
Interested in getting a public access TV show? Good for you! If you’re wonder what the next step is, you’ve come to the right place.
How do you get a public access TV show?
That’s going to depend on where you are and your local station, but there are some general guidelines that are common to the vast majority.
First, you have to live in the area serviced by the station. Federal law doesn’t mandate that local cable providers made public access available, but it does say that local authorities can mandate it. It’s in most places.
When you contact your local station about getting a show, you’ll likely have to fill out an application form with contact information, what kind of show you want to do, and the like.
From there, you’ll probably have to take some classes to learn how to use the facilities and tools of the trade. This includes camera, microphones, directing equipment, and more.
Many public access stations also require that you volunteer to produce other people’s shows in addition to making your own.
Here’s a link with more information on getting access to Greater New Haven, CT’s Citizens Television studios, and a helpful FAQ from Comcast.
How do I make my show?
That’s up to you. You can use the public access stations studio and equipment if you want, or make it on your own. Many public access stations accept DVDs or tapes for air. If you want to make a cooking show in your own kitchen and give them the finished product, go right ahead. Want to have a chat show using the station’s fashionable decor? That’s cool too.
Is anything not allowed on public access?
Specific rules vary from station to station, but generally there are only three hard and fast rules for public access content:
No hardcore sexual content.
No commerce (selling or advocating for a product, asking for money, etc).
No political advocacy (supporting a specific candidate).
Other than that, you can do basically anything you want. Seriously, just about anything (link NSFW).
Do you want to invite local writers and artists to talk about goings-on about town? Great. Half an hour of ceaseless, non-articulate shrieking? We don’t recommend it, but knock yourself out. A close up of the phone book with you reading it in voiceover? Hey, you got yourself a show. Just no selling porn for Candidate X.
Does making a public access show cost any money?
Only the money you want to spend for props, costumes, and other optional expenses. Using facilities and taking classes however, are free and open to the public. That includes you!
Do I keep the rights to my show?
Yes. Once your show has aired you retain all rights to your show.
Will anyone watch my public access TV show?