Since 1995, the public access television station in Half Moon Bay (Channel 27 on Comcast) and the unincorporated San Mateo County Coastside has been operated by Mid-Coast Television (MCTV). Based in El Granada, MCTV is led by President and Station Manager Constance Malach.
Now, after over 15 years, the city and county will likely be awarding the contract to Pacifica Community Television, the station which runs the public access station for Half Moon Bay's neighbor to the north.
Tomorrow morning, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors will vote on awarding a contract to Pacifica Community Television for public, education, and governmental (PEG) access television services for the unincorporated San Mateo County Coastside (Montara, Moss Beach, El Granada, Princeton, Pescadero and La Honda). The same evening of June 7, the Half Moon Bay City Council will vote on commencing a contract with Pacifica Community Television for PEG services. While the contract with the county will begin on June 7, 2011, the city's will begin on September 12. Both will sunset on June 30, 2015, with the option to extend the contract for up to five years.
The station will be paid $15,000 in startup fees for live equipment broadcasting from both the city and county ($7,500 each). Its yearly compensation will be approximately $73,000 (Half Moon Bay will pay $35,000 per year and San Mateo County will pay $38,000 per year).
MCTV and San Carlos-based Peninsula Television (PenTV), which broadcasts in 12 Peninsula cities, also applied for the contract. After notification of the city and county's recommendation, MCTV filed a letter of protest in February. The letter was denied after review. Though PenTV did not file an official protest letter, the station sent a letter in April asking for their proposal to be reconsidered. (For copies of these letters, along with the letter from the county that denied MCTV's protest letter, view PDF attachments in the media box to the right).
In addition to broadcasting live meetings and study sessions of the Half Moon Bay City Council, Pacifica Community Television will be required by contract to do the following:
- Simultaneously webstream all programming broadcast on Channel 27
- Develop a program schedule available to the public within 6 weeks of assuming services on Sept. 12
- Include Half Moon Bay residents in its board of directors and hold board meetings open to the public
- Provide media production services open to local residents including training and workshops, as well as access to equipment, a community studio and media lab
- Operate and maintain a message board to the community which will provide emergency information, program schedules, and community announcements
- Secure copyright and distribution rights which allows for Pacifica Community Television-produced content to be distributed to the public by request
- Report back to the city on an annual basis with operations and performance data which includes financial information, results of annual viewer survey, equipment inventory, and activities held throughout the year such as workshops.
Under the contract with the county, Pacifica Community Television will also be required to live broadcast all Board of Supervisors meetings and Midcoast Community Council meetings. In addition, the station will be required to expand board of directors leadership to unincorporated San Mateo County Coastside residents as well as provide workshops, training, and equipment and studio access to these residents.
Half Moon Bay city staff report dated June 7 (see attached PDF) say that the contract with Pacifica Community Television will exceed services currently provided by MCTV. Such services named include "a committment to live coverage to City Council study sessions, increased community access through a social media hub and user surveys, expertise in local origination programming, increased public participation and support with 10 interns and over 100 volunteers and enhanced training opportunities to the public," the staff report read.