History of ETV
THE HISTORY OF EAST HAVEN PUBLIC TELEVISION, INC.
ETV – East Haven’s Community Access Television Station
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East Haven Public Television, Inc., known as ETV, is a non-profit organization that was formed on December 19, 1991 by eight residents of the Town of East Haven. The first chairman of ETV was Mr. Fred Brow.
These residents formed ETV to operate the town’s community access television channels that were provided by the cable television company in the area. ETV receives grant money from the cable company and also donations from local business and residents in town. Anyone living in the Town of East Haven can join ETV by paying annual membership dues. The organization is overseen by a Board of Directors and the Board of Directors is elected from the membership. The group of Board of Directors then selects their chairman, vice chairman, treasurer and secretary.
The Board of Directors and Officers, all residents of East Haven, volunteer their time to the organization. To assist them they have several part time employees who oversee the day-to-day operations of the studio facility.
In the early days of ETV, there were only two channels and they were broadcast from a very small room in East Haven Town Hall. One channel would broadcast videos that local citizens made and the other would broadcast the community bulletin board. At that time, ETV did not have enough funds to hire employees so all work has done by volunteers.
In 1994, ETV moved from the small room in Town Hall to the building at the corner of Main and Hemingway (which was formerly known as the John Hancock Building). They occupied a small space on the street level which consisted of small broadcast room and studio. At that time, ETV increased from two channels to three. There was now Channel 18 – the public channel, channel 19 – the education channel, and channel 20 – the government channel. ETV hired its first employee in 1997… Rich Esposito a local East Haven High School student. The Education Channel was relocated to broadcast from the high school on Tyler Street and the Government Channel was relocated to broadcast from East Haven Fire Headquarters. Channel 19 was later relocated to the New High School on Wheelbarrow Lane, and Channel 20 to the accessory building behind Town Hall.
During these years, ETV created many programs, including town meetings, talk shows, local events and new programs. ETV and local students covered the Special Olympic World Games held in New Haven.
In 1999, ETV moved to a larger space on the upper level in the building at 313 Hemingway. This location provided an office suite consisting of edit room, studio and storage. ETV broadcast the annual Fall Fest Festival live, election night coverage live, and the Memorial Day parade.
In 2003, ETV hired its first Facility Manager, Maureen Witkowski, a graduate of the University of Hartford. The ETV studio became a busy hub of local producers. Programs featuring live entertainment, well-known guests and children’s programming were added to the airing schedule.
In December 2006, ETV celebrated its 15th anniversary with a dinner at the Silver Sands Beach Club. Old and new members, independent procedures, and local officials all gathered to celebrate this milestone. It was with sadness that ETV also honored long time producer Pat O’Leary who had recently passed away. The Patrick J. O’Leary Memorial Scholarship was established and it is awarded to a graduating East Haven High School student every year.
In April of 2008, the new property owner at 313 Hemingway leveled the John Hancock Building to make way for a new drug store. ETV relocated to its current location at 400 Coe Avenue.
The accessory building behind Town Hall was impacted by a rare lighting strike, requiring Channel 20 to be relocated to 400 Coe Avenue as well. In 2009, ETV’s long time Chairman, former Mayor Anthony Proto passed away. A commemorative bench was purchased by the organization at the new park at the Town Beach.
Many local residents use the ETV studio and equipment to create programs that are broadcast on local Channel 18. You do not have to be a member of ETV to use the studio. Producers enjoy making programs about people, places, or things that interest them and share these programs with their neighbors.
The students in the high school create programs that air on the education channel about events, sports and topics of interest. Town meetings, news and emergency information are broadcast on the government channel.
In today’s world of technology, community access television is another way for people in town to connect with each other, share ideas and celebrate their community.