About CTV

On The Air!

Local TV Comes to St. Clair Channel 6 community television has been serving area residents for over 13 years.

The Beginning…

In 1994, Paul Dingeman, then cable commissioner for the city of St. Clair, saw to it that Harron Communications (now Comcast) followed through with their promise of a local origination station–as part of the franchise agreement with the city. Dingeman, along with a core group of volunteers, took delivery of some video production equipment later that year. That equipment was limited in it’s abilities; one camera, one microphone, and one S-VHS play back deck, but it was a start!
The City of St. Clair provided an office (on first floor ) and two spare offices (on the second floor) of the Community Center on Fourth Street for use as an office and studios for the new venture. The Office/ Control Room contained the Panasonic MX-50 video switching equipment, the community bulletin board equipment, and the playback equipment to send the programs to Harron Cable (later Comcast ). The studio’s backdrop frames were built by using 2″ x 2″ pieces of wood forming them into frames and covering them with donated (local resident) automobile seat cover fabric. Dark blue, grey, and light brown were the only backdrops that the channel had for the first few years. Lighting was original also; the household flood lights used for outdoor displays at Christmas filled with spotlights connected to power strips was the first hi-tech lighting grid. But it did the job!The Main Studio was a second floor room, in a separate building from the Control Room. This made communication, and setup fun. The Studio itself was 13′ x 17′ a very unusual layout for TV, but again the volunteers made it work. The second room on the second floor served as a “Sports Set .” The cameras were on wheels, so the crew would wheel the cameras, lights and microphones from the Main Studio next door through the doors in the hallway and produce, pretty good local community TV for the day.The community bulletin board was on the air for about two months before the first program was produced. Then, in October of 1994, Paul and his volunteers recorded their first program on the construction of the “Imagination Station” playground in St. Clair. This program is currently available in our video on demand section!

A Tale of Two Cities…

About two years after the City of St. Clair began airing programming on Channel 6, the City of Marine City followed suit. The suggestion was made that additional coverage of events from the East China School District be added, since the district serves both communities. A few years ago, a proposal was made to the City Councils of Marine City and St. Clair to combine the programming efforts and franchise incomes for the cable TV providers to operate the two channels. Both Marine City and St. Clair Channel 6 stations now originate from the St. Clair studio. The East China School District which receives no franchise income from the cable TV providers, agreed to participate financially with the two cities and the operating budget of Channel 6 was established. Since the origination of the first agreements, the townships of East China and St. Clair have also become financial partners with the other three members.

Online Community…

In 2000, the decision was made to begin a website for Channel 6. Bruce Holladay put up the first cable6.org website in 2000. He continued to maintain the site until 2004. In 2004, Tom Kephart re-designed the site and maintained it through November 2005. Today, Bruce has taken on the project again. In addition to creating a new user-friendly layout, he has been working hard on the ‘video-on-demand’ section of the site. Improvements continue each day.

Merger Means More Variety…

In 2004, St. Clair and Marine City community television merged operation facilities. When the East China School District built the new St. Clair Middle School on Yankee Road in St. Clair Township, space became available in the East China Education Center at 301 N. Sixth Street in the city. Channel 6 moved into the old wood shop area of the building, which has worked out well as studio, engineering, and offices for our continued growth. Both channels originate from the St. Clair studio. The Main Studio is 35′ x 35′ and holds 1 permanent set (Focus program) and three temporary sets ( St. John River District Hospital – Healthy Perspectives set, Sports Zone, an Interview set, and a ” Green Screen “. A permanent lighting grid was built by Bill and Joe Karas of Karas Plumbing with pipe Channel 6 purchased, and the sweat of the Karases. Business agent Steve Ellery, Painters Local 1474, Port Huron had the apprentices from the area come in and paint the studio black, Channel 6 bought the paint and they provided the labor. The old classroom area has been turned into an office and “green room ” area,. All of the furniture for this area came from the old St. Clair City Hall (411 Trumbull, St. Clair.) Desks, chairs and tables have filled the room. A small edit suite, an engineering bay, a video duplication area and a Studio Control Room make up the rest of the space provide to Channel 6 by the East China School District. Carpet for the new Studio was traded 1/2 cash 1/2 advertising with Al Mead of Mead Carpets. All in all, Channel 6 Community Television has been a real community effort.

Live Video Online…

As we continue to develop unique programming options for residents, Channel 6 has recently (December 2006) re-developed it’s website and launched a fledgling ‘video on demand’ section. Under the guidance of Bruce Holladay, viewers’ options will continue to grow!

We’ve Only Just Begun…

Speaking of just beginning, this history post needs updating. But, we wanted to have something for you to read in case you were curious about this history of our great channels. More to come…