Public-access television is traditionally a form of non-commercial mass media, community television where the general public can create content that is narrowcasted.
Pioneers of the medium were Dale City Television, Bob & Janeen Burrel at WSTO TV, George Stoney and Fred Friendly.
TV Party and later Paper Tiger TV are noteworthy mentions from the 80s New York scene.
Check out our Weekly Menu (TV program) for documentaries and broadcasts from them.
“Paper Tiger Television (PTTV) is a non-profit video collective. Through the production and distribution of public and social video, community screenings, and grassroots advocacy, PTTV works to challenge and expose the corporate control of mainstream media. PTTV believes that increasing public awareness of the negative influence of mass media and involving people in the process of making media is mandatory for our long-term goal of information equity.”
“TV Party is the show that’s a cocktail party but which could also be a political party.” That was the slogan. My idea was that socialism meant going out every night, and that social action started with socializing. I think we were trying to inject a sort of tribal element into things. That’s what happens when you smoke reefers and read Marshall McLuhan. I was also reading a lot of Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis, not to mention Milton Berle and Henny Youngman. I thought we could do subliminal politics as absurdist comedy. I actually did believe in anarchy, as the peaceful society that comes after “the withering away of the state.” I thought withering away the state sounded like fun, so we made fun of the state every chance we got.
I guess it was punk TV. We were anti-technique, anti-format, anti-establishment, and anti-anti-establishment. We liked to break all the rules of good broadcasting. Sometimes we would sit around and say, “Well, what should we do now?” Sometimes we sat there and did nothing. They say “dead air” is the kiss of death in broadcasting, but we liked it. Sometimes we would sit perfectly still like a tape on pause, but it was live.”