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From the Field
Most communities have a citywide access channel on cable. You know, it's the one that runs the city council meetings and programs about whose on the council and so forth. Los Angeles, though, is lucky -- it has two. They are referred to as LA CityView 35 and LA36. Two weeks ago we took a look at LA CityView 35 and it's mission. You can find that story in our FROM THE FIELD Archives. This week, we turn our attention to LA36 -- LA's other city channel
By Steve Grace


Over the past twelve months in Los Angeles where would you find live broadcasts of the city’s mayoral debates? Telecasts of the city, high school basketball championship games; cultural events ranging from an American Youth Symphony concert to a live performance of “Miss Evers’ Boys” at a local college; broadcasts of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and same-day telecasts of community affairs programs produced by the city’s two leading public radio stations, KCRW and KPCC?

Answer. Only on LA36.

LA36 is one of two access channels available to cable television audiences city-wide in Los Angeles and it’s on a mission – to educate, inform and connect the City of Los Angeles. The station broadcasts 24/7 with programming that ranges from college level, distance learning classes, to variety of community arts and public affairs programming. And all this on a budget of $600,000. That’s no typo.

The channel went on-air about six years ago as a joint public/educational access station. That designation was changed to educational access only after the mayor and city council received numerous complaints about pornography and hate-filled programming. It was a good news, bad news scenario. The station lost a lot of programming, but was able to program more selectively..

I’ve been at the station for a little more than a year and have worked to supplement our limited budget by forming partnerships with the city’s colleges and universities, key city agencies like Cultural Affairs, area non-profit and community groups and the cable companies,. All seem ready and willing to take a fresh look at the channel and help us improve the quality of the programming and our impact on the community.

A few examples.

USC students currently produce three, thirty minute shows, Monday through Friday for LA36. One, “The Cutting Edge” is a clever adaptation of a film review show with two young, energetic hosts who screen past and present student film makers from the USC film school. Ever wonder what Steven Spielberg’s student films looked like? Tune in.

More examples?

UCLA students have just finished the first semester of “UCLA Next,” a hip, irreverent look at events on and off campus. Cal State Northridge Journalism Students produce two shows a week including a news show focusing on the San Fernando Valley and a public affairs show with students as producers, talent and teckies. Cal State Dominguez Hills uses LA36 for live, call-in, college-level classes. And they recently wired their campus theatre which has allowed us to broadcasts their drama department productions, live, city-wide. The latest collaboration is with LA City College. TV students are spending their own time this summer to launch a new magazine-style program on LA36.

Our future is limitless in terms of broadcasting events of and about Los Angeles.

And it’s great timing for rethinking the funding of the station . The city is negotiating new cable franchise agreements and my goal has been to show all concerned parties, just how far an community access station can go to make an impact on a city, even one the size and as diverse as Los Angeles.

Our goal is to offer viewers a window to the city, to present exciting, timely programs that promote community participation, interest and growth.

If you’d like to learn more about the station, please visit our web site, You can also subscribe to our weekly one-page e-newsletter which highlights two or three programs a week – worth your time and only on LA36.

Stay tuned!

About the Author
Steve Grace is the current president of the Los Angeles Cable Television
Access Corporation, LACTAC, and the Executive Director of LA36. He is a
former NBC Today show producer and began his broadcasting career as a
writer/producer with WQED, the PBS station in Pittsburgh. He was a founding
partner of Popular Arts Entertainment, a Burbank based entertainment company
producing reality and information programming for network, syndication and