California TELEVISION NETWORK
by Greg Weissman
the Inland California Television Network hired me last fall
as its News Director and lead Anchor, I saw an opportunity
to change the way local news is gathered and reported. Bolstered
by presenting the news and issues of the day, and not by haphazardly
profiling crime, show business, and the general underbelly
of society. I wanted to get back to basics, and do news the
way it used to be done.
The Inland California Television Network (ICTN) was founded
and is managed by Cal State University San Bernardino. It
is the brainchild of CSUSBs president Albert Karnig,
a true champion for fair, honest and responsible journalism.
When I first learned of this upstart network I was intrigued
by the idea that for the first time the Inland Empire would
have its own television news broadcast, and I wanted to be
a part of it. Moreover, It reminded me of the 1990s
when I was a reporter for KNBCs Inland Empire bureau.
My daily story pitches were almost always rebuffed by producers
saying they wanted something harder. What they
were really saying is give us a if it bleeds it leads
type story. My argument was always the same, lets
give viewers something intrinsically valuable to the area
in which they live, in this case the Inland Empire.
For example, stories on transportation issues, stories of
environmental impact due to out-of-control growth, or perhaps
one groups innocent challenge to save the endangered desert
tortoise. As was often the case I lost those arguments, and
almost always ended up covering some type of crime-related
story. For those who watched Los Angeles television those
crime stories became the public image of the Inland Empire.
And for IE viewers it became a skewed representation of the
place they call home.
The Inland California Television Network is about to change
all that, not by reinventing the wheel, but by returning to
responsible journalism. Replacing the if it bleeds it
leads format, with one of, what story affects the most
people? ICTN will accomplish this through signed agreements
with 13 cities that line the I-10 corridor from Montclair
to Yucaipa. ICTN will manage these cities government access
channels from 7 p.m. to11 p.m., providing news and programming
pertinent to the Inland Empire. A satellite deal is also in
the works. This venture is funded by a two million dollar
grant garnered from the U.S. Navy. Funding that will last
three years, or until ICTN can become self-sufficient, which
likely means becoming commercial. ICTN is in the process of
building its studio, buying digital server based equipment,
and hiring personnel. The network is also about to ink a deal
to become a CNN affiliate.
When I tell my friends in the business about my vision for
ICTN, Im met with mixed reaction. Some are refreshed
by the idea, but many believe viewers no longer want this
kind of newscast. To be certain, this is not the kind of product
any consultant worth their weight would entertain, let alone
promote. However, Im betting that viewers do care more
about relevant issues, and less about irresponsible crime
stories. In its own way, ICTN will lead the charge to get
back to basics in the nations number two market. And
as we head toward our spring launch date my commitment to
responsible journalism grows ever stronger.
About the Author
I hope viewers tune into ICTN to witness the return of responsible
local news, giving viewers information they need and deserve
to become better informed citizens.
Inland California Television Network
201-b North E Street Suite 206
San Bernardino, Ca 92401