Creative work in Albuquerque continues to bloom, but its fruits aren't always seen.
That's the hypothesis of Steve Ranieri, director of public access Channel 27. "There's not the resources and promotion for all these talented people around here," he says. "They don't have the venues to get their work out there, whether it's music or performing arts or paintings or authors."
Along with a crowd of eager arts cultivators, Ranieri is hoisting a flag in TV land, hoping to draw attention to the garden of work that can be found in the city. Tuesday, May 5, marked the launch of Channel 26, an outlet that he says "can really be a big boost to the arts scene and all the talented people in town."
Encantada TV will be sliding into C-SPAN's spot in your cable lineup. Viewers flipping through the channels will have easy access to not only arts and local filmmakers but cooking shows from the South Valley, sporting events, flamenco performers, programs produced by local nonprofits and the work of the students at the Media Arts Collaborative Charter School. "If you're looking for something to look at, it's going to pop up on your screen," Ranieri says. "I think that's a big leap forward."
The channel will be different than its sister, the public access station long known as a catchall for anyone in town with an idea and the time to turn it into a television show. With public access, Ranieri says, if someone wants to put it on the air, he’s got to put it on the air. Encantada TV, he says, will be more selective. "We're trying to reach a specific audience with specific programming." There will be a higher standard of production, too, he adds. Shows will have to look decent and maintain good audio quality.
“If you're looking for something to look at, it's going to pop up on your screen. I think that's a big leap forward.”
Steve Ranieri, director of public access Channel 27
Quote... Unquote, Inc., the organization behind Channel 27, is partnering with the New Mexico Media Arts Collaborative Charter School and the South Valley Economic Development Center to get the channel off the ground, but as soon as word leaked of the coming station, plenty of organizations offered support and began generating ideas for shows. Initially, Encantada TV will have shows on the air in the afternoon and during prime time. "It takes time to generate all that local content," Ranieri says. He promises a Native American block of programming as well as an indie filmmakers block and a South Valley block. Channel 26 is also looking into high school sports broadcasts.
Encantada TV has been in the works since 2002, Ranieri says. The city has offered no financial support for the endeavor. Comcast, however, was happy to oblige in giving over space for the new channel. "They thought it would bring in more viewers," Ranieri says. Still, he's worried that the station won't be able to sustain itself economically. "This is probably not the most opportune time to launch a new enterprise," he says, "but we're doing it anyway."
The momentum generated by community interest has sustained the project, he says. "We're launching this thing on a wing and a prayer and with a lot of goodwill from a lot of volunteers who think it's a good idea."