History

What Is WCAT?

Winthrop Community Access Television, Inc. (WCAT) was established in 1986 by the Winthrop Board of Selectmen as part of a new cable franchise. WCAT is the designated access provider for the Town of Winthrop, but is independent of both the Town and the cable company. WCAT operates three local access channels through Comcast’s Winthrop cable service: Public Access Channel 3, Educational Access Channel 15, and Municipal Access Channel 22. Our mission is to assist the people of the community to create programming conducive to Winthrop and its residents. WCAT is dedicated to improving the cultural, artistic and political experiences of all Winthrop residents.

WCAT operations and policies are governed by a Board of Directors and the professional staff under the direction of the Executive Director. The board is a volunteer group which oversees the management and fiscal policies of WCAT, Inc.

While day-to-day operations of WCAT are the responsibility of the staff, programming is the responsibility of the volunteers in our community.

Programming

The programs you see on Public Access Channel 3 are produced by your friends and neighbors: Winthrop volunteer video producers who are trained by our staff to use our equipment and facilities. Any resident may take our video production courses and produce programs of community interest in a non-commercial format. Long-time producer, current Board member and former Board President Barbara Bishop said, “Volunteers are what makes WCAT work. What you see are the interests of artists, nonprofit groups, school children, senior citizens and everyone who doesn’t fall into any group! WCAT is communication by and for the people. An alternative to commercial broadcast TV. Because if you want to say something, or even if you don’t like what you see, you can come down and produce your own show.”

Programs do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WCAT, Inc., the WCAT staff or other volunteer producers. As defined by the Federal Cable Communication Act of 1984, “Public Access” is free speech protected from any censorship by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The goal of Public Access is to provide each community with an electronic “soap box”, similar to Boston Common’s historical use as a free marketplace for ideas and opinions. All opinions are encouraged, and the principals of democracy are the rules of public access channels. Many Winthrop volunteer producers are “making their own TV” and having a voice in their community.

Training

Complete training in TV production is available at WCAT and no prior experience is necessary. Our “Basic Production” course is completely hands-on and covers: HD portable and studio camera operations, audio and microphones, studio production and lighting, and editing. WCAT offers courses for teens ages 12 years-17 years, and for adults 18 and older. Once individuals complete the course they become a member of our volunteer production team and can start creating their own TV programs.

So don’t just watch TV, make it! Call us today and sign up for the next course.