Welcome to the Minneapolis Television Network!
MTN is not an ordinary TV station. MTN provides equipment, training and channel time to residents and non-profit organizations in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.
MTN is one of the thousands of community television centers (also known as public access or community access television) in the United States. Community television is fundamentally different than commercial television. Commercial television stations must get as many viewers as possible to watch programs so they can charge a high rate for advertisements. Community television centers do not allow advertisements or information about products or services. Community television producers are free to play programs for any number of interested viewers.
Please feel welcome to make programs about anything you care about!
Many talk about the importance of the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, MTN does something about it!
MTN serves the residents of Minneapolis with tools, programs, and activities to engage and connect diverse residents and institutions through the exchange of ideas, stories, and information. In this way MTN strives to build a vibrant democracy in which all share social, cultural, and economic vitality.
MTN’s editing equipment at St. Anthony Main is available for public use and can be reserved during the following hours:
Monday-Thursday Noon - 9pm
Friday Noon - 7pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
Equipment Check-Out Center
During the following hours, Members can make reservations to use MTN’S portable cameras as well as checking them in/out.
Monday-Thursday Noon - 9pm
Friday Noon - 7 pm
Saturday 10am - 2pm
MTN’s studios are open during the following hours for reservations and production.
Monday-Thursday noon - 10pm
Friday noon - 7pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
MTN is closed on: New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
As a member of MTN, you join others in showing your support of community television as a valuable resource. Members receive a subscription to MTN’s newsletter and program guide.
Membership categories range from $40 - $125, and must be renewed each year. If you are not a member when you take your first class at MTN, a discounted membership fee is added to your class fee to ensure that all class participants are members of MTN. Renew your membership in person at MTN, or by renew on mtn.org.
Whether you want to submit a show, use equipment, learn about video production, or get involved with MTN in any way, you must attend the Free MTN Orientation. Orientation times are listed in the MTN class schedule and on the MTN web site. The MTN Orientation covers the following topics:
- What is public access television and why does it exist
- Public Access television allows for the exercise of first amendment rights
- A tour of MTN, its equipment and facilities
- The program submission process
After the Orientation
If you have a pre-produced program, or use other resources to make your show, please go on to the Programming section of this handbook.
If you wish to use MTN equipment, you must first take a class that will certify you to use that equipment. Classes are offered to train members in proper use of the MTN studio and field production equipment. Completion of beginning classes is required before members can sign up for the advanced classes.
Use of equipment also requires a current MTN membership. If you pay for your membership when you sign up for your first class, the cost of membership is discounted by half.
During your first class at MTN, your MTN membership card will be mailed to your street address. You must present this card at the MTN Checkout Center to use MTN equipment.
Please see the current MTN course schedule for information on current classes. The schedule is available at the Equipment Checkout Center and on the MTN website, www.MTN.org.
Individuals with extensive video production experience may schedule an individual certification test. Such a test, or Walk-In Certification (WIC), requires that the member demonstrate that he or she can:
- Correctly set up and operate the equipment
- Answer questions regarding safe and effective use of the equipment
- Answer questions regarding MTN’s rules
The WIC requires that the member pay the full class price for certification on any piece of equipment.
Re-certification will be required when the member has not renewed membership for a period of more than three years, or, if during the course of equipment use, the member fails to demonstrate techniques for safe and effective operation of equipment.
Rules for Equipment Use
The following rules apply to all MTN production equipment.
The MTN staff will schedule equipment on a first come first served non-discriminatory basis that will maximize fairness and diversity of expression, and that will ensure that no one person or group monopolizes facilities to the disadvantage of others. MTN staff will enforce the following rules and may also take community interest into account. Access privileges are contingent upon adherence to these rules.
MTN equipment is provided exclusively to produce non-commercial productions for MTN cable television channels. Equipment is not to be used for private or commercial purposes.
Only individuals who have been certified by MTN staff may use MTN facilities and production equipment.
Members are responsible for any damage that occurs to MTN equipment while the equipment is checked-out in their name. This includes damages which occur due to actions of their visitors or guests. This responsibility includes repair or replacement costs arising from such damage or loss.
Members who use MTN equipment may not represent themselves as employees or agents of MTN or the cable company.
Members must provide MTN with their current street address.
Minors (as defined by Minnesota State law) must have a parent or guardian sign a Parental Consent Form before checking out MTN equipment.
A project description must be given along with an estimated time for completion and submission of the program. Programming must be submitted in a timely fashion or a member’s access to further equipment usage may be put in jeopardy.
Members may reserve production equipment only during the hours the Equipment Checkout Center is open. Reservations may be made by telephone or in person. No bookings or time extensions on existing bookings will be accepted on voice mail or by e-mail.
Members must be present both when equipment is checked out and returned. Members must remain present at the check in until it is complete and all items have been accounted for.
Members must pay all outstanding fines and replacement costs for missing or damaged equipment before they may reserve and use equipment. MTN’s current fine schedule is available (upon request) at the Equipment Checkout Center.
MTN reserves the right to limit or stop privileges if a member does not submit a program for cablecast. Staff also reserves the right to request a review of the project in advance of any extension of privileges.
A member may check out any single model of camera a maximum of five days per calendar month. There is a maximum limit of eight days of camera checkouts on all camera models per calendar month, when multiple camera certifications are attained – and programming submissions are current.
A member is limited to two weekend camera checkouts per calendar month. However, if a member is certified on multiple cameras AND is in good standing regarding program submissions, a third weekend or up to 8 days per month is possible – if & when available.
A member may check out the Portable Production Unit (PPU) with its multiple cameras once per month. This counts as an advanced camera and goes toward monthly limits for camera days & weekends.
A member may reserve any single edit suite a total of four hours in a day with a maximum of eight hours a week on that suite. A member may reserve the dub rack for a total of three hours in a day with a maximum of six hours in a week.
Studios may normally be reserved for a block of three to four hours, once a week. If a longer session is required for set-up or multiple tapings the Studio Manager will attempt to accommodate producers needs. Reservations for existing programs on MTN are pre-scheduled three times per year for four month periods. In order to reserve a regular timeslot in either studio, on a regular basis, a producer must be in good standing with program submission, and show a good track record for reliable programming.
Consistent unexplained absences or tardiness for Studio time could result in the limitation of studio reservations. Prior cancellations are encouraged to allow other producers use of the studio. There is no penalty for canceling a studio reservation in advance.
MTN staff will schedule channel time in a first-come, non-discriminatory manner that will maximize fairness and diversity of expression, and will ensure that no person or group monopolizes channel time to the disadvantage of others. MTN will, to the best of its ability, provide channel time as requested on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to the policies and guidelines herein. MTN will exercise scheduling discretion to ensure access for new channel users, stand-alone programs, series of limited duration, and special events. MTN will ensure that residents and organizations within Minneapolis will have the highest priority in using the public access channels set aside for their benefit. MTN reserves the right to require additional training and or assistance to maintain a favorable aesthetic quality on its channels. The Programming office can be reached at 612-331-8575 X312.
Submitting a Program
There is no cost for Minneapolis residents or current MTN members to submit programs produced with non-MTN equipment. Non-Minneapolis residents must become MTN members to submit programs.
Channel Time Request Forms
Producers must complete a Channel Time Request Form to submit a Stand-Alone or Series program. Channel Time Request Forms must be submitted by a resident of the City of Minneapolis or an MTN member. Forms that not have been completely filled out will not be processed. Both Series Channel Time Request Forms and Stand-Alone Channel Time Request forms can be found outside of the MTN main lobby doors, at the programming office, or online at mtn.org.
The Request Form is complete when all necessary information is filled in on the form and the person submitting the program signs the statement on the back of the Request form containing all of the following information:
- A statement that no advertising, lottery, lottery information material, obscenity, violent threats, language that includes violent references, slanderous, libelous material is contained in the program.
- A statement that all appropriate arrangements and clearances have been obtained from broadcast stations, networks, music licensing
- Organizations, performers‚ representatives, sponsors and other persons necessary, without limitation to the above, for authorization to transmit program material over the MTN access channel.
- A statement that the Member accepts full responsibility for the content of programming and the consequences of its presentation.
- A statement that the Member is familiar with MTN Rules for Public Access and has read and understands the requirements contained within the rules and will comply with them.
Other additional information is necessary to enable MTN staff to properly perform its playback duties in accordance with the rules that govern the channels.
Types of Programs
Anyone using MTN equipment must submit a program for cablecast. There are two types of programs: Series and Stand-alones.
MTN supports and encourages current and timely programming; programs whose production date is five or more years old will not be accepted for cablecast.
A Stand-alone program is the choice of submission for producers who are interested in airing a program that does not require a weekly timeslot. A stand-alone program will be aired in four timeslots that the producer will have the opportunity to publicize. The program will not be accepted as a new submission after it has played in the four timeslots assigned. A schedule of the air dates and times will be sent to the producer preferably through email but also by U.S. mail if necessary. Stand-alone submissions are subject to plays not directly reflected in the assigned timeslots however MTN is not obligated to play the stand-alone program more than the assigned four times.
Stand-alone programs can be any length over 30 seconds and under two hours. If the program is under ten minutes it will be held to play with programs that are also under ten minutes. Producers will be given the time slot that the entire program can be seen on one of MTN’s channels. MTN also reserves the right to air programs under ten minutes to fill open spaces in the program schedule.
Producers must submit a Stand-alone Channel Time Request form for each stand-alone program.
All tapes must be labeled correctly (see Tape Label section) and have proper leader (see Tape Leader section).
MTN schedules series timeslots to producers committed to submitting a minimum of 12 episodes per year. Series programs are given a regular weekly timeslot. In order to begin a series the producer must submit 3 finished programs with a Series Channel Time Request Form. A schedule of the assigned timeslot will be sent to the producer preferably through email but also by U.S. mail if necessary.
Series programs must be no longer than 28:30 minutes for a half-hour timeslot and no longer than 58:30 minutes for an hour timeslot. Programs exceeding timeslot length will be cut at the discretion of MTN. In the case of multiple program submissions that do not meet the total running time criteria, MTN reserves the right to cancel the series until the issue is resolved.
Subject to availability of channel time, an individual producer may schedule a maximum of two separate timeslots for two different series per week. No producer may exceed two hours of programming per week.
MTN reserves the right to cancel a series that does not submit a new program after all episodes have played the maximum four times and open the timeslot for other programming. MTN encourages producers of cancelled series to submit new programs to be scheduled in a new timeslot when production resumes. Producers with two lapses in one year will be restricted to turning in Stand-Alone programming until Jan. 1 of the following year.
MTN guarantees only one playback of any single program.
Members requesting live timeslots for a Series or Stand-alone must be able to show exemplary technical and organizational skills on past studio productions. Live programs will be considered only if, in the opinion of MTN, the overall content or format would be seriously diminished by advance production. Determination of eligibility will be made through the Live Proposal process. Proposal forms can be attained from the Checkout Manager. When a producer has been given authorization to proceed the form will be given to the Director of Programming so that a suitable timeslot can be set for live air.
Producers desiring to go live with a remote feed must fill out a request form available from the Program Manager. The producer must apply for approval from MTN through the Director of Programming. All remote feed requests must be submitted 40 days in advance.
The scheduling of live programs requires special coordination between MTN staff and Channel Users and may warrant special considerations.
MTN will accept tapes recorded on DVCAM, Mini-DV or DVD formats. Mini-DV and DVCAM tapes must be recorded at SP or DVCAM speed. Tapes recorded at extended play modes are not playable. No more than one program per tape or dvd. Tapes and DVDs must be in a tape case.
Tape Leader for all programs not recorded to a DVD
All tapes submitted to MTN will include:
• 1 minute of color bars and tone at the beginning of the tape.
• 10 seconds of countdown before the program. The countdown should start at 10 and end at 2 followed by two seconds of black before the first frame of the program.
• All tapes submitted to MTN must include at least 1 minute of black at the end of the program.
Tape Labels for Stand-alones
All media must be in a proper case with a label indicating the following information:
• Producer’s name
• Producer’s phone number
•The total running time of program (TRT, see Definitions)
•Title of Program
Tape Labels for Series
All media must be in a proper case with a label indicating the following information:
• Producer’s name
• Producer’s phone number
•The total running time of program (TRT, see Definitions)
•Title of Series
•Title of Episode
•Dates to be played
Media submissions without cases will NOT be accepted.
Programs Submitted by Minors Policy
Requests for channel time on behalf of a minor (as defined by Minnesota state law) must be made by the minor's parent or guardian. The minor's parent or guardian must complete a Channel Time Request form and will be responsible for any liability resulting from the program.
Political Programming Policies
The following is a list of MTN’S policies regarding political programming.
1. Candidate shall be defined as a resident of the City of Minneapolis who has filed to run for public office to represent citizens of the City of Minneapolis.
2. Public Access is a public forum, although MTN is not bound by equal time requirements, MTN will strive to provide equal access to all candidates.
3. MTN will not endorse political candidates.
4. A political candidate who appears in a program will be considered a guest of that program, and the candidate’s appearance on that program will not represent an endorsement by MTN.
5. A political candidate who wishes to produce his/her own program on MTN will be scheduled in accordance with existing programming policies. MTN will not be obligated to schedule political candidates in equivalent time-slots opposite of existing political candidates or officials.
6. If resources allow, MTN will offer candidates services at free or reduced rates in the interest of further educating Minneapolis residents about candidates and issues prior to a city election.
7. Political candidates may express partisan views and opinions on MTN, but candidates cannot use a MTN program as a fundraising solicitation.
8. The candidate is responsible for the content of his or her programming and the programming must play on MTN public access channels.
Minneapolis Telecommunications Network prioritizes scheduling in the following order:
1. Minneapolis residents and organizations producing programs with MTN equipment.
2. Minneapolis residents and organizations producing programs with non-MTN equipment.
3. Minneapolis residents and organizations submitting programs produced by someone other than the individual or organization submitting the program.
4. Non-Minneapolis residents and organizations inside of the Twin Cities area submitting and producing their own programs.
5. Non-Minneapolis residents and organizations inside of the Twin Cities area submitting programs produced by someone other than the individual or organization submitting the program.
6. MTN does not accept programs submitted by non-Twin Cities area residents.
If a program has been deemed unplayable the producer/sponsor of the program will be notified by email or with a phone call. After the owner of the program has been notified, the media can be retrieved at the access desk or in the programming office two business days from the date of notification. Unplayable media is regarded under the same terms as presented in the tape return policy.
Although MTN does not practice prior restraint, the act of viewing submitted programs with the intent of judging content for conditional airplay, the following guidelines are imperative and will be the position of MTN at all times.
General Non-commercial Rules
All programs submitted to play on MTN’s channels must be non-commercial. Non-commercial programs do not contain solicitations for funds or attempt to sell products or services. Prices for goods, services or events may never be given. Producers may inform but not promote. Phone numbers, street addresses, Web sites and e-mail addresses may be given only for non-commercial and/or non-profit organizations and individuals.
Commercial Programming Restriction
Commercial Programming is strictly prohibited on the public access channels. Programs may not contain solicitation, advertising, bartering or promotion of commercial products, services or transactions. Programs may not contain commercial telephone numbers or websites anywhere within the program except as noted below under "Program Credits for Contribution of Goods and Services," nor may programs contain information about purchasing a product or service.
MTN recognizes the commercial nature of non-original record and Film Company produced programming, including music videos and film trailers. In order to prevent the promotion of commercial products on the public access channel, programs containing more than 50% of such material are prohibited.
(Commercial program providers are encouraged to contact their local cable company regarding "leased access" and "commercial use" cable channels. In Minneapolis, these channels are administered by Comcast Cable; these channels are not affiliated with MTN.)
Program Credits/Underwriting for Contribution of Goods and Services
Programs may contain credit for individuals, businesses or other organizations that have contributed goods, services or funding used in the program production. Individual credits for such contributions are limited to twenty seconds. Total credits for all contributions are limited to sixty seconds. Credits may include an acknowledgment of the contribution made. Credits may not contain any advertising information. The following guidelines apply to all credits for contributors:
- Credit must appear at either the beginning or end of the program;
- Credit may be aural, visual or both;
- Credit may include a logo;
- Credit may include a name, address, and phone number;
- Credit may include a phrase describing the business of the contributor and the
nature of the contribution;
- Credit may not contain any qualitative or promotional information.
Typical underwriting examples are:
"This program is brought to you by Acme, Inc."
"This program was made possible by a grant from Acme, Inc."
"Major funding of this program was provided by Acme, Inc."
Do not include additional information about your sponsor, such as store hours, upcoming sales, addresses, phone numbers or prices. It is a good idea to discuss your sponsorship strategy with MTN staff before you begin.
Charging for Time on the Access Channels
Time on the public access channels is available free of charge. Channel users may not require compensation from individuals in exchange for appearing on a public access channel. Furthermore, channel time may not be bartered or sold.
Program Content Restrictions
The following content are not allowed on MTN and will lead to the producer’s suspension:
- lottery information
- obscene material
- libelous or slanderous material
- threats of violence
- language that includes violent references, threats of violence
- prices for any product, service, or event
- solicitations for donations
- advertising material
- continuous telephone or web information through the duration of a program
Programming Requiring Viewer Discretion Message
Channel users are responsible for notifying MTN on the Channel Time Request forms if their program contains material not suitable for family viewing.
Programs containing vulgar language, nudity, physical violence, degradation, graphic depiction of invasive medical procedures or indecent material will be preceded by a message advising viewer discretion and will be scheduled between the hours of 10:00pm and 5:00am.
After a program's first playback, MTN staff may choose to schedule future timeslots after 10:00pm.
Limits of Liability
MTN is not liable for any mistakes, omissions or interruptions in the cablecast and any other means of distribution of programs. MTN is also not liable if the program or material submitted is damaged, lost or stolen while in its custody except in the case of gross negligence on the part on MTN resulting in damage or loss of submitted tapes. In cases of gross negligence on the part of MTN, liability is limited to the cost of replacing a blank videotape in exchange for tapes submitted for cablecast. MTN strongly suggests not submitting master tapes.
Access and channel time privileges may be revoked from any Access User for any of the following reasons:
- Failure to comply with one or more of the MTN public access rules as determined solely by MTN.
- Failure to comply with the material terms and conditions of these rules in a timely fashion.
- The length of suspension will be appropriate to the infringement, and established by MTN.
Gross Misconduct shall be cause for immediate suspension and shall include but is not limited to the following:
• Sexual, physical or verbal harassment, including, but not limited to
threats of violence.
• making statements to MTN that are knowingly false or misleading
as determined by MTN. This would include but is not limited to statements
in any of the MTN producer forms.
• Theft or attempted theft of MTN, guest or employee belongings, materials, supplies or equipment.
• Intentional or unintentional physical injury or other reckless behavior and/or deliberate destruction of property.
• Consumption of illegal drugs or alcohol on MTN's premises.
• Misconduct involving assault and battery or any intentional or unintentional physical injury of others or reckless behavior including horseplay or stunts for illusion or visual effects.
•deliberate destruction of MTN property.
•entering or attempting to enter locked areas, private files, computers or any MTN records.
•Any act involving the bodily fluids of mammals, vertebrates or large invertebrates or other biological materials or wastes on MTN property.
•bringing or using illegal materials onto the MTN premises including but not limited to pop-caps, firecrackers, fireworks, improvised explosive devices, flash powder or possession
of an illegal weapon.
•any other acts MTN in its discretion believes is cause for immediate suspension.
Applications, interpretation and enforcement of the rules are solely the responsibility of and within the discretion of MTN and its designated staff. Appeals of decisions made under these
rules may be made according to the appeals procedure as stated.
1. Any Member who disagrees with a decision of the MTN staff as to the application of any of the foregoing rules may request a review and determination by the MTN Executive Director. A review request must be made in writing to the MTN Executive Director within fifteen (15) days from the time the person or entity is informed of the decision by the MTN staff member. The Executive Director will conduct the review and issue a written determination within fifteen (15) days of receipt of request.
2. An aggrieved party who disagrees with the decision of the MTN Executive Director may request a review of the decision by the MTN Board of Directors Grievance Committee.
Such a request must be made in writing and submitted to the Chair of the MTN Board of Directors Grievance Committee within fifteen days after receipt of the decision by the
3. Within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the request for review, the MTN Board of Directors Grievance Committee Chair will call a meeting of the concerned parties for the purpose of
hearing arguments and receiving evidence and testimony relevant to the grievance. The committee will make a decision concerning the case and notify all interested parties within fifteen (15) days of the final hearing. The determination of the Grievance Committee shall be
the final decision of MTN.
4. All reasonable costs of such hearing(s) shall be paid for by the aggrieved party unless the MTN Grievance committee determines that the decision by the MTN staff which gave rise to the complaint and review was improper and constituted an abuse of discretion, malfeasance or non-feasance by MTN personnel.
5. Hearings by the MTN Grievance committee shall be conducted by the chair at a time and place mutually agreed to by the aggrieved and committee chair. All parties will be entitled to be examined under oath. Any party to the proceeding may be represented by legal counsel. The Grievance Committee will make a determination and direct a written statement to the party requesting the review.
ACCESS CHANNEL TIME refers to time on a signaling path provided on the cable system for use by members.
ACCESS STAFF refers to those appointed by MTN to be responsible for the maintenance, operation and supervision of Access Channel time, cable casting equipment and facilities.
MEMBER refers to any group or individual making proper application for MTN production equipment and/or access channel time and who presents access cable casting material for distribution over the channels operated by MTN.
ADVERTISING refers to any material designed to promote the sale of commercial products or services (including advertising by or on behalf of candidates for public office), orthe solicitation of donations, remuneration or barter.
• Programs may not identify, promote, or make reference to any product, service, trademark, brand name or business in any manner which does not further the noncommercial message of the program, or which would jeopardize the noncommercial mandate of the Minneapolis Telecommunications Network.
• Programs may not solicit funds or other property of value from viewers.
• Prices of products may not be mentioned.
CABLECASTING refers to programming (exclusive of broadcast signals) on MTN channels carried on cable in Minneapolis.
CERTIFIED STUDIO CREW consists of one fully-studio certified Member, and a minimum of two additional certified Members.
COMMUNITY refers to any resident, organization or any other entity located within the boundaries of, or interacting with, the City of Minneapolis.
CHANNEL USERS refers to either Producers who make their own programs or Sponsors who submit programs produced by someone other than them.
GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE for MTN shall be a committee made up of members of the Board of Directors.
LOTTERY refers to any promotion, contest or other program that involves the elements of prize, chance and consideration, or any such program that is declared a lottery under applicable local, state or federal laws.
LOTTERY INFORMATION refers to any information concerning any lottery, gift enterprise, or similar scheme offering prizes depending upon chance or any list drawn or awarded by means of any such lottery, whether that list contains any part or the entire prize.
OBSCENE MATERIAL refers to any material that is obscene under applicable local, state or federal law. The Supreme Court generally uses the case of Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973) as a standard. The case establishes a three-part test to determine whether material is obscene:
1) Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
2) Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable state law; and
3) Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. The “community standard” shall be determined by MTN according to precedents previously set by the non-discretionary channels of the cable company operating in Minneapolis. This would include any channel on basic or universal tiers for which there are no special payments or other arrangements necessary for home reception. This standard shall be applied equally to all programs cablecast by MTN, regardless of their origination.
PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT refers to the equipment necessary for the local production of video and audio programs, as required by the franchise.
TOTAL RUNNING TIME (TRT) refers to the actual time between the first and last frame to be aired. TRT does not include length of color bars, countdown or black at end of tape.
UNDERWRITER is an individual, business or non-profit organization which provides funds, equipment or other items of value for any Member's television program.