MTN Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How is MTN funded?
A. Comcast Cable pays the City of Minneapolis for use of the publicly owned right-of-way. The cable runs across property owned by you - the residents of the City. Comcast Cable is required to pay as much as 5% of gross earnings and allot channel space on the system for the public to use. In turn, a portion of this "franchise fee" is used to support MTN's efforts to promote community communications. The funding from Comcast Cable and the City account for about 70% of MTN's annual budget. MTN also receives funding for its coverage of government meetings, van and equipment rentals, classes, membership, and donations from people like you. MTN's playback facility cablecasts programming on 3 channels daily. MTN offers 60 classes to the public each year and certifies more than 500 new producers. MTN staffs an equipment checkout area and 3 TV studios. Our facilities are used by more than 100 area non-profit organizations and over 750 individual members each year. MTN does all this on less money than it takes to produce one episode of a soap opera. MTN is overseen by a volunteer board that is appointed by the Mayor and City Council of Minneapolis.
Q. How do I become a producer of Public Access TV?
A. First come down to one of our Orientations. You'll find a list of dates and times on our class page. Then enroll in one of our beginning level classes and become a member of MTN. Take Beginning Field Production if you want to borrow a camera to tape events on location and edit them in one of our edit suites. Take Basic Studio Production if you are interested in taping in one of our television studios. Once you have completed a program, you must submit it to our Programming department and we will air it on our channels.
Q. If I already have a show, how do I get it played on MTN?
A. Residents of Minneapolis may submit programs for airing on MTN channels for free. Twin Cities area residents who do not live in Minneapolis must be MTN members to submit a program. To submit a program, follow the Tape Submission flowchart.
Q. I make public access television in another part of the country. Can I show my program on MTN?
A.Yes, but you will need to find a local sponsor. You can send MTN information about your program that we can post in order to help you find that sponsor. We require that a Twin Cities area resident attend the MTN Orientation, complete the paperwork and act as the contact for your program.
Q. Can you show my PSA?
A. The best way to get a PSA on is to persuade one of our independent producers to include it in their show; or better still to include the PSA in a program featuring a representative from your organization as a guest. Contact the Program Manager for advice on this.
Q. If I have prior experience in video, do I have to take a class?
A. No. If you have a thorough understanding of the equipment that you would like to use, MTN allows you to test out and become certified without taking the class. This process can save you time but costs the same as the equivalent class for that equipment.
Q. I have an event coming up in a week or so. Will you send somebody out to tape it?
A. MTN does not tape events for people. If you, or someone you know, is certified on our equipment, you can use it free of charge to tape the event. MTN has bulletin boards on which you can advertise your production needs. The best way to make sure your events are covered is for you to attend MTN production classes well in advance to become certified to use our equipment.
Q. I have a press release for an upcoming event. Can I send it to you?
A. If you send a press release to MTN because you want an event taped, we will try our best to put it up on our bulletin board so that our volunteer base can see it and consider it. But if you want your event recorded, your best bet is to talk individually to an access producer who might tape it, or assign a volunteer who works with you to take classes at MTN to get access to the equipment so you can tape the event yourself.
Q. I have a wedding (or some other personal event) coming up. Can I use MTN's equipment, but not put the program on your channels?
A. Use of MTN's equipment must result in programming for the channels before other uses. If you use MTN equipment to record a wedding, you must submit the tape of the finished show for playback, and you must have the consent of the wedding party to show their wedding on television. Weddings may only be submitted as stand-alone programs. They may not be submitted as part of a series.
Q. Does MTN offer any rental of equipment or services?
A. MTN does rent equipment to producers who do not intend to play their program on our channel. We do have a Production Services Department that will give you a bid for specific services.
Q. Will I be informed in advance when my program will play?
A. Yes. You will get a letter in the mail detailing your playback times. You can arrange to delay playback for a few weeks if you need to send out press releases.
Q. How often do I have to produce a program to have a series?
A. You may show any given episode in a series a maximum of four times. This means that you will have to turn in a new program at least once a month.