This is not good |

This is not good

It was with great dismay that I read the recent article about the poor fund-raising results from the GrassRoots TV telethon.

Apparently the programming was good, the community participation in the programming was excellent, with over 75 of our leading friends and neighbors participating, and the viewership was actually high. Unfortunately, very few called in to give money and the staff fell short of their $50,000 goal by almost $35,000. This is not good.

GrassRoots TV is a local community asset. It is the forum that every nonprofit turns to when they need to reach out and raise funds. The Buddy Program, Neighbor to Neighbor, the arts offerings, Jazz Aspen, Aspen Valley Hospital, etc., etc., etc.

ALL use these airwaves to tell their story. It’s a tremendous community service. It would be all but impossible for these organizations to get their story out without GrassRoots. But who pays?

The high school athletic programs are put on air to showcase the kids in this valley who care enough to show up at 6 a.m. for ice time, or stay late for drills, travel on weekends for away games and generally help set a standard for other kids in our community. They are making a difference, and GrassRoots helps shine a spotlight on these kids.

Isn’t this the sort of community exposure we want … or would we rather read about more robberies at gunpoint at Clark’s Market?

GrassRoots TV provides an invaluable opportunity for the apprentice students that run the cameras, the production boards, help with the sets and so much more. Where else could students that number in the dozens get this job-related opportunity in a small town? Unless we don’t want to create opportunity.

And how about all of the local politicians who gladly come on air during election time to voice their views? THEY appreciate the access, WE appreciate the forum to be able to understand the issues … but WHO pays for the air time? DID YOU KNOW … GrassRoots TV is NOT a government TV station?

GrassRoots TV does receive about one-third of its total funding from the city and county, but who pays for the other two-thirds of the air time? The answer is NOBODY, based on this recent telethon.

And that means the airwaves are going to go dark, because you can’t run a station only eight hours a day. You still have all the overhead, staffing, equipment and the like to cover. That means it’s all or nothing if GrassRoots is to survive.

In a way, GrassRoots TV is like the fire department. WE all want them there when WE need them, but don’t care when WE don’t need them. Unfortunately, if WE don’t care the rest of the time, THEY won’t be there when WE do need them. Same for GrassRoots TV.

GrassRoots TV isn’t perfect by a long shot, but it is a local voice for all people in this community. Please don’t lose this voice. Call GrassRoots TV today, right now, at 925-8000, and make a pledge of $10, $20 or $1,000. I have and I hope you will, too.

Bob Bowden


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