The Land Information Access Association could have focused on merely keeping the station afloat when it took over local public access television in 2008.
Instead, it's worked toward delivering a full-service community media center by creating a production studio and a video streaming website, offering its services — including equipment, training and on-site support — to more people through low-cost memberships, and working with nonprofits and communities to extend its reach.
"It's not just public access in the standard sense of someone strumming their guitar in front of a camera or shouting their opinion on a public corner," said Joe VanderMeulen, executive director of LIAA, a nonprofit service organization that hosts and operates UpNorth Media and UpNorth TV 97 and 992. "This is a valuable resource, so we need to do a good job of inviting quality content and ... providing education, information and entertainment."
Still, there's more to be done, such as shaking loose the station's old name and location on the television dial — "People tend to still say TCTV2," VanderMeulen said — and buying a mobile production unit that would allow coverage of more events in more communities.
So roughly 100 volunteers and supporters are mounting their first telethon aimed at raising funds and awareness for the station and "community-driven TV."
The event, called UpNorth TV Teleganza! 2010, kicks off at noon on Saturday at Milliken Auditorium and features 10 hours of continuous entertainment by many of the area's best known musicians, storytellers and dancers. And it's no mistake that it's title contains an exclamation point.
"We want to say something really loud," VanderMeulen said.
For more on the story, including live TV coverage and Internet streaming of the event, see today's Arts & Entertainment section »