Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Unpublished Letter to Scranton Times

This letter was submitted to the Scranton Times by Karen Bazzarri, Scranton Today President, on June 26th, 2008. It remains unpublished.

I would like to correct the misstatements made related to STTV:

STTV presented an analysis with our RFP confirming 38% of our programming was educational, 34% public and 28% governmental--the PERFECT mix required for a PEG channel. It also included a 5 page inventory of all these programs, which included world renown authors like David McCullough and world famous speakers like Hans Blitz and Christiane Amanpour.

Further STTV surveyed and received responses from a number of PEG channels across the country to determine an average number of weekly replays of government programming. The range spanned from once to 11 times a week, with the majority being 5 replays per week. Again STTV was EXACTLY on average with other PEG channels. Yet, if any government entity submitted a request to STTV to reduce the number of replays we would have complied. They had not.

STTV has explained on numerous occasions that our ability to vary programs was an equipment constraint.......which we were working to remedy by purchasing an $18,000 piece of equipment, but City Council continued to refuse our minimal funding request of $20,000. Coincidentally this is the SAME piece of equipment ECTV plans to

Our complete RFP remains available on our website at

Finally - Scranton Today has NOT run out of tomorrows. Although we are no longer managing the station, we are actively pursuing other avenues of community service.

Karen Bazzarri
President, STTV.

Message from Karen Bazzarri

Hi! I'm Karen Bazzarri, President of Scranton Today, STTV, founding managers CH61 and 62.

I know you are all well aware that in January ECTV was selected to take over management of the station and have watched the evolving controversy surrounding this decision.

Despite the fact that there is a pending zoning appeal on the proposed ECTV studio, an ethics complaint filed against the RFP selection process, and a significant number of issues raised by council members and taxpayers in regard to the use of City funding to support this shaky entity,
we have recently learned that Mayor Doherty instructed ECTV to assume management of this station by July 1.

Consequently, Scranton Today will relinquish operation of channels 61 & 62 on Monday June 30th at 9:30am. So I would like to take this opportunity to make some comments and observations to you, our viewers.

First, I'd like to address the recent Times editorial.

I have to say I do agree that people should not care who is managing their public access channel because they should be able to trust their elected officials to choose an entity that is proven
reliable, respectable, trustworthy, experienced and fiscally responsible.

However, that is not what's happened here. Instead an entity was chosennbased solely on the ideas and promises of an individual who is no longer even affiliated with that organization. And the specifics of how this organization was going to actually deliver on these grand promises were never presented.

Yet the editorial did not address Mrs.Palutis's recount of her conversations with the Mayor confirming the political reasons behind this takeover.

Next I'd like to say how honored I am to have been a part of Scranton Today since its inception 10 years ago. I truly appreciate the opportunity to have served the public through this great entity.

I'd like to thank all the producers, sponsors, board members and volunteers who have made STTV a wonderfully successful public assess channel. We've produced and cablecast hundreds of programs over the years, ranging from elementary school children to world renowned

I'd also like to thank the University of Scranton for bringing us speakers like Hans Blitz and Christiane Amanpour. And a special thank you to The League of Women voters for working with the station to initiate candidate interviews and debates. Our in-depth coverage of local, state and national election returns made us the most locally watched program on election night.

Most importantly, I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to the thousands of viewers in Lackawanna and Luzerne County who have trusted and supported us for these many years for it is you, dear viewers, who have truly put the "public" in this public access television station.

And, let me assure you that Scranton Today has NOT run out of tomorrows. Although we are no longer managing the station, we are actively pursuing new avenues of community service to continue meeting our stated objective of " informed electorate, an engaged citizenry."

We will continue to offer our production services to tape any programs you wish to submit for cable casting. And you can continue to contact us for copies of the 2008 Scranton High and West Scranton High graduations as well as copies of other select programming we may have

Feel free to continue to contact us at 570-207-0765 or

Finally, I'd like to leave you all with the famous words of Edward R Murrow, one of the most well respected television journalist of the 20th century...Good Night and Good Luck!

Karen Bazzarri, President
Scranton Today Board of Directors

Friday, June 27, 2008

Message from Scott Thomas

The circumstances of Scranton Today’s demise lend themselves to righteous outrage. The competing entity, Electric City TV, was apparently hatched by one of our volunteers and at least one of our employees while they were, so we thought, working for us. The process that selected ECTV over Scranton Today was deeply flawed and ECTV, even before it opened, foundered among financial, staffing, and zoning problems. I would be lying if I said I didn’t take pleasure in some of these recent misfortunes or fantasize that ECTV would implode publicly and spectacularly, but, in truth, the failure of ECTV will do nothing to secure the future of community access television in the Scranton Area. In fact, it may well end it. (It certainly won’t bring back Scranton Today.) So what can you do if you are concerned about open government and free and equitable public access? Get involved with ECTV. Go up to their studios at 933 Prescott Avenue and ask to see their By-Laws. Ask if there are board vacancies. Get yourself on the Board of Directors. Volunteer. Work to bring the values espoused and, we hope, borne out by Scranton Today into a new organization that clearly needs a great deal of help.

I have recently been asked, regarding my tenure with Scranton Today, to describe my proudest moment. This is easy. Back in March 2007, the President of City Council ordered our cameras removed from Council Chambers. Many of you turned out to protest. Many of you communicated your support. Our cameras were gone, but we showed up with a port-a-cam. We lost our live capability so we ran tapes one block up the court to our head-end to make sure we were “almost live.” That night Council voted to restore the cameras partly because of the outrage expressed by the citizens and partly because they realized they could not stop us. They could remove the camera from their wall, but they could not remove the one in our hands. I am convinced this passionate commitment to open government helped to hasten our demise, but if I had a chance to go back in time or, to use an apt metaphor, rewind the tape and edit the show, I would still air it “as is.”

Again, thank you for support over the last decade.

Scott Thomas

Scranton Today Board of Directors

Message from Emily Perry

This message is from Emily Perry, a member of the Scranton Today Board of Directors:

The darkening of Scranton Today is a tremendous loss to this community and to the goal of having an informed electorate. The people who worked on this station were totally committed to striving for this goal every day of the existance of Scranton Today. I mourn the loss of this station.

Emily Perry

Message from Laurie Cadden

Message from Laurie Cadden, Producer of "Talk of the Town" and member of the Scranton Today Board of Directors

Dear Viewers,

I have been the host of "Talk of the Town" for the past 5 years and I so appreciate your loyal viewership!

It has been so important for all of the non-profit organizations that have appeared on Scranton Today's Channel 61 screen over the years to get the well-deserved recognition they deserve.

I have taped about 375 shows for Scranton Today and have loved every minute of it!!!! It has been my honor to serve the organizations, Scranton Today and the viewers!!!

Thank you for the opportunity to bring to life the important, fun,educational and cultural events our region has to offer!

Laurie Cadden

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Additional Statement

Dear Viewers,

We have received some questions about our earlier announcement that Scranton Today will "go dark" on Monday, June 30th at 9:30AM. Please note that this time and date were established by Comcast. Comcast informed us that they were directed by “the City of Scranton” to take this action.

We appreciate your concern.

Scott Thomas

Board of Directors

Scranton Today

"Go Dark" Date

Scranton Today will cease operations on Monday, June 30th at 9:30AM. We appreciate your loyal viewership and support over the last ten years.