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Unpublished Letter to Scranton Times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 It remains unpublished.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.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Demonstration Tomorrow

The following notice is posted at the request of Ozzie Quinn and the Taxpayers Association:

“There will be a demonstration on the steps of Scranton City Hall at 9:00am on Tuesday June 24 to protest the change in management of Channels 61 and 62. Interested parties are encouraged to attend.”

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Council Replays

Due to the holiday weekend and the nice weather, we were not able to monitor Channel 61 this weekend. Today we learned that some of the City Council replays did not go off as scheduled and that the tape containing City Council had broken during playback. These problems are occurring because our tapes have been reused many times, the length of City Council meetings requires us to use 3 hour tapes, and fresh 3 hour tapes are impossible to purchase (even on Ebay). We apologize for any inconvenience.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Response to 5/20 City Council Meeting

This is in response to some comments made during the 5/21/08 City Council Meeting...

Zoning Board Meeting of 5/14: We neglected to tape this meeting because the volunteer who oversees daily operations was unavailable and was unable to remind our student assistant to tape the meeting. We apologize for this.

Taxpayers Association: In April, after the departure of our Station Manager, we informed the Taxpayers Association that we can no longer provide staff to tape their meetings. We did, however, train a volunteer from their organization, and the volunteer has been taping the meetings and providing us with the finished tape. This is in the true spirit of public access television.

Repeat Programming: Our equipment is in poor condition, and we do not have funding to replace it. As a result, we are forced to dub multiple programs onto a single tape for replay. This is a time-consuming process. Since we are limited to volunteer help and a student assistant, we can only update our schedule once-a-week (usually on Friday). In addition, there is no variation from day-to-day. Also, we no longer program Channel 62, and we longer program between midnight and 6AM. An average show will be repeated approximately 21 times. Our proposal included some modest funding for equipment improvements which would have allowed us to present different programming each day.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wall-Mount Cameras Removed from Council Chambers

At the May 13th City Council Meeting, it was announced that ECTV would be taking over operation of Channels 61/62 sometime in the next month. In preparation for this, we have removed the two wall-mounted cameras from Council Chambers. We will still be able to cablecast live and taped governmental and non-governmental meetings with the one remaining camera. Since the ECTV takeover appears to be imminent and inevitable, we decided to remove the cameras while we had volunteer help. Please keep checking this blog for updates.

What's Happening with Channels 61/62?

In January, a panel appointed by Mayor Doherty requested proposals for an entity to manage Channels 61/62.

The proposal submitted by Scranton Today! STTV, the long-term operators of Channels 61/62, was not chosen. ECTV's proposal was accepted.

ECTV's proposal stated it would be operational within three months of receiving Phase 1 funds - $313,207.46.

Scranton Today has operated with no funding from the City of Scranton since December. Scranton Today needs money to keep Channels 61/62 from going black.

At the May 13th City Council Meeting, a motion to release $20,000 to fund Scranton Today was defeated on a 3-2 vote. Please ask City Council to reconsider this motion or Channels 61/62 may go black.

Scranton Todayʼs Proposal

Startup Costs: $0

ECTVʼs Proposal

Startup Costs: $313,207.46

Scranton Todayʼs Proposal

1st Year Operating Budget: $107,981

ECTVʼs Proposal

1st Year Operating Budget: $158,055

Scranton Todayʼs PEG Management Experience: 9+ Years

ECTVʼs PEG Management Experience: 0 Years

Scranton Today
ʼs Commitment to Airing Unedited Government Meetings: Undisputed

ECTVʼs Commitment: Untested

Whatʼs wrong with this picture?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Update on Signal Problem

We were notified that Comcast has replaced a piece of equipment. It appears to have resolved the problem with signal degradation. Thank you for your patience.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Channel 61 Video Quality

Many of our viewers have noticed intermittent video quality problems on Channel 61. We verified that the problem is not on our end and have asked Comcast to investigate. Please keep checking back for updates.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

STTV on You Tube

The latest episode of Community Services is available on You Tube. This is one you don't want to miss. Check it out!

Friday, April 18, 2008

"Please Stand By"

Read a letter from Karen Bazzarri, STTV President, published in the April 18, 2008 edition of the Times-Tribune.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Equipment Problems

Due to some problems with one of our playback decks, some programs may not air as announced. We are working to correct the problem and apologize for the inconvenience.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Old Council Meetings?

During the April 8th Scranton City Council Meeting, Councilwoman Judy Gatelli mentioned that old meetings were being replayed. It is not a practice of Scranton Today to replay old council meetings. It is a practice to reuse tapes as a cost saving measure. There was, however, a mistake which caused a portion of an old meeting to play.

We apologize for the error.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Schedule Delayed

Due to technical problems, the start of our new weekly schedule, which includes replays of the April 1st City Council, has been delayed until Friday, April 4th. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

This Week's City Council Meeting

The April 1st City Council meeting will begin replaying on Thursday, April 3rd in the evening. The exact times have not yet been established.

Friday, March 28, 2008

City Council Replays

Due to tape problems, we will be replaying the March 25th City Council meeting from a VHS videocassette that was taped off of the cable signal on Tuesday night. As a result, you will may see incorrect date and time information before and after the replay. No, you are not in a time warp. We apologize for this.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Message from Karen Bazzarri, STTV President

The City of Scranton has chosen not to fund Scranton Today TV. Therefore, non-governmental programming must be curtailed. For the present, STTV will continue to broadcast county, school board, city council and municipal meetings in accordance with our primary mission of promoting an engaged and informed electorate.

Please note these additional changes:

Submissions to the Community Calendar will no longer be accepted.

Tapes submitted for cablecast must be in DVC Pro format.

The Scranton Today TV office will not be staffed on a regular basis. To request a tape or DVD copy or to ask a question, leave a message at 207-0765 and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Message from Lawrence Pugliese

Friends and Colleagues:

Thank you for the years of interest and support... It's been my honor and pleasure to serve my community through Stories, Wisdom & Recipes...

I hope to continue the program within the new paradigm presently being created by ECTV.

It's been a great run Scranton Today. Your legacy will always be on display within all future variations of public access television in NEPA. Your pioneering work will be remembered by those in the future who trace back through time this region's strong sense of civic understanding and involvement.

My compliments and my gratitude to you for establishing this wonderfully democratic ideal into something real. Here's to its future, and to all who've been involved as supporters and producers.

It is only with every aspect of our strong, dynamic, interdependent and intelligent community that this sort of effort could every be realized.

Our parcel of Penn's Wood is so much better now, and will be for future generations because of your work.

Thanks again... Talk with you soon...

Lawrence S. Pugliese

Producer of Stories, Wisdom & Recipes...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Programming Cutbacks

The City of Scranton's decision to award management of Channels 61 & 62 to ECTV has seriously eroded our ability to raise funds and retain staff. As a result, we will be forced to make cutbacks in programming. Tapings that involved multiple cameras and complex direction have been canceled. The most prominent of these shows, Stories, Wisdom, and Recipes, will be taping its last episode on March 20th. For the time being, we will continue to tape, whenever possible, shows that require only static cameras or a portable camera. We will also continue to tape and cablecast (live when possible) municipal meetings for the time being. We hope that, by the time our resources are completely exhausted, ECTV is ready to take over.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Good-Bye to Melissa Marks

Melissa Marks, STTV Station Manager since 2002, will be leaving to take a position at the American Cancer Society. Melissa's last day will be March 21st. Melissa has been a crucial factor in STTV's success over the last six years. Her job involved juggling complicated and ever-changing shoot schedules and creating programming schedules that, inevitably, did not make everyone happy, but were always fair and always considered the diverse needs of our viewers. Melissa will be missed, and we wish her only the best.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Letter in Scranton Times

We are deeply appreciative of a letter in today's Scranton Times by Marlene Parks supporting STTV.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Good-Bye to Mark

STTV says good-bye to Mark Migliore who resigned on Friday, February 26th to work for Electric City TV (ECTV). Mark had worked for STTV since 2004 and was perhaps best known for Graffiti, a collaborative effort with Tom Blomain which highlighted poems read in local and often unusual settings. Please join us in wishing Mark the best of luck in all of his future endeavors.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

NEPA-PAP Complaint

The NEPA Public Access Project, one of the competing entities that submitted proposals to manage channels 61 & 62, has lodged a complaint with the City of Scranton.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dear Fellow Citizens:

The Board of Scranton Today is surprised and, certainly, disappointed with the recent decision by the City of Scranton not to continue its services as operator of the City’s public, educational, and government cable-access channels. But, Scranton Today accepts this decision, commits itself to continuing its mission to help foster “a more informed electorate and engaged citizenry,” and pledges to do all that it can to insure a smooth transition as we move forward. To do less would be a violation of the public trust Scranton Today has so careful tried to develop and maintain.

The Board of Scranton Today wishes to thank its founders, Scranton Tomorrow and The Scranton Public Library, whose vision, administrative expertise, and generous financial support helped to successfully launch the station’s efforts. The monies, they invested and helped raise, allowed Scranton Today to open-up government meetings in an unparalleled fashion and to permit citizens to use the medium of television to engage the community around common interests and concerns. The Board of Scranton Today is proud of these past nine years of service to the citizens of our community.

While some may identify Scranton Today solely with municipal and other governmental meetings, in fact, this has represented only 28% of the station’s programming. Over the years, literally thousands of hours of air-time have been devoted to public and educational programs rich in their diversity and richer, still, in the vital portrayal they have given of life in Scranton and Lackawanna County. A comprehensive outline of these many programs can be found in Appendix B. of Scranton Today’s proposal to manage Scranton’s public, educational, and government cable-access channels available on the Scranton Today website,

Scranton Today wishes, also, to thank the many organizations that have generously supported its mission, chiefly the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Scranton, the Scranton School District, and the County of Lackawanna. They have demonstrated their commitment to open government by providing access to their meetings, and have backed up this commitment with both their encouragement and their financial support.

As important as this has been to the station’s development, nothing has been more gratifying to the Board of Scranton Today than the support provided by the very citizens it has endeavored to serve. Whether in response to direct appeal or by participating in one of the Scranton Today fundraisers, you have made this station yours through your contributions. This past year, the first year of independent operation, Scranton Today raised $100,000, 42% of this from non-governmental sources. Even if Scranton Today had had access to some portion of the franchise fee, maintaining this level of community “buy in” and “public ownership” would have continued to be important to its success.

As we continue cable casting our scheduled programs, we invite our many supporters to share with us their ideas on how Scranton Today can continue to meet the mission crafted for it by the community over ten years ago. These suggestions can be emailed to us at or mailed to us at Scranton Today, 500 Vine Street, Scranton, PA 18508.

Under such circumstances as these, thank-you always seems so inadequate. Therefore, the Board of Scranton Today both expresses its gratitude and offers this pledge. We will do everything possible to honor your trust and to vigorously move forward to develop new and creative ways to fulfill the mission you have given us.

Stay tuned, as it were, and, together, we will write a new script and begin the next production in our season.

The Board of Scranton Today

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Letter from Commissioner Munchak

Read a letter from Commissioner A.J. Munchak on the STTV / ECTV transition in the Times-Tribune.

Thank You and Stay Tuned!

STTV wishes to thank all the supporters who signed our petition. STTV will remain on the air and continue to present programming during the transition period. Stay tuned for updates.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Lackawanna Legal Delayed

Due to a delay in the City Council replay (originally scheduled for 1PM), today's replay of Lackawanna Legal has been rescheduled from 4PM to 5PM. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Compare the Proposals!

Compare our proposal to manage Channels 61 & 62 with the proposal submitted by ECTV.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Channels 61 & 62 Granted to ECTV

We regretfully announce that the commission appointed by Mayor Doherty to select a manager for Comcast Channels 61 & 62 has selected Electric City TV (ECTV). This isn't the end, though. Please keep checking back for updates.

STTV Intern Recognized!

Congratulations to Anthony George – Scranton Today intern and recipient of this year’s Martin Luther King Commission Young Leader of the Year Award!

Decision Day!

According to the Times-Tribune, the panel charged with reviewing proposal for managing Channels 61 and 62 will deliver its recommendation to Mayor Chris Doherty sometime today. Please keep checking back for updates.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"Bonus" Council Replay

Due to last night's partial outage, we will replay the City Council meeting tonight at 7:00PM.

Another Outage Update

This is from Comcast:

We had a piece of equipment malfunction in our headend last night which caused the issue. That piece of equipment has been replaced and everything should be working at this time.

Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused our customers and viewers. Please let me know if you see or hear of any other issues.

Outage Update

Here is an update from Karen Bazzarri, President of STTV Scranton Today:

STTV staff worked on this issue as soon as it was reported to me last night and we confirmed it was a Comcast issue.

The issues started with viewers using a high def "box" not being able view CH61, but viewers with standard cable were able to view it.

While Comcast was correcting this issue there were brief outages of CH61 on the standard cable as well.

Thank You for your patience!

City Council Outage

Dear STTV / Scranton Today Viewers,

We have received reports of an outage during last night’s live cablecast of City Council. There is some question as to whether the source of the problem was Scranton Today or Comcast. I personally monitored the meeting at my home between 6:45 and 8:05 and was able to watch it. Others, living in different areas, were unable to watch the meeting at this time. This leads us to believe that the outage was limited to specific areas and was therefore a Comcast issue. Please help us track down the source of the problem by commenting on this posting. (See below.) We just need to know when you tried to watch, where, in general, you were located when trying to watch, and whether you were able to view the meeting.

Thank you!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Scranton Today in HD?

We are sometimes asked if and when STTV Scranton Today will be migrating to High-Definition (HD). There are several reasons why there no immediate plans to do this. The first is the most important. We want to make sure that our programming remains part of the "Basic" cable channel offerings and that it can be viewed even with older TV's; no need for digital cable boxes or for purchasing a HD set. Also, STTV programming, which is made by you and your neighbors, does not cry out for HD. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to see myself in HD!

Friday, February 1, 2008

City Council Replay Postponement

Please note that due to today’s inclement weather, Scranton Today’s office was closed. Because of this closing, our regular programming could not be updated, and this evening’s airing of the Scranton City Council meeting will be postponed until tomorrow evening at 7:00 PM. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Our Mission

"The mission of Scranton Today is to serve as a vehicle for improving the quality of life for residents of Scranton and its environs, through the creation of a more informed electorate and a more engaged citizenry." -- STTV Scranton Today! Mission Statement

We hope our viewers will agree that STTV's commitment to its mission has been unwavering over the last 9+ years. We always strive to cover municipal meetings whenever and wherever they occur and regardless of any obstacles that may be put in place. If you value this commitment and feel that STTV should continue to operate channels 61 & 62, please support us by signing this on-line petition.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Support STTV!

The City of Scranton recently advertised for an organization to manage Comcast Channels 61 and 62. On January 23, 2008, the city received three proposals including one from Scranton Today STTV. You can view our proposal here. If you would like STTV to continue managing Comcast Channels 61 & 62, please help us by completing this on-line petition.