Schedule Mission Contact Copies
Mendocino Coast Television

c h a n n e l s   3   &   6 5

Bringing Local TV to the Mendocino Coast Since 1983

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is MCTV only on Cable? Why not on Satellite? Or Broadcast?

Mendocino Coast Television (MCTV) and other noncommercial community-based television channels exist because in the 1970s, when cable was becoming the way to get television, the FCC ruled that cable companies had to provide communities with noncommercial channels for Public, Education, and/or Government use. We are often called PEG Access television or Community Access Television. In part, PEG Access is compensation to communities by the cable companies because they need to use the public rights-of-way for their business to exist.

Why is MCTV only on Cable?

Satellite companies do not need to use a community’s rights-of-way and are not required to provide or include community television channels.

It may be possible to go on a satellite, but having the millions of dollars for us to do this isn’t realistic.

While radio can broadcast over the airwaves using a few well-located towers, video signals have higher requirements. In areas like ours with varied terrain, broadcast tv would have very limited coverage.

Who has the most subscribers Cable or Satellite? Who watches MCTV?

While many people have switched to satellite, especially over the last 4 years, cable is still found in the majority of homes. Comcast has a good reputation and may bring other services to the coast to attract new customers.

There are about 4,100 cable subscriber households on the coast between Albion Ridge and Cleone, meaning that about 10,000 people living on the coast have cable in their homes.

In the city of Fort Bragg roughly 60% the households are cable subscribers. Motels in Fort Bragg, with a few exceptions, have cable and receive MCTV Channels 3, 64 and 65.

Almost two-thirds of coastal cable subscribers contacted for a 2004 Adelphia survey said they watch MCTV regularly- from once a week to several times a week. We believe we are attracting more viewers as we increase local programming, including high school sports and coverage with other local activities.

Is MCTV government supported?

Currently, MCTV receives $10,000 from the City of Fort Bragg and $14,000 from the county annually. For the next year the city has agreed to increase their contribution to $25,000.

This money represents a portion of the money the cable company collects from cable subscribers and passes on to the city and county. Every cable subscriber pays a franchise fee of 5% of the television charges on their cable bill. This 5% franchise fee is passed on the to the city and county. Cable franchise fees contribute $50,000 to Fort Bragg’s income and $200,000 to the county’s income annually. Both the city and county puts this money into their general fund to be spent as they choose.

Our current annual operating budget is $91,000, the city and county funding amounts to 26% of the income we need to cover staff, insurance, phones, etc . Most community television channels receive 80% or more of their operating budget from local governments.

Providing production services at $30 per person per hour to videotape community meetings, events and government meetings brings in about $28,000. We need another $39,000 from fundraising events, underwriting, donations, membership fees and grants to cover our yearly expenses.

Does the cable company (Comcast) support MCTV?

In theory, the county’s cable franchise negotiators could have made funding for PEG operations part of the franchise that was signed in 2005, but this did not happen.

However, the 15-year cable franchise agreement the city and county signed in 2005 requires the cable company to provide funding for equipment and facilities. The money can only be used for PEG Access, it cannot be put in government general funds and its use is limited to capital expenses, not operations. We’ve had two payments in two years of about $68,000 each, and expect to get the same in 2007. Smaller payments will be available in years 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2015 if we meet the franchise performance requirements. We are able to use this money for fixing up our new building as well as for equipment.

Why is it called Public Access when only cable subscribers can see it

Public Access is more than cable channels. It is, among other things, a resource providing access to the tools to make television. We provide training and use of equipment to produce programs.

Residents, whether they are cable subscribers or not, have access to the tools to make television and access to channel time to show their noncommercial programs on our public access channel.

And residents can submit programs whether they produced them or not, whether or not the programs are locally produced.

Does PBS differ from PEG access?

Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Television is a national network of nonprofit, noncommercial, public interest broadcast channels that are partially supported by Federal tax dollars.

PEG or community access channels are local cable channels used by and for the community. PEGs do not receive Federal tax dollars.

Are MCTV programs seen in Ukiah, Willits, Point Arena or Gualala?

Not yet in Ukiah, but the City of Ukiah and the County are working together to establish PEG Access in the Ukiah Valley. They are issuing Request For Proposals soon for the management of PEG access in the Ukiah Valley area. There may be PEG Access in Ukiah Valley this year.

We currently share some programs with Willits Community TV. Sharing programming throughout the county is essential and we expect to work with the Ukiah Valley PEG to make this happen.

We are not seen in Point Arena and Gualala. They are served by a small cable company, and there is no PEG organization. It may be possible to transfer programs for playback in these communities in the future.

Advances in Internet technology are moving toward people being able to view tv via the internet which in a few years will enlarge our coverage area to those people who can get high speed internet. Currently we are archiving and streaming city council meetings It is in our plans to expand our capacity to use the internet.

Why isn’t there one countywide PEG Access?

The cable provider (Comcast) does not have the PEG channels connected between the coast and inland, or between Willits and Ukiah. Comcast currently has no plans to make that connection.

Which MCTV programs be seen over the internet?

We have recently begun to stream live Fort Brasgg city council meetings and to archive meetings so that can be viewed by agenda item on internet.

We expect to begin streaming Board of Supervisors Meetings and some other programming soon.

What Services does MCTV provide?

Bulletin Board Announcements: Available to nonprofits organizations and community service groups.

Production Services: MCTV charges $30 per hour per person. Our services are primarily for nonprofits and community service groups.

Studio Production Services: Our new studio will have state-of-the-art live editing equipment and the studio can be rented with or without production staff for a small charge.

Duplication: Copies of programs we produce cost $15 each plus shipping. Bulk orders of 10 or more DVD copies are $5 each.

Training and Use of Equipment: For an annual membership fee of $36, residents can take basic training and can use equipment for free.

Video Production Mentoring: give advice, or give specific training for a project. We can provide learn from doing production mentoring.

Airtime:. Submitting programming for on Channel 3 is free. We do ask that people submitting sows become members. Locally produced programs are played multiple times. There will be fees for air time on Channel 64, the Info Channel when that channel begins programming.

Promotion: MCTV in collaboration with organizations can produce a public service announcement or a full length program. Productions and/or video taken at performances or events can be multi-purposed for grant applications or for websites for example.

How to I get a Community Bulletin Board announcement on MCTV?

Non profit organizations and community service groups can put announcements the Community Bulletin Board. The Bulletin Board runs several times a day between programs on the coast’s cable channels 3 and 65.

Announcements can be submitted as PowerPoint files, JPEG files at 800 x 600 pixels (72 DPI), and E mail with not more than 30 words stating the What, When, and Where of the event and a contact phone number for more information.

Event Announcements should be submitted at least 3 weeks before an event. If we are preparing the graphics for the announcement submit copy 4 weeks in advance. Event announcements run two to four weeks.

Announcements with information about services, or long term activities can be submitted at any time and will run until a date specified or for one year. There is no charge for these announcements.

There may be a small charge for preparing event announcements that are not submitted as PowerPoint or JPEG files. Charges start at $10 for a simple announcement. Announcements for fundraising events or events with door charge start at $25.

Organizational membership provide some announcements at no charge and reduced fees for production. Announcements should be e-mailed to . Call 961-1127 for more information.

How can I support MCTV?

Become a member.


All dues are to be paid annually from date of membership


Basic - $36

Individuals can become a member by volunteering 4 hours in lieu of payment. Individual membership entitles the member to take basic camera class for no charge and to submit programming to air on channel 3.

Senior/Student - $20
Advocate - $120
Caretaker- $240 (automatic payments of $20 monthly)
Lifetime - $1000


For community groups and non profit organizations.
Includes: announcements at no charge, basic training for three people and reduced fees for video production.


Executive Producer - $1000.
Benefits: Production of 15 sec video that will air daily. Video will be featured on website with a link to your business. Listed as sponsor on our Community Bulletin Board.
Director - $600
Benefits: a 10 sec graphic will air daily; and listed and linked on our website to your website.

Michael Potts, webster
updated 28 May 2007 :m: 17:57 Caspar (Pacific) time
this site generated with 100% recycled electrons!
send website feedback to the MCTV webster

copyright © 2007 by MCTV, all rights reserved