San Jose community access TV find its niche


Channel 15 is a full-service non-profit media center in downtown San Jose. The community access channel is called CreaTV.

Behind the lights, cameras and action is Suzanne St. John Crane. She is the executive director who manages San Jose's public and educational channels on Comcast cable.

"On 15 you see cooking shows, you see political talk shows," she explained. "We have programs in seven different languages on Channel 15, so we are giving voice to a lot of communities that otherwise wouldn't have one on television."

The shows that air on Channel 15 are as diverse as San Jose itself. There are about 150 people and organizations who produce content on a regular basis, including an in-studio production for a program called "Arab TV."

"Normally, the media, the main media, they like to show the bad things -- war, killing, blood," said "Arab TV" host Vic Zikoor. "We like to show the other way around. We want to show the culture, the nice face of the community."

CreaTV is not just a place to make and air community programming. It is a learning center for hundreds of people who want access to state of the art video and editing equipment. Members can take classes and rent professional grade high-definition field equipment for as little as $20 a day.

"This comes with a tripod and any type of mic you might need, whether it be a boom mic, handheld mic, or lavalier," said staff member Drena Lewis.

After two years in their new facility, word of this valuable resource is getting out. CreaTV now has about 600 members.

"It's wonderful, it's great," said member Mario Castro. "I've actually put together some music videos and some hip hop fillers... they usually run around five to seven minutes."

The programming on Channel 15 reaches 170,000 households in San Jose and Campbell. It also streams live on CreaTV's website.

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