Around Town

Let your voices be heard on Channel 15

WESTFIELD-While there are a multitude of ways to communicate content for persons of all ages – cable Channel 15 is also an outlet for local programming – and ideas and projects are welcomed.

“The best first step is to email me with the idea you have,” said Peter A. Cowles, media systems specialist, for the City of Westfield. 

Cowles noted that the initial idea doesn’t have to have a format or show plan at the beginning of the proposed project.

“Over the years of community radio and now community television, the best ideas have come from a single sentence,” said Cowles, adding after an initial conversation with the project producer for suitability on Channel 15, there are then forms to reserve studio space or to borrow field equipment.

Camera equipment that can be loaned out for projects to air on local Channel 15. (PETER COWLES PHOTO)

“So, in a public access television setting almost nothing is rejected,” said Cowles, noting there are exceptions – from a business commercial to content with profanity or nudity.

“The whole point of public access is to bring community programs to the air,” he said.

A phone conversation with Cowles includes the basics of producing a show and once the program logistics are set in motion, he is hopeful his involvement is minimal.

“I would love for community members to become volunteers and are able to use the space with minimal supervision and have great shows come out of the studio and put on Channel 15,” said Cowles.

Cowles said he “will always be around” to guide and answer questions, but the “whole point” of Channel 15 programming is to give the community access to “really good television equipment.”

“If you are a community producer it is your content and vision,” said Cowles. “Westfield Community Programming is a vehicle to get that vision recorded and on the air.”

Once an idea is generated and accepted, Cowles is also hopeful that the project is completed “fairly quick.”

“There is no real timeframe, although I am not going to lend you equipment over and over for new programs if you have projects not completed,” said Cowles.

Programs can run 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes, but Cowles noted he has done programs from 2 minutes to two hours and beyond.

“I think that there are so many avenues for content nowadays,” said Cowles, adding, “but, Westfield Community Programming is growing as a local source of news, information and entertainment.”

Inside the workings of Studio 120 at Westfield Technical Academy. (PETER COWLES PHOTO)

Cowles noted that with a presence on the internet at for streaming, “We can reach people who have ‘cut the cord.’ Also, original Channel 15 programming is located on Youtube on our Westfield Community Programming Channel page.”

Cowles added that the Community Radio-TV shows have a Youtube Channel all their own – WSKB Community Radio.

“That whole project has evolved so much over the past seven years and I am really proud of the volunteer hosts who do a great job and add so much to this community,” said Cowles.

Cowles said he has “marveled” at the leaps technology has made since he was in high school and volunteered at Springfield Community Television.

“I would like to appeal to all of the ‘you tubers’ out there,” said Cowles. “Please think of Channel 15 when you are creating YouTube content and share it with us to air on the channel.”

Cowles added that quality video is now found in one’s pocket.

“I can show you how to take better videos with what you have, or load equipment to bring your vision to the screen,” he said.

For more information, Cowles can be reached via email at [email protected] or call the office at (413) 642-9415.

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