Did you know that the Peralta Colleges have a television station? How about a radio station?
That's right, Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College have their own broadcast outlets featuring -- not only educational and community programs -- but award-winning documentaries, international programming and many other unique shows you just won't find anywhere else.
Peralta TV, seen in 350,000 households on cable channels 27 and 28 or on U-Verse channel 99, has a rather historic place among college TV stations: It was the first student-run cable TV station in the country. On Feb. 11, 1980, "Channel S," as it was then known, began broadcasting to 21,000 subscribers of Teleprompter Cable. The station was housed in Laney's theater building, and media students produced programs as part of their studies.
The station started cablecasting in Alameda in 1984 and used studios at the College of Alameda to produce student-directed programs. Planning had been in place for the station to move to Merritt College, which had a large television studio in the basement of the library, but that move never took place and the station changed direction. Professional staff replaced student workers and the focus became providing "telecourses" to the community. At its peak, telecourse enrollment allowed thousands of homebound students the chance to get a college education through television.
But as educational content moved online from TV, the station turned its attention to supporting the educational mission of the Peralta Colleges. Peralta TV now produces videos that feature college programs, classroom lectures, collegiate sports and faculty and student activities.
Branching out to social media: With more than 500,000 views, Peralta TV's YouTube channel has been an overwhelming success. If you missed the college commencement ceremonies, no problem, the station's locally produced programming can be seen on its YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/peraltatv). Broadcasting 24/7, the station airs 37 hours a week of Peralta Colleges-specific programming, including videos of the college graduations, Board of Trustee meetings, "PTV Sports," the "Academic Excellence" series and other popular programs such as "P-Span" and "Peralta Matters." Check the complete program schedule at www.peralta.tv.
Peralta TV's "little sister" is 9th Floor Radio, the Peralta Colleges' student and community Internet radio station. Founded nearly seven years ago, 9th Floor Radio -- named for the top floor of the administration building at Laney College, where it started -- broadcasts on the web and features 40 radio programs each week.
Eclectic is the word to describe what you'll hear from 9th Floor: blues, jazz, funk, hip hop, punk, alternative, classical, reggae, sports -- even Laney College concerts -- plus community affairs and more. You can join the station's more than 30,000 listeners through its website (www.9thfloorradio.com). Not only does the station stream live 24 hours a day, you can listen anytime to specific programs on-demand. Keep your ears open, as 9th Floor Radio is planning to apply for an FCC low-power FM
license in the near-future. This community gem is just too good to remain an Internet-only radio station.
Other news: We say goodbye to College of Alameda president Jannett Jackson, who is leaving the college to take over the chancellor's post at the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District.
We'll miss her and wish her the best in her new job.
Classes may seem like they just ended, but summer school is beginning next week at the Peralta Colleges.
There's still time to sign up for courses -- just check www.peralta.edu for course listings. Summer is a great time to take classes, so enroll now!
I'll have more summer fun next month as we continue to put the word "community" into community college.
Reach Jeffrey Heyman at firstname.lastname@example.org.