RED HOOK, N.Y. -- For more than 20 years, PANDA TV23 has aired thousands of programs for subscribers to Time Warner Cable in the towns of Red Hook, Rhinebeck and others, but now it faces being silenced if the Village of Red Hook drops its funding from the town's 2016-17 budget.
If it does, this will likely to lead to extinction of our local television station, said PANDA Chairman David Miller.
"Panda is a strong and vibrant voice in our community. Whether it was a board meeting, a local sporting event, a town or village celebration, a historical program or an original video produced by a Dutchess County resident, PANDA has been there to offer each of us a voice," Miller said. "PANDA also runs a community calendar to keep all of you informed about upcoming events."
The station is supported through a portion of the ‘right of way fees’ that TWC pays to the five municipalities from funds it collects from its subscribers.
A ‘right of way fee’ basically means that TWC pays for the privilege of running its cables through each municipality. Since its inception, the five municipalities have given PANDA around 20 percent of these yearly fees to operate the station, Miller said.
"Without this modest share of municipal funding, PANDA will go dark," he added.
If one village or town opts out, the burden falls on the other four to pay more which is clearly unfair and most likely to create a domino effect where the other municipalities will feel pressured to follow suit rather than have to pay more than their fair share, Miller explained.
" Since the original Municipality Agreement in 1993, PANDA’s life has always depended on all five municipalities to pay their fair though modest share so that the people of Northern Dutchess County can have its public access TV (and now web) station," Miller said.
Miller is asking the residents of Red Hook and surrounding towns, to fight for PANDA TV by calling Red Hook Village Hall at 758-1081. For information, visit www.pandatv23.org .