[Kirby / MacArthur Meeting]

May 11-12, 1990, Chicago. Raw footage of a planning committee for a 24-hour, innovative independent TV channel, composed of various independent videomakers and William T. Kirby of the MacArthur Foundation. People pictured onscreen include: Virgil Grillo, Dee Dee Halleck, Dee Davis, Jon Alpert, John Schwartz, Bill Kirby, Lillian Jimenez, Tom Weinberg, Jim Martin, Steve Pearce, and Woody Wickham.

00:00:00Copy video clip URL Virgil Grillo opens the meeting: “we undertake to request support for an experimental pilot project, operating 15 hrs a day…”

00:03:45Copy video clip URL Dee Dee Halleck reviews who will make up the advisory board.

00:09:07Copy video clip URL Five year goals for the channel. Halleck gives an overview of what the programming schedule might be for the channel. Tom Weinberg, “It’s a critical thing to be building the kind of networking that we’ve all been working on but have never had a structure to put it in, this is the structure to put it in.”

00:16:00Copy video clip URL Lillian Jimenez, “What I’m more concerned with is the process under which you begin to harness the successful models in creating this new entity. Are there lessons that have been learned that strengthen the info-structure for this kind of programming?”

00:18:30Copy video clip URL Day two of the meetings, this time with Bill Kirby of the MacArthur foundation. The beginning of the meeting if mostly a discussion of the planning/advisory committee, when it will be formed and who should participate.

00:29:38Copy video clip URL Dee Davis, “Public television, they never do anything in this region, in the South, in the farm belt. It’s a very important criticism, there are five or six producing stations and what they do in their towns is considered national.”

00:30:55Copy video clip URL Groups discusses the desire to “galvanize viewers to become active and informed citizens in their community.” Bill Kirby, “We say these things are not really represented on television, except through the independent media, and they are now going to have a channel where they can be heard….You’re flying the flag of the independent community where these societal things are recognized and treated.”

00:36:20Copy video clip URL Possible names for the network. “The Alternative Network, United Airwaves, Pro-Choice…” Kirby, “There’s a general feeling that the existing networks really don’t serve anywhere near what they could serve, so we have to have an alternative.”

00:40:25Copy video clip URL Kirby, “Foundations have seen too many proposals that come in, and if funded, will carry a good message to nowhere….Take things that foundations are interested in, community affairs, abuse of women, any of these things, if you can show that the channel is designed to give a place for that kind of material, then you’re doing what they would like to see done.”

00:47:33Copy video clip URL Lunch break, people give five year plans for the network.

00:49:00Copy video clip URL Before leaving, Jillian Jimenez gives her five year plan. “I would like to see this network transmitting on a twenty-four hour basis, programming for children and all of the groups that we’ve talked about…I would like to see a really strong process created where we come together with all the groups that are not at this meeting to create a new vision, and empower and move people not just in terms of social action, but as human beings.”

00:50:30Copy video clip URL Dee Davis’ five year plan. “We’re going to create a television network that feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, helps the lame walk, and brings Bonanza back into our households.”

00:51:50Copy video clip URL Steve Pearce’s five year plan. “A network that encourages people to make television, not just watch it, and to get out and do things about issues they feel are important instead of watching them on TV. In fact, I hope we have a twenty-four hours satellite network that no one is watching because they’re all out there doing something about what they watched they day before.”

01:01:20Copy video clip URL Dee Dee Halleck gives an complete hour by hour schedule for the network, which includes a live satellite feed of the sun rising all over the world, news, “two-year old TV”, Gabriel Garcia Marquez reading his works, an independent soap opera specially commissioned by the station, kids doing the news, independent national news, including green news and media news, live responses to the news by people on the street but also people like Angela Davis and Studs Terkel. Also, an international portion with live correspondence, community activists, segments from “The 90s”, “Night Owl TV,” and “Spike Lee ’til dawn”.

01:09:38Copy video clip URL Riding in a taxi with Bill Kirby, who gives a historical tour of Chicago from the passenger seat.



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