Carson public TV will elect new board | NevadaAppeal.com
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Carson public TV will elect new board

Jill Lufrano

Following a tumultuous year when porn mistakenly aired on prime-time television and embezzlement charges were filed against its director, Carson’s public television members will elect a new board this week.

Every seat on the board will be up for election.

“We’re always supposed to have elections, but haven’t in a couple of years,” said board member Peter Smith, a Carson City attorney. “We’re just starting off fresh.”

Carson Access Television Foundation will hold its annual membership meeting Thursday where members are encouraged to attend and elect the new board of trustees, Smith said.

The new board will be charged with hiring a new executive director, negotiate a franchise agreement with Charter Communications, funding for stations and switching the stations to digital production.

The public television foundation that oversees stations 10 and 26 fired its executive director last year after money came up missing. The former director was charged last month with misappropriating nearly $500,000 over the course of five years and paying back all but $80,454.

Board members delayed an election while the foundation sifted through the fallout from the alleged embezzlement.

“The station was in too much disruption,” Smith said.

Meanwhile, the foundation was hit with a new dilemma in February when one of its stations, CAT 10, inadvertently aired porn during prime viewing hours. The producer has since apologized for the mix-up and has signed an agreement allowing the station to view his submissions before they air. The station is also taking extra steps to clear tapes before they are aired.

City officials stepped offered financial assistance and help hiring new staff following the debacle. Community access television consultants were also recently hired to assist the foundation negotiate with Charter Communications and provide training for the new board.

Member and broadcaster David Morgan said he will run for a seat, saying the board needs more accountability, fund-raising and outreach.

“The board doesn’t have broadcast professionals on it,” Morgan said. “They need somebody that either does this for a living or has a lot of professional expertise in it.”

The station receives $110,000 a year from the city to operate and broadcast its public meetings on its second channel, Channel 26. The money comes directly from Charter cable customers, who pay 5 percent of their bill to cover the city franchise fees.

The nonprofit operation also receives grant funding, yearly dues by members and support from the community.

Four board members, Darren Winkelman, Smith, Kurt Hildebrand and Debbie Hilderbrand, will seek re-election. Members Carole Brewer, Frank Papaianni, Morgan and Judy White will run for a seat. Other members may also run and declare their candidacy Thursday.

Contact Jill Lufrano at jlufrano@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.