The Portable Channel tape collection consists of 910 videotapes in various formats; the majority of the material is ½ inch open reel with some ¾ inch and a few examples of 1 inch and quad. About half of the videotapes in the collection were produced for HOMEMADE TV that ran from 1972 to 1975 on WXXI-TV in Rochester, NY. The programs varied in format and content but were united by the goal of expanding television by encouraging community involvement in TV production.
Visual Studies Workshop is currently raising funds to transfer this important collection of community television to digital.
[Original caption] A behind the scenes documentary examining the premises, practices and pressures of the broadcast medium and how they shape commercial news shows. This program won the “DEMMY” award as the best locally produced documentary in 1974-1975.
First broadcast on WWXI-TV, Rochester, New York, in March 1975
Bonnie Sherr Klein and Sanford Rockowitz
[Original caption] If community television is to be meaningful, involvement by viewers must extend beyond passively watching a program. Cable Report is part of a cable education process. Using half-inch videotapes from the annual National Cable Television Association Convention as a springboard, Portable Channel held a town meeting on “Cable” in WXXI-TV’s studio. Public officials, cable experts, and interested citizens discuss cable television. In addition to taking telephone questions and comments, people watching the program were invited to participate in the discussion which continued long after the program left the air.
First Broadcast on WWXI-TV, Rochester, New York, September 1973
Bonnie Sherr Klein, Sanford Rockowitz, and Judy DiSisti
[Original caption] A retrospective of the first year of programming on HOMEMADE TV, with an informal discussion of its relation to our television environment and a look at how it is created.
First broadcast on WXXI-TV, Rochester, NY in 1973
Self-Help Productions and Portable Channel
[Original caption] Produced by a black media group with assistance from Portable Channel, this program illustrates the use of video as a cultural exchange. In its look at two local black organizations, it presents a casual and revealing perspective that would be difficult if not impossible for a non-black outsider to perceive and document. “Monroe County Community Organizers” features scenes from the People’s Club, People’s Liquor Store, and Youth Federation run by the non-profit corporation to provide economic stability for its service programs in the poor community; the Haiti Afro-American Cultural Center features art and music.
First broadcast on WXXI-TV, Rochester, New York in October 1973
Bonnie Sherr Klein, Steve Manes, and Dave Christoff
[Original caption] Glimpses of old people as individuals rather than as social statistics. The program includes a 76-year-old woman baking strudel in her apartment, a birthday for the 98-year-olds, a conversation with elderly residents of a nursing home, and senior citizens putting together a variety show at a neighborhood center. This is the pilot program of an experimental series called Homemade TV. This series constituted the first example of cooperation between a video group using half-inch videotape equipment and a public television station, and serves as a model for the kind of programming that arts, cultural, and community organizations can produce on cable and broadcast television.
First broadcast on WXXI-TV, Rochester, New York in November 1972