Stability starting to surface at NACTV


By Eoin Devereux 
Neepawa Banner & Press

Though this year’s annual general meeting (AGM) for NACTV wasn’t quite as dramatic as had been seen previous years, that didn’t mean it still wasn’t as important for the future of the community access channel.

Just over a dozen people attended the non-profit organization’s meeting, which was held at the Neepawa Library on Tuesday, Oct. 24. The main focus of discussion was centred upon the future programming options and potential equipment upgrades, a nice change of pace from the dramatic tone of prior years. In 2016, NACTV nearly ceased operation, before announcing a last minute management agreement with the Neepawa Banner & Press. The year before that, there was much upheaval on the executive board, with what could be described as a volunteer coup against the chairperson at that time. After two years of dramatics, this year’s meeting could be perceived as downright boring, but in a good way.

The first order of business focused on the balance sheets year-over-year. For the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, NACTV made a profit of $840.01, with total income of $63,367.72 and expenses being $62,527.71. In 2016, the station posted a loss of $12,760.44, with income pegged at $78,357.70 and expenses listed at $91,118.14. NACTV general manager Ken Waddell said spending has been reigned in, to ensure long term viability.

“Certainly, we’ve cut some hours for paid staff. They’re [in the office] from 9:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m., four days a week, which is a shorter amount of time than previously. That’s one thing we’ve done. We have also cut out the number of paid position that were involved. We are starting to climb again in terms of staffing costs, so it’s a balancing act,” Waddell stated. “We have to be as efficient as possible with the use of your staff, as well as your volunteer base.”

The total accumulated debt for the station is around $11,000. Waddell said the only way to whittle down that debt is to increase the amount of ad revenue and donations generated per year.

As for future of programming on one of Canada’s last independent access channels, a recent survey distributed across the community had some interesting suggestions. Of the 34 total respondents, the vast majority expressed a preference towards the news oriented programs. In particular, Town Council, The Mayor’s Hotline and NACTV reads the news were singled out. Programming that was low on the list of popularity was the sports programming, such as hockey and baseball. Another item of note was the suggestion that more children’s programs might be a nice addition to the schedule. NACTV volunteer Dave Bennet said there were a few surprises in the survey results, but that it’s still a positive for them moving ahead.

“The sports [programs] being so low, was a surprise. But, that just may be due to the fact we’ have heard from the demographic that’s not interested. There were two responses with notes regarding the [Neepawa] Cubs baseball. Right now, we put a lot of time and effort into those events, so if nobody’s watching it, you think, as a volunteer, maybe we need to focus on something else,” suggested Bennet. The final matter on the evening was the election of the NACTV board. Members Dave Bennet, Myra Bennet and Pauline Zygadlo will return for the second year of their two-year term. Don Walmsley and Jean Borchardt were re-elected after competing their terms, while Jamie Willis, Michelle Walmsley and Rrain Prior were elected for the start of a two year tenure.