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By Jeb Bing

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About this blog: A longtime newspaperman, I have been editor of the Pleasanton Weekly since it was launched Jan. 28, 2000. I was a reporter and Neighborhood News editor at the Chicago Tribune for 13 years, and previously a reporter for the Advance...  (More)

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March Madness and TV30

Uploaded: Mar 15, 2013
If your Uncle Harry in Chicago needs a breath of spring air after the 10 inches of snow that city received this week, have him tune in to TV30 for a look at Arden Lane's nursery report on Pleasanton flowers. That's right, our TV30 that we watch on TV channels 30, 29 and 28 has gone global, easily accessible -- with no apps needed on laptops, iPads and smartphones -- simply by logging on to www.tri-valleytv.org/. This nonprofit television system has morphed from its infancy in 1978 and major operations problems a few years ago into one of the best-managed, best-recognized nonprofit, independent, community broadcast systems in the country.

At their meeting last Monday, the three mayors who are also TV30's board of directors -- John Marchand of Livermore, Tim Sbranti of Dublin and Jerry Thorne of Pleasanton -- approved another $400,000 annual budget for the system and also announced the station's biggest fundraiser, "March Madness," set for Friday night, March 22, at the John Madden Sports Center in Pleasanton. The fundraiser marks the start of an aggressive effort to make TV30 less dependent on the Comcast fees that cover capital costs and contributions of $376,800 from the cities it serves. Sponsorships also help, and the names of those organizations now appear on TV30's colorful and informative Web page.

The mayors also complimented Executive Director Melissa Tench-Stevens (in photo), who picked up the pieces of a nearly bankrupt failing system when the mayors hired her five years ago to make things right. Now on the air 24/7, TV30 often was off the air mid-program due to poor maintenance, bad equipment and a revolving-door employee problem, all which she fixed within months. She came with years of experience in nonprofit organization, television broadcasting and management, and with contacts in the industry that helped her solve technical problems and find the camera and production crew she needed.

Often seen managing the controls or even at the camera, Tench-Stevens and her crew are welcomed and often applauded at city and civic meetings and on the high school sports fields where her idea to televise football games for later broadcast has won TV30 thousands of first-time viewers in all age groups. As former Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena said at Tuesday's board meeting, TV30 viewers often found the station by surfing, now it's programmed into their TiVos and video devices for regular viewing.

Kamena is president of the new TV30 Foundation, the fundraising arm of TV30 that is sponsoring March Madness. The party will be held from 5-8 p.m. March 22 at the John Madden Sports Center at Goal Line Productions, 5959 Coronado Lane, in Pleasanton. For an admission price of $60, payable to the TV30 Foundation and tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations, participants can watch the Sweet 16 on 63-inch screens throughout the spacious studio while enjoying food, drinks and more.

Tench-Stevens and the TV30 board of Tri-Valley mayors will be there. I'll be there, too, to give support to this important broadcast asset in our community. Even Uncle Harry might want to tune in to enjoy a taste of spring in Pleasanton.

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