In a letter to Livermore Mayor John Marchand, who is this year's chairman of the Tri-Valley television board of directors, Clarkson said his city's decision to withdraw from the local system was "based on the economic realities the city is facing in San Ramon. The switch will save San Ramon about $75,000 a year in broadcast fees."
TV30, as Tri-Valley Community Television is frequently called, broadcasts on channels 28, 29 and 30. With Clarkson gone, the board is now made up of the mayors of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton.
At a special meeting last week, the TV30 board accepted Clarkson's letter and the mayors agreed to seek their councils' approvals to make up the difference of the $65,973 impact that the loss of San Ramon's budgeted fees will mean. Under the proposed 2012-13 budget, Dublin was due to contribute $70,000; Pleasanton, $118,300; and Livermore, $122,500. The fees are based on the number of Comcast subscribers in each city, with additional revenue generated by TV30 sponsors and its foundation.
Melissa Tench-Stevens, TV30's executive director, said the budget for the current fiscal year that started July 1 is $527,342.
Clarkson joined others on the San Ramon council to vote 5-0 to switch to Contra Costa television with most arguing that TV30 wasn't giving San Ramon enough coverage to warrant the expense. Unlike the other three cities, San Ramon's City Hall is not "hard-wired" for TV30 broadcasts. Instead, a mobile unit is dispatched to the city to videotape each meeting and then broadcast it a day or two later. Clarkson hasn't said how CCTV will broadcast meetings from San Ramon although there was talk at a recent council meeting of buying the cameras and wiring infrastructure needed to broadcast the meetings live.
In leaving TV30, Clarkson will lose his twice-monthly interviews with the other Tri-Valley mayors in a program called "Mayor's Report," a popular feature on TV 30 that is aired repeatedly after it is taped. The council meetings also have been broadcast frequently on TV30 after they're held. CCTV will rebroadcast them only twice.
Eight studio shows and three field-produced shows currently air on TV30. In addition to the Mayors Report and the council meetings for each city, the other programs include Tri-Valley Community Focus, Tri-Valley Sports Final, COPPS, Valley Health Care, Conversations, Slice of Life, In A Word, Valley Gardener, Let's Talk Sports, Your Schools, holiday events and special city meetings.
Although San Ramon cable subscribers will continue to receive TV30 broadcasts over channels 28, 29 and 30, coverage of San Ramon civic, city and community events will no longer be shown on TV30, although some are expected to be picked up by the Contra Costa station.
Sports coverage of San Ramon area high schools also will be discontinued with San Ramon quitting the system, Stevens said.
Mayor Jennifer Hosterman of Pleasanton said she urged Clarkson to persuade his council to stay with TV30, but she was not successful.
"We will miss Mayor Clarkson and his mayor's report on the issues affecting San Ramon," she said.
Coincidentally, San Ramon's exit comes as TV30 is ramping up its local coverage of community affairs and gaining new sponsors in an effort to reduce the subsidies now provided by the three cities.
"We'll now have the capability to focus even more intensely on the three cities we serve," TV30 Executive Director Tench-Stevens said.
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