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Welcome to HCTV: Here’s our Story

Helena Civic Television is the culmination of over 10 years’ effort by a dedicated group of local citizens. The Helena Television Coalition, Inc., worked with local government officials to negotiate a franchise agreement with the local cable TV provider. Franchise fees collected from cable customers provide the financial basis for HCTV. This is how community-based “public, educational, and governmental” (PEG) television stations are funded across the country.

In 2001, the Coalition, doing business as HCTV, was awarded a multi-year renewable contract with the City of Helena to produce and air City Commission meetings and to cover other educational, cultural, and governmental activities of public interest. In 2004, HCTV signed a multi-year contract with Lewis & Clark County to cover County Commission meetings and other events and activities county-wide.

HCTV has moved beyond the bounds of most local PEG stations, and is positioning itself to provide public affairs programming from the capital city to a statewide audience. In 2003, HCTV entered into a contract with the State of Montana to provide gavel-to-gavel, unedited (C-Span style) coverage of that year’s Legislative Session. Following a successful effort to videotape every House and Senate floor session as well as many committee hearings, and to telecast many of these proceedings live on Channel 189 in Helena, HCTV obtained a new contract to cover Committee meetings during the 2003-2004 Interim as well as the 2005 Legislative Session, and has a mandate to seek federal and private sector funding to transmit its coverage of state government proceedings across Montana. (See the Television Montana page for more details.)

HCTV is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and is designed to reflect the interests and values of the local community. The “civic” in Helena Civic Television underscores the Board’s belief in the rights and duties of citizens in a participatory democracy. Most of what you will see on Cable Channel 189 are programs by and for the people in the Helena area. In the months and years ahead, we will feature local productions and imported programs of statewide interest as well.

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