By Cassandra King, Little Falls Community Schools Intern
Little Falls Community Schools is running Charter LFCStv® Channel 181, making it simple for Charter subscribers to watch school events from the comfort of their home.
Channel 6 was the previous home for local programing, but after a temporary shutdown the channel returned, located instead on Channel 181.
Superintendent Steve Jones contacted Dave Girtz in spring 2014 about getting the channel up and running again. That, along with Charter offering the spot again, prompted Girtz to start new in the fall of 2014.
“Local programing is really important,” said Girtz. “With the Internet allowing streaming, cable has taken a hit.”
Of course, there have been some changes since Channel 6.
The city of Little Falls, upon recommendation by the Cable Board, wanted to keep the government and education channels separate, so Great River Art runs the government side on Channel 180 while Girtz and the school do the programming on Channel 181. Girtz also noted the change in the equipment. Years ago, it required large equipment with tons of cords to film. Now, Girtz can stream live video with only an iPad.
Live streams are only able to be viewed online on the website http://thecube.com as of right now. Girtz uses the The Cube to broadcast live streams, whereas Channel 181 content must be recorded and then put on the channel.
Much of the channel features school sporting events, concerts and ceremonies from the elementary schools, middle school and high school. Girtz said there are also old archive videos from up to 30 years ago that he shows. The programming can be found online through the school website at http://bit.ly/LFCStv181.
Girtz has been instrumental in running Channel 181, but others, including Mark Diehl, the district director of technology, have also played important roles. Students have also helped with the channel. Flyer Media Productions, a video club at Little Falls Community High School (LFCHS), has helped with the filming of high school and middle school events.
In the future, Girtz said he hopes to “offer more programming from the high school that kids can help out with to put on the cable channel.”
A future goal for Girtz and Channel 181 is to have the ability to go to any school building and do a live broadcast.
Girtz said he hopes to expand filming to the hockey arena next year, and also plans to film more outdoor events. The unpredictable weather has made filming outside a challenge in the past, so Flyer Athletic Boosters (FAB) donated its used concessions trailer for filming outdoor broadcasts. Baseball and softball games are on Girtz’s list of future broadcasts and he also said he will film the 50th anniversary of the Lucky Lindy cross country meet this fall.
As with all technology, not everything goes smoothly. “I’ve learned that you have to think on your feet a lot,” said Girtz. “It’s been fun. It’s been really challenging.”
Cassandra King is a student intern at Little Falls Community Schools.