by Ron Cooper

Chicago’s Hyatt McCormick Place is the site for the 2012 ACM National Conference and Trade Show As you read this, I am on a Southwest flight, eating peanuts, and headed east for the July 31-August 2 program. The ACM annual gathering invites public, education, and government (PEG) community media leaders to share and learn from each other. Special plenary sessions, luncheon speakers and more than forty workshops and panels will be offered to attendees. Due to the innovative work Access Sacramento and our partner organizations have implemented in Sacramento County, I have been invited to participate on two panels – “Extending the Access Mission” and “The Search for Sustainability”.

“Extending the Access Mission” is a review of three different access centers and how they are expanding their services beyond cable television delivery. My focus will feature our 13th annual “Place Called Sacramento Film Festival” and the new web site, featuring neighborhood news, written by “Youth Correspondents” from communities throughout Sacramento County. Here’s the panel description: “Extending the Access Mission —  Using online, broadband and mobile capabilities, learn how public access organizations can grow their content and distribution footprints. Moderator: Merlyn Reineke, Montgomery Community Media – Presenters: Mauro DiPasquale, Worchester, MA; Ron Cooper, Access Sacramento, CA; Sonya Burke, Montgomery County Media

The second panel will be a round-table discussion on the topic of “The Search for Sustainability”. I plan to share several strategies we have employed at Access Sacramento to generate new revenue. I look forward to learning new ideas and approaches we might apply here in the future. Here’s the description and the participants:  “This facilitated roundtable discussion will center on a series of issues that Community Media Center managers, boards, staff, and advocates must address in order for PEG access to grow and evolve.  Funding options and expectations, technology evolution, political realities, governance structure updates, community partnerships, re-branding are just a few of the wide-ranging issues that will be discussed.This session will be structured to provide an opportunity for dialogue among all of the participants. Moderator: Sue Buske, President, The Buske Group; Presenters:  Mike Wassenaar, Executive Director, St. Paul Neighborhood Network; Suzanne St. John Crane, Executive Director, CreaTV San Jose; CA, Ron Cooper, Executive Director, Access Sacramento, CA and Laurie Cirivello, Executive Director, Grand Rapids Community Media Center”.

In the August 9th “Viewfinder”, I will report back to you what I learned. Your help will be needed in the coming weeks as Access Sacramento, Davis Media Access, the Sacramento Metropolitan Cable TV Commission, the Sacramento Educational Consortium, and KVIE are preparing to host the 2012 ACM Western Region Conference October 18-20 here in Sacramento at the downtown Holiday Inn. Stay tuned for details on how you can help make our event special. Now, if you will excuse me, I am trying to spot The Mount Rushmore National Memorial from 32,000 feet…. there it is! Bye for now…