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Forget Seinfeld re-runs, watch Cable 6 As much fun to watch as it is to create By Chris Woodall Whistler's community cable station has a lineup of shows planned that won't challenge the CBC or the Fox Network for TV supremacy, but should make for interesting viewing this summer and fall. Several programs are still in the planning stage. Times and dates for the shows will be published at a later date. Because volunteers are needed to make the productions happen, the good news is that you — yes, you on that couch there — could be involved as a camera person, or on-air personality. Among the new programs planned are: o ETV — Also known as "Environmental Television," this AWARE show is produced by Alex Nikolic. Alex was a keener when it came to enlightening himself about TV production and was able to combine that with environmental issues. The ETV show features in-studio interviews with AWARE's Stephane Perron talking about the group's goals and concerns, and municipal councillor Ken Melamed talking about environmental issues the municipality is dealing with. The show is a half-hour every month. o The White Stuff — Cable 6's longest serving volunteer, Paul Fournier, has just wrapped up production of the first season of this skiing and snowboarding show. He hopes to double this season's four episodes during the 1998-99 season. o Hot Wheels — In the meantime, Fournier is blasting ahead with hosting and producing the second season of his mountain biking show. Watch for it and you'll see why it rips, eh? o Whistler's Fishing Sea to Sky — Every other TV channel has a fishing show, so why not Cable Six? The show will feature a variety of fishing topics — but predominantly fly fishing — in our lakes. Program producer Scott Elliott says segments will include Lake Spotlight, Conservation Corner, and Fishing Kids. "Look at B.C., it's so beautiful," says Elliott. "Fishing is a fun way to experience it." Shooting is scheduled to begin at the end of May. o Take a Hike — No, wait, don't go yet, that's just the name of a show. The title describes another great way to get out and experience B.C., and Whistler in particular. Production for this new show is also happening this month, with each episode featuring a local hike that can be done in less than a day. Local experts will advise what to wear, what to bring, how to not get lost and how to avoid having an unwanted encounter with a black bear. A host with a love of the outdoors is still needed for this program. o Golf for Seniors — The swinging set are enjoying an amazingly early start to the golf season and Alan Eaton is hoping to take advantage of the great weather with his golfing show. He is preparing five episodes of golf tips aimed specifically at seniors, but no doubt they will be of some use to golfers of all ages. Topics will cover golf stance, grip, back swing, putting and staying in shape. o Slo-Pitch Live! — The hundreds of slo-pitch players in Whistler will have a pretty decent chance to see themselves on Cable Six TV as it provides coverage of all slo-pitch divisions, as well as the Orthodox League. Volunteer camera operators and on-air hosts are required for these shows. o Plugged In! Whistler — Making its debut this summer on Cable Six, this magazine-style news show follows the "Plugged In!" format of other community channels across Canada. The show will feature local news, sports events and community group activities. It will be broadcast Sundays at 6:30 p.m., with an initial time slot to be twice a month. Plans are to go weekly by the ski season. Call Cable Six program director Peter O'Donnell for more information: 932-6116. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) used to require every cable system of Whistler's size to provide a community channel. Funding for it was to come from cable TV revenues. Now, the local cable company can choose to fund a community cable channel out of revenues, or donate an equal amount to the Canadian Production Fund, which helps Canadian programs such as Due South and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. For many small systems, providing a community cable channel was too much, especially if the channel wasn't being used. The new regulations, therefore, are a "use it or lose it" proposition. "I'm trying to make the entire community aware that this is their TV station," says Cable Six's O'Donnell. "Any individual, community group or non-profit organization can get their message 'out there' for free." Time is the biggest hurdle you'll face, O'Donnell says. Volunteers should be able to commit at least five hours a week. It helps to know how to handle a TV camera, too. "It may sound silly, but I need people who can pick up a camera and at least know how to turn it on and point it at something," O'Donnell says. "We do provide some training, but really, the basics of camera operation and shot composition must be there." O'Donnell is Cable Six's jack of all things: producing, shooting, editing, training, program scheduling, answering phones and, most important, drinking coffee. "One area I really need help in is producing," O'Donnell says. "A producer is an organizer. He or she does the leg work and makes all the calls necessary to make a production happen," O'Donnell says. "Ideally I would like to have one or two people who would call and say something like: 'On Saturday we can do a piece on the Whistler Dog Lovers. At 9 a.m. we interview the president; at 10 a.m. the vet will talk about caring for your dog; at 11 a.m. a lady will show us how to groom a dog; and at noon we meet a kid who just lost his dog to a Valley Trail roller blader'." Organizers of events or community group leaders often forget that Cable Six is there to trumpet media exposure for them, O'Donnell says. "A good producer would seek out stories or events to cover, and make all the necessary calls to arrange for Cable Six cameras to be there," O'Donnell says. Before you start running to Cable Six's headquarters, however, you should know that the producer's position is a volunteer one. But hey, it can lead to a future in TV where they actually pay you, O'Donnell says. A lot of YTV, MTV and other cable networks have people who got their start putting together community programming as a volunteer.

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