Access Tucson, Channel 12 to share facility
The city's Channel 12 will move to Access Tucson's downtown facility, and both operations will be funded equally, the City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday.
The city television channel, which cablecasts City Council meetings, will move this spring or summer.
Access Tucson, which had 60 percent of its funding eliminated when the city cut outside agency funding, will see its budget stay at $300,000.
Tucson 12 has been receiving $950,000 yearly from the city, plus rental costs.
Tucson 12 has a $150,000 lease on its current studios in the Pioneer Building at North Stone and East Pennington. The city will seek to get out of that ageement.
The move to Access Tucson's city-owned facility at 124 East Broadway is expected to cost $200,000.
Councilman Rodney Glassman voted against the measure, which was introduced by Councilwoman Karin Uhlich. Glassman's proposal to eliminate all funding for Access Tucson and have Channel 12 provide some public access programs did not receive support from the rest of the council.
Sam Behrend, executive director of Access Tucson, said the move by the city "is really important for the preservation of community media in Tucson."
The public access facility has been closed since Feb. 10 while discussions between Access Tucson, Tucson 12 and the city manager's office took place.
Although they had announced that they would reopen March 23, Access Tucson officials hope to do so more quickly. "We want to do it as soon as possible," said Behrend.
"The commitment to parity for government access and public access gives me a lot of hope," said the Access Tucson leader.
The vote means Access Tucson will operate on a base budget of less than a third of its funding of a few years ago. The public access provider received just over $1 million in 2008. Tucson 12's budget for fiscal year 2010 is $947,000.
The city seems poised to dedicate the potential savings from co-locating the two agencies to public access, Behrend said. "We need some clarification on that. We'll be stepping up our fund-raising, and look to diversify our funding," he said.
Access Tucson has 14 employees. Tucson 12 has 9.5 full-time equivalent employees.
Disclosure: Access Tucson acts as a fiscal sponsor for TucsonSentinel.com. However, there is no connection between Access Tucson’s budget and that of TucsonSentinel.com.