MACTA Featured Facility
MACTA is proud to highlight current members on a regular basis in this area of the website. The member features include facility and programming photos, answers to a short facility questionnaire, and a link to a recent production. We hope that you enjoy learning more about our latest featured member.
ParkTV - City of St. Louis Park
Park Cable Works started in 1980 as a nonprofit public access corporation. The City of St. Louis Park assumed responsibility in 1989 from Time Warner, also absorbing their equipment, three employees and channels. It was renamed SLPTV in 2006, then arrived at its current moniker, ParkTV, in 2007.
ParkTV serves the City of St. Louis Park, St. Louis Park Public Schools and private schools in St. Louis Park including Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
49,000, with around 10,000 cable subscribing households.
ParkTV is a staff function of the City of St. Louis Park and is overseen by the communications and marketing manager, who also serves as cable franchise administrator.
Three full-time program producers and six part-time production assistants who help with field productions.
A now-retired, longtime ParkTV employees shared the following for the benefit of MACTA members:
Park TV has been a vital part of the St. Louis Park community for a long time. It has been part of wildly divergent great moments in St. Louis Park history, from talk shows in the early 1980s (Park City Limits) explaining how to participate in the first curbside recycling collection in the state, through Vision St. Louis Park and redevelopment of Excelsior Boulevard in the 1990s to overflow crowds at Bob Dylan tribute concerts to “Shape up with Sheila,” to the pandemic-induced videoconference meetings of 2020 and now 2021.
Once, when taking live email questions at a League of Women Voters candidate forum, we received this question: “Would either candidate address the inherent inequality of odd/even sprinkling restrictions?” I scratched my head but passed it along to the moderator, who fortunately, had many other questions to ask. Later I thanked the emailer for the question and asked, what inherent inequality are you referring to? The answer is that there are more odd numbered days in the year than even numbered days. Then they confessed it was a joke!
Many years ago, when high school administrative aide (in charge of discipline), math teacher and football coach Lyle Hanks was mayor, there was a packed council chambers for a controversial vote. These meetings were always covered live on cable TV, and it was rare to see such a turnout. During the public testimony, there was applause of approval for one person’s comments. Mayor Hanks said, in his usual authoritative way, “There will be no more outbursts like that tonight, this IS NOT A PEPFEST!” Hours of testimony followed, but no more outbursts.
Live events are routine today, whether on the cable system, Facebook Live, YouTube or video streaming. But they were always fraught with peril, either content-wise or technically back in the 1980s and 1990s. One year we decided to cover the Parktacular Parade live, because we could! The production van would be only a half-block away from a live access point in Wolfe Park, so we ran the longest coax cable we had to the access point and the live coverage worked! However, when it was time to roll up the hundreds of feet of coax cable, it was a major chore for staff to wrestle it back on the cable reel, which caused much whining at the time and laughter for months afterwards. And then the kicker: in all the excitement of covering the event live, the director forgot to press “record” on the master record deck. Fortunately, there was a VHS backup recording.