"CAT" Gets Another Life
The cameras and equipment are enough to give anyone a hunger for the limelight. At Stephens Hall, a room downstairs is starving for cash.
The city is trying to keep Columbia Access Television (CAT) on life-support with a bit more cash to spruce up the place.
"It was never intended to operate on a small amount of money," CAT treasurer Stephen Hudnell said.
Right now, the station operates with a budget of $30,000 a year.
Chase Thompson spends a lot of time volunteering at Columbia Access Television to make it all work.
"The station does a lot of good because it provides an alternative view to a lot of situations," he said.
However, CAT said it needed more funding in order to continue with its work.
"You cannot run a public access channel with a volunteer staff," Hudnell said.
But the low budget is not new for the crew.
"We've been able to scrape by every year just barely making it. If this light burns out right now, we won't be able to replace it. We're down to our last $600," Thompson said.
That was before the city voted to give CAT $15,000 to keep going. In addition to the money, city leaders want area cable companies to give five percent of their profits to the city in order to help fund projects like CAT.
"It's giving the citizens a place to go, to communicate with their local public," Hudnell said.
It could give CAT a stake in tax revenues, which are expected to be nearly $300,000. That could mean a big boost to a hungry beast.
"We need to feed the CAT," Thompson said.
The city council still has yet to decide how to distribute the cable franchise funds.