TV Middletown will go dark and begin to change to an all social media/Internet system in coming weeks. Blame severe cutbacks in funding for the nonprofit community television station, officials said.
Continuing the “Positively Middletown” route, TV Middletown will be keeping up with the times and transitioning to social media and online programming, according to a prepared statement released Friday night.
Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, tvmiddletown.org, and other social media outlets will be used.
“We will take a new avenue to serving the community,” station manager Ty Thomas said in the statement.
Mike Scorti, TV Middletown board president, said, “When your revenues dwindle, you must cut back on expenses. We do not want to have outstanding debts so we will change our direction and will put the building up for sale immediately.”
With the new system, there will be no high school sport programming, according to the board. Middie and Fenwick football and basketball games will not be shown. Parades and regular programs such as public events, 8 Minutes in Middletown, TVM Café, Foundation Matters and others may not be shown.
Continuing will be wall-to-wall coverage of school board and City Council meetings.
Station funding comes from the city, through Time Warner Cable franchise fees and the school board. The city has cut its funding (about $112,000 in six-month increments), said Ann Mort, a station board member. With those sources and a fundraiser held earlier this year, the station is still about $60,000 short of what it needs to stay on the air, she said.
The station, with an annual budget of approximately $300,000, employs two people full-time and one part-time.
The TV Middletown building at Central Avenue and Verity Parkway, owned by TV Middletown, has undergone many repairs the last few years. It also houses the Safety Council, Community Pregnancy Center and Downtown Middletown Inc. on the first floor, TV Middletown on the second floor and has two other floors empty at present.
The building is home to a large mural depicting the city’s early canal days.
The TV Middletown board met Thursday to finalize what members said had become “quite evident in recent months” and agreed unanimously to make the programming changes and sell the building, according to the statement.