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On Jan. 25, Local and state town leaders and members of the board of Totoket TV look on as Station Manager Walter Mann cuts the ribbon on the new home of North Branford's community access television station. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Totoket TV board chairman Bill Choti thanks the town and others who have supported the station's transition to its new location. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Guests tour and talk about the new studio space, including State Senator Christine Cohen, center/second from right. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Totoket TV's new master control room includes state of the art equipment. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Station manager Walter Mann shares some of the photos in the lobby which pay tribute to the 19th century town building's history as a former school, grange hall and senior center, among other uses. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Totoket TV's new home is in the former North Branford Hall at 1675 Foxon Road. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
The main set in the studio at the new Totoket TV station in North Branofrd. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
The board of Totoket TV hopes its new, accessible location on Foxon Road/Route 80, as well as its larger work space and studio space will draw more members of the community out to participate in creating programs. The stations offers free use of equipment and free training. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Totoket TV's new building sign, soon to be installed, was shared at the ribbon cutting. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Totoket TV has built it; now the community is invited to come on in. On January 25, North Branford's community television station cut the ribbon at its new home at 1675 Foxon Road.
The ribbon cutting was attended by a crowd of well-wishers including Totoket TV's Board of Directors, State Senator Christine Cohen (D, District 12), State Representative Vincent Candelora Jr. (R, District 86), Deputy Mayor Rose Marie Angeloni, Town Council member Al Rose, Town Manager Mike Paulhus and several town department heads. Current Totoket TV board members include chairman Bill Choti, vice chair Nick DiLizio, treasurer John Ardine, secretary Sherry Ardine and board member Dan Armin.
"We're very proud of what we accomplished inside this building, and we want to thank the Town Council members for all of their support to put this together, and members of the delegation from state for coming in today," said Choti, ahead of helping the group celebrate cutting a purple ribbon with an oversized pair of purple shears in the station's lobby.
To create Totoket TV's new commmhas completely overhauled the interior of an historic, town-owned building. Built in 1876, it was last used as the town's Senior Center, which had its programming moved to the Stanley T. Williams Community Center in 2013. The town invested approximately $15,000 to bring the building up to code and is leasing it to Totoket TV with a three-year renewable lease.
Work to upgrade the building's interior began on October 1, said station manager Walter Mann. All told, Totoket TV invested about $30,000 to develop offices, studio spaces, editing and control room areas. The highlight of the station is its spacious new studio, which includes a main set with a brick façade wall background, several interchangeable background panels, a green screen curtain and stage curtain suspended from an installed studio track. The studio's overhead lighting is affixed to a newly installed steel grid. The studio's master control room other state of the art equipment was purchased over the past few years with $125,000 in grants, said Mann. The building overhaul also involved installing new floors, new LED lighting, new ceiling panels and a deep scouring of the building's commercial kitchen, which Mann said can be made available for future cooking shows, among other applications.
Totoket TV's studio currently produces a regular public access show, "I Wanna Know with Dan Armin," together with other community TV coverage of local events, meetings and programs. Totoket TV's small staff also provides live and streaming video of town government and education commissions, councils, boards and committees. Additionally, the station helps support the educational access channel studio at North Branford High School. Totoket TV airs programming on Frontier and Comcast cable TV channels, on its website via YouTube and as live streaming and video libraries on Totoket TV's Facebook page.
Since the inception of Totoket TV, all of the equipment and studio spaces have been available for the community for use to produce their own videos to be aired on Totoket TV. The station has always been there to provide free training, production facilities and air time for programming that highlights a point of view, artistic endeavors and other interests to be shared with local residents. Mann said Totoket TV's new, very visible and accessible location allows it to become a viable community media center, and the hope is it will draw in many citizens interested in creating programs and videos to air on Totoket TV.
"It's an area we're going to focus on," said Mann. "We were on the second floor of an office building before, and the visibility and accessibility was really not there. Now that we have this building, we're going to work to build a lot more involvement."
Mann joined Totoket TV a few years ago to help its board, which operates under the bylaws of the North Branford Public Cable Access Group, Inc., upgrade the station and its equipment, and build it into a busy facility like those Mann also manages in Branford (BCTV) and North Haven (NHTV). He's excited about the future of Totoket TV and invites interested parties in North Branford and Northford to contact the station about getting involved.
"In terms of involvement, we're really starting at the ground floor," said Mann.
Totoket TV is located at 1675 Foxon Road, North Branford. To contact staff, call (203) 484-7084 or email info@TotoketTV.org For more information, visit www.TotoketTV.org or find Totoket TV on Facebook.