Focus Community TV to ‘light up’ Main Street

Date: 6/25/2014

SPRINGFIELD – The new community television studios at the intersection of State and Main streets is designed to “really light up the corner,” Mayor Domenic Sarno said.

The new studios of Focus Community TV officially opened at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 23 and Sarno said the programming produced by the station and by Springfield citizens will emphasize the positive aspects of the city.

John Abbott, executive director of the community access station said, “This has been a project that has been some time in the making.”

Sarno revealed that later in the year the studios would be dedicated to honor the memory of former Mayor Theodore Dimauro. As Congressman Richard Neal explained, Dimauro was the first Springfield mayor to negotiate a cable television contract, a controversial move opposed by two of the area’s broadcast stations.

Neal was instrumental in setting up a cable television endowment, which helped finance the city’s public television efforts.

With the main studio having its wall on lower State Street composed of windows, Sarno said the studio has a “Today Show feel.”

Abbott explained that Focus on Springfield is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, which was funded through the new contract with Comcast. Focus on Springfield now has the responsibility of providing public access to the city’s three channels as well as broadcasting meetings of the City Council and School Committee, he added.

The new studio is on the ground floor of the first home for MassMutual, the insurance company built in 1908. The location has been vacant for a number of years, Abbott said. The new studio features a producer’s hub; state-of-the-art edit suites; new digital chip-based camera technology eliminating the use of tape; and a large studio and public space that can host events and broadcasts with an audience of up to 100 people.

There is also classroom space to teach people how to use the video equipment and produce their own programming; a green room for guests; a small “express” studio and a gallery space in the lobby of the station.

The facility will replace the studio in the Van Sickle Middle School, Abbott said.

“Building a genuine community television station is a good thing,” Station Manager Steve Cary said. 

For more information on Focus on Springfield, call 241-7500.