When you switch to the community channels on your TV, not much has changed — yet.
But in the next few months, Milford viewers will begin to notice a more professional appearance to the community access and government programs, and more shows, said Rob O'Keefe, the new executive director of Milford TV.
Milford TV is a non-profit corporation that took over public access television programming on Aug. 23. It is now building a state-of-the-art studio at 138 S. Main St., in the Milford Square plaza.
Until the studio is completed, the programs will continue to run from a temporary location at Milford High School. The studio on South Main Street is expected to be fully functioning by the end of October. Construction will be completed in September.
The new space will include a studio with three cameras and tele-prompters, a control room, separate editing suites and meeting space. The technical improvements that will change the quality of the cable-cast include installation of fiber connections, which will improve the signal, O'Keefe said.
"The issue I'm finding is people are used to this, they don't know how much better it can be," O'Keefe said. "When we get fiber, people will see the difference."
Financing for the new enterprise comes from fees on cable bills, which are paid by customers. Both Verizon and Comcast are paying 4 percent of their gross annual revenue for the programming.
The programming is still being planned, said O'Keefe, who started in July. But it is expected to include cablecast of school athletics, major games, government meetings, video on demand and a weekly news program.
Existing shows, such as That Milford Show, will continue. The educational component will continue with a dedicated channel for schools and School Committee meetings. The community access will allow anyone who lives in Milford with an idea to produce their own show, he said.
Do you want a cooking show? Do you want to talk about gardening? All ideas for shows will be welcomed, O'Keefe said. As long as the show complies with FCC regulations, it should be OK, he said. For now, he's taking requests through his email account, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The company will soon have a functioning website, too.
O'Keefe, the former program director at WMCT in Marlborough, has worked for seven years in cable access programming. He reports to a five-member board of directors. Andrej Starkis, a Milford attorney, is president of the board. Other members are Gary Castiglione, Josh Ingemi, Steve Minichiello and Mike Tempesta, who is principal of Milford High School.
The board is consulting with the executive director of Newton TV, for ideas and guidance.
Milford TV Educational will include School Committee coverage and education access for schools. This will be on Channel 11 for Comcast customers; Channel 40 for Verizon.
Milford TV Public Access will show the government coverage and public access programs. This will be on Channel 8 for Comcast customers; Channel 38 for Verizon.