1/21/2016 5:19:00 PM Putting the public back
in cable T.V. public access
Having retired from a career portraying Ronald McDonald-- yes THE Ronald McDonald-- the newly-hired Chisago Lakes cable television public access coordinator is no stranger to being in the public eye. His lifelong pursuits in performing, marketing, video production and the arts served Jack Doepke well in his public relations career, and they will again in this new chapter in his life.
He is excited about bringing the community together at the intersection of information and imagination.
Doepke (pronounced dep-kee) was contracted for the job for one year, basically developing the brand new position of public cable T.V. access coordinator. He gets a stipend of around $1,000 per month.
Cable Commission members represent Shafer, Lindstrom, Chisago City and the Chisago Lakes school district. (Center City and Taylors Falls opted out of the joint powers) and the commission meets monthly at the school board room. The vote hiring Doepke was unanimous at the January meeting.
The restructuring of operations was a goal of the commission members, who want to get more “public” involved in public access.
Doepke moved his family to the western edge of Chisago Lake 24 years ago, looking for a salt-of-the-earth community that wasn’t too far from metropolitan cultural opportunities. He quickly became known for his video projects for local businesspeople, and arts events. He has run his own production business Star Prairie Studios since 1991. One of his hobbies, among many, was being the talent and producing a local talk show “Nosey Neighbor” on the cable T.V. public access channel.
As a citizen appointee on the Cable Commission for Chisago City, he had to resign in order to work for the commission, so there’s currently an opening for a non-elected person from Chisago City.
Doepke’s creative works include DVDs of historical pageants, recording local school performances and a PSA package for a special needs kids’ camp at Ojiketa, for youth with Crohn’s and Colitis Disease. (The camp program has been relocated to central Minnesota.)
Doepke says this public access potential is a community resource that needs to come out of the shadows. The timing is perfect right now for the cable access to go nuts. He looks forward to planned equipment upgrades taking place at local government levels which should facilitate viewing meetings and public hearings. He wants to make the cable T.V. studio at the high school much more user friendly. An after-school program would be fun, and he’d like to see students making pieces for cable T.V. about students and developing teams of interested people who will go out in the field and stream sports or tape special events. YouTube and website video are way under-utilized locally and he will also work on this.
Doepke will be enjoying the potential of the commission’s space at Chisago Lakes High School, right alongside a planned new programmer-technician, who the commission extended an offer to but had not been confirmed yet.
Operations of the commission, studio space and equipment are funded by cable franchise fees remitted by the company holding the area franchise. Budgets and expenditures are approved through the commission.
Doepke stated, “I like to use my creative skills to bring people together.”
With the everyday use of high quality phone-cameras, the hurdle of providing “equipment” and training is no longer the big deal it used to be. He says, there’s no reason Chisago Lakes Cable Public Access Channel 10 shouldn’t be bursting with useful programming. Doepke aims to involve everybody from senior citizens to students, from Lions Club to stage performers, to help make that happen.