Public access television
station in New York City
. With headquarters in Chinatown
, the programming is designed to provide minorities and the working class with an outlet for expression. Programming ranges in genre from public affairs to the arts.
The station has a long and interesting history. It began in 1972, when Keiko Tsuno and Jon Alpert, who taught a workshop for filmmakers began to film their community of Chinatown. With funding from the city, they established an outlet for the Asian-American community, with programming in Chinese, films about the Asian-American experience and English language education programs.
As the 1970’s continued, program expanded into more diverse public affairs programming, including a weekly Saturday afternoon baseball game between DCTV staffers and Cuban diplomats. Their first major piece was composed in 1978, when Keiko and Alpert went to Vietnam to document the effects of the Vietnam War. The documentary, entitled: “Vietnam: Picking Up The Pieces” was produced for PBS and aired in 1978. In 1979, they moved to their now famous “Firehouse”, an abandoned firehouse on Lafayette Street in New York City.
Their programming continues, with the production of such programming as Pacifica’s Democracy Now! as well as independent films. According to their website, their productions reach an estimated audience of 100 million viewers a year. They have won numerous awards, including four Emmy Awards. In addition to their on-air programming, DCTV has continued to help up-and-coming filmmakers, including thousands of students learn both the mechanics and art to making films. In 2002, Jon Alpert and a group of filmmakers traveled to Afghanistan to produce the film “Afghanistan: From Ground Zero to Ground Zero”, a documentary examining and comparing the effects of September 11, 2001 on New York City and the bombing campaign in Afghanistan.
Regardless of the subject, all of their work seeks to fulfill their mission statement: “DCTV is devoted to making a technologically sophisticated medium available to marginalized communities. Many of our programs have been designed specifically to meet the needs of Latinos, Asian-Americans, and African-Americans. We are the only media arts organization in the nation to teach classes in Chinese, Korean, and Spanish, as well as English. DCTV is a proud recipient of the New York City Mayor's Very Special Arts Award honoring arts programs that are exemplary in serving the elderly and people with disabilities.”