MINNEAPOLIS – Broadcasting from Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Falmouth Community Television (FCTV) provides residents with original programming and informative content.
An early adopter of the Cablecast platform, the station recently upgraded to a Cablecast Flex 4 server, enabling them to unify their programming and playout operations by bringing the previously independent educational channel into the same system as their public access and government offerings.
The public, education and government channels all feature their own community bulletin board, each powered by a Carousel system. In addition to airing on FCTV's cable channels between scheduled programming, the bulletin boards are available 24/7 online at www.fctv.org. In addition to presenting information about local activities, FCTV relies on Cablecast and Carousel to deliver updates to their community.
"A gamechanger for us was having the ability to work with the local emergency planning committee to post information that was critical and timely, when it absolutely has to get out," said Debra Rogers, executive director and CEO of FCTV. "Using the browser-based user interface, we can post emergency notices from wherever we have electricity and Internet connectivity, or even using cellular data on our mobile phones if our Internet link is down."
In addition to FCTV staff on call during emergencies, two members of the local fire department have been trained on Carousel and can post announcements directly or go live on the channel from Falmouth Fire/Rescue headquarters. FCTV's Cablecast deployment also integrates feeds from the National Weather Service using the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), automatically overlaying emergency alerts as text crawls on top of cable channel content. Such timely information is crucial to residents, given the number of major storms that hit the Cape Cod area.
The station leverages Carousel's multi-zone layout flexibility, dynamic data feed integration and seamless workflow with Cablecast to present updated weather information, emergency alerts, upcoming program schedules, social media feeds and more alongside bulletins from non-profit organizations, municipal entities, and community groups.
"I think about our bulletin board from the viewer's perspective," said Tony Sadera, program coordinator at FCTV, who designed the station's bulletin board layout. "It's great that we can have separate zones with different types of information for different viewers. The traditional bulletin board had one screen, and you had to wait through whatever was being shown to get to what you were interested in. Now viewers can tune in and see it all at once."
FCTV offers Carousel training courses and self-serve access that allow community organizations to create and publish their own bulletins. In addition to letting such users to get their notices on-air faster, it allows larger entities with their own branding guidelines to preserve their desired styles.
"One of the really nice features of Carousel has been allowing our local, regional and state organizations to maintain their own branding within FCTV's visual framework," added Rogers. "Our branding surrounds the page, but they can put their own branding within the on-screen zone. They can use our self-serve portal, or simply send us a finished JPEG to ensure their own look."
"The systems have helped us be an increasingly vital contributor to our community," Rogers concluded.