Access Tucson History Highlights – a Chronology (1984 to Present)

1984history TCCC logo

July 2 – Access Tucson assumes responsibility for public access programming in Tucson, and begins cablecasting member programming on channel 37 of the Cox Cable system.

December – Nuevos Horizontes funding is inaugurated, designed to develop bilingual Spanish-English programs. A total of $120,000 is earmarked for this program, which will result in videos like “Brazos Cruzados” about three Central American women who fled the violence in their country, and “Receta para Salud”, information about health problems and ways to get treatment.


March – First Annual Oasis Awards for Cablecasting Excellence are held, featuring programs in eight categories.  In 1996 the awards had grown to 23 categories and over 150 entries.

July – Access Tucson takes ownership of the old VFW Building at 124 E. Broadway; it will be many months, a lot of demolition and remodeling, before the building is ready for use as a public access facility. In the meantime, a second public access channel – channel 64 – comes on line to cablecast member programming.

July – The cultural News Project was a grant-funded program created to test the waters of interactive television. The series producers created short documentary-style video segments that took the viewer from an archeological dig on the city’s east side to home life with a Tucson punk rock band,  or shopping with a peace worker living in Nicaragua, stories all told by the subjects themselves. These segments were offered to viewers as programming options during the live studio cablecast. The viewers then phoned in their choices, comments and opinions and determined the direction, content and flavor of the show. The Cultural news project received the National Federation of Local Cable Programers (NFLCP) award for best innovative series in July 1985.

November – The four-part “National Issues Forum,” presenting important social issues is cablecast. Featuring live and taped material with audience feedback, the forums are well attended. Topics include “Soviet-American Relations” and “The Welfare State”. Some things do change; others remain the same.

December – Cox Cable sells its Tucson cable franchise to McCaw Cablevision.


April – The live studio facility at 10 W. Congress is closed down, and moved to temporary quarters at McCaw Cablevision’s building at 1802 W. Grant Road. Editing/equipment check-out operations continue at 131 E. Broadway Blvd.)

July – Access Tucson revises and expands the training and instruction classes it offers.

November 11 – Renovation and remodeling is over (or at least much of it is) and Access Tucson consolidates its operations, for the first time, in its “new” building at 124 East Broadway Blvd. The date, Veteran’s Day, is appropriate, as what was once the VFW Hall in Tucson is transformed into another place designed to defend important principles like free speech. VFW Post 549 opened in 1932 and initially was Downtown at 124 E. Broadway, before moving about 30 years ago to 1884 S. Craycroft Road. It’s the second-largest VFW post in Arizona, behind Post 9972 in Sierra Vista.history access-tucson-building

A horde of staffers, volunteers and “friends” of public access help move equipment and supplies into the facility; the City even closed down two lanes of traffic on Broadway to help out.

December  – Two more public access channel, channels 3 and 51, come on line. Channel 51 becomes the first interactive public access channel in the country, allowing viewers with touch-tone phones to receive a variety of on-screen information about community activities and events.


January – Before there was Court TV, public access features comprehensive coverage of the trial of Frank Jarvis Atwood, accused (and later convicted) of the murder of eight year-old Tucsonan Vicki Lynn Hoskinson. Coverage of the trial, which draws large numbers of viewers, is produced by the University of Arizona Department of Journalism.

February – McCaw Cablevision sells its Tucson cable franchise to Cooke CableVision.

March – Access Tucson staffers take a 25% pay cut and volunteer to work the additional hours necessary to maintain current level of members services, to help cope with a budget crisis brought about by the delay in securing collateral for loans to renovate the new access facility.

April – Using a grant from the Nuevos Horizontes program, 5th and 6th graders from Carrillo School produce “View from Carrillo”, a series of 20 videos about their community, their neighbors and themselves.

June – City of Tucson Mayor and Council vote to eliminate almost $150,000 of annual funding provided.

July – Board of Directors passes a new budget that restores funding of services (and staff) to their previous levels.


Cooke CableVision buys the Tucson cable system from McCaw Communications.

TCCC intiates Community Calendar Coverage, serving local non-profit organizations.

TCCC member Rev. Bill Bowler hosts talk show with Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham.

February – Access Tucson producer Charlie Delgado receives a grant from the Arizona Humanities Council for her program “The Native People; Yesterday and Today” which presents Native Americans practicing traditional art forms.

June – Dave Bukunus and Randy Harris, producers of the “T.W.I.T.” (Tucson Western International Telethon) Show, finally call it quits after 138 episodes. The “T.W.I.T. Show,” three hours of live mayhem on most Friday nights, defined a certain style of public access programming – usually funny, inventive and accessible, but always unpredictable.

September – Satellite downlink coverage of NASA shuttles missions becomes available over the public access channels; NASA space missions continue to draw a sizable and dedicated viewing audience.

November – Access Tucson collaborates with the University of Student radio Task Force to develop radio programming on FM 104.1; this project evolves into KAMP, the student-operated radio station at the UA.

December – Pima County Superior Court uses the public access facilities to produce “Mediation: For Your Children’s Sake”, a tape for use by divorcing couples to better understand the effects of divorce on their children. The tape is cablecast on the public access channels as well as used during the divorce process in Superior Court.


January – “Call City Hall,” a series of one-hour, live televisions programs begins. Each episode is produced by staff from the Mayor (then Tom Volgy) or council member’s office. Important city issues are discussed, with citizens calling in to directly ask questions and give their feedback.

February – Project VITAL, a national program to train the developmentally disabled in video production both behind the scenes and in front of the camera, begins at Access Tucson. Produced with Pima County Adult Education Project RAISE, the unique curriculum enables students to participate in community-television projects and helps them develop skills that expand their employment possibilities.

March – With Access Tucson’s assistance, the Tucson Children’s Museum creates a one-camera studio to accompany their exhibit “News of the World.” The temporary studio gives kids hands-on experience with television technology; some of the videos made during the exhibit are shown on cable.

October – “Freedom of Speech in the Media: Who’s To Judge?” a two-day conference on about First Amendment issues, is held in Tucson. The conference, which brings together local and national speakers, is sponsored by Access Tucson, National Federation of Local Cable Programmers, Tucson Public Library, and the university of Arizona departments of Journalism and Media.

TCCC provides Tucson with complete NASA coverage of Voyager 2 first close-up look at the planet Neptune.


June – Cooke CableVision sells its Tucson cable franchise to Robin Cable Systems (operating as Tucson cablevision).

December – Access Tucson member Robert Flanagan produces “How Do they Do It?” a first-person look at living life with Cerebral Palsy. Flanagan, who fought to be accepted into the media program at Pima Community College, is also an intern for the inaugural class of Project VITAL.


February – The News Project debuts on public access. A collaboration between Access Tucson and the University of Arizona Media Arts Department, UA students enrolled in The News Project use public access facilities to produce live, weekly news shows.

June – Access Tucson wins the Community Communications Award for Public Access. Sponsored by the Alliance for Community Media, the national advocacy organization for public access facilities, this award recognizes the nation’s “best” access center.

October – Sun Sounds, a reading service for the print impaired, begins cablecasting it audio signal on public access channel 51. Teams of volunteers read newspapers, magazines, poetry and novels for individuals unable to read, hold or understand printed materials.

October – An episode of the public access series “The Great Satan At-Large” is deemed obscene by the Pima County Attorney’s office; the producer and three performers on the show are indicted by an Arizona superior court on four felony counts. Public access in Tucson has weathered its share of free speech battles; this becomes the most serious.

TCCC offers C-SPAN II, live coverage of the U.S. Senate to the Tucson community.

December – Access Tucson receives the Janice S. Armstrong Award from the Association of Retarded Citizens of Arizona, in recognition of public access’ support of people with disabilities.


February – Access Tucson’s Board of Directors responds to the “The Great Satan At-Large” controversy by implementing the Adult Program Policy, which balances First Amendment rights with public access’s responsibility to young members of the community.

June – “The Empty Closet” premieres on public access. The program is directed to young gays, lesbians and bisexuals, and episodes deal with issues of coming out, growing up gay, family relationships and AIDS.

Be True to Yourself, shot at TCCC, is the first program about gays and lesbians to be shown on Russian television.

Local TCCC producer Capt. Jeffery Prather is honored in Japan for his video Close Quarter Combat.

TCCC partners with the Tucson/Pima Arts Council to run the Arts Channel.

Producer Reverend Gilberto Marez starts Un Nuevo Dia’s televised sermons in Spanish.


Three local programs (Community Legal Forum, Bridges and Project RAISE) receive Community Impact Awards from the Alliance for Community Media’s Mountain States Region.

Producer Michael Ragsdale portrays life and poverty on Tucson’s streets in The Rags Show.

TCCC co-sponsors a reading of The Shadow Box by eight national actors along with Tucson Talks: An Issue of Free Speech, a community discussion on free expression and censorship in schools.


Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI) buys Tucson CableVision.

Tucson Community Cable Corporation changes its name to Access Tucson, reflecting a renewed commitment to help Tucson connect better with itself. Access Tucson is where Tucson’s on TV!

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Access Tucson initiates Local Matters, On-Line, the Community Producer Service and Interactive Video Bulletin Board to foster connections between non-profits and the community.

Access Tucson launches Direct Dialog, to help members create one-person, low-tech shows.

Access Tucson and the Etherton reopen the Gallery.


Intermedia (operating as Tucson Cablevision) sells its Tucson cable franchise to TCI.

Access Tucson begins providing free public internet access.

Access Tucson is honored for overall excellence at the Hometown Video Festival –

the world’s most prestigious festival for community TV.


Protracted license agreement negotiations between the City and TCI force Access Tucson to continue operations with severely reduced funds – service levels and staff are reduced and equipment purchases are frozen. A new 10-year license agreement is approved by City Council at year-end.

Producer Kita Scrivner releases her ambitious documentary about a Tucson landmark, Santa Cruz Church; A Year in the Life.


Cox Communications buys the Tucson cable system from TCI.

Producer Eddie Goldberger celebrates the 100th episode of Young at Heart, his show for

senior citizens.

Member Scotty Mills receives a Tucson/Pima Arts Council grant to produce his series Video P-Funk.

Access Tucson co-produces a series of public forums about alternative media called

Whose TV is This Anyway?


Marks fifteen years of public access.

Access Tucson implemented two highend production resources, a 32 ft. production

truck and a mini-mobile production box.

Access Tucson produced so much original programming in 1999 that we qualified for a new public access channel.

Expanded free Internet Access & channel streaming.

DVCPRO digital video cameras and the Trinity digital editing suite.

Local Matters is a 30-minute talk show featuring representatives from local organizations. In 1999 Local Matters reached a milestone–its 200th show.

The City of Tucson & Cox Communications conducted a survey of their Tucson customers in August of 1999.


Mini-DV format cameras for checkout.

$626,500 Economic impact of Alliance for Community Media International Conference held in Tucson in July, 2000 (estimated by Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Access Tucson provided space in the front lobby of our facility for four local artists to have solo shows.

Access Tucson collaborates with Descriptive TheatreVision to bring classic movies to the

visually-impaired community.


Access Tucson decided to convert totally: all digital, all the time, top to bottom. During the

talking and planning phase, five iMovie non-linear digital editing stations became available for

community producer use. One of the most talked-about digital conversions involves edit gear, especially a non-linear editing appliance called ScreenPlay.

High School Sports

This highly exciting project involves young people from several Tucson area high schools coming together to produce high school sports programming.

Youth Opportunities New Media Project

In January of 2001, Access Tucson entered into a partnership with Youth Opportunities (YO) and

Pima County. A grant from the U.S. Department of Labor is helping to fund the training of out-of-school youth in media production and academic skills.

Access Tucson was recognized with a community service award for “Innovation in a Program Serving Youth” from the Tucson Saguaro Rotary Club.

May, 2001 – The City of Tucson changes Access Tucson’s status to that of “Outside Agency”, thereby interrupting the designated funding from the cable operator. Access Tucson now must compete for the cable franchise fees alongside other non-cable related outside agencies.


During the summer of 2002, Access Tucson faced the prospect of a severe budget cut by the Mayor and City Council. This cut would have drastically affected the services used by all the people and organizations. However, the community rallied for Access Tucson, with over 200 supportive phone calls and emails in addition to in-person appearances at several City Council meetings. On Monday June 17, the Mayor and Council balanced the 2003 budget by a 4-3 vote without any additional cuts to Access Tucson’s budget beyond an already anticipated 10%.

Access Tucson airs Democracy Now!, one of Tucson’s only in-depth, alternative news shows dedicated to comprehensive civic journalism and committed to truth, justice, and peace.

Access Tucson expands its reach by providing channels to Comcast and the county.

Access Tucson provides media training for four women running for public office in Kazakhstan.

Access Tucson produces its first annual Building Free Speech panel discussion.


20 years of service to the community. Access Tucson grows to 19,199 members.

Access Tucson honored by The League of Women Voters for serving democracy through its distinguished coverage of election issues and candidates.

Access Tucson and KXCI 91.3 community radio invite Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!,

to talk about the importance of independent media in a time of war. More than 2,400 Tucsonans attended this event at Centennial Hall. Awareness of public access and Access Tucson increased

dramatically due to this event.

In addition to the public event, Access Tucson worked with the producers of Democracy Now! to produce Democracy Now!’s first ever remote broadcast. Democracy Now! is a daily national independent radio and TV news program pioneering the largest community media collaboration in

the U.S. The live broadcast from the Access Tucson studios was simultaneously broadcast to  nearly 200 community radio and public access stations across the country.

Access Tucson also contributes to the leadership of Public, Educational and Governmental Access through its participation on both the national and regional Alliance for Community Media (ACM) board of directors. Access Tucson staff members have served on the national board and on the regional board. In 2003 Access Tucson provided representation on

both the regional and national level.

24 Community remote productions.

Two new Access Tucson produced programs were introduced in 2003. Call City Hall and Your County, Your Call presented the mayor, city council members and county supervisors as the host. Produced live, these weekly shows took phone calls and email from the viewers. Topics were unique to each elected official’s perspective, ward or district. Often, these shows were conducted in Spanish or in a bilingual format.


The Pan Asian Community Alliance presents Access Tucson with a Friend of the Pan Asian Community Award for championing cultural diversity and for philanthropic service and achievement in the Tucson community.

June 21, 2004, following three consecutive years of 10% reductions to our budget each year, the Tucson Mayor and City Council voted to cut Access Tucson’s budget by an additional $300,000, a 43% reduction in our operating funds.

The Everyday People Getting Involved series highlights Access Tucson producers, volunteers, viewers and community organizations.

In 2004, Access Tucson was recognized with two regional awards; Western Access Video Excellence award for overall excellence in community cable programming and The Brian Wilson Award. This award is presented each year to an individual or individuals in the Western States Region who has had a positive impact on others and the community media field by effectively using his or her skills as a mentor, coach, teacher, and guide through significant challenges faced at the local, regional or national level. Staff member Larry Foster received the award. Both awards were established and given by the Western Region of the Alliance for Community Media.

In 2004, 161 non-profit organizations received television resources, consultation, training and airtime to get their messages out in ways they could never afford through commercial media.

In 2004, Access Tucson introduced Government Connection which focuses on local government issues like ballot propositions, homeland security, economic development and tourism in Pima County and school district concerns.

No other production truck is available for rent in the Tucson Metro area. Organizations such as Pima Community College and the Muscular Dystrophy Association accomplish their goals with greater efficiency and lower cost.

In 2004, volunteers donated 2,728 hours of time, skill and sweat.

Member producers and local organizations combined created 8,305 local programs in 2004.

In September 2004, the host of Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman visited Tucson while on tour. Amy Goodman spoke to 2,000 people at Centennial Hall about independent media in a time of war. The proceeds of the event benefited community media, KXCI 91.3 FM Community Radio and Access Tucson. The next morning, Amy Goodman broadcast her national show from the studios of Access Tucson.

Correction is a documentary that contrasts the training correctional officers receive with their real-life experiences inside prison. Correction was produced using auxiliary equipment from Access Tucson. In January 2004, Producer/Director, Michael Mulcahy, Access Tucson, KUAT-TV, and the Loft Cinema collaborated to hold a public screening of the documentary followed by a panel discussion.

MAKING WAVES (2004. USA. 64mins. Directed by Michael Lahey.) –Making Waves follows the uphill struggle to be heard on our publicly owned but corporate-controlled airwaves. Michael Lahey was awarded a midi-grant from Access Tucson to produce this project. He completed the project using Access Tucson equipment and facilities. In April 2004, Making Waves was an official selection for the Arizona International Film Festival.

When documentary filmmaker Michael Moore came to speak in Tucson before the election, Access Tucson member Elaine Higginbotham managed to get Moore’s permission to air the documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 on Access Tucson.


For the eighth year, Green Fields School has offered training through Access Tucson as part of their spring interim activities. Students participate in an intensive weeklong training creating class projects. Many Green Fields students have gone on to create their own work here after their class experience.

Mariachi Aztlan “Noche de Mariachi” Pueblo High School media arts students trained to use the Access Tucson Mini-Mobile production equipment to cover this event at the school.

Pascua Yaqui Edge Charter School

The Old Pascua Youth Artist Program (OPYA) was awarded a grant from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe for the Old Pascua Murals Restoration Project. As part of this unique collaboration between OPYA and Access Tucson, a team of youth was trained in the creative and marketable skills of editing and videography.

This year marked the tenth year that Access Tucson has offered production training during the summer months for youth. Kids learn about television production and become programmers instead of consumers. Students create their own messages on-location and in the studio.

Access Tucson Deputy Director, La Monte Ward was honored with the Brian Wilson Award. The Brian Wilson Award is presented each year to an individual or individuals in the Western States Region of the Alliance for Community Media who has had a positive impact on others and the community media field by effectively using his or her skills as a mentor, coach, teacher, and guide through significant challenges faced at the local, regional or national level.

Access Tucson was recognized with an Appreciation Award by the The Long Range Public Education Coalition for the continued support of their educational goals. The Long Range Public Education Coalition (The Long Rangers) is comprised of consumers, Community Partnership of Southern Arizona members, professionals, advocates, family members and stakeholders from all areas of the behavioral health field who volunteer their services. The Long Rangers produced a series of programs at Access Tucson demonstrating that mental health treatment does work for persons with addiction and/or mental health disorders.

Access Tucson member and staff, Vikki Dempsey won the most innovative program category at the Hometown Video Festival for her short, Looking For Yoko Ono. The Hometown Video Festival is a national video competition sponsored by the Alliance for Community Media.

Access Tucson provided Tucson citizens extended coverage of the two contested ward races in 2005. Access Tucson partnered with the Tucson Citizen and the Arizona Daily Star as they each conducted their own candidate forums. Tucson Citizen: Inside the News captured the Tucson Citizens’ editorial board as they interviewed the all the city council candidates. The Arizona Daily Star presented a public forum for the candidates. After each newspaper printed their endorsements, Access Tucson carried both forums several times on our channels before the election so Tucsonans could watch and make up their own mind.

22: Number of scholarships awarded for production classes


In 2006, Access Tucson provided training for almost 600 Tucson residents in media production.

University of Arizona/YMCA Girls Career Camp. Students enrolled in this program from the Sunnyside School District. Over 20 girls received training in camera operation, scriptwriting, production managing and on-camera skills. They then went on to produce a television talk show about their perspectives and feelings regarding teen pregnancy.

University of Arizona Wildcat Endurance Training Exercise

This exercise involved multiple public safety agencies participating in a simulated crisis on the University of Arizona Campus. The purpose: to test public safety readiness and interagency communications and functionality. The training exercise and the resulting program were funded through a grant from Homeland Security.

Pima Community College Graduation

For the 2nd year, Access Tucson’s production truck made this proud and joyous occasion available to Tucson cable viewers live on the Pima Community College channel.

Producers Receive WAVE Awards for Excellence in Programming

Bunny Uriarte, 19 year old University of Arizona junior and Access Tucson producers, Martha McGrath, Chris Montgomery and Robert Choate all received WAVE (Western Alliance Video Excellence) Awards at the 2006 Alliance for Community Media Western Region. Their award winning programs are: The Bunny Show, Puro Sabor and City Talks.

The Alliance for Community Media awarded its 2006 George Stoney Award for Humanistic

Communications to Access Tucson Executive Director Sam Behrend in a recent ceremony in Boston. The Stoney Award is given annually to an organization or individual that has made an outstanding contribution to championing the growth and experience of humanistic communications.

New PSA Service Added for Non-profit Organizations in 2006

Access Tucson can now create 30 second public service announcement (PSA) for any organization wishing to promote an event.


2007 started with the continuation of the cable license renewal negotiations between the City of Tucson and Cox Communications. The negotiations proved to be contentious and drawn out. A five-year agreement was adopted between the City of Tucson and Cox Communications on May 1st.

Access Tucson received a Back to Basics award totaling $11,700 from Ward 5 Councilmember Steve Leal. The award commissioned the architecture and planning firm of Poster Frost Associates to do a feasibility study regarding the current facilities at 124 E. Broadway. Access Tucson would like to see if the current facility could be expanded or changed to create a Community Media Center.

Access Tucson moves to create a fully integrated digital process from production through distribution and  begins the initial steps to move our access center into the 2.0, web-centric, blog, vlog, stream sphere.

In 2007, Access Tucson provided training for 471 Tucson residents in media production.

Access Tucson Earns “Best In the West” Award. Access Tucson received 6 WAVE awards at the Alliance for Community Media Western region Conference held in Ventura, California.

The Community Media Excellence Award

Live/Live to Tape Award

Programs that Made a Difference Award

Inspiration/Religious Award

Media Leadership Award

The TucsonVision format has become so popular with organizations it led to a grant funded partnership with La Frontera Center and the University of Arizona College of Medicine in 2007. The resulting 6-part,

1⁄2 hour show series, that tapes in 2008 will focus on a safe home environment to assist the local

Somali, Somali Bautus and Burundi refugee populations. Members of these communities will learn how to host a television program in their own language. The grant was awarded by Catholic Heathcare West.

Access Tucson donated nearly $470,000 worth of in-kind television services to 102 non-profit social welfare, art, educational and government organizations.

Member producers and local organizations combined created 10,412 local programs in 2007.

Cox’s Nielsen studies show the viewership of Access Tucson is at times similar to that of some of the

most popular cable channels like Fox Sports and about half that of channels such as USA and ESPN.


The Tucson Weekly is teaming up with Access Tucson to sponsor a televised debate among Project White House candidates appearing on the Feb. 5 Arizona presidential primary ballot. Project White House is a Reality Journalism competition sponsored by Tucson Weekly. Candidates who have qualified for the Arizona’s presidential primary are competing in a variety of challenges to win the Tucson Weekly’s endorsement.

The exhibit will be on display at Access Tucson Gallery, 124 E. Broadway, Friday through April 30. Sunnyside High School students are part of Sunnyside Community Stories, a three-year effort. They were charged with recording the history, culture and identity of their South Side community, armed with notebooks and loaner cameras.

Access Tucson has embarked on a strategic planning process to position the organization for the next 5-10 years and hosts several community forums for the public to offer feedback and share their ideas about the future of public access television.

A beautiful new bridge graces Tucson’s Southside. The Cesar Chavez Labor Bridge was dedicated on April 4th—and Access Tucson was there. The bridge’s theme was generated by Councilmember Steve Leal and many Southside neighbors and the imagery was created by artists Alex Garza and Josh Sarantitis.

TucsonVision’s ‘08 Summer Season features 6 programs devoted to Tucson’s dramatic and sometimes deadly Monsoon summer weather. Brought to you by the National Weather Service, each episode educates us about Monsoons and provides safety tips.

Known as the “Emmy” of Public Access and Community Media channels, the Hometown Video Awards were presented by the Alliance for Community Media in Washington, D.C. on July 9, 2008. Tucson Mayor Robert E. Walkup presented the awards to two Access Tucson producers and to Access Tucson and its organizational partner, the National Day of Prayer Committee of Pima County, during the September, 3, 2008 City Council Meeting.

Access Tucson is proud to participation in the local distribution of Free Speech TV’s presentation, “CRASHING THE PARTY,” live coverage of the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention.

A unique partnership between La Frontera, Inc., the Tucson Burundi refugee community and Access Tucson has produced an award winning television series, Living Healthy in America. The Arizona Public Health Association presented the HEMMY award for best video during the 80th Annual AzPHA Meeting and Conference. The awards ceremony was held at the Arizona State Historical Society on September 17, 2008.

When Randy Hanson, Director of Creative Services for La Paloma Kids called and asked if Access Tucson could televise a musical performance to benefit his organization—we were interested. Access Tucson regularly provides non-profit organizations the opportunity to televise community events. Staff and volunteers collaborate to provide Tucson viewers with the chance to see some of the wonderful community service work accomplished in Tucson, to learn about the organizations and often celebrate success. La Paloma Kids had a big event in mind…International rock legends; Foreigner in concert. We did not think for a second that international rock legends or, more likely, their agents, would allow their performance to be taped. That’s when we found out that Randy’s son is Kelly Hanson, lead singer of Foreigner.


Access Tucson turns 25!

With a very uncertain year ahead, and already having taken cuts this year, Access Tucson announced to its community producers today that it will close it’s facility for the month of June, 2009 and furlough all employees without pay for that month.

Seventy-five teens and thirty professionals from the Tucson community joined together to film Eco-Ads. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum’s Youth Environment Summit. Access Tucson assisted the Desert Museum with this very worthwhile youth project; providing equipment and technical talent.

Amy Goodman comes to Tucson to fundraise for community media: KXCI and Access Tucson.

Access Tucson starts a FACEBOOK page.

Think. Talk. Take Action.

Transportation. Safety. Education. Jobs. The environment. These are community issues that are on the minds of adults today. They are also the issues that are on the minds of young people, although they don’t often get a chance to voice their opinions about them. A group of Pima County youth known as The Hi Tech Team is looking to change that with Think. Talk. Take Action: A Community Gathering for Youth and Families, October 8, 6-10 pm at the Historic Rialto Theatre. The event will bring together youth and adults to “think about community issues and envision new possibilities, talk to people in power, and take action to make a difference,” says Dr. Judith Anderson, CEO of Every Voice in Action Foundation, the sponsor of the event.

Access Tucson covers Battle of the Badges. Tucson police and amateur boxers from other law enforcement agencies squared off in 15 matches Sept. 19 in what police billed as the Battle of the Badges, a charity event. Boxers were matched by height, weight and boxing experience in the ring to raise money to revive the Tucson Police Officer’s Association’s Police Activities League, a nonprofit organization. Tucson police officer Mark Doe, who is part of TPD’s gang outreach effort, wants to help children stay out of trouble. He said money raised by the admission fee will be used to buy sports equipment for youths at risk as a reward for doing well in school.

What if someone who knew about Native People was to write a comic book. Creator Caroline Felicity Antone (also ‘Caroline’ in the story) along with writer Jon Proudstar and artist Juan C. Heinrich has done just that. See the first issue of My Brothers’ and Sisters’ House on the gallery walls at Access Tucson.

Access Tucson recently covered a forum about Proposition 200 organized by Primavera Foundation, Casa María and the Perimeter Bicycle Association. This ballot proposition would amend Tucson’s Charter to mandate 2.4 police officers per 1000 people. Watch this forum to see how the citizens of Tucson would be affected.  How will you vote? Early voting starts 10/8 with the election on 11/3.

August – start eNewsletter


In January 2010, Access Tucson’s budget was cut by 60%. Lisa Horner became the new Executive Director and because of the budget cut, staffing went from 15 to 3 people.

Access Tucson was able to reopen on a limited schedule in July 2010. Hours of operation were reduced and Access Tucson is now open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 2:00pm -10:00pm. But during the week, Access Tucson remains open for classes and equipment rental.

Access Tucson’s annual budget is now $303,500. These funds are from cable revenue licensing fees distributed through the city of Tucson. Additional budget revenue comes from corporate and individual donations, program underwriting, and fundraising.    


Access Tucson now faces the promise of a total funding cut.  $0.00 as soon as the COT can figure out how to arrange it.  Despite years of service to the not-for-profit community, numerous awards and a dedication to providing media service to all comers (or perhaps because of it) The Tucson Community Cable Corporation is forced to accept that our relationship with the City Government is soon to be at an end.  Staff and Board begin to develop plans for fundraising, partnerships and a future without a dedicated stream of funding.  

The final solution arranged in the recesses of the City Managers office by career bureaucrats is called the RFP proposal.  It calls for bids to create a new Community Media Center and manage the two channels still held as part of the cable agreement between the COT and the franchise.  The new company will have a 2 year window of funding to build this vaguely defined Center.  The sealed bids will be examined by an anonymous committee and the contract will eliminate once and for all the notion that the Cable Company is providing the funding that supports City & Community programming.  The Board of Directors and staff decide to prepare a bid, however the general feeling about the RFP is that it was not designed to actually revitalize Tucson’s Local Media– many felt it was really designed to destroy it.  Problems with printing resulted in the TCCC bid not being submitted to the COT at all.   

The multi-million dollar annual payment to the COT for the franchise rights is now considered a part of the general fund.  FCC guidelines regarding PEG have vanished in Arizona thanks to State laws redefining how municipalities are allowed to negotiate with Cable Companies.  The TCCC building on Broadway which was sold to COT by Tucson Community Cable Corporation for $1;  will be sold to developers to help the City Managers office cover annual operating expenses.  

The Last Programs to be Broadcast live from the Building are a long running desk show called “The ART SHOW”  & a new show called, “Staying On Top”.  Staying on Top had just 3 episodes and featured one of our newest members exploring various Veterans issues.  The last episode featured the Tucson Police Department outreach program seeking to hire Veterans.  

Access Tucson received $150,000.00 in funding for our last year (fiscal 2014/15).  During that year Access Tucson achieved revenues from education, production and donations from the public that kept the station open for business until late Spring 2014 when we were forced to close the building to the public.  Programming continued until August when the new contractor was given the responsibility for the Channel.

Access Tucson is forced to lay off ALL remaining staff.  However, instead of folding the company and vanishing the Board of Directors uses the plans developed during the previous 2 years to choose to become an independent not-for-profit media production company.  The company will focus on serving the community, educational programs, archiving years of programming stored at 124 Broadway on various video formats, and creating a, “new media”, platform for Southern Arizona.  Our history will be preserved in a new digital archive consisting of 30 years of Independent Producers work- a legacy of local programming and free speech.  


history new is rebuilt with the capacity to host video-on-demand.  Legacy recordings from the vhs-era are currently being listed for on-demand viewing as they become available is developed and launched as the Southwests Community Directory. contains an Event Calendar and business listings as well as articles about people, places and things related to, “Baja Arizona”, Visit it and help support your favorite local destinations and businesses with a listing or review.

Classes are still going on.  Currently Larry Foster; our longtime, award winning instructor is teaching Field Production and non-linear editing using Final Cut Pro.  We are also working in partnership to offer youth media education to the Tucson Community.

Our newly implemented internship program had two participants this summer.  A 2016 U of A Media Graduate and a Senior from T.U.S.D.

We provided production support in partnership with SAVP for the 2016 Rodeo Parade.

We continue to serve as media facilitators to the local not-for-profit community





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