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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Voices

New community television show lets residents speak out

Treva Lind

Ben Deccio isn’t a politician or celebrity, but he stepped before bright lights and camera last week for a sound bite.

The Eastern Washington University student spoke to support Senate Bill 6243 and teacher training in youth suicide prevention.

“This is a revolutionary bill,” Deccio said. “Teachers truly are the gatekeepers for our children.”

Deccio and a handful of other people so far have given up to 10-minute speeches beginning Feb. 11 for a new CMTV14 show, “Say What? Spokane” that starts airing this week. The program invites residents into its studio twice monthly to tape short opinions about any issues affecting family, neighborhoods, community and world. Segments will run regularly.

CMTV14, a nonprofit community access television station operated by Community Minded Enterprises, opens its studio to record “Say What? Spokane” talks on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, from noon to 2 p.m., on the third floor of the Saranac building, 25 W. Main Ave.

On set with a green screen and microphone, Deccio had to start over once, but he read from notes to finish strong. His presentation was followed by EWU classmate Virginia Parker, who also spoke in support of a statewide training program for educators and parents to recognize teens’ suicidal warning signs.

Another presenter last week, Dennis Mitchell, gave a motivational speech on achieving dreams. Recent speakers also have talked about city initiatives.

The new show will air multiple times on Channel 14 through Comcast, or people can view it online through, said Ben Cabildo, CMTV14 manager. CMTV14 produces community programs that include “Successful Aging in the Northwest,” but the new speaker-formatted show goes to the core of station’s goal, Cabildo said.

“This is being true to our mission,” he said. “We’re community access television.”

People who give speeches must agree they won’t use profanity, incite hate, slander or personal attacks. They are also prohibited from selling anything or requesting money. People are encouraged to talk about important community issues, Cabildo said, and speeches can be educational or motivational.

“Anything that’s positive, that’s happening in their community, they can report on it,” Cabildo said. “We take footage of the people standing in front of a green screen. Then later, we’ll put in the name of the program, a brick wall, and you see a skyline of the city downtown.”

After premiering different times on Tuesday, the show is scheduled to air at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday, and at noon and 6 p.m. Saturday. It will follow this pattern of multiple airings every week. Each show will run for up to two hours, depending on the number of speakers.

Cabildo said if enough people present twice monthly, the show will be updated regularly. However, past shows will continue to be shown in a loop throughout the year on television and online.

The station also provides production training for students, and other support.

“We open the studio to local businesses so they can produce their own videos that can be broadcast,” Cabildo added. “We’re also training kids in school on how to do their own videos. We’re currently working with Shaw Middle School; they’re producing a series of videos to run on Channel 14.”

DaShawn Bedford, “Say What? Spokane” programmer and producer, ran the equipment console for last week’s public speeches from an adjacent studio room.

“Right now it’s just people speaking for 10 minutes,” Bedford said. “We may add video clips and pictures if people have them. We’d like to do more than just talking heads.”

Another tag line for the show is “Speak Your Mind,” said Cabildo, though the main title is “Say What? Spokane.”

“We want to call on folks to come and claim their 10 minutes of fame,” Cabildo said. “We really want to invite as many people as possible.”

The next session for speakers is March 10.

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