If you will be offering a local community TV and/or radio service, CACTUS* can help you find an appropriate location, design the facility, and mobilize the community to use it. Here are a few considerations to get you started:

Choosing a Location

There are three main factors to consider when choosing a location for a production facility:

  1. Proximity to the Transmitter or Head End

    To play back programs that the community produces, the production facility either needs to be located in the same place as the transmitter or cable head end, or there must be either a line-of-sight microwave link or a cable connection.

  2. Convenience and Visibility

    It's important that your production facility is easy to access. For example, can you get to it using public transportation? Is there plenty of free parking? Will people pass it on a daily basis?

    You want a location in the heart of your community.

  3. Collocation with Other Community Resources

    To keep costs down and to leverage synergies with existing community resources, it often makes sense to situate the community production facility inside or close to related resources. For example:

    In a highschool. The highschool language arts curriculum in most provinces requires a module in media literacy. Many schools already have media production facilities in-house, but lack distribution.

    In a library. Many libraries already offer Internet access (some are "CAP" sites; see the link below for more information) and have a mandate to promote community communications.

    In the town hall, municipal council building, a theatre, or community centre. Since community media promotes dialogue about community concerns as well as local culture and events, obvious choices for the production facility are where community meetings and cultural events are held. Then they can be easily broadcast or cablecast for the whole community.

    With a media co-operative. Approximately 100 media co-ops in Canada already teach media skills and lend equipment, but few cablecast or broadcast. See the link below for a list.

    With an existing community radio channel (if you want to add TV). More than 150 community radio channels are already established across Canada with access to transmission facilities. See the link below* to find out whether one is located near your community.

The second and third criteria often go together. For example, theatres and other community resource buildings often have high visibility in the town centre.

The more challenging criterion may be to link that location to the head end or transmitter for program playback. It's worth some extra effort with this link in order to locate the facility in an appropriate community hub... location, location, location.

Developing an Inclusive Media Centre

One of the most important steps to ensure your community distribution scheme will succeed and gain broad acceptance (especially any local programming component) is to:

  • gain broad community support during the initial phases and ensure wide representation of community interests on the board of directors
  • develop inclusive goals and operating principles that are understood by the whole community

CACTUS has developed both a suggested board structure as well as suggested goals and operating principles for community media centres, based on research into what works in other communities.

Setting up a local production facility (if you elect to have one) is the final step to implement your community distribution scheme.

Click here to Go Back to the List of Steps

Click here for help Estimating Costs.

If you've already read Estimating Costs and are serious about exploring the potential for community distribution in your community, see Support/Next Steps.