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Artist collective will get creative with York City's WRCT
York City officials are trying a new approach to White Rose Community Television, the local-access station that's proved a drain on city dollars for years.
Soon, broadcast responsibilities will pass to the Weary Arts Group, an artist-collective business headed by the York City School District's former director of performing arts.
Those responsibilities will include both the creative and the financial aspects of the project.
Simply put, the goal is "to hand White Rose Community Television back to the people," Cal Weary said.
For example, Weary said he plans to establish a satellite studio downtown to increase WRCT's accessibility.
"We're going to bring WRCT into the city more," he said.
Weary said he expects the arts group to get started by mid-August. He and city officials will continue meeting this week to finalize the two-year contract.
Finances: City officials have debated the future of WRCT for at least the past four years. Efforts to fundraise never quite panned out, and the York City Council considered eliminating the station from the city's budget multiple times.
The station's potential as a community asset and communications tool kept it on the air.
Until this year — when the city eliminated one of its two WRCT staff positions — the station generated a deficit of about $50,000 per year, said Michael Doweary, the city's business administrator.
This year, the station's budget is on track to break even, he said.
But an accumulated deficit of about $200,000 remains from previous years of operating in the red, Doweary said.
City officials are hoping the agreement with the Weary Arts Group will eliminate that deficit, he said.
A new approach: The arts group will not be financially compensated until it generates $48,000 in revenue through sponsorships and other fundraising efforts, Doweary said.
Any revenue above $48,000 will be split, 75 percent to the city and 25 percent to the Weary Arts Group, he said.
Weary said the group is planning to produce original content, such as skit and interview shows.
There's also the potential for established businesses to pay for access to the airwaves, Weary said.
The group also will be able to train and assist amateurs with creating and broadcasting their own content.
"At the end of the day, it's supposed to be community television," Weary said.