The Midcoast Community Council indicated Wednesday night that it expects to make a recommendation to San Mateo County as to which with community access television at its next meeting on April 13.
Until then, Midcoast Community Council (MCC) Chair Len Erickson recommended that Pacifica Community Television (PCT) and Mid-Coast Television (MCTV) "continue the boxing match" over which organization will provide the service to Half Moon Bay, Montara, Moss Beach, El Granada, Princeton by the-Sea, Pescadero and La Honda.
It was clear at the meeting that MCTV, seemingly an underdog in the match, was not pulling any punches.
MCTV Executive Director Connie Malach demanded a response from PCT Executive Director Martin Anaya as to why the Pacifica-based station had not provided "on demand" video services, video hosted on the web which could be replayed at a later time, which MCTV had provided since 2008.
Erickson reminded Malach that the purpose of the meeting was to ask questions of Anaya, not make claims or accusations, and told her she was speaking out of turn.
The PCT executive director was forthcoming with a response to the comments, however.
"To be honest with you, Connie, the reason why we haven't done [on demand video] is because people haven't asked for it," said Anaya.
He then went on to say that most Pacifica residents, or viewers of PCT, who wish to see a segment that has already been aired usually ask for a taped copy, a request that PCT is equipped to comply with.
"In the future, [PCT] will use service that MCTV is using now," said Anaya, nodding to the possibility of "on demand-type" services if there is a request for it among viewers.
This meeting in Moss Beach was intended to be a venue for Anaya to take questions about public access television services PCT could provide to Coastside communities if awarded a contract from San Mateo County.
The San Mateo County Public Works Department and Half Moon Bay City Council, two organizations in charge of making recommendations to San Mateo County as to which organization will provide community access television to the area, have already been won over by PCT ahead of the MCC’s decision.
it will make a recommendation to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, which has the final say as to what station will receive the contract to begin contract negotiations with PCT, and the public works department has indicated it favors PCT.
MCTV filed a protest with San Mateo County Public Works against the recommendation of PCT earlier this month.
There were no more than two-dozen attendees at the meeting Wednesday night held at Seton Medical Center Coastside facility.
Attendees seemed disconcerted as the committee made a number of statements of cautious optimism regarding PCT’s services.
"I have had issue with MCTV's lack of acceptance of locally produced content," said Midcoast Community Councilmember Neil Merrilees.
Merrilees said he was "excited" that PCT "produces local programs already."
Anaya is optimistic about the "inbuilt advantages" to PCT, including its ability to provide services to all of the Coastside including, by his own account, a studio, free airtime and free equipment checkout services.
There are those who are less than optimistic about PCT, however.
"I am afraid that if Pacifica does go through with this proposal that it will greatly diminish attention to the Coastside," said Beau Brown, a camera operator for MCTV. "Half Moon Bay and Pacifica are very different in interests."
What type of services does PCT actually plan to provide, who will do the legwork and how much will it cost? What is MCTV in protest of, how did San Mateo County respond, and what is the county's next move? Stay tuned for ongoing coverage of this issue.