Matt Hampel has released a study of Ann Arbor's Community Television Network. He writes about an organization that was innovative and forward-looking in the 1970s that is now running with little public oversight and with only the most tentative ways of engaging with the public through networks other than cable television.
Most notable in the whole discussion is a comparison of CTN's video archiving and online access system with a similar setup at the Ann Arbor District Library. The library has direct access into the CTN digital network feeds, and uses off the shelf software to transcode video for delivery to cable. Where CTN is hamstrung by a reliance on city IT staff to do technology development - an IT staff that only does necessary maintenance - the AADL has an active IT department that is doing development in support of their mission.
I'm sure that the people at CTN are doing a good job at their core mission, of teaching people how to do video production. The system is failing where it fails because there is not a corresponding core set of priority on video distribution and access beyond their cable television franchise. The whole system looks like it would be better off if CTN lopped off the approximately $180,000 per year they spend on City of Ann Arbor IT services and instead merged that effort into the Ann Arbor District Library's existing video efforts. That would put both innovative production and innovative distribution under the same roof, and move citizens closer to access to public production libraries to let them be the media, not just consume it on channel 19.