LETTER: Cable Access Executive Director Bids Watertown Farewell

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WCA-TV Helen Chatel leaves Watertown Cable Access Television after 9.5 years as executive director.

Good day Watertown,

Today is my last day in the office at WCA-TV. As I reflect back on the 9.5 years here, I remember how much my life has changed and with it WCA-TV and Watertown. When I arrived we only went live with Town Council, Planning and Zoning and School Committee. We rarely covered subcommittee hearings. None of the high school sports were live. In fact one person covered 100% of the government meetings and 80% of the sports.

To see the operation we have now, is amazing, and with less money. Last year we did almost 700 hours of new original programming. Of that over 400 hours were municipal meeting coverage. The networks probably give Watertown less than 15 minutes a year. Where else can you find that kind of coverage. Almost 200hrs of HS sports coverage, 90% of it was live.

We have not only expanded coverage, but we have closed captioning for most of our meeting coverage, when I came we only had it for Town Council meetings. Now our channels are not only on RCN, Comcast or www.wcatv.org but you can find it on Screenweave app for Fire TV or Ruko. We have Collaborated with schools and have provided scholarships for those going into the media production world, we have had WHS students as interns, employees and volunteers

These are just a skim of the surface, the layers in which WCA-TV has evolved over the last almost 10 years is remarkable. I have enjoyed every minute of it, every challenge, every twist and turn have only made us better and myself better. I am not leaving WCA-TV because I am unhappy or my job here is complete. I leave Watertown knowing that it is better than I found it, and I am better for having been here.

I also know that I am leaving WCA-TV in the wonder care of my Assistant Director Andrea Santopietro, whom the board just the other night named as the Interim Executive Director to fill my shoes. Andrea is no stranger to WCA-TV, I brought her on in 2014, and she too has evolved. She will bring WCA-TV into the future. She shares my passion for community building and love of technology and making the world more accessible to everyone! So, this is not goodbye, this a Thank you to each person that has come through our doors or collaborated with us throughout the years.

There are many people I would like to thank, from John Airasian for taking a chance on an outsider along with the WCA-TV board. To former Town Manager, Michael Driscoll, and Town Council President Mark Sideris, for being willing to sit through my discussions on how I would make the meetings better. To Peter Centola for numerous conversations about sounds systems and internet. To the Watertown School Committee, so many great and wonderful people like, Michael Shepard, Eileen Hsu-Balzer, Laurie McManus and David Stokes. Former WHS Principal Shirley Lundberg and Video Production teacher Todd Robbins. Down to the custodian staff that has helped us over the years to set up our live feeds in advance of events. Committee members like Elodia Thomas and the CPC or the Historical Society and Marilynne Roach, who came to meet me on my very first day on Jan. 14, 2013, at WCA-TV. To Bob Kaprilian for the coffees, the inspirations and election predictions. To my staff for always being willing to try something new. I have met so many wonderful people and I wish there was room to mention you all.

Thank you, for the small-town hospitality! Even though, I leave you as being known as a city these days!

Helen Chatel
Outgoing Executive Director
Watertown Cable Access Corp.

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