Watertown Cable’s New Studios Showcased at Grand Opening, Public Can Use the Facility & Equipment

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Photo by Charlie Breitrose Watertown Cable staff gave the public a look around their new studio during the grand opening on April 11.

After years of planning, and months of construction, Watertown Cable Access Television officially opened its new and improved studios in the basement of the Phillips Building.

On April 11, WCA-TV invited the public to take a look at the new facility, which features a new studio, control room, editing suite, and a brand new addition: a podcasting studio.

While Watertown Cable may be known for broadcasting government meetings, producing news shows, and covering local sports, Executive Director Andrea Santopietro said WCA-TV facilities are for the community, too.

“All of the spaces that you will see today are available to you to create. We’ve tried to be an outlet for people to share their stories and let their voices be heard,” Santopietro said. “Additionally, we provide a wide range of opportunities for the community to explore the world of community media, including in-depth workshops on the ins and outs of our equipments and volunteer opportunities to work hands on with our staff. There are no limits to what you can do here at WCA-TV and we hope you comeback after this wonder event to explore with us.”

Photo by Charlie Breitrose Watertown Cable Executive Director Andrea Santopietro, far left, and Assistant Director Samantha Olson cut the ribbon at the grand opening. Also pictured, from left, Watertown Cable Board President Christopher McKenzie, City Manager George Proakis, and City Council President Mark Sideris.

Christopher McKenzie, president of the WCA-TV Board of Directors, welcomed people to the grand opening. He thanked former Watertown Cable Board Presidents Toni Carlson and John Airasian for helping to lay the groundwork for the planning the new studios.

“It’s a very exciting feeling to be at beginning of something,” he said. “To me this is really the most important day in the history of our organization since it was founded in 2005. It marks the beginning something different, something new, something that has growing for us at Watertown Cable Access to still be an important voice in the Watertown community and providing a voice to the community. And we are hoping this becomes a launching pad for greater things.”

Photo by Charlie Breitrose School Committee member Rachel Kay and her son sit at the Watertown Cable News desk in the new studio as City Councilor Vincent Piccirlli runs the camera during the WCA-TV open house.

City Manager George Proakis thanked Watertown Cable for the part it plays in the life of the community, and said he liked what he saw in the new studio.

“This is really really a cool space and a great opportunity to highlight the role you play in the community. I just want to take a moment to thank you for all that you have done through the years,” Proakis said. “Where I see it most is the Government Channel, with opportunities to watch and have access to any and all the board meetings we have going in the City all the time, and then come back here and report on that from a news perspective and provide commentary and provide interviews and provide opportunities to dig deeper.”

City Council President Mark Sideris said Watertown Cable is “everywhere,” covering not just meetings, but sports, and events, such as holiday events and the Memorial Day Parade.

Photo by Charlie Breitrose Watertown Cable Content Manager Teagan Parker shows City Manager George Proakis WCA-TV’s new podcast studio.

The discussions of building a new studio have been happening for several years, McKenzie said.

“It is truly surreal to be this space that was just an idea, kind of a rumble when I was first on the board — we are going to move someday, the high school is going to have to be revitalized and changed and we were going to have to move,” he said.

The project had its ups and downs, but Sideris said he likes the final result.

“This build out was a challenge for the School Building Committee, and many people that were involved — contractors, project managers — there were change orders, we found things we weren’t expecting,” Sideris said. “It took a while to get here but to me the fruits of all of those discussions and all the labor is awesome.” 

WCA-TV moved out of its original home at Watertown High School in September 2023 and then spent several months in limbo as the high school was demolished and the new studio was being constructed. Watertown Cable moved into its new space in November, but the equipment was not ready for the first broadcast from the brand new studio until February.

Photo by Charlie Breitrose The community got a look behind the scenes at Watertown Cable’s control room during the April 11 grand opening.

For a few months, the staff moved into the Parker Building, and did their best to keep covering the Watertown community, Santopietro said.

“During this time we never took a break and made every effort to be present anywhere and everywhere we could,” Santopietro said. “We faced a lot of challenges, we were in a temporary location for a while. It never kept us down. I am so proud of the resilience of our staff, and the resilience from you guys has really paid off and I am so honored and grateful to celebrate with a beautiful new space with all of you.”

Find out more about how to learn how to use the video and audio equipment at WCA-TV’s workshop page, and learn about WCA-TV at wcatv.org.

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