This paper presents the case of Public Access Channels (or OpenChannels) in a changing
media climate. The author argues that Public Access Television was a forerunner of
today’s internet, as it honed viewers’ interactive capabilities by involving them
in the production processes of video material. It was a clear remit of these stations
to train individuals to use visual media and become their own directors. Thus, it
was argued, they would be able to better understand traditional visual media and would
not continue to powerlessly live under their spell. Also, it would empower them by
allowing their own content to be screened. With the advent of the internet, many of
the above beliefs were realised. And, consequently, Public Access Television underwent
a crisis, as its target audience migrated to online media, such as YouTube and others.
However,its training remit is still valid today and, perhaps, more so than ever before
as much more visual material is pushed onto viewers. Once stations realize the potential
of the internet to its fullest (e.g. the need for training and the availability of
unlimited channels), they stand a good chance to once again become an important player
in video education and local engagement.