Producer Policies and Guidelines

Mission Statement

To promote the utilization of public access channels on the Cable Television system in Waltham, Massachusetts by assisting in promoting the development of local programming by and for various cultural, religious, educational, governmental, professional, ethnic, and other citizen groups within city.
To make facilities and equipment available to the general public for the production of non-commercial, educational or cultural programs for communication to the public via public, government and educational channels of the Cable Television system in Waltham, Massachusetts.
To keep viewers of the public service access channels on the Cable Television system in Waltham, Massachusetts aware of current City events such as school closings, meetings of municipal boards and committees, and other items of current public interest.

To this end WCAC will:
Continue to provide the community with a state of the art facility and access thereto;

Aid and educate community members to achieve their programming goals;

Assist the community in developing critical viewing skills;

Encourage producers to continually develop their technical and aesthetic skills;

Maintain a strong presence throughout the community;

Continue outreach to all segments of the community, encouraging individuals and organizations to create a diversity of programming that expresses their unique perspectives;

Advocate the creation of programming that supports the free exchange of ideas and encourages public discourse;

Maintain an environment that encourages collaboration and cooperation within the community.

WCAC Membership
Requirements /
Membership is available to any individual who lives, works, or is affiliated with an organization/business based in Waltham. To become a member of WCAC, an individual, family, or organization / business must:
1. Provide proof of:
Waltham residency, or affiliation with an organization or business based within Waltham (organization or business must be a Waltham member).
2. Sign a contract (Agreement with Policies & Regulations) to follow the WCAC Policies & Regulations contained herein.  If under 18 years of age, a parent or legal guardian must also sign the contract.
All WCAC members may:
Submit non-commercial programming for cablecast.
Become certified to operate various equipment and facilities at WCAC.
Receive WCAC publications.
Be appointed to serve on WCAC Committees.
Take an active role in access television.

Underwriting Credits
Commercial advertising is prohibited on the access channels.  Acknowledgment of underwriting by businesses, organizations, or grantors providing monetary or other assistance to support WCAC or the production of a program may be included on our channels.  Acknowledgments may include the underwriter’s name/business name, logo, phone number or web address and a brief value neutral statement describing the underwriter’s contribution or product.  No call to actions are allowed per non-profit state laws.  Complete information may appear for not-for-profit organizations.

Programming for WCAC-TV
WCAC is responsible for the administration of WCAC for Public Access, The MAC Channel for Governmental Access.  Any member may request channel time for the presentation of programming they produce themselves, produced elsewhere or from accessible satellite down linking on the public access channel WCAC.  See Section on WCAC and MAC for details on programming requirements for Public and Governmental channels.

  A.  Time Slots

1.  Program time slots for the access channel are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Series are encouraged.  To place LIVE or previously recorded programming on the access channel, submit Cablecast Request and Indemnification Form (CRIF) a minimum of ten days (and media at least three weekdays) prior to the cablecast date, unless approved by the Programming Coordinator.  Requests may be made no more than 10 weeks prior to cablecast.  

2.  Requests for time will be honored within the constraints of scheduling as well as staff and equipment availability.  No more than 8 showings per week may be requested at various time slots and only one showing is firm.  Prioritizing requested time slots is suggested.
WCAC holds the right to pre-empt scheduled programming if necessary.

  B.  Prime Time
    Prime time is defined as any time between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.  An individual may request two prime time playback opportunities, per show, per week.

  C.  Series

    A series is considered to be at least four new programs cablecast on a regular basis.  Time slot may be requested on a yearly basis in order of preference.  Series must meet all of the following conditions and Media submissions (See D.):

        1.   Consistent use of time slot with new material.  Program may run twice in same time slot.

        2.    A total of eight time slots (may include 2 prime time) may be requested per week.

Each program MUST meet the established running time. Overtime is unacceptable.  Episodes that fall short MUST be filled with other material.

Series time slot may be revoked after 30 days without new material or violation of above criteria.

Series time slots must be re-requested on a yearly basis unless approved by the Programming Coordinator.

D.  Requirements for Program Submission
        1.  WCAC standards for playback include a 5 seconds pre-roll immediately preceding the show and one minute following (NO DEAD AIR) unless approved by the Programming Coordinator.  Producers may fill this with:

a.  5 seconds black, 5 seconds color bars and tone, 5-second countdown
            b.  Black
            c.  Information slate or station I.D.

II.  Programming for WCAC Continued

  D.  Requirements for Program Submission continued

        2.  Shows may be submitted in these media formats:
            a.  1/2" VHS in SP mode only
            b.  S VHS in SP mode only
            c.  Mini-dv
            d.  DVD

3.  Media must be of high quality and in excellent condition compatible with WCAC playback system.  This may entail purchasing specific media from WCAC sold at/or near cost.

4.  Shows must be rewound or set to the beginning and labeled properly with Date, Title, Producer, In and Out times, Topic, Guests, Host or Episode.  (See example sheet in Appendix)

        5.   All WCAC forms must be completed, signed and submitted to the WCAC staff.

        6.  Programs using WCAC facilities must credit WCAC/MAC for use of its equipment and facilities.

        7.  Producer of the program must be identified at some time during program or credits.

  E.  Minimum Technical Standards

    Programs to be cablecast must meet certain minimum technical standards at the discretion of the Executive Director

  F.  Content and Clearances
    WCAC is content neutral and does not preview programs for WCAC.  Producers must be familiar with and are fully responsible for the content of their program material.  Producers are responsible for obtaining all releases, clearances and permissions (copies submitted to Programming Coordinator with CRIF). (See Appendix) Producers with programming of an adult subject matter may schedule their programs after 10:00 p.m. (safe harbor hours) to preclude younger audiences.  Community producers are encouraged to produce alternate programming to controversial shows.  WCAC runs disclaimers periodically, which are available to producers.  Presentation of the following is prohibited:
        1.  Any commercial advertising.

2.  Any material that constitutes libel, slander, pornography, obscenity, invasion of privacy or publicity rights.
3.   Any unauthorized use of copyrighted material.

        4.  Any works in violation of FCC regulations, local, state or federal laws.

  G.  Political Campaigning
    Political candidates or advocates of ballot issues are subject to the same policies and regulations as other users of the public access channels.  The nature of public access is that everyone in the community has equal access to the facilities and channel time.
  II.   Programming for WCAC Continued

  H.  Ownership

1.  WCAC community producers own their programs.  If a WCAC videotape is used for the master, the producer may make one free duplication on his or her own tape stock.

2.  WCAC has the right to maintain a copy of any program produced with WCAC equipment in tape library, to cablecast an unlimited number of times.

        3.  WCAC has the right to use programs for promotional purposes related to WCAC.

        4.  Only the community producer may authorize any other use of their program.

        5.  After one year a producer may request in writing that their program not be cablecast further.

  I.  Underwriting and Grants
1.  Acknowledgment of underwriting by businesses, organizations or grantors providing monetary or other assistance to the making of the program may be included in the program credits.  Whenever underwriting exceeds $2,000 for a specific program or series, 20% shall go to WCAC.

Commercial advertising is prohibited from the channels.  WCAC members working on commercial productions may rent WCAC facilities at a non-discounted rate.

Underwriting credit information

WCAC Credit Introduction:  Underwriting for “show“ has been provided by “company“.  Please avoid the use of the word sponsor.

Credit Length:  All television underwriting credits cannot be longer than 15 seconds or 15 words in length for an exclusive underwriter, and :10 seconds for a shared underwriting credit.

Credit Content:  Underwriting credits must name the donor in mission-statement terminology that is neither commercial nor promotional in language.  The business or service may be described in value-neutral terms that avoid comparative or qualitative claims.  Underwriting credits are to recognize Underwriters only, and no other outside organization or nonprofit.

Video Guidelines

The use of corporate logos, still or animated is appropriate.

Up to three products may be shown on screen.  Products cannot be shown in use or in motion and must be shown in a setting that is plausible, appropriate and value-neutral.

Showing the outside of a business is acceptable if the building is the only representation of an underwriter’s product.  No more than three locations can be listed in a credit.

  II.   Programming for WCAC Continued

  I.  Underwriting and Grants Continued

The following are strictly forbidden by the FCC :

Any solicitation of direct consumer response of any kind, or any call-to-action, whether direct or implied.

Superlative description or qualitative claims about the company, its products or services.  Any comparison with other companies, or with other company’s product or service, whether direct or implied.

Price or value information of any kind.

Any inducements to buy, sell, rent, or lease.

Use of official spokespersons, endorsements, or professional talent that is featured in commercial promotion or the business or product.

Use of personal pronouns in an underwriting credit.

Sound effects intended to promote or depict a product in use.

Music with lyrics.  This does not preclude use of musical signatures that are part of a company’s corporate identity.

  Failure to meet all requirements may allow WCAC staff to pull programs.

 J.  Publicity
    WCAC encourages producers to publicize their programs in a variety of ways including local media and public service announcements (psa’s).

  K.  Staff Programming Initiatives
1.  Staff may use its discretion to produce programming for purposes of community awareness, outreach, promotion and producer training.

2.  Staff may hire an independent videographers to produce Governmental and Educational programming.

  L.  Outside Programming

    Staff is committed to seeking programming which would contribute to the diversity and quality of programming offered to the Waltham community.  For programming opportunities from outside the Waltham community (satellite down linking, Access Centers, organizations such as the Alliance for Community Media, media arts centers) staff may exercise the prerogative to sponsor such programming as Producer of Record.

  II.   Programming for WCAC Continued

  L.  Outside Programming Continued

1.  Programming produced outside of Waltham may run on Waltham public access channels.  Any person meeting membership criteria may request or sponsor outside programming by filling out and signing CRIF.  Programming must meet all WCAC media submission requirements.  Failure to do so may allow WCAC staff to pull programs.

2.   Cablecast requests will be honored on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Waltham produced in-house programs take precedence as being WCAC’s top priority in scheduling.

        3.  Members may request one prime time showing and an alternate.

  M.  Live cablecast telethon phone drives may be permitted on the public access channel for Waltham based 501c3 non-profit organizations.

III. Training & Workshops
A.  Any  member is eligible for training.  Basic and advanced TV production workshops for field, studio and post-production are available on an ongoing basis, free of charge. Workshops are given under the direction of the WCAC staff or by an appointed person at the discretion of WCAC. Certain advanced classes may require a fee to pay for an outside consultant or instructor.
B.  Except for classes specifically designated for youth, minors must be accompanied by parent/guardian in classes unless permission is given by the instructor.
C.  Class schedules may be distributed to members through WCAC newsletters, website and the WCAC Bulletin Board.  Those wishing to take classes must sign up on a first-come, first-serve basis.

IV.  Certification
  A.  Community producers may be certified in several ways:

1.  Attendance in a workshop series and/or completion of a certification tape upon discretion of the Access Coordinator.  

2.  Experienced videographers may be certified and be able to by-pass classes by:

            a.  Providing a demo reel or letter of reference;
b.  Demonstrating proficiency with each piece of equipment     requested; or
            c.   Passing a written exam.

  B.  Recertification of producers may take place periodically.

V.  Volunteers & Interns

WCAC relies heavily on the services of volunteers.  WCAC members are encouraged to volunteer during and after their training and certification.  Students receiving high school or college credit are encouraged to intern.  Volunteers and interns must complete the MIF in agreement with these Policies and Guidelines.

VI.  Equipment Resources

Portable production, post-production, and studio production equipment is available on a first-come, first-serve basis for making live or recorded programs FOR CABLECAST on the access channels.  Equipment may not be used in hazardous situations.

  A.  Field Production Resources

1.  The amount of equipment available for a given request will be determined by WCAC staff, based on availability, producer experience, their needs, the needs of others and the equipment repair schedule.

2.  Equipment must be reserved no less than 24 hours and no more than two weeks in advance.  Walk-ins may be allowed.

3.  A use is considered to be one check out period, which may be up to seven days.  A Community Producer Program Proposal must be submitted or updated with each new series or individual program.  A maximum of eight uses are permitted per program unless approved by the Access Coordinator.  

If a producer exceeds the maximum time for portable production, they must meet with the WCAC Executive Director, who may require the producer pay the daily rate per the WCAC Rate Sheet or make arrangements for working off the debt.

  B.   Equipment Check Out

1.  Equipment must be checked out at WCAC by the community producer, or their designee (adult co-signer for minors) who reserved it and he/she is responsible for it.

2.  It is suggested that producers set up and test the equipment before leaving.  Staff will enter information into the computer, and a copy will be signed by the producer.  Allow 30 minutes for check in and out of equipment. Equipment must be checked out at least 30 minutes before closing

If a community producer is making use of the equipment for more than one check out period, he/she or their designee must renew the check out in person with WCAC staff.

When equipment is checked out, the return time will be specified and the producer must adhere to schedule.  Reservations should be scheduled conservatively so that equipment will be available for another producer.

  C.   Equipment Return
1.  Equipment must be returned at the time indicated on the Equipment Checkout Form and signed in by WCAC staff at least 30 minutes before closing. If equipment cannot be returned at the specified time, it is the responsibility of the producer to contact the WCAC Access and or Training and Production Coordinator or Studio Manager to make arrangements.

Borrowers are responsible for notifying staff if there are any problems with the equipment.

Producers may not borrow additional equipment until all items are returned in good working order.

Equipment should not be dropped off without speaking to staff.  Producer must wait for WCAC staff to check it in, allow 30 minutes for check in and out of equipment at least 30 minutes before closing time.

VI.  Equipment Resources Continued

    D.  Editing

1.  No one may reconfigure any edit station or studio wiring.  Any violation of this rule will be brought to the attention of the WCAC Studio Manager and may result in the immediate loss of all access privileges.  (See Major Violations: IX. A.)

2.  Producers must consult with staff before bringing in accessories.  There are areas posted as off-limits.

3.  Edit time must be reserved no less than 24 hours and no more than four weeks in advance.  There is a 12-hour per week maximum reservation per person per program.  Producers may not use more than 40 hours per program.  Producers may sign up for four hours per day.  Viewing and dubbing facilities must also be scheduled with staff.  
    4.  Producers using the edit facility, studio or control room may be       required to sign In and Out with staff.

5.  In the event that a producer exceeds the maximum allotment of time for the post-production facilities, he/she must meet with the WCAC Studio Manager who may require the producer to either pay the hourly rate or work one hour for WCAC for each hour past the 40 hours per program.

      E.  Studio Productions

1.    No one may reconfigure any studio wiring.  Violation will result in the immediate loss of all access privileges. (See Major Violations: IX. A.)

2.    All studio productions require WCAC staff or designee to be on the premises.  Staff is not to be considered part of a crew; he/she has other responsibilities and is there to oversee use of the facilities.

3.    Crew position assignments are the responsibility of the producer.  Studio crew  must be certified or approved by the WCAC staff.  Interns and volunteers may be available to assist.  Producers must consult   with the staff before bringing in accessories.  There are areas posted as off-limits.

4.    Studio time must be reserved no less than 24 hours and no more than eight weeks in advance, through the WCAC staff.  The studio may be reserved for a maximum of 12 hours per week.  There is a maximum of 24 hours per program, including set up and strike time.  Studio hours are firm.  Producer should allow time to strike sets and clean up before leaving.  Shoots must be scheduled to end 30 minutes prior to closing.

5.    Producers may construct sets at the discretion of the WCAC Studio Manager and Access Coordinator.                     

6.    In the event that a producer exceeds the maximum allotment of time for the studio facility, he/she must meet with the WCAC Executive Director who may require the producer to either pay the hourly rate or work one hour for WCAC for each hour past the 24 hours per program.
7.    Upon completion of use of facilities, producers must check in with WCAC staff on condition of facility and equipment.

F.  Production Period

Program Production is expected to be complete within six months.  WCAC may cut off use of equipment and facilities on projects that exceed six months.

VII.  Responsibility

Producers are responsible for the WCAC facilities and equipment signed out to them, including damages. They are responsible for the actions of crew, guests, and any others involved with their production.  In the event any equipment is stolen, the producer is responsible for the following: a police report must be filed, equipment cannot have been left unattended, there must be proof of forcible entry, and equipment must not have been left in a vehicle overnight.

VIII. Cancellations

Community Producers MUST give at least 24 hours notice when canceling any reserved use of WCAC portable equipment, edit use, or classes or privileges may be restricted.  Studio/Control Room MUST be cancelled within three working days.  If a producer is more than one hour late without notification, the reservation may be cancelled if needed by WCAC staff to accommodate other producers needs including be given to another producer.
IX.  Violations

In order for these policies and guidelines to be effective and to keep operations running smoothly, a penalty system has been instituted.  There are two types of rules; Major and Minor, which, if violated, can result in restrictions on a member.  The Executive Director or his/her designee is authorized to issue warnings and suspensions.

  A.  Major Violations

    Major violations will result in an immediate 90-day suspension of membership and may be brought to the attention of Waltham Police Department.  These may include, but are not limited to:

        1.  Abuse or threat of abuse of staff, BOD or members.

        2.  Commercial or profit-making use of WCAC facilities.

        3.  Misrepresentation of members’ affiliation with WCAC.

Falsifying forms.

Taking or reserving equipment without staff permission.

Abuse of equipment, including attempted repair, facility reconfiguration, improper transport.

Falsifying programs submitted.

Use of drugs/alcohol in the facility.

Using WCAC equipment for inappropriate/sexual content.

    Any subsequent major violation will result in the immediate and permanent loss of WCAC equipment and facilities privileges.
IX.  Violations Continued

  B.  Minor Violations

    These may include, but are not limited to:
Failure to cancel a reservation in accordance with Section VIII - Cancellations.

Late pick up or return of equipment without notification and approval.

Mishandling of equipment.

Eating, drinking in restricted areas.

Failure to clean up after using the facilities.

Handling off limits equipment or being in off limits areas.

Smoking in the facility.

Failure to comply with programming guidelines and deadlines.
    Minor violations will result in the following series of actions within a one-year period.

        1.  First violation    written warning
        2.  Second violation    written warning
        3.  Third violation    30-day membership suspension
        4.  Fourth violation    90-day membership suspension

  C.  Appeals
    Community producers and WCAC members are encouraged to resolve difficulties on the staff level.  A Community producer or member wishing to appeal an action of the staff may request a hearing before the WCAC Board of Directors.  (See Section X. J.- Grievance Procedures)

X. Other Conditions
  A.  Video Media

    WCAC will provide recording media stock free of charge to members for edited masters only.  The media will be the property of WCAC for the media library.  All production media (raw footage, B-roll, etc.) must be purchased by the community producer.  Producers may seek grants or underwriting to defray production costs.

  B.   Member Input
    WCAC members are encouraged to propose changes and additions to WCAC Policies & Guidelines and By-Laws.  Members may submit suggestions to WCAC staff.  Staff will present suggestions to the Board of Directors at the next regularly scheduled meeting.

  C.  Access Channels Electronic Bulletin Boards

    The electronic bulletin board on WCAC-TV, and MAC-TV are used for programming related messages, community announcements and WCAC information and is administered by their respective channel coordinators.

   D.  Copies of Programs

    Producers are allowed to make one copy of their program for personal use, on media they provide.  The WCAC Rate Sheet will apply to all other dubbing.

   E.   Public File
There will be a file available to WCAC members, which includes the contact information of all members, Policies & Guidelines, and By-Laws.

   F.  Facility Upkeep

1.  The WCAC facility is a public building with substantial electronic equipment.  Therefore, it is a strictly enforced, non-smoking environment.  No smoke or fog machines are permitted in the studio.

2.  Community producers are expected to clean up after each time they use the facility.  This includes striking sets, replacing all equipment and cables, sweeping floors, and kitchen clean up.

3.  No animals are allowed in the building except for seeing eye/ear dogs or animals involved with a production.

        4.  Eating and drinking are allowed in designated areas only.

5.  WCAC will provide some props and supplies for sets, if those materials can be used by others.  Community producers must remove all set materials from the facility when they are finished.  WCAC has limited storage space for sets, to be used at the discretion of the Access Coordinator.

        6.  WCAC office equipment/furniture may not be used for sets. 

7.  WCAC is not responsible for set, props or personal items left on the premises.

X.  Other Conditions Continued

  G.  Right to Refuse

    WCAC reserves the right to refuse the use of its facilities to any individual who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs or who interferes with the orderly conduct of business.

  H.  Indemnification
    Users of the access channels shall indemnify and hold harmless the City of Waltham, WCAC its employees, and Board of Directors against any and all liabilities arising out of use of facilities and resources, or out of breach of the Agreement with the Policies.

  I.  Minors
    No minors will be allowed in the facility while staff persons are not on duty.  The parent/guardian is responsible for all actions of that minor and must sign all WCAC forms.

  J.  Grievance Procedures
    A grievance is defined as a complaint by an Active Member or Group, based on a dispute involving the meaning, interpretation or application of WCAC policies and guidelines. The grievance must first be presented in writing to WCAC’s Executive Director within three working days of the occurrence of the event upon which the grievance is based.  The ED will meet with the member within seven working days in an effort to settle the grievance.  In the event that the grievance is not disposed of at this time or in the event that no decision has been rendered, the grievance shall be referred in writing to the WCAC Board of Directors for a decision at the next regularly scheduled meeting.  The decision of the WCAC Board of Directors will be final.

  K.  Interpretation
    Where the implementations of these policies are subject to interpretation, decisions shall be at the discretion of the Executive Director or his/her designee.

Document approved 2009
WCAC Board of Directors