Brooklyn Public Network (formerly BCAT TV Network) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and we're pretty darn excited about it. It's been twenty five years of:
- community-produced, community-selected television made by the great citizens of Brooklyn.
- more than 15,000 Brooklynites served through our media education program or by having their own show on Brooklyn Free Speech TV.
- providing the platform for Brooklynites to tell their stories in their own words through television and new media.
The title of this post connects with our BRIC House theme for December which is Past, Present, Home and Away. So let's start by honoring our PAST.
Founded in 1988, Brooklyn Public Network was created to facilitate the creation of and access to free or low-cost media education programs and to nurture public participation in the creation of works in the medium of video.
When we first began cablecasting in 1993 we had a simple mission of giving Brooklynites the platform to create, curate and present television that's for, by, and about them. Since then, we've grown into a full-service media organization that not only gives Brooklyn residents the platform to tell their stories on Brooklyn Free Speech TV but also BRIC-produced and BRIC-curated, Brooklyn Independent Media which brings original, inspiring, entertaining and hyper-local coverage of Brooklyn news, people, sports, and culture.
Over the years we've even been noticed in popular culture, including being featured on Saturday Night Live (2006, Season 32: Episode 8) in a skit called "Buyer Beware" with Mason Lemmings played by Kenan Thompson and Trudy Plains played by Maya Rudolph. Set in a Brooklyn garage, Lemmings and Plains set up a Consumer Reports style show to bring you consumer alerts about the best and worst products (see photo 21 above). We've received several Alliance for Community Media awards for our community producer's work on Brooklyn Free Speech TV. Our Brooklyn Independent Media team has been nominated for five New York Emmy awards, and most recently we received a New York Press Club award for our coverage of Superstorm Sandy. And, let's not forget the street cred we received after being mentioned in the freestyle of Brooklyn hip-hop artist Fabolous. Fabolous's lyrics were laid over Jay-Z's Brooklyn We Go Hard track and poignantly said, "Before BET [Black Entertainment Television] we watched BCAT."
Honoring our PRESENT:
In the fall, we officially changed our name from BCAT TV Network to Brooklyn Public Network in order to reflect the breadth of our current and future programming.
Brooklyn Free Speech TV Community Producer, Robert Gilmore was asked what Brooklyn Public Network means to him and said, "It's a place to come and express myself without all of the red tape. If you have dreams about [television and film] production, you can come here and make it happen—that's the way I feel. You know what Brooklyn Public Network represents to me? It represents the open door."
In October 2013 our new HOME, BRIC Arts | Media House was unveiled, a newly-renovated, 40,000 square foot arts and media oasis in the heart of Brooklyn's Arts District. It features an art gallery that exhibits the work of emerging Brooklyn artists, the Hungry Ghost café with yummy treats and fancy lattes, performing arts programming all-year round, a glass-walled television studio that broadcasts Brooklyn Independent Media's flagship show BK Live every day at noon, two newly renovated state-of-the-art television studios (coming in January!) with exclusive access for our Brooklyn Free Speech TV community producers, a media lab, a mini-studio that allows you to do a live call-in show and edit suites outfitted with the creative suites and AVID and Adobe Premiere editing software.
And to close out, AWAY we go, continuing to reach new heights, pushing boundaries, providing free or low-cost, quality media education training for Brooklynites at BRIC House and across the borough through our partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library, introducing high school students to the world of film and television production through our youth media education program, helping Brooklynites from all across this great borough realize their dream of building a career in film and television production and continuing with the mission that we were founded on 25 years ago of providing access for all and making television that's free, independent and oh-so Brooklyn!