Easthampton Media to move into big new space at Eastworks

  • Kathleen Lynch, the executive director of Easthampton Media, talks about the new space in the Eastworks building. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Kathleen Lynch, the executive director of Easthampton Media, talks about the new space in the Eastworks building. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Kathleen Lynch, the executive director of Easthampton Media, talks about the new space in the Eastworks building. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

Published: 6/15/2017 11:05:04 PM

EASTHAMPTON — After some 20 years crammed into a small space in White Brook Middle School, Easthampton Media will be moving into fancy new digs by the end of the summer.

The public access television station recently received $172,000 in cultural facilities grant money from the state, which will fund a large chunk of the 3,000-square-foot space in the Eastworks building on Pleasant Street.

Executive Director Kathleen Lynch said that over the years, the activities, staff and ambition at Easthampton Media have grown but the size of their workspace has stayed the same.

“Our studio is where we shoot productions, where we edit, where we answer phone calls, etc.,” Lynch said of the organization’s current space in the pre-existing student TV studio.

Now, the agency is building a state-of-the-art digital media and cultural center whose final cost is expected to be $470,000. In addition to the state grant, $125,000 for the project came from Charter Communications’ cable contract with the city, another $150,000 from a loan with Greenfield Cooperative Bank and the rest from the station’s own money.

“We’re hoping to really open up the space as a true democratic event space for residents who have projects,” Lynch said. “It provides true access for the public.”

Walking through the currently empty space, Lynch detailed some of the center’s features: a 45-seat television studio that can also be used as a black-box theater, an editing suite for collaborations, computer workstations, an equipment closet, offices and a small kitchen.

Will Bundy, the owner of Eastworks, said having Easthampton Media as a tenant makes sense given the slogan he gave Eastworks: “where community happens.”

“It’s a perfect meshing of not only being a community center but also being one of the platforms for the creative economy in Easthampton,” he said.

Easthampton Media’s mission has always been to foster both community access to media and government transparency. The agency has long trained residents to produce their own local content, organized community events and, as any journalist can attest, provided essential access to local government meetings by filming them.

This new project, Lynch said, is meant to expand that mission in a new media and political landscape.

In addition to organizing a conference in the fall for women working in community media, Lynch said she expects the station to host more community events, shows and artistic performances, and to produce more original content.

That expanded mission, Lynch said, is partially meant to keep up with a rapidly changing media environment that threatens to leave community television in its wake.

Also driving that mission, she added, is fear that under the current administration, the Federal Communications Commission will relax cable companies’ obligation to support local affiliate stations.

“It’s relevant now for access centers to envision becoming more, and to become more,” Lynch said. The new community center, she added, is the first step in that process.

“I’m ready. We’re ready. I think the city’s ready,” she said.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy