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By The People, For The People

The launching of Brooklyn Community Access Television (BCAT) was announced last week. The station, which will be carried by Time Warner and Cablevision, has financing from the Fund for the Borough of Brooklyn – with a $350,000 annual budget.

Beginning in May, the station will begin airing a BCAT Bulletin Board, a computer-generated calendar of events in the borough that will be broadcast 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Onida Coward, the project’s director, said BCAT is negotiating a lease in a downtown Brooklyn building that would serve as a studio. Construction on the studio is expected to be completed in about 18 months.

At that point, the studio will be available for residents who want to produce community-oriented programming; training will be provided.

“We want the public to know that this is there for them,” Coward said. “Finally, we will have our own medium where we can cover a lot of things that are happening here.”

Although Manhattan and Queens have long had community access channels, Brooklyn has lagged behind – just as the wiring of Brooklyn has been long in coming.

In a borough of 2.5 million, only 50,000 to 60,000 homes have cable, said Coward.

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