Archive for January, 2011

Public Television Serves, is Served by Community

Posted in Feature Articles on January 29, 2011 by
KIXE Television Studio, Redding, CA

Photo by Joe McGarity


Serving ten Northstate California counties, that’s an area approximately the size of Ohio, since 1964, that’s nearly a half-century, is your Public Television station, KIXE-TV, Channel 9.  Older than the PBS network itself, KIXE receives no money from the State of California, rather it relies upon funding from a variety of other sources which include the federal Corporation for Public Broadcasting, grants from private philanthropic organizations, a popular live Auction program and of course, support from viewers like you.  Rob Keenan, Director of Content for KIXE spoke to the Fantom Penguin and explained the difference between public and commercial television.

Keenan told us, “Well, the real difference is, basically commercial stations interrupt your program every ten minutes or so with a commercial message.  We basically only, and are only allowed to interrupt our programming between programming.  So, I guess, you’re not really interrupting the programming.  People would argue that pledge drives interrupt the programming, but that’s actually a really important way for us to make money here is the pledge drives, but the difference is that, in theory, the commercial stations are a commercial message and we don’t have a commercial message even though we have spots on our air that . . . I guess are supposed to be an acknowledgement that someone has supported us where a commercial station is a spot that is trying to sell something.  And you can argue back and forth of how those things look and that sort of thing but, the mission here is:  Most public television stations have Program Managers which is essentially what I am; I am Director of Content, but we sort of focus on programming.  Most commercial stations don’t necessarily have a Program Manager; they have an Operations Manager.  We have an Operations Manager as well, but they have an Operations Manager and they have a Sales Department and basically what they usually program for is what’s going to get the most money commercially.  Where we’re trying to satisfy small niche markets or individuals that enjoy programs.  A lot of our programs don’t have a lot of eyes on them, but that’s sort of historically what public television’s done in the past is not cater to a mass market, but we try to get smaller little pockets of people who enjoy crafts or enjoy different science programs or that sort of thing.”

Another important source of support for the station is non-monetary and comes directly from the community it serves.

According to Keenan, “The station really survives on volunteers.  A lot of the work we do can only be done because people sort of step up and come down here and help us or do other volunteer work and I would encourage anyone who has an interest in various aspects of Public Television whether you’re into clerical work or probably the most popular is Production.  And to give us a call down here and let us know what your interest is because we always need new volunteers.  We always need new Production volunteers and if you’re interested in helping out at any level we have all kinds of different jobs here that people can do and we appreciate everybody who comes down and does offer assistance to us to let us know, give us a call and help support us.”

The number to call is 243-KIXE.  That’s (530) 243-5493 or visit the website at or stop by the studio itself on Market Street in Redding directly across the street from Lim’s Café.

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Tavern in French Gulch Serves History with Beer

Posted in Feature Articles on January 22, 2011 by

Photo by Joe McGarity


The traffic in French Gulch, California is not much worse than it was in the 1850’s, but now the horses are made of iron.  E. Franck & Company is still in the same location and still owned by the same family.  Originally a place to stock up on mining supplies and general merchandise, Barbara Felsher, the great grand-daughter of the Shasta County pioneer who founded the business and her husband John currently manage a bar in the historic building.
Although, the original was destroyed by fire, the “new” building is only as old as the Andrew Johnson administration.  Built mostly of natural stone and mud, the walls, which contain no concrete are nearly two feet thick.  While the bar serves beer and wine only, the spirits of the past are still evident.  Among the impressive collections of antiques at the bar are ancient records of financial transactions.  On September 3, 1869 someone named Murray ordered two drinks and ran up a tab of twenty-five cents.
The antique cash register was customized for E. Franck & Company around turn of the last century by the National Cash Register Company.  Other antiques on display highlight the family’s history as well as the town’s history of the California Gold Rush.  The collections also include photographs, vintage clothing, glassware, farming implements, antique currency issued by a bank in Lodi, old-time advertising, baseball uniforms and weapons.
Interspersed among the antiques are several awards, certificates and recognitions by such organizations as the Harley Owners Group, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the State of California.  The business has been recognized by the state’s “100 Years” Club and has received a rare “150 Years in Business” plaque.
A pleasant drive on a nice day, French Gulch is easy to find; look for the sign just past Whiskeytown Lake.
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Open House at Community Access Television Studio

Posted in Feature Articles on January 15, 2011 by

Photo by Joe McGarity


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If you’re looking for the television studio of the Redding Community Access Corporation, you won’t find it near the tracks any longer.  RCAC has a brand new location on Locust Street in the Cypress Square near Tortilla Flats.  The Fantom Penguin spoke with Ed Ballantine, Chairman of the Board of Directors, who told us why.
He said, “We were in a situation where there were the sounds of trains and stuff going by at the old studio and the old studio was very small.  And we always had to shut down production because of the sound, literally, the trains on the other side of 273 going by.  You’re going to hear some noises around here today because people are working.  So, you’ll hear hammers and saws and stuff and drills.”
Scattered throughout a building filled with the sounds of construction, were dozens of pieces of equipment, both old and new awaiting installation in the new facility.
Ballantine continues, “This gives our producers, both old and the new ones coming in, I think, a much better opportunity to produce really air-quality shows and that they’ll have a lot of fun.  This little new little board we’ve got in here is going to give them the opportunity to do much more.  We’re now using a “TriCaster”, technology for editing as well as capturing video, which will give us the ability to go to HD eventually, full HD, and then we’ll be able to just do more.  We’ve installed a jib, so that we can do crane shots now.  Out in the main studio we have the ability to raise or lower our lighting grid.”
The public is invited this Thursday, January 20, to see for themselves.
“On the 20th of January, we’re going to kick things off around 4:30 in the afternoon.  It’ll run until about 7:30 in the evening.  That’s a Thursday, this one coming up and we are going to demonstrate some of this technology.  We’ll also be having live bands in our studio playing; providing entertainment.  We’ll also have people in here that will be operating this equipment so you can see how it is operated,” says Ballantine.

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Entries Due for Sundial Festival

Posted in Feature Articles on January 8, 2011 by
Photo by Joe McGarity

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There is still plenty of time to get tickets to the annual Rotary Club of Redding’s Sundial Film Festival, that’s not until March 19, but if you are a filmmaker or a photographer who would like to participate in the festival, the time to submit your entry is now.

The festival, has taken place at the Cascade Theater in downtown Redding, for the past three years.  The Fantom Penguin spoke with Michael Dacquisto, a local attorney who serves as the chairman of the Sundial Film Selection Committee.
He told the Fantom Penguin, “The deadline for entries is January 10, 2011 which is about three days from now.”
“And the festival is a film festival; it’s also a photography festival.  There are pictures that come in from local photographers which are displayed around the Cascade Theater.  They are hung and so during intermissions and breaks in the film-showing schedule you can go take a look at the photographs in there, some wonderful, lovely photographs as well.  The deadline for submission of those is also coming up.  It’s January 10, 2011.”
The time may be running out, but the process for submitting your entry is simple and begins online.
Dacquisto tells us, “The website is  There is a Facebook page which you just type in Sundial Film Festival and it will get you to the Facebook page and that will also have a link to the website.  If you have a movie that you want to enter or a photograph you want to enter, go to the website not Facebook and you can enter it directly through there.  We also have a separate category this year call “The One-Minute Movie”.  And “The One-Minute Movie”, this is the first year we’ve done it.  The idea behind it is that anyone can make a movie; it can’t be any longer than sixty seconds including titles and credits and everything else.  It can be about anything in the world.  There are no subject criteria.  We’ve gotten, I believe we have seven one-minute movies have been submitted so far and they are a very interesting range of topics and ideas and to see what people can put together and show.  Those will also be shown on the big screen, we’re very hopeful.  That particular part of the contest has an online voting portion which will start February 1, I believe, and from then until March 18, the day before the festival starts you can go online; you can vote for those films and the one that gets the most votes will be the winner.”

There is no fee to enter a movie in the one-minute category and there is still time to get your entry in by Monday, January 10.

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Hidden Museum is Worth Finding

Posted in Feature Articles on January 1, 2011 by

Photo by Joe McGarity

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Only one block off the beaten path (in Anderson that’s North Street), identified only by a modest “Point of Historical Interest” sign, is a local history museum that is well worth leaving the beaten path to find.
Following the sign brings one to a little house on Ferry Street, in a residential neighborhood.  There is no fee to visit the museum.  It is open to the public Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11:00 to 4:00.
Inside the building are displays and artifacts of Anderson, Cottonwood and throughout Shasta County, the results of over thirty years of collecting and curating by the Anderson Historical Society, including two cases of military memorabilia, most of which is has connections to local servicemen and women, including the Stabler Civil War Gun Collection, a formidable looking safe from a bank now deep beneath the waters of Shasta Lake, instruments once used by a traveling teacher to bring music to young students in far-flung reaches of the county and artifacts from the home of Elias Anderson, for whom the City is named.
The Fantom Penguin spoke with Florence Erickson, current president of the Anderson Historical Society.
She told us, “At present we have our building paid for and are moving forward to have more displays and more display space.  We have a one-room school building now and that has been added to the area and a beautiful garden.  It’s a delightful place to visit and we invite the public to come and spend time with us and get to know us.”
“We have all the yearbooks from Anderson High School and we have some from West Valley since it’s been in existence and we also have some little yearbooks from the Cottonwood Elementary School.”
“We frequently have people who are interested in their ancestors and come in and try to look up things that pertain to them.  Sometimes they get some really surprising information that they wouldn’t have suspected about their ancestors.”
Also at the site is a one-room schoolhouse dating back to the 1850’s.  The very same one which had languished un-restored at Shasta College for decades was purchased by the Anderson Historical Society for only $1.00 after the college sponsored an essay contest to determine the building’s fate, a contest won by Historical Society board member and past president, Delores Mitchell.
There are many, many other exhibits.  Too many to mention here, these items deserve an entire afternoon of your attention, or perhaps more.

Erickson tells us, “We are always looking for someone interested in coming in and learning more and passing their knowledge on to the public.”

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