June 5, 2019

Why is Princeton Willing to Dismiss The Value Provided by Community TV?

To the Editor:
As well as being a Life Success Coach, I host and produce Natasha, a half-hour interview show for Princeton Community Television (PCTV), doing interviews on topics ranging from “tattoos to nuclear weapons.”
In the past 18 months I have done numerous shows on the opioid epidemic in New Jersey; interviewing recovering addicts, parents who lost children, a retired judge who started a recovery program in jail, drug counselors, a prosecutor, attorneys challenging the role of big pharma, etc. There was something extraordinarily valuable to learn from each of these guests, including resources available in this area.
I have done interviews with the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, New Jersey’s SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), NJ Coalition for Peace Action, Womanspace, HomeFront, Penn East Pipeline Resistance, and the New Jersey Sierra Club. I interviewed local youth who started nonprofits. It doesn’t get much more local and relevant.
In the past year I did three shows on scleroderma, a devastating disease that is considered incurable. A Princeton physician working with my guest Jane suggested medication that was not available in the U.S. at that time. As a result, Jane is a walking miracle; as of now, the first person we know of who is cured of scleroderma. Partly because of Jane being unstoppable as an advocate for finding a cure, and because of the attention she got from doing the interviews and spreading the word, as of January 2019 the medication she used has now been made available in the U.S.
In response to the interviews, Jane got calls from all over the world. One of the interviews was aired at a scientific conference in Germany. Temple University has also aired several of my interviews. Why is Princeton so willing to dismiss the value provided by PCTV?
I am one producer of many, who create rich and valuable programming. People have talked about how the studio provides training and courses and opportunities to learn how to produce shows. That’s just one side of it. The other side is the extraordinarily diverse and significant programs that are produced at the studio.
Princeton is known world-wide as diverse, intellectually and culturally exciting, a center of creative thinking. Why would the municipality of Princeton not embrace and support the unique offerings of PCTV?
Princeton receives a cable TV franchise fee. Not all, but only a portion of this has been used to keep Princeton Community Television alive. Recently, there was a statement made indicating that the reason Princeton was refusing to continue allocating the monies to sustain PCTV was that they had a commitment to providing taxpayer relief. How does an annual budget of $232,000 provide significant taxpayer relief?

Natasha Sherman
Life Success Coach