CATS

COMMUNITY ACCESS TELEVISION SERVICES

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About CATS

Community Access Television Services (CATS) was established in 1973 as a dedicated constitutional forum for the purpose of providing citizens of Bloomington and Monroe County access to the electronic media for the distribution of information, opinion and other constitutionally protected forms of speech.

Location

CATS is on the first floor of the Monroe County Public Library: 303 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, IN 47408

Contact Information

Hours of Operation

  • Monday - Thursday: 9am-9pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 10am-6pm
  • Sunday: Noon-6pm

What Is CATS?

CATS, a department of the Monroe County Public Library, acts as steward for the City of Bloomington’s five PEG access channels. The CATS Community Network provides a diverse array of access television services with support from the Monroe County Public Library, the City of Bloomington, Monroe County and the Town of Ellettsville, as well as local video service providers. The five channels serviced by the library are…

  • The Library Channel
  • The Public Channel
  • The Bloomington City Government Channel
  • The Monroe County Government Channel
  • SCOLA International News

Most Requested Forms

Government Meeting Coverage Guidelines

In the interest of providing consistent, neutral and transparent coverage of live and recorded government meetings, the following guidelines are set forth:

  1. CATS will provide coverage of any public meeting in accordance with the definitions established in Indiana code IC 5-14-1.5. Public Meetings (Open Door Law). Though CATS has contractual obligations to cover specific government meetings, CATS will endeavor to cover other public meetings upon request from local individuals or organizations.

  2. In an effort to provide viewers with the best possible sense of proceedings in the room or chamber, CATS will employ an establishing wide shot at the beginning, ending, and for all recesses during public meetings.

  3. CATS crew members will avoid the practice of taking reaction shots unless there is an active dialogue taking place. Similarly, tight close-ups will not be employed, as they could represent an element of visual editorializing, and hence the perception of a departure from neutrality.

  4. Whenever possible, CATS will employ the use of lower-third graphic superimpositions (name supers) to identify officials, name of meeting and date. CATS will also provide a LIVE “bug”, which will be removed for replay of the meeting.

  5. Whenever possible, CATS will present meetings, boards and councils via LIVE telecast on our designated cable channels, as well as via our web site. CATS will also work to ensure that all meetings will be available on our website by 9:00 AM the following day.

  6. As neutrality of CATS governmental coverage is an essential function of our network and is a vital component of local democracy, CATS reserves the right to refuse suggestions from any individual, group or organization to; turn off the cameras, alter established protocols for shot composition or to limit the public comments of any person speaking during a public meeting. Any public discussions or demonstrations which occur when meetings are adjourned or in recess will not be televised.

  7. CATS will feature royalty-free music in the background during wide shots, before and after meetings and during all recesses.

  8. While the proceedings of governmental meetings reside in the public domain, apart from executive sessions, all municipal and county meetings for CATS’ government access channels and the web shall be copyrighted and may only be reproduced for personal, non-commercial use by individuals. Any use or reproduction of CATS coverage without the expressed written consent of CATS is strictly forbidden.

Access Use

The rules and regulations set forth below have been adopted to assure compliance with current federal, state and municipal laws and regulations governing the availability and use of Community Access Television Services (CATS). The policies and regulations set forth herein supersede any and all others previously issued:

  1. The Monroe County Public Library operates CATS as a service to the community and in fulfillment of library goals. Any resident of Monroe County may use the facilities of CATS. All rules and regulations outlined below apply equally to all access channels unless specifically stated otherwise.
  2. The Monroe County Public Library and CATS will allow great latitude with respect to freedom of speech. However, all programming shall be non-commercial and consistent with legal constraints and community standards. No part of any program shall contain: any solicitation for funds or other property of value, or obscene or defamatory material.
  3. The community access channels are operated by the library as a dedicated constitutional forum. Programs are not rejected because either they or their spokespersons are controversial. CATS does not attempt to verify the accuracy or lack of bias in the programming it carries, nor does CATS attempt to achieve a balance in regards to any issue, faith or ideology. The producer of each program is exercising her/his first amendment right to free speech and is solely responsible for the program's content. Reference to Section 611 (E) and Section 639 of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 & 1992.
  4. The producer of an access program is the person who signs the application for use of the access facilities as outlined below. The producer of each access program is solely responsible for its content. The producer must obtain all talent releases, copyright authorizations and other necessary licenses or approvals. By signing the application the producer accepts all responsibility and any associated liability for the content of the program. Programs that do not have a signed release will not be shown.
  5. Upon the filing of an appropriate request, the community access equipment and channel will be available to any Monroe County resident, group or organization. Programming produced outside of Monroe County will require a written request from a local resident or organization for cablecast on CATS. All requests are reviewed on a first-come, first-served, non-discriminatory basis. All access use is subject to the availability of time, staff and facilities.
  6. Any organization or individual may sponsor candidate forums, providing written notification of all candidates thirty days prior to the forum. Any appearances by political candidates in other CATS programming are acceptable providing they are not advocating their candidacy nor criticizing the opposing candidate or party. (The Communications Act of 1934, specifically the "equal time ruling", does not apply to access television).
  7. Use of the access facilities: studio, equipment, personnel and other technical resources must be for the sole purpose and/or intent of producing programming for CATS.
  8. Use of the access facilities must be requested through the program proposal form provided by CATS. A signed proposal must be on file prior to scheduling use of the facilities.
  9. Applications on behalf of a minor must be signed by a parent or a legally appointed adult guardian who will accept responsibility for any liability resulting from the use of the facilities by the minor.
  10. No private information concerning volunteers or producers will be given out over the telephone. However, all program proposal forms are kept in a file at CATS and are made available for public review, once the program has been telecast, during regular operating hours.

Access Limitations

  1. All access producers shall adhere carefully to all applicable federal, state and local regulations concerning limits of public speech and television programming content.
  2. Advertising or material designed to promote the sale of commercial products or services is expressly prohibited. Political advertising or commercials produced by or on behalf of a legally qualified candidate for public office is similarly prohibited.
  3. Producers who want to create programs which are produced for commercial venture or profit shall be prohibited from using the access facilities.
  4. Underwriting of programming is allowed but recognition is limited to a text message stating the name of the individual or company. The use of logos, slides, phone numbers and video clips of business locations are strictly prohibited. Reference to FCC regulation 76.221 sections A & E.
  5. No program shall be transmitted over the community access channels which contains any material which would subject the producer or the supplier thereof to prosecution under any applicable local, state or federal law for the production or presentation of obscene material, libel, slander, invasion of privacy or copyright or trademark infringement . Neither CATS nor the MCPL will attempt to make a determination as to the constitutional legality of any content presented for telecast. A cable operator may refuse to transmit any public access program that the operator reasonably believes contains obscenity. (47 C.F.R. (76.702). (Determinations of obscenity, libel, slander, etc., are legal questions which can be determined only after due process by a judge and/or jury).
  6. No program shall be transmitted over the community access channels which contains a lottery or information promoting any device, scheme, plan, promotion, contest or other program and/or presentation which involves directly or indirectly the elements of a prize, chance and/or consideration of money or a thing of value. Reference Section 76.213 of the rules of the FCC.
  7. The producer of an access program agrees to indemnify and hold the MCPL and CATS harmless from all liability for damages, costs and losses resulting from, arising out of, or in any way connected with the use of the cable channels by the producer, its officers, agents, or employees.
  8. CATS reserves the right to refuse facility use to anyone reasonably suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or any disabling drug and therefore not legally responsible for his or her own actions. CATS also reserves the right to refuse facility use to anyone who is disruptive, rude with staff or patrons, abuses the equipment or fails to return equipment on time. Any use which is disruptive to MCPL patrons, CATS patrons, MCPL operations or CATS operations may be refused or revoked.
  9. CATS will revoke the access privileges of any individual or group misrepresenting themselves as under the employ of CATS, the MCPL or any other community channel designation under the control of the MCPL.
  10. The MCPL , CATS and cable operator shall not be liable for any loss of transmission time or transmission of programming due to equipment failure or for any other reason beyond the control of the parties.
  11. Any person, group or organization who abuses or has abused the privilege of access by violating any of the provisions of this part may be denied use of the access facilities. Violations of access policy will result in revocation of access privileges for a period of time to be determined by CATS Director in conjunction with MCPL Administration.
  12. Because revocation of access privileges is such a significant loss of the right to free speech, any decision by CATS and the library administration may be appealed by writing the MCPL Board of Trustees for review. Their decision will be final.
  13. The MCPL reserves the right to interpret any and all guidelines in accordance with existing library policies and procedures. The library also reserves the right to suspend any and all guidelines for library programming.
  14. In the event that CATS or the MCPL incurs any attorney fees or court costs in pursuing any of the remedies available to them, they shall be entitled to recover the same from the producer or any other party liable as a result of the use of the MCPL facilities, channels or staff.

What are the job opportunities at CATS?


CATS has Master Controllers (station operators), Production Assistants (field staff), and full-time Managers. Positions open periodically throughout the year. All openings are posted on the third floor of the Monroe County Public Library. Feel free to check the Library bulletin board for openings.

Can I Volunteer?

As paid staff take care of the daily operations of CATS, we encourage volunteers to produce their own programming. Volunteers are encouraged to take our free classes on camera operation and editing.

How do I submit something to the Community Calendar?

You may mail, fax, email, or bring in your announcement for the community calendar. If you submit your announcement by fax or mail, please call CATS to confirm the announcement was received. (See the Community Calendar)


Can I make a Public Service Announcement?


You may make a videotaped Public Service Announcement by contacting CATS. CATS will also accept pre-recorded Public Service Announcements to play throughout the cablecast day. For more information on Public Service Announcements, call CATS at 349-3111 or email us.

If I don't receive the Channels, how can I view CATS programming?


We encourage residents without access to cable or Internet to simply stop by CATS to use our viewing rooms. These rooms are reserved on a first-come first-served basis, and are exclusively for the purpose of viewing CATS programming.