Public gets cable access BALTIMORE CITY

After years of planning, Baltimore's public access cable channel could become a reality next month.

The Board of Estimates took the first step toward that goal yesterday by approving a four-year agreement between the city and the Baltimore Cable Access Corp., as well as $388,000 in funding for the operation, which will be housed at Coppin State College.


The $388,000 -- which will go toward hiring an executive director, purchasing equipment and paying for the operation in the coming year -- came from a $1.1 million access grant that the city required of United Cable of Baltimore as part of its 1984 contract with the cable franchisee.

The channel probably won't chronicle the antics of Wayne and Garth, but, then again, it might.


"It could be Wayne's World," Jonathan L. Shorr, board member and spokesman for the Baltimore Cable Access Corp., the non-profit group established to manage and operate the channel, said yesterday.

"But it could be Julia Child, it could be Firing Line, it could be the Poly-City football game, or it could be people in Hamden talking about the architecture on their streets, or people talking about their back yards being eroded into the Jones Falls," said Mr. Shorr, who has worked for years to get the public access channel onto the city's cable system.

Under the arrangement with Coppin, the college is donating studio and office space for the operation, Mr. Shorr said. Students will be able to use the equipment, though the studio will be open to anyone, he said.

Although there is no link at present between Coppin and United Cable, Mr. Shorr believes public-access programs could be aired as early as next month if they are on tape and delivered to the cable operator.

Baltimore Cable Access Corp. will hold a meeting to report to the community on the status of the public access channel at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Room 120 of the Jacobs Classroom Building at Coppin.