November is election season and CreaTV sure was busy this year! We saw record turn out and voter registration this mid-term cycle, and while it’s important to keep up on national elections, for us, local is everything. This year, we tried to think about how we could help inform the community about local issues but also how we could build community around civic engagement.
Earlier this summer, I sat down with our host of Valley Politics, Terry Christensen, and asked him if he’d be willing to try something new. We knew that we wanted to continue our tradition of covering local issues, interviewing candidates and helping with candidate forums. At the same time, the organization has been trying to engage the community in new ways and use our channels for more live events.
So, in early October, we invited candidates for Santa Clara County Sherriff and County Commissioners to come to our studios for a live candidate forum, hosted by Terry and mediated by the League of Women Voters. Then we opened the studio doors and asked the community to join us as a live audience. We didn’t just want people to watch the debate, we wanted them to experience the excitement of live TV, connect with one another and become more informed voters.
Then we decided to take the experimentation to another level for the election night. In partnership with our sister stations, KMVT and Midpen Media Center, we planned a two hour live special. This was our first time ever going live on election night and our first time trying to share live feeds from other the other stations. We invited people to join us for a little wine and cheese and watch TV history happen.
In both cases, CreaTV challenged itself to think beyond the actual television program, and to think about how we might engage and inform the community, alongside making media. All in all, people joined us, local TV history was made, we had some fun, and we learned that sometimes, the TV show isn’t the most important part. Bringing people together to learn, connect and build community together…well, that’s also a pretty interesting program.