Commentary

Jones Television

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By Jerry Oliver

It’s been 13 years since Jones Television began broadcasting through Cox Communications. Since then, Channel 22 has steadily gained loyal viewership and national recognition. Though few people know much about the TV studio in Springdale, that could change. Over the past few years, Jones Television has been on the cusp of greater things and now with a new executive producer, the little studio that can, is primed to become the little studio that does.

Tim Crane, the new executive producer, came to Jones TV last month. Crane was previously department manager of Wal-Mart TV. Even though he grew up in Chicago, Crane has been a resident of Northwest Arkansas since 1980. 

“The community of Northwest Arkansas has a unique spirit and unique residents,” Crane said. “The diversity here makes it a more pleasant place to live and raise a family.”

Introducing a “corporate” player into a nonprofit position can be a bit of a culture shock, but Crane’s expertise may be the ingredient needed to expand the studio.

“Our mission is to serve the community. Nothing’s really changed, except we’re renewing the mission,” Crane said.

Jones TV is known for its original programming and for its work with other nonprofits. With the opening of the Center for Nonprofits in Rogers, the staff is sure to stay busy.

“Under the Jones Trust umbrella, the Jones Center for Families is the most familiar function,” Crane said. “Jones Television was founded to be the communication medium for the nonprofits in Springdale. Now we’ll be the mouthpiece for the nonprofits in Rogers as well.”

The station will continue to broadcast favorites like Family Health Today, All Pets Considered and Yoga with Andrea and add new shows like Community Central, The Scrapbooking Studio and Karrie on Canvas. The station also produces the Washington-Madison County Drug Court shows. But some shows, like Front Row, have been temporarily shelved due to lack of sponsorships.

“Though we’re nonprofit, it still takes money (to produce a show),” Crane said.

Sponsorships for shows are essential for the survival of the original programs that Jones Television produces. But in these economically difficult times it’s a tough sell. The crew in Springdale hopes that none of their shows will be canceled, but with only seven people on staff, finding time to beat the pavement for sponsorships is difficult. 

The Jones Trust provides staff, equipment and the facility; however, recouping the costs of making a half-hour TV program is a new focus for Crane. But, Crane said Jones TV is always considering new programs and determining the value of a show and how it supports the mission of the Jones Trust is just as important as getting funding for the production.

In the past, TV viewers who didn’t live in the area or didn’t have Cox cable were unable to watch Jones Television. But now, viewers can catch many of the programs on YouTube. The YouTube channel (YouTube.com/jonestelevision22) was launched in January. Internet users can watch documentaries like “My Father’s War” and “The Fulbright Concerto Competition,” some of the regular programs and even new videos that don’t air on channel 22. For example, Front Row is posting music videos that were cut from TV shows due to time restrictions and videos for nonprofit like The Centers for Effective Parenting are being posted. Jones TV is also on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. 

“Internet promotion is important because so much information is gained online. It’s an information resource that everyone uses,” Crane said.

For more information, visit JonesTV.org, Twitter.com/JonesTelevision, Youtube.com/JonesTelevision22, facebook.com/pages/Jones-Television/92021753116 and Myspace.com/JonesTelevision22.

 

Jerry Oliver is a producer and director for Jones Television.

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