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You Want To Run Chicago's Public Access TV Channels? Here's Your Chance!

Longtime CAN TV executive director Barbara Popovic has announced that she is retiring. Here she is on Ken Davis's Chicago Newsroom discussing that, as well as "the role of access TV in the changing media landscape."


Want her soon-to-be vacant job? Here's the official "Position Guide" from the board of directors:


POSITION: Executive Director

REPORTS TO: Board of Directors


MISSION: Chicago Access Corporation, known as CAN TV, offers Chicagoans the opportunity to exercise their First Amendment right to freedom of speech by providing technical training, equipment, facilities and programming opportunities on CAN TV's five local, noncommercial public access cable television channels. CAN TV promotes and develops maximum public awareness of, use of and involvement in cable television for cultural, educational, health, social service, civic, community and other nonprofit purposes.

ABOUT CAN TV: When the City of Chicago established Chicago Access Corporation (CAN TV) in 1983 as an independent 501c3 organization, it placed a high priority on community involvement in cable television. Now in its 33rd year, over 18,000 residents and 5,000 nonprofit members have participated in training at CAN TV and thousands more use its channels. Today, CAN TV is recognized as one of the nation's most effective public access television organizations.

CAN TV operates five cable television channels in Chicago which are available on AT&T, Comcast, RCN and WOW:

  • CAN TV19: Public Affairs, entertainment, documentary and arts
  • CAN TV21: Live, call-in Hotline shows, community events and arts coverage
  • CAN TV27: 24/7 local news and information
  • CAN TV36: Religious and inspirational programming
  • CAN TV42: Interactive community bulletin board with blues and jazz from WDCB-FM

Any Chicago nonprofit or resident can submit noncommercial content to CAN TV for free, and over 10,000 new, local programs are shown on the network every year. Submitted videos include independent productions and programs made using equipment and facilities provided by CAN TV. Groups who produce programs using CAN TV's publicly accessible studio and equipment represent a wide range of communities, including seniors, attorneys, and people with disabilities.

CAN TV works with hundreds of local nonprofits annually, helping meet their communications needs with low cost, easy to use services. Chicago-based nonprofits host live call-in shows from a dedicated studio at CAN TV, reaching viewers in need of their services. These programs are shown live on cable television in Chicago and online, with topics including health, economic development, civic engagement and domestic violence.

CAN TV42, the interactive community bulletin board for Chicago nonprofits, logs hundreds of phone calls daily from people requesting information on jobs and training, arts events, and volunteer opportunities, among other topics. This service is unique to CAN TV in Chicago as one of the only public access organizations in the nation with such a resource.

CAN TV also provides unedited coverage of a wide range of community events in Chicago, including live coverage of public forums, press conferences, and timely political events.

Programs produced by CAN TV include:

  • Chicago Newsroom, analysis of the week's top local stories by local journalists and newsmakers.
  • Putting People First, public service announcements featuring Chicago nonprofits.
  • Political Forum, providing Chicagoans a direct line to their elected officials.

Since 1990, CAN TV has:

  • Trained over 18,000 Chicagoans and 5,000 nonprofit members
  • Cablecast over 250,000 local programs
  • Carried over 22,000 hours of live television shows

Every week, CAN TV channels carry up to 140 hours of new local programs that connect Chicagoans with jobs, health care, education opportunities, financial assistance and more. Since 2009, CAN TV programming has logged over 600,000 online views. CAN TV simulcasts over 70 hours per month of live call-in programming on health, education, veterans' issues, job opportunities, and more.

In 2016, CAN TV celebrated the grand opening of a modern, multi-use production facility, close to downtown Chicago in the heart of the Illinois Medical District campus, accessible by public transit and major highways.

CAN TV has an operating budget of approximately $3.6M annually and a staff of approximately 30 full- and part-time employees.

THE OPPORTUNITY CAN TV has recently moved into its new home on the near west side of Chicago in the Illinois Medical District. This facility, and its upgraded technology and production equipment, offer an opportunity for CAN TV to expand and strengthen its services in support of its public mission. CAN TV has also recently negotiated its first four-year term labor contract. As the organization moves forward, the next Executive Director will have the opportunity to work with the Board of Directors on charting a strategic vision for the organization that ensures CAN TV's services remain robust and relevant in a rapidly evolving digital environment with adequate internal infrastructural support. Expanding training opportunities, reaching viewers on multiple media platforms, and exploring new service development will be part of the strategic planning approach to charting CAN TV's future.

POSITION SUMMARY: Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director serves as the chief executive of CAN TV. The Executive Director supervises the Associate Executive Director, Chief Engineer, Communications Manager, Nonprofit Services Manager, Community Partners Manager, and Training Manager. Key duties of the Executive Director include:

  • Negotiate, regulate and lobby to ensure compliance by all cable and video providers with local or state franchise requirements for support of CAN TV.
  • Expand the vision for CAN TV in the digital age through development of future- focused technology and services that respond to evolving community needs in Chicago.
  • Represent CAN TV externally, communicating the organization's vision to targeted leaders at the local, state and federal levels.
  • Report the performance of the organization accurately and responsibly to the Board of Directors and act as the staff liaison on board activities.
  • Recruit, supervise and develop the core management team as the strategic planning and functional leadership element of the organization.
  • Negotiate and lead implementation of the labor contract with management team support.
  • Implement and expand programs and services that meet the needs of Chicago residents and nonprofits.

CANDIDATE PROFILE: We seek a proven leader who is dedicated to providing access and resources to Chicago communities that are so often underserved and underrepresented by traditional broadcast media. This individual is a big-picture thinker who will drive a compelling vision for the organization in the future and a leader who is flexible with sound judgement in decision-making.

A leader with strong communication skills, this person must have a track record of collaborating with key stakeholders to ensure goals are achieved. First-hand experience working with senior officials in government and/or public administration is required. Career experience in a top leadership position in an organization with a similar mission (i.e. public media, broadcast/cable television) is a plus, but not required.

As the key spokesperson for the organization, this person must be able to speak extemporaneously about the mission of CAN TV. Effective communication with people of diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds is a must. An ability to build rapport with those who have varying viewpoints is important.

We seek a person with high character, who is composed, open and accessible. Energy, optimism, a good listener and quick learner are important personal attributes.

This person should be able to organize, analyze and prioritize key activities of the organization and motivate staff to achieve desired goals. Leading staff in an inspirational manner that strengthens organizational capacity is expected.

A proven ability to direct and manage the finances, budget preparation and oversight, and contract administration of a complex organization is required. Experience in labor relations is a plus.

A bachelor's degree from an accredited academic institution in a related field (i.e. communications, management) is required. An advanced degree is preferred. Evidence of continuing education, certification and executive level training is desirable.

To apply, please submit a current resume and letter of introduction to Kittleman & Associates, LLC at http://kittlemansearch.com/Executive-Director-CAN-TV.html

For more information about CAN TV, please visit www.cantv.org.


Comments welcome.


Posted on November 22, 2016

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