Marne Bass is a man who loves Chico and spreading the word about its wonderful qualities through videos. This past November, the 61-year-old bookkeeper, paralegal and videographer started Citizen Television, or CTV, a nonprofit that broadcasts his videos showcasing everything “Chico,” from satire and street fights to live local bands and astrology readings. At last count Bass, who’s been making videos since the early 1980s, had created, edited and uploaded over 2,400 of his videos. Those, along with local videos he finds online, can be seen on cable TV in Yreka and Mount Shasta, as well as in the Oregon cities of Ashland and Medford. View a select few online at Citizn.net or the entire library at YouTube.com/MarneBass.
How did you start Citizen TV?
I produced my friend Kozmic Kev’s astrology show for 153 weeks when Chico had a local public access channel. After Chico dropped public access TV I started my own channel. My first video had me showing how to debone a turkey, which has gotten over 100,000 views.
What’s the overall purpose of Citizen Television?
The core concept is to stop our society from going to hell in a handbasket. We’re constantly assaulted by negative self-images of being undesirable, weak or alone, unless we buy the right hygienic products or bigger TVs. My solution is to build Chico up as a community and spread it to the world. People don’t realize that Chico is a really compelling place with a rich culture. I also want to help others make their knowledge and opinions available to everyone.
What types of videos do you show?
Our daily schedule features a jazz clinic at 7 a.m., “Kozmic Kev’s Planetary Cursader” at noon and 6 p.m., with local music acts and Chico scene videos interspersed. We also show local videos made by other Chicoans featuring fist fights in the park, cops busting gang-bangers, and old bands like Mother Hips and Electric Circus. My alter-ego, “Dick Witman,” is the antagonistic, conservative morning host who hates dope-smoking hippies and says things that would normally get me shot. You have to piss liberals off if you want them to do something.
Do you have assistants?
Yes, my helpers are mainly the performers and fans of the jazz band I play bass in, called the Miami Rogue Roosters. We play at Has Beans café on Humbolt Avenue the first and third Sunday of each month, and at various music festivals.
What’s in the works for Citizn.net?
We’re working on a Saturday morning kids show featuring cartoons, puppets and computer graphics that PBS in Redding is interested in acquiring. Others in production are a kid-oriented show called The Friendly Mermaid, a Mystery Science 3000 takeoff, The Hypnoswami and the Saturday farmers’ market.