SNCAT director talks change

Les Smith

Les Smith has been executive director of Sierra Nevada Community Access Television (SNCAT) for about three years. He’s captained the cable television access group through some rough waters, but now, he’s got to steer it through one of it’s biggest changes yet—moving from its present location, 4024 Kietzke Lane, to the newer, higher tech facilty in Meadowood Mall.

Why is SNCAT moving?

Number one, it’s a way better facility than we’re in. This is a really beautiful facility. It’s the one that KREN and KAZR studios used to be in in the mall. … Pappas, or the owners of KREN and KAZR, put $3.6 million into renovations of this building. They converted an old Sam Goody into this studio. I said, half-joking, ‘We’re not moving until we can find a facility where we can walk in and plug everything in and away we go.’ And that quite literally is what this is.


It’s got a setup in the studio where they normally have the setup in the studio for television, but up above, they have the radio studio, so we can move KJIV into there without any extra expense or effort. It’s got a 15-foot green screen on one wall, so we can do green-screen effects. It’s got state of the art lighting, state of the art wiring. It’s top-notch. It was made for us. This is the best part: Our base rent is less than we’re paying here.

When do you move exactly?

It’s in July. Our big week to move is right in the middle of the month—the 13th through the 21st is when we’re moving all the office stuff—master control, all of our work stations are all moving that week.

And are you going to ask for volunteers?

I think probably our guys will move the expensive gear, but we will need help moving boxes and furniture and things like that.

Will there be something set up on the website?

There’ll be something set up on the website. Have you seen the website lately?


Oh, dude, you have to check it out. Have you been to Hulu? It totally looks like Hulu. We are positioning ourselves to be the Hulu for community access nationwide. There’s a lot of great opportunities that this is going to present for us. Let me back up. We’re going to post our move calendar and our dates and times for volunteers that we need either later today or first thing tomorrow. We can have an audience of up to 50 people, and that big area, where all the news desks used to be, we can have an audience of up to 50 people in there as well. That gives us the chance to do production in front of a live audience.

Like game shows.

Or infomercials. I’m going try to position myself as the next Billy Mays.

You don’t want to follow too closely in his footsteps.

I don’t mean physically. I can see myself in this media arc upwards to do infomercials for nonprofits or businesses. … So we have that potential, but we’ve also gotten grants, a big grant from Nevada Works, to train dislocated workers in film, television, IPTV [Internet Protocol Television], to try to build up a television economy here in the Truckee Meadows. They’ll have two tracks they can go; either a career track or an entrepreneurial track, and the idea here is we’ll spin out some small to medium sized businesses that can support, not only film and television production here for commercials and TV and whatever, but also for IPTV …

Also for what?

IPTV, Internet protocol television. Hulu is IPTV-based. All of the cable companies use IPTV for their HD and their digital channels. Anyway, build skill sets that are going to attract those kinds of businesses to the area as well. So we can then, as a community, go out and approach the future instead of it passing us by, which is what usually happens. We’ve got some very exciting things coming up.