Acadiana Open Channel will be in a new home in the Rosa Parks Transportation Center next year. On Tuesday night, the Lafayette City-Parish Council approved a new deal — already signed off on by AOC's board of directors — to move the public access television station into the two-story office complex currently under construction adjacent to the Jefferson Street underpass. Because the center came in almost $4 million under budget, adding an 8,300-square-foot space to the building for AOC will come at no additional cost to the city. AOC expects to move into the new space sometime next spring.
The council also approved a new operating contract for AOC. The contract, set to take effect in November, funds AOC with "an amount equal to thirty-five percent of the receipts by the City-Parish of the franchise fees specified in the Franchise Agreements." This represents a significant change and increase in funding for AOC. The station used to receive funding of approximately 50 percent of franchise fees until many years ago when the council moved to cap AOC's funding at $220,000 a year, where it has remained for the past decade. The new agreement will put AOC's funding next year at approximately $490,000, with $115,000 coming back to the city in the form of rent at the city-owned Rosa Parks center.
AOC Director Ed Bowie says he is very excited about the move and that AOC's new custom-built space will afford its users several benefits, including the use of two production studios and individual video editing booths. Bowie says all negotiations with the city went surprisingly well. "They really understood the issues — what we as a public access station do and what we can do," he says. "That, for us, was very reassuring."
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