Posts Tagged ‘television’


The city of Melrose once had a cable access television station. It started up in 1986 and lasted for nearly twenty five years. It closed when the city decided to keep the cable franchise fees for the general fund instead of giving them to the station for operating funds.

I saw the potential of promoting our Boy Scout Troop on this television channel almost immediately, and decided to make good use of it. I would videotape our courts of honor to air on the station. I would take a VHS video camera with me on outings to create programs to inform people what the Boy Scouts have been doing. We even created some original programming using the Scouts as actors. I joined the station’s board of directors and created Scouting related programming for over twenty years.

One of the earliest Scouting related programs was an interview with five of the adult leaders of the Melrose Scouting program. It was titled The Leaders of Scouting. It was filmed in 1988. The guests included cubmasters, assistant scoutmasters, and committee members. I was a producer for the show and thought it turned out pretty good.

After Mel TV closed its doors the city donated all the programming to the Melrose Area Historical Museum. I am now a board member of that organization. The board’s chairman and I were talking one day and thought it would be a good idea to create a Youtube channel and post some of these old programs online for the community to watch once again. With the help of Shalon we have been digitizing some of the old VHS tapes and DVDs to post online.

Six programs have been posted online so far. I am happy to report that The Leaders Of Scouting was one of the videos uploaded to the channel. If you have 90 minutes some evening and are looking for something to watch I would like to suggest you watch this video. It is an interesting look at the Scouting program of Cub Scout Pack 68 and Boy Scout Troop 68 in the 1980’s.

The YouTube channel is called Mel TV3 Revived. The video can be found at https://youtu.be/cG7bjhYGqp4

Let us know what you think of the show. Do you think we should create a new show since we are now in the 2010s?

Our local community access television station, Mel-TV, and Boy Scout Troop 68 have worked together during the last 23 years to provide programming about local Scouting. Courts of honor, troop outings, and Laughs For Lunch Shows were regular features. It was a great way to keep Scouting in the public eye.

Due to recent budget cuts Mel-TV closed its doors on December 31, 2010, and the channel went black. I was a member of the board of directors for twenty years but retired one year before the decision was made to close the station. I had invested hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to the station and programming. I was sorry to see it close down. It was a great asset to the community.

During the last six months of 2010 the board of directors began the process of shutting things down. Some of the thousands of video tapes and dvd’s were given to another local television station, but most of them went to the Melrose Area Historical Society. The equipment was divided among several local organizations. The Boy Scout troop was offered some things. We ended up with a set of lights, a tripod, a microphone and stand, and the music library.

Monday evening, during the troop meeting, a member of the Mel-TV board walked in and handed me an envelope. He explained that the remaining funds needed to be distributed to various non-profit organizations. I joked with him about getting a new iPad 2. He asked how much one would cost. When I told him he replied that there was enough to buy one. Imagine my surprise when I opened the envelope and found a check for $1000.00.

This donation to the troop comes at a great time. The committee has been talking about replace some of our twenty year old equipment. This check will go a long way toward doing that very thing.

As for the iPad 2? I do not think that would be the best use of this donation. Sorry about that Mr. Jobs.

Okay, I admit that I am a bit of a geek. I admit I like the Doctor Who television series. And of course I admit that I like Scouting. So I had to smile when I was directed to this site about Doctor Who keychains and discovered Boy Scouts mentioned in the description of the products. It read:

Be prepared with these timey wimey keychains

The Boy Scouts aren’t the only ones out there being prepared. The Doctor is always prepared for anything that might come his way. And if there’s a problem he can’t fix with his sonic screwdriver, he goes all MacGyver with whatever’s around. We figure if we have any chance of saving the world like the Doctor (or at least our own butts), we’d better equip ourselves properly.

If you are a Scouting and a Doctor Who fan you may want to check this out before it disappears like the TARDIS moving on to a new adventure.
http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/collectibles/e5c8/?cpg=wnrss

Now, this would be a job Buttons, the radical Boy Scout, would have loved to have. Interviewing Mike Rowe, the Eagle Scout who stars on the television show Dirty Jobs. Scouting magazine’s blog, the Cracker barrel, recently posted about a video in which two young Boy Scouts interviewed the tv star. The boys did a great job, even though Mike seemed to be doing his best to make them laugh. After watching it, I began to wonder how the interview would have turned out if Buttons had been the one to conduct the interview. I can see it now…

Buttons – “So dude, what brings you to the Jamboree?”
Mike – “Well that depends. What’s your name?”
Buttons – “Like, I am Buttons, the radical Boy Scout.”
Mike – “See Buttons, I don’t have conversations with people who don’t introduce themselves first.”
Buttons – “What dude? Like, you don’t know who I am? I am the most awesome Boy Scout here at the Jamboree. I thought a celebrity of your stature would know that.”

…and the interview would probably go downhill from there.

Here is the actual video:

MEL2Back in 1986, some folks in Melrose decided to start using the television access channel given to the city by the cable company. They formed the first board of directors for what became known as Mel-TV 3.

It started as a primitive operation by today’s standards. (I currently have much more editing power in my computer at home then the station did back then.) No one on the board had any television or editing experience. It was a “learn as you go” type of training employed. The station was run completely by volunteers. Programs had to be loaded manually into tape decks at the time the program would be aired. Nothing was automated.

I was the scoutmaster of the Boy Scout troop at the time. (And still am the scoutmaster.) I had played around with a video camera and thought this new Mel-TV 3 station would be a great way to get some free PR for the Boy Scouts and let the public see what the Scouts have been up to. The people at Mel-TV 3 were happy to air any programming I gave them. They needed anything they could get at the time. A local business sponsored the programming.

We began by taping our courts of honor. The only editing required was to add some titles at the beginning and the end of the program. I took on the editing responsibilities and discovered I liked doing it. I had found a new hobby.

I began bringing a camcorder along on camping trips and to summer camp. I edited pictures from our Philmont trips into slide-shows with the boys doing the narration. The Scouts and I even did some original programming. The troop became a regular source of material for the television station.

Well, here it is, twenty years later. The troop still provides programming for Mel-TV 3. In fact, we provide from five to ten shows per year for them. Things have changed a bit though through those years. VHS is out, digital is in. I do the editing on my home computer instead of going to the station’s studio. And much of the programming from the last couple of year’s is burned to dvd format.

I have never had a parent complain about the Scout programming. The Scouts and their parents enjoy watching the shows. They really like the dvd’s produced throughout the year. The tapes and dvd’s have made great keepsakes.

Yeah, it is work to film the events and edit the programs. But I think it is worth it to keep Scouting visible in the community. I would suggest that you look into doing the same in your community.