September 03, 2005.
Wichita Falls Times Record News, Texas.
In a move that could turn the broadcasting industry upside-down, People With disabilities Broadcasting Corp. was launched as a charitable tax-exempt media corporation this past July 26, the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The launch consisted of the activation of its Web site (www.PWdBC.org). But its ultimate goal is to develop a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week television channel.
PWdBC intends to delve into television and film production, with closed captioning and narration for the visually impaired. And all content will be available in English and Spanish.
The channel's founder and president is Howard Renensland, a veteran actor, writer, director and teacher with a resume spanning 30 years. He has surrounded himself with advisers from a broad spectrum of disciplines, from finance to entertainment, from journalism to religion and from broadcasting to insurance to leaders in the academic community, as well as activists in the disability community.
Renensland envisions the market to go far beyond the nation's 54 million people with disabilities. He envisions an all-inclusive channel appealing to all segments of our population.
Programming is projected to include many facets of entertainment and information, from the point of view of people with disabilities. That would encompass comedy, drama, sports, news and even reality-type shows.
Employment of people with disabilities is projected at 17 to 25 percent of the initial workforce, including both on-air and off-camera personnel, including writers, technicians, actors, directors and producers. Equally important will be an emphasis on the more accurate portrayals of people with disabilities.
Renensland's strategy is to build alliances with diverse groups to help advance the project. He has met with executives in major media corporations and disability groups, university bigwigs, leaders of unions representing actors, as well as others in media and entertainment.
"Like any other start-up, funding is the primary goal," said Renensland. And that funding could come from private investors or from production or distribution partners. Renensland added, "We are an integrated community; for every person with a disability there is at least one other person in that household who is not disabled."
That is why PWdBC's mission statement speaks of a channel "of, by and for people with disabilities ... and everyone else."
(Allan Appel writes a biweekly column about disabilities. He can be reached c/o Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, 800 W. Indiantown Road, Jupiter, FL 33458, or by e-mail at aappel223(at)yahoo.com.)
Source URL: http://www.timesrecordnews.com/trn/health/article/0,1891,TRN_5664_4050036,00.html.
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