SATV Frequently Asked Questions

What is SATV?

Salem Access Television is the City of Salem’s Public Access TV Station – it exists due to an agreement between the city’s cable provider and the communities it serves. Public access programming is community programming on cable TV. It gives members and organizations of the community the opportunity to write, produce, direct, and perform in their own programs. SATV’s channels feature programs which are produced locally by members, SATV staff, and other professionally produced programs. SATV provides members of the community with the necessary training, equipment, and use of facilities to produce TV programs.

Who is SATV for?

Anyone who lives or works in Salem, non-profit organizations, and other organizations located in Salem, full time Salem State University students, businesses located in Salem.

How can I get a show on SATV?

Producing a show for an SATV channel begins with joining SATV as a member and taking our free classes. Throughout these class sessions, members can become certified Public access equipment users. The classes cover the basic elements of TV production: camera operation, lighting, audio, directing, video switching, field shooting, editing, and more. The classes, channel time, and use of SATV equipment are free for members working on projects through SATV.

What TV shows are seen on public access?

Any programming protected by the First Amendment which is NOT commercial, libelous, slanderous, or obscene in nature may be shown on public access. These programs include interviews, panel discussions, sports, documentaries, performances, political programs, religious programs, educational programs, music, entertainment, and many other types of programs.

What does it cost to produce a show on SATV?

There is no cost to use SATV’s facilities or field equipment for active SATV members. Members only have to purchase their own SD cards, DVDs, DV tapes, hard drives, etc. (Hard drive space is available for members in Edit bays, but members are allowed to purchase their own hard drives and store their projects. Once completed, all projects must be aired on one of SATV’s channels.)

Can I make money off of my show?

No, members cannot make any profits from their public access TV shows and productions. Members are prohibited from using SATV’s public access equipment and facilities on projects which can generate revenue.

Can I use SATV’s equipment or facilities for personal or family videos?

No, members may not use public access equipment or facilities for their own personal or family videos.
SATV’s equipment and facilities are provided for members to use in producing their public access programming exclusively. They are not intended for use in family videos, birthday parties, weddings, advertisements, or other personal or commercial videos.

Can I use my own equipment to produce my show?

Yes, members may use their own equipment to produce their show. The final compression, or DVD, must be in an acceptable format for playback on any access channel. Acceptable formats need to be discussed with SATV’s Program Director or any SATV staff member.

How do I get an announcement on the bulletin board?

The Community Bulletin Board airs on channels 3, 15 and 22 between programs. It features announcements about upcoming events and programs. Bulletin Board announcements are free of charge. To have your bulletin posted, you can do one of two things:

Send us an email to with BULLETIN BOARD ANNOUNCEMENT as the subject,
or print out this form [pdf] and bring the information to our offices at 285 Derby Street, or fax it to 978-740-4499.

Can I use music or video from other sources in my show?

As certified access users, members assume the responsibility for the content of their shows. Members are responsible for acquiring permission to use anything from other sources in their shows – whether it is music, video, photographs, etc.

Can SATV cover my event?

SATV staff attempts to cover as many events as possible and does cover events by request when able to do so. SATV provides the training and facilities for the public to cover events they are interested in when they become SATV members.

On what channel, and in what areas will my show play?

SATV’s Program Director determines on which of SATV’s three channels shows will air. SATV shows only broadcast to Comcast subscribers in Salem, Massachusetts. SATV producers are allowed to play their shows in other towns, cities, and states. Producers must make their own arrangements with other TV stations.

How do I get a time slot on the schedule?

SATV’s Program Director will select an available and appropriate time slot according to program length and content. Series programs can acquire a regular time slot.

How do I get a copy of an SATV program?

SATV shows can be purchased by e-mailing SATV’s Program Director. Be sure to include the title of the program, name of the person requesting the show, and a contact email or phone number.


This document is not an official representation of the rules and regulations of public access, nor is it inclusive of FCC regulations. It is meant to be an informative tool.