Somerville Community Access Television, doing business as Somerville Media Center, has been ordered by Mayor Katjana Ballantyne to cease operations in its facility at 90 Union Square and vacate the building by August 31, 2023.
SMC will leave its present location at the city’s request and is negotiating a commercial lease for another location in Somerville to rebuild SMC’s television studios, its internet radio station Boston Free Radio, and youth and adult education spaces as soon as possible. In the meantime, we are working with our partners to find temporary locations for our youth program, our producers, our gallery, and all the art and media our members produce.
SMC started in 1983 as the first community access television station in Massachusetts. Thirty-eight years ago, at the direction of then-Mayor Eugene Brune, the City of Somerville renovated the former firehouse in the center of Union Square to create television studios to be run by the community. SMC was the site of the first national teleconference for the deaf, the first cable access lesbian soap opera, and some of the earliest panels on transgender youth. It was also the starting point for such treasured recording artists as Tracy Chapman, and it remains the home of the longest continuously produced access show in the United States, Dead Air Live. We are now SMC, with an internet radio station (Boston Free Radio) and a thriving youth program.
The Board of the Somerville Media Center wants to thank the entire community for its support over the last 40 years. We’re building to make sure we are there for you for the next 40.
Frequent Questions & Answers
Where is SMC moving?
We are currently working to find a new location in Somerville to support our programs and will
announce further details as soon as possible.
Will SMC close?
No. We anticipate that many of our services will remain available to the public. We expect that Channel 3 (SCATV) and Boston Free Radio (BFR) will continue broadcasting. We are working to determine the interim availability of our other services to our members, including after-school programming, community meeting space, arts gallery, and internet access for unhoused people.
What happens to my SMC membership?
We will extend your membership to compensate for the time in-studio you have lost. If we cannot give you access to a studio for six weeks, we will extend your membership for six weeks.
What happens to the youth program if you have no facility?
SMC will leave its present location at the city’s request and is negotiating a commercial lease for another location in Somerville to rebuild SMC’s television studios, but this will take time. We’re working on a temporary location for the youth program.
How can I help?
This is a big change for all of us, so that you’re willing to stick with us is really appreciated. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll get updates out as soon as we have them. The link to sign up is at the bottom of somervillemedia.org
Jesse Buckley, Board President