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Humans of SSB: John Patterson & Pittsburgh Community Television (PCTV)

2/19/2020

Over the last almost eleven years, PCTV’s Executive Director, John Patterson, has devoted his passion, time and knowledge for the betterment of the organization and ultimately, Pittsburgh’s public community media. Although he is currently a devoted Pittsburgher through and through, his journey didn’t start in the city of bridges. It actually started back in California many years ago while he lived in Santa Cruz. With an interest in writing, as well as an education focused on radio, TV, and film, John sought professional opportunities that allowed him to put his passion and experience to work.

John Patterson, Executive Director of PCTVPatterson explains, “I wrote plays that were picked up and produced. My work led to me being considered for an open position to manage a theater, so I did that for a number of years. That is where I realized my passion for creative arts and theater management.” Through his work at the theater, John realized his love spreading the word about the organization through developing creative ideas and fostering community. Lucky for John, he is able to continue to work in a position that allows him to experience both of those aspects closer to family on the east coast as the Executive Director at PCTV in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Community Television, better known as PCTV, is a public access television organization that began its operations back in 1986, only a few years after public access television came to Pittsburgh in 1981. PCTV took over public access, separating from Warner Cable, as an independent non-profit, managing their current studio on Western Avenue on Pittsburgh’s Northside. At over 25 years and counting of service to the local community, PCTV is among one of the oldest public access media organizations in the United States. Serving thousands of residents and non-profits throughout the greater Pittsburgh area, PCTV continues to provide low cost access to media production tools and resources in order to allow their ideas, thoughts and creativity to be seen throughout the city and the world. 

“We do a lot of different things for the community”, Patterson explains. “We offer our facilities and equipment to the community to produce their programs [at low cost, making it possible for individuals to make their dreams and ideas a reality].” With Patterson’s help, PCTV went through a significant renovation in 2015 providing even more space and much needed offerings to their clients. One of the most important aspects of PCTV’s comprehensive services is the educational component. For example, every individual or organization that signs up to utilize the facility is provided an orientation. The orientation gives them all necessary information on how to start their production. Outside of the initial orientation, there are a variety of workshops and classes available ranging from introductory Adobe courses to how to use Canon cameras. There are also skills-based courses related to pre-production and on-site shooting. 

With the recent shift in the consumer’s preference of streaming services to cable television services, Patterson mentions that it is one of the biggest challenges that the media and television industry faces. More so, the biggest challenge is trying to stay ahead of the curve as things change in the industry. As difficult as that can be, they have shown efforts in doing so by expanding to Facebook Live, YouTube and other online streaming services.

If you are looking for opportunities to grow as a media professional, PCTV wants to be the resource to help you get there. Being a community, non-profit organization supporting work throughout Allegheny county, John reiterates that PCTV wants to help produce as many projects as possible as long as they align with the overall mission of the organization. “As long as the project is community oriented or a non-profit that needs video, [we] will take on the project.” Supporting community-focused organizations like PCTV will only continue to help the growth of our local small business and non-profit sector. 

You can access PCTV and their local broadcasts through a variety of means:

and coming soon, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV!


For more information on John and his team at PCTV, please visit their website: https://pctv21.org 

If you'd like to be featured as part of our Humans of SSB project, please reach out to our Director of Marketing, Jessica Merolillo.


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