Initially established in 1986 as Shrewsbury Public Access Connection (SPAC), today's Shrewsbury Media Connection, Inc. (SMC) has the same mission: Provide Shrewsbury residents, community groups and Town officials, the media production tools necessary to build community, empower individuals, inform residents, and ensure First Amendment expression. SMC has become an integral partner to many local organizations such as Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services, the Shrewsbury Public Library, the Spirit of Shrewsbury, the Shrewsbury Historical Society, the Council On Aging, and many others. Most notably, SMC broadcasts all government meetings live to the public to help facilitate government transparency.
The original SPAC was a department of SELCO, but today's SMC, Inc. is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. SMC, Inc. operates under a ten year agreement with the Town of Shrewsbury. That agreement calls for SELCO to fund SMC at an annual rate of 4.25% of cable related revenue. When the agreement was signed, there were over 11,000 cable subscribers. Currently there are only 6500. The massive trend to "cut cable" has directly affected our revenue stream. Compared to 2018, our annual payment from SELCO is down $100,000, and it will only get worse. To say our very existence is threatened by cable cutting is not hyperbole.
When the pandemic hit, SMC made the decision to offer free streaming apps to all residents. We felt it was vitally important for the community as a whole to be kept aware of what was happening at a hyper local level. Now everyone, not just cable subscribers, could access their government and school department meetings and messages. Our apps and livestreams have proved hugely popular. Now more viewers see us for free than see us on paid cable TV.
If you would like to support our mission, or if you watch us for free on our app or online, please consider making a donation. Your donation will help to keep us staffed, keep equipment current, and allow us to be better able to adapt to any technological changes that may challenge our mission.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
SMC Executive Director