Seattle first acquired a Public-access television station in 1983. Known simply as Channel 29, the station was often referred to as Seattle Public Access Network. The station was operated out of the Northwest Access and Production Center and was owned by the cable company.
In August 1999, Seattle Community Access Network was formed as a non-profit organization in order to take over station operations from TCI. Part of the reason for creating the organization was to handle complaints about adult material being aired on the channel by local producers.
Seattle Community Access Network provides television productions resources to residents in King County and the greater Puget Sound region for use in creating TV shows and local programming.
SCAN's facility houses two television studios for producing TV programs. The facility also provides three editing booths, several television cameras and related equipment for local residents to use for producing TV shows. SCAN has 12 full-time and 3 part-time employees that run the facility and train residents on how to use the camera equipment and editing suites. The staff regularly hold classes to teach residents TV production and video editing.
Part of SCAN's operations include a Youth Media program to help teach local youth how to become filmmakers. The production facilities are also utilized by Reel grrls program run by 911 Media Arts Center and the local YMCA.
Starting in 2006, the Cable Television Franchise Subfund is managed by the Department of Information Technology (DoIT) and is used fund things other than PEG channels. SCAN's receives about 10% of the fund or about $650,000 for its yearly budget. Additional funding for the station comes from grants and donations that SCAN actively seeks and a small amount comes from the fees charged to citizens that use SCAN to create programs.
Threats to operations
There have been several threats to the station's operations over the years.
From 1997, before SCAN was created, until 2006, the station aired TV shows with adult material that were produced by local residents. The most visible of these shows was Mike Hunt TV, which ran explicit pornography. The show drew considerable criticism as well as support. Several local residents objected and called into question the station's operations.
In 2005, while the Seattle city government was renegotiating the franchise agreement with Comcast, there were concerns about the cable company trying to shut down the public access station. There were also concerns regarding how public, educational and government channels were handled and how many public access channels should be available.
In September 2010, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's proposed budget for the city has cut the funding for the station from $650,000 per year to $100,000 per year. The budget must still be approved by the Seattle City Council before it takes effect. A controversial part of the budget is $400,000 of the Cable Television Franchise Subfund being used to upgrade email for the Seattle city government.
SCAN's last day of broadcasting was June 30, 2011. Seattle Community Media began as operators of public access television in Seattle July 1, 2011.
The Vintage Vehicle Show: was a show about vintage cars and car shows hosted by Lance Lambert. The show is now syndicated and broadcast on 74 stations across the US and on TV networks in 27 foreign countries.
Go-Kustom TV: aired from 2001 to 2004 on SCAN and featured kustom kulture artists, pin-ups, car builders and bands from around the Greater Seattle Area. The Show was created by D.A. Sebasstian and was recently re-booted with Season 5.
Jerkbeast show: was a 2001 to 2002 live comedy tv show which featured a paper mache monster called the Jerkbeast. The show would have viewers call in and the Jerkbeast along with other crew members would insult and swear at the caller.
Puget Sound Access
Puget Sound Access is the public access channel for six cities in South King County which are Auburn, Burien, Kent, Renton, SeaTac and Tukwila. In March 2004, channel 77 stopped cablecasting SCAN and started cablecasting Puget Sound Access for the six cities in its cablecast area.
Seattle's current franchise agreement requires cable companies to provide eight channel slots for Public, educational, and government access (PEG) channels. The 8 slots are on analog cable and the same 8 slots are on digital cable too, and so total 16 channels altogether.
One Public Access channel
Seattle Community Access Network (SCAN). Cablecasts original shows produced by local citizens.
Five Educational channels
Puget Sound Educational Television (PSETV). Cablecasts regionally produced educational programs and Annenberg Media programs.