Open to all people, WYOU has been Madison's community access television station since 1976. Volunteer and donation-powered since 2011.
WYOU began broadcasting in 1976 with the goal of stimulating and facilitating video production and open dialogue by making our station, equipment and airtime available to all members of the Madison community. As of 2013, we've been fulfilling our mission for 37 years – we continue to provide people with the instruction, equipment and support necessary to create a television show. Our local producers include students, teachers, conservationists, veterans, activists, comedians, beer enthusiasts and more. WYOU is Madison's only community access station which means that we never show commercials or air content dictated by corporate interests – the station belongs to the community.
Over the years WYOU has played a major role in the community. We've been home to shows such as 'Cooking with Bob', 'Gomeroke', 'Veterans for Peace', 'Democracy Now!', 'El Barrio', 'Nothing to Hide' (the longest running gay rights show in history), 'Animals Have Rights', 'Beerpocalypse Now' and hundreds more. Through thick and thin we've done our best to provide community members with quality, affordable education and tools to deliver their message to Madison and the rest of the world.
In 2007, membership levels were healthy, producers were creating all sorts of quality programming and the station was receiving $150,000 a year in PEG (Public, Educational & Governmental Access) funding; enough for three full-time staff. WYOU was riding high and making a difference in the community.
Then everything changed. The Video Competition Act (VCA) was passed; ensuring an end to our PEG funding. Charter Cable uprooted us from our beloved Channel 4 to a nearly invisible spot on channel 991. WYOU was forced to lay off all three staff members. As we caught our breath from these changes it became clear that the entire media landscape had changed drastically during our switch to an all-volunteer model. Standard Definition content and cable television were on the way out. High Definition became the industry standard and services such as YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook changed the ways in which media could be shared. WYOU was stuck with outmoded equipment and no employees.
For the past two years WYOU has operated with no PEG money and no staff. We are proud to say that we've survived as a volunteer-run station; broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with minimal downtime. In a media landscape comprised primarily of corporate and decentralized media, we believe that the ability for people to gather together and share their voices is more crucial than ever.
We're setting out to reinvigorate and modernize WYOU and we need your help. We'll use donations to make improvements to our equipment: HD cameras, modern editing stations and high quality audio recorders. More importantly, we'll develop new initiatives including a WYOU Film Festival, a micro-grant program for aspiring filmmakers and a community Archive. New equipment will invigorate our classes, workshops and low-cost media services for small businesses and non-profits.
By donating to this campaign you're not simply helping to fund one project – you're supporting hundreds of projects including television shows, documentaries, feature films and anything else that can be created with a camera. You're helping us to build a modern infrastructure for teaching the community about contemporary media practices and technologies. You're enabling us to continue to ensure that the members of our community have the opportunity to be heard.
WYOU is a vital community resource with an incredible history.
Help us get to back on our feet as a stronger, more relevant and more accessible WYOU.
Special thanks to the Social Justice Center for providing us with a home, to our Willy Street neighbors for perpetual support, Karsten Osterby for the music, WORT Community Radio for fighting the good fight and Ezra Ewen for the equipment. Finally, thanks to the entire WYOU family of donors, members, volunteers and viewers.
Please join us at 6:00pm on Saturday, March 16 at the Wil-Mar Community Center for a celebration of WYOU's past, present and future. The event will feature food and beverages from local vendors, musicians from the area and highlights from our time on the air. Suggested donation of $25.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
As is, every day is a challenge at WYOU. Though running a television station on volunteer labor and donations is no easy task, we've done it for the past three years. We're not interested in simply running a station – we're interested in serving as a community media center with cutting-edge equipment, expanding initiatives and helping the people of Madison to be heard using contemporary media practices. WYOU has demonstrated the tenacity required to survive – now we'd like to take the extra steps necessary to thrive.
If our campaign is successful, we'll face the same challenges we face today but we're certain to emerge with renewed zeal and heightened awareness of our cause.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
We'll personally thank you for your contribution on live television!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
You'll get an on-air thank you and a WYOU bumper sticker.Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
An on air thank you, a bumper sticker and a WYOU pint glass for consuming a beverage of your choice in style!Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
You'll get a year-long individual membership to WYOU, a highlight compilation DVD covering our best moments and all of the above rewards!Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
You'll get to choose what Bob barbecues on 'Cooking With Bob'! We'll also throw in all of the above rewards.Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
We'll produce a two minute mini-documentary focusing on a local issue of your choice and air it on WYOU. You'll also get all of the other stuff!Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
You get everything we've mentioned so far AND we'll increase the length of the documentary to five minutes!Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $2,500 or moreYou selected
You get a FIFTEEN MINUTE documentary and all of the prizes we've mentioned so far!Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $5,000 or moreYou selected
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YOU'RE INCREDIBLE! We'll name the shooting studio in your honor and sing your praises every time we enter the station. And, of course, you'll get all of the other rewards too!Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
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