Contractor embarking on ambitious re-branding of city’s cable access channel

From CAR25 to BelleTV
2013-07-15T06:49:00Z 2014-03-11T06:12:15Z Contractor embarking on ambitious re-branding of city’s cable access channelCARA SPOTO Journal Times

RACINE — Skies Fall Media Group, the private contractor hired this spring to run CAR25, has embarked on an ambitious re-branding of the channel, and it has started with a new name and logo.

Call up the studio — still nestled on the third floor of the City Hall Annex building, 800 Center St. — and the greeting you’ll hear is: “Hello, BelleTV.”

Re-branding the channel is something the company knew it wanted to do as soon as it took over the reins, Skies Fall owner Ben Kasica said recently.

The company decided on BelleTV, because it harkened back to the city’s old nickname “Belle City of the Lake,” Kasica said.

“(We were) trying to think of something that featured both the heritage and history of Racine, and that did it in a new, fresh way,” he said.

“We wanted it to be something that if you were not from Racine, and you happened to browse it online, you wouldn’t be immediately turned off by the name or number,” he said.

New website

But the name isn’t the only thing at the former CAR25 that has been changed or updated.

The channel also has a new website,, and even a few new shows.

The site isn’t finished yet, but it has a landing page where visitors can watch via a live video stream showing what is being broadcast on the actual channel — something that wasn’t possible on the outgoing CAR25 site, Kasica said.

The full site should be finished and linked to the city’s website by the end of July or August, Kasica said.

Having a high quality site is important, he said, mainly because it opens up the channel’s content to everyone, not just those people who live in Racine County and have cable.

Staying on budget

It’s been about five months since the City Council voted to give City Hall permission to contract with Skies Fall — a move that followed months of wrangling among the administration, aldermen and city employees who ran CAR25 over the process used to search for and select a contractor.

Although the council ultimately voted to let the administration contract with the company, some aldermen wondered whether Skies Fall, which at that point had never run a cable access channel but did have production experience, could do the job, especially for what the city would pay.

The city’s nine-month contract with Skies Fall, which began April 1, is prorated based on CAR25’s 2012 budget of $106,000. The company is receiving a management fee of $53,774, $16,162 for operating expenditures and up to $9,500 in interdepartmental services.

Kasica said that “small budget” has meant that Skies Fall, which pays a station manager and part-time employee to run the day-to-day operations at the channel, has had to take things a bit more slowly than it would like. But, he says, the company is “making do.”

To generate more revenue that it can use to produce more shows, Kasica said the company is now focusing on getting a good business model in place so it can start soliciting businesses to see if they want to advertise on the channel. They also will be looking at ways “to build relationships with businesses and look for sponsorships,” he said.

New shows

In the meantime, Kasica said Skies Fall and channel staff are already working on developing new shows and producing other content as their budget allows.

So far they have a new public affairs show called “Belle City Scoop,” and they just shot the first episode of “Bring Your Hammer,” which Kasica described as a home improvement program show with a comic twist. The company is also looking at broadcasting Racine Raiders games.

Working at the station on Friday, as their part-time employee and an intern sat editing video, Station Program Director Dom Kegel talked gleefully about the efforts Skies Fall was making to improve the channel.

Playing part of a short — but glossy — video of FourthFest highlights, Kegel said the modern, almost music video-like quality of the film is what Skies Fall feels “the city deserves.”

“There are so many fun and interesting things going on in Racine,” he said. “That is why we want to do quality work.”

Copyright 2014 Journal Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) Comments

  1. momski
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    momski - July 17, 2013 8:28 pm
    Oh my gosh! I can't believe these comments. Give this Company a chance!
  2. DoubleBassFace
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    DoubleBassFace - July 15, 2013 10:43 pm
    Lots of people warned of this impending train wreck, it certainly has gotten more unwatchable and not very professional at all. But remember, Mayor John Dickert will determine whats good and whats not.......not YOU! The first thing to go and save the taxpayers money is this complete garbage of a so called "community access" channel, half the garbage on that channel is not even from around here. Just a total waste and a cost to the taxpayer!
  3. ordmm
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    ordmm - July 15, 2013 10:14 pm
    Man, I'll tell you. There is no way to leave any kind of nice response to this posting. WHAT THE HECK WERE THEY THINKING OF? Nobody watches this crappppie channel.
  4. ggodmuls
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    ggodmuls - July 15, 2013 9:28 pm
    It's the androgynous nature of the creature in the picture the picture that really freaks me out.

    Looks a little young also. Is this "Family Corporation Approved?" LULZ.

    Is this why Racine is a pedophile hot-spot?

    Perverted White Women;
  5. JT fact checker
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    JT fact checker - July 15, 2013 8:56 pm
    Maybe they will bring back that dude who played records from the 1950s. That was a great sleeping aid for me.
  6. ggodmuls
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    ggodmuls - July 15, 2013 7:33 pm
    OT - it's now 2.5 hours past the Kaplan deadline - and still no update.

    No comments on allowed on it either. JT - you're fast eroding my desire to support your questionable "reporting". How many more can you afford to lose?

    Perhaps The JT can grow it's subscribers on the BelleTV Network! LOL.
  7. jackbean
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    jackbean - July 15, 2013 6:02 pm
    I sure hope the rest of their offerings are better than the live footage of the 4th of July parade. It was so horribly grainy I couldn't even watch it. Heard the same from others too.
  8. Green Racinereal
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    Green Racinereal - July 15, 2013 3:01 pm
    Be interest to see how much they try and sell ads for. Of course they have to tell us how many watch the programing and how they know.
    Time Warner will sue over the ad sales.
    Understand that at least one Alderman is looking into equipment use and selling of old equipment.
  9. vuvuzela
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    vuvuzela - July 15, 2013 2:30 pm
    Unreal Racine, you are right. The old staff was scraping by and often times using their own equipment just to get things done and look at the thanks they got. If you're not buddies with the mayor then good luck! Now these new guys get free reign to do what they want and the funding they need for equipment etc. All that business they went through so the channel could show these ridiculous, fluffy little shows that look like a glorified music video....oh more rack-focuses please!! So much for anything that actually brings something of value and use to the community! It has turned into nothing more than a VERY bad version of MTV.

    This whole deal-according to the mayor- was to make the channel self sustaining. I hope JT does a follow up story when skies fall contract is up to find out how much revenue they actually brought in. I won't be holding my breathe on that though.

    What at travishamockery!
  10. PrimeTime69
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    PrimeTime69 - July 15, 2013 10:55 am
    This should be the first thing cut to save money in this city. It's a total waste. In a time like this when this city is in such financial hardship, why would we pay for such a foolish thing? This channel used to be a source of decent information and now it's simply the Dickert channel filled with false hopes and empty promises. SAVE OUR STREETLIGHTS, CUT THIS STUPID BELLETV!!!!! What a joke!
  11. Green Racinereal
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    Green Racinereal - July 15, 2013 10:28 am
    Good idea since this company is NOT from Racine and only got the bid IMHO because they are pals with the Mayor just like parts of the City Hall Bathroom ended up where they did.
    Might not that too be why the county does not go after a building on Main street for back taxes because Dickert calls the shots about that not the County Executive in the City of Racine?
  12. Unreal Racine
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    Unreal Racine - July 15, 2013 10:23 am
    The logo looks like a 7th grader designed it, but the real question is where did all of this money come from to get all of the new equipment, banners, lights, etc.? I seriously doubt that all fits within the $16,000 expenses - someone should be asking some questions about that to find out the real details. The channel has barely worked in the past few months with all kinds of problems and shows that don't have anything to do with Racine. I guess that is what you get when you hire people with no experience.

    It seems pretty clear that once the Mayor got his friends in there by rigging the bids, they are now given anything and everything they want, and even with all of that the parade show was worse than ever. It sure would be great if taxpayers funded everyone's business venture like this, Porters and Delta Hawk.

    As our streetlights get turned off, we are paying instead for all of this new equipment for the Dickert channel. What a joke.
  13. DoubleBassFace
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    DoubleBassFace - July 15, 2013 10:05 am
    How about a poll for the residents: Would you like to have John Dickert's Propaganda TV?
    OR Would you like to keep your streetlights and keep more police and firemen on the street?
  14. Green Racinereal
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    Green Racinereal - July 15, 2013 9:51 am
    Love the Mayor's cronys. The only way to get ahead in Racine.
  15. Suds70
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    Suds70 - July 15, 2013 9:27 am
    Love it. Keep up the great work!!!!
  16. DoubleBassFace
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    DoubleBassFace - July 15, 2013 8:42 am
    It should be called DICKERT'S PROPAGANDA TV. What a waste of money, this should be the absoulte first thing cut out of the budget, it's not a neccessity and has lost all credibility. All I see is cartoons anyway, it's virtually unwatchable and seems to have cut out community access. What a complete waste of money.
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