Aug 19, 2014 Tami Scott Uncategorized
Joe Loffredo is a man of action.
Sixteen years ago, when the newly-retired teacher realized Baldwinsville’s public access channel wasn’t broadcasting the school district’s board of education meetings, he took matters into his own hands.
“I saw the Lysander, Van Buren and village [meetings] but no board of education,” he said. “So I called up Norma Goodman and I said, ‘Where’s the BOE?’ and she said there’s nobody there to do it. I said, ‘Okay, I’ll do it.'”
What began for Loffredo as a four-hour per month gig soon turned into 30 hours per week. Programming continued to expand and Loffredo was at the heart of it all.
“In ’98 or ’99, there were a whole bunch of videographers,” he said. “Everything kind of came together. There were people who just did the village board, I just did the BOE. There were people just doing Lysander and or Van Buren and then Ray Rice came aboard and he did all the automobile shows and how to build log cabins … so then we became more specific to the task.”
Those years of having a plentiful number of helpers has slowly come to an end, however. Loyal and long-term PAC-B volunteers such as Bob Stockdale, who started the local radio station WSEN, and producer Joe Cimitile, have died — and have not been replaced.
“We had probably 12 to 15 [videographers] at PAC-B’s high point. Now [we] have six videographers,” Loffredo said. “PAC-B will rely on the number of volunteers to exist.”
PAC-B is seeking more volunteers to join its team; retirees and or those who are willing to make a long-term commitment are best suited for the job. Not only is it seeking videographers, but also sports fans to announce play by plays, and producers to create new content.
When the channel first aired, it only had to fill six hours of daily content. Now, it broadcasts from 9 a.m. to midnight. “So now you need more videographers, you need more programming,” Loffredo said.
The channel has had to cut back on airing several programs in sports, community and specialty programming like art and garden shows due to its lack of volunteers. If volunteers emerge again, those shows will likely be recovered, Loffredo said.
“If we had more manpower, we would cover the community better,” Loffredo said. “We haven’t done anything on the farmer’s market. We probably would have done one if we had more people. We don’t do art shows anymore. It’s no so much what we would do [new]. It’s what would we bring back.”
From a community standpoint, PAC-B TV is a benefit for people in the Baldwinsville area who can’t get to their children’s or grandchildren’s school activities or other events due to time or other restrictions.
“So the community now has a chance to see what’s happening in their community without [having to go out], Loffredo said. “From the standpoint of political boards, everyone needs to act more professionally because the camera is there. Whether they’re consciously doing it or not, I don’t know.”
From a retiree perspective, Loffredo said volunteering at PAC-B has widened his social circle by keeping him active and current in community happenings. He’s been able to keep tabs on board of ed issues long after retiring, and enjoys the connections he’s made along the way.
“Just the people you meet throughout the community that you would not meet by sitting on your butt watching TV or going in your [own] circles … [This] is how I met Stockdale [and Jim] Lowry. I would have never met [Bob] Edgett. When you’re retired … well, I’m not a golfer. If you’re a golfer, you do your thing. If you’re a musician, you do your thing there. So this was my skill. So I met all these people,” Loffredo said.
It’s safe to assume this longtime Baldwinsville resident, who made his 35-year teaching career in the Baldwinsville Central School District, can look back on his choice to volunteer with satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.
Those interested in finding out how to become a volunteer should call 638-2768 or visit pacbtv.org.