Jenny Hawran, WIN-TV’s executive director, describes the station as “Windsor’s community media center. WIN-TV is all about freedom of speech.” The station broadcasts three channels: Access channel 5, Education channel 95 and Government channel 96-WGTV. (The Government channel is part of WIN-TV, but is managed by the Town of Windsor.) Says Jenny, “We are really fortunate to have a great team working together to bring information to the Windsor community.” The station also offers on-demand and live streaming options for viewing.
Access and Education content is primarily created by community volunteers of all ages, with the support of the WIN-TV staff. The current lineup includes shows on healthy living, science, gardening, arts, senior events, local non-profit groups and recent community events such as The Ollies (WIN-TV’s own awards show) and the Windsor Feud. Anyone who wants to create a show can contact the station to discuss an idea. As Jenny puts it, “Our part is to help their vision come to fruition.”
Another part of WIN-TV’s mission is to run programs that teach people, from elementary-school-age to seniors, about video production. During the school year, WIN-TV runs the Filming Chargers Production Club, a free after-school program for middle school students. Summer brings the return of the popular KIDVID one- and two-week workshops for kids ages 8–14. “We’ve offered this program for more than a decade, and it has really grown thanks to community support,” Jenny says.
The origins of WIN-TV lie in the 1980s, when the federal government mandated that cable companies fund public access television stations in the communities where they operated. That financial support, unfortunately, is under increasing stress as more viewers “cut the cord,” which reduces the amount of funding stations like WIN-TV receive. At the same time, cable companies have also been seeking a decrease in the funding levels required by state governments. (While the station is a non-profit organization, it does not receive funding from the Town of Windsor, although the town generously provides space for WIN-TV’s offices and studio in the L.P. Wilson Community Center.)
According to Jenny, another benefit of being in the L.P. Wilson building is the way it allows for frequent connections with the general public. “People just wander down the hallway, poke their heads in and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on down here?’ It’s a great way to build connections with the community.”
WIN-TV frequently partners with the Windsor Chamber of Commerce. Jenny says, “They’ve been huge supporters from the beginning, because whenever we have events, they help us promote it. In the past, we’ve worked together to create commercials for member businesses, we’ve brought Chamber members into our studio when we’ve hosted networking events, and we film and broadcast the Chamber’s annual Windsor Feud game show fundraiser. We’ve always had a really good partnership with the Chamber.”
Jenny, a Windsor native, has been WIN-TV’s executive director since 2010. She studied journalism at Southern Connecticut State University and worked first at WTNH TV-8 in promotions, then at WDRC-FM, where she wrote, produced and scheduled commercials. After her children were born, she did freelance journalism, then studied web design at Manchester Community College, and later operated her own business before joining WIN-TV. Her diverse background and experience in journalism come in handy at the station. “Being at WIN-TV gives me an opportunity to see something different every day!”
Tune into WIN-TV any time, day or night, to see freedom of speech in action and to learn what’s going on in Windsor. You’ll see something different every day, too!
by Aretha Prabawa