History of CPA-TV
In 1963, Robert Allan Monroe and his company Monroe Industries, Inc. moved into cable television,
forming the Jefferson Cable Corporation. They were central Virginia's first cable company,
building cable television systems in Charlottesville and Waynesboro. In early 1970, Jefferson Cable began
a local community access television channel in Charlottesville, WJCC Cablevision Channel 11,
for both goverment and public interest programming. Ultimately making the move to channel 10,
thousands of hours of local television would be produced over the next two decades.
Programs included "Community History," "Cable Contact," "People, Places, Things," "University Perspectives," "Focus,"
"Jeff Laigon Songbook," "Half of a Good Time Hour," and a wide variety of special productions.
Three years before NBC 29 turned on its transmitter, Mike Gleason made Charlottesville's first televised newscast.
In addition, as required by the cable franchise agreement with the city, every City Council meeting
was televised live from council chambers, which continues to this day.
By the summer of 1975, Bob Monroe sold the cable system to Mansfield Communications, a newspaper chain in Ohio.
Subsequent sales to Multi-Channel TV and Adelphia Communications completely ended production by 1990.
Most of the early shows have been lost. Some were done live and never recorded while many were recorded on
expensive reels of video tape, which were bulk erased when needed for new productions. Luckily, some productions
were considered of historic interest, despite the cost, and labeled "SAVE!" About 300 hours survive,
most in UVA's Special Collections Library.
(video courtesy of Swan Tavern Radio Pictures)
In 1993, Adelphia Communications purchased the existing cable system. After more than twenty years with just one
community channel, the City of Charlottesville and Adelphia Cable entered into a new franchise agreement,
providing for the addition of two stations on Channels 13 and 14. Production resumed in the original facilities at
324 West Main Street in Charlottesville, and the three stations quickly grew with strong support from cable access
advocates Meredith Richards and Mitch Van Yahres. In the mid-to-late '90s, Adelphia Public Access Channel 13 spawned
numerous familiar faces and notable programs like "Community Focus," "Piedmont VA Fiddle & Banjo Association,"
"Acoustic Piedmont," "Caught in the Act," and "The Trevor Moore Show."
In April 1998, Adelphia, the City of Charlottesville and the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center
reached an agreement to house the access facilities at CATEC as part of a five year lease, in exchange for educational use
of all production equipment by the school and its video production students. Because of this, all three stations
made the move from Downtown to CATEC in the spring of 1999, and was fully functional that August.
Originally a day care facility and part of the CATEC curriculum that had become vacant the year before,
renovations included conversion of an office, laundry facility and a large "play room" into a
working television studio with control room and classroom.
After years of station management changing hands among cable access producers, long-time producer Cal Tate
took over as General Manager in the fall of 2000. He introduced a new name for the station group,
Charlottesville Public Access Television and a new logo designed by long-time producer Marlene Hopkins.
Following an upgrade of equipment just months before, CPA-TV held its first ever 2-hour live broadcast to celebrate the
new production facilities, in the summer of 2001. This Open House, the first of many to come, was hosted by
Ryal Thomas and Dana Hatcher. Directed by David Dillehunt, this exciting television event marked the beginning of
a new era at CPA-TV. The City of Charlottesville also entered into an agreement to own and operate the new
station group, a practice that had been previously performed by the respective cable companies.
More than 1500 hours of original programming would be produced in our studio over the next decade,
the accomplishment of more than 400 hard-working members of the community. The station
would grow from twelve hours of programming a day to a 24-hour service, providing a Community Bulletin Board
in the overnight hours. In 2006, Comcast Cable took over Adelphia's cable operations in Charlottesville.
Following a fifteen-year partnership with the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center,
CPA-TV moved into City Hall in March of 2014, housing operations within the
Office of Communications. In February of 2016, CPA-TV unveiled it's new studio facilities on
George Dean Drive in Charlottesville, where original productions now take place.
Charlottesville Public Access Television will always provide resources for the creation of
high-quality local programs that express the diverse nature of our community.
We are YOUR community access station.