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CMS is reviving its TV station

By Steve Lyttle
slyttle@charlotteobserver.com

Just like “Dallas,” CMS TV is getting a second life.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials said Friday is are relaunching the district’s television station, offering two magazine-style shows and eventually adding student-run programming.

Funding for CMS TV was eliminated in the 2010-11 fiscal year, after several years of budget cuts. The station, which once offered a number of programs focusing on school personnel and events, has aired only a few CMS-themed programs since then.

The first new program, CMS Insight, will air Saturday on Time Warner Cable channel 3. It will feature Supt. Heath Morrison and guests, discussing the district’s eight new strategic goals. The show will be broadcast at 7 and 10 p.m. daily.

The second program, CMS Magazine, will begin airing later in February. CMS officials say it will focus on staff members, students, programs and schools that “go the extra mile to build a culture of excellence at CMS.”

“The relaunch of CMS TV is part of our ongoing commitment to better engage our employees and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community in the conversation about CMS and its future,” Morrison said.

Morrison has said he is concerned about what studies have shown to be a negative image about the school system locally. He says that perception is on contrast to a generally positive opinion about CMS nationally.

As part of Friday’s announcement, CMS officials also said the station will expand programming later this year by using it as a “work-based learning opportunity for students.” They said that will allow students to produce programming and gain internship opportunities.

CMS Chief Communications Officer Kathryn Block said the projected $5,000 cost of the station this year will be covered in the existing budget for her department. She said the cost for the 2013-14 academic year probably will be near $20,000, which means CMS will have to find the money in its existing budget or include it as part of a possible budget increase proposal.

“With members of the CMS communications team and talented students handling much of the production, CMS TV will operate very efficiently,” Block said. She called the relaunch of the station a “win for students, the public, and CMS.”

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