In the Washington, DC area, a group of Turkish professional volunteers started airing the first “Turkish-American Hour” show in September 2005. Since that time, they have produced over 60 programs. They received the Community Access Magic (CAM) Award in the International Category from Prince George’s County Community TV (PGCTV) two years in a row, in 2007 and 2008. The leading name of Turkish American TV, Hurriyet Ok, at the same time works at the World Bank. Ok answered TURKOFAMERICA’s questions.
How was Turkish American TV born?
We originally came up with the idea of broadcasting a TV program in 2004 to share the concert videos of the Turkish Music and Choral Society in Washington DC, and to make them available to the wider community. We then attended “Public Access TV” production courses and started airing our first “Turkish-American Hour” show in September 2005. Prejudices against Turkey and Turks were also influential for us in producing programs in English first. Even if the prejudice is not as deeply rooted and as strong as in Europe, nevertheless there is a stereotypical perception about Turkey and Turks in the United States. Therefore, our English programs mostly feature Turkish culture, music and art.
Two years later, in 2007, we launched another program, called TAT, in the Turkish language. TAT programs feature Turks living in our community in the U.S. and their life stories, enabling people with Turkish heritage to get to know each other.
How many programs have you produced up to now and how many people have watched your programs?
In five years we have produced nearly 60 English programs and 30 Turkish programs. These programs are aired by local community TV stations in most counties in the greater Washington DC area, potentially reaching two million people who are cable television subscribers. Our programs are also available on the Internet through our free streaming video service. The majority of our online viewers are from all over the USA, Canada, Turkey, Europe and even Australia!
Our Turkish-speaking audience is more interested in programs related to their lives in the United States and special events such as 23 Nisan and Turkish Festival celebrations. Americans and English-speaking viewers are more interested in documentaries covering historic and tourist areas of Turkey, pop music videos, and cooking shows, such as recipes for “Tas Kebab”.
Can you talk about your achievements?
We received the Community Service award from the American-Turkish Association of Washington, DC (ATA-DC) in 2007, and the Community Access Magic (CAM) Award in the International Category from Prince George’s County Community TV (PGCTV) two years in a row, in 2007 and 2008.
We work very hard to create quality TV programming. While we are embracing the spirit of volunteerism, we are very happy to be recognized and respected as a media organization in our community.
Could you give us some information about public-access television?
Most of the large counties in US have non-profit public access TV facilities open for any resident to broadcast any program of their choice. There is a small yearly membership fee and the studio facilities are generally free for resident producers.
The producers are responsible for their program content, and therefore there are not many strict rules on the subjects covered. The public-access TV station may review submitted programs prior to airing, mainly to check that they do not contain commercial messages, since they are non-profit organizations.
How many people work with you?
We are a team of volunteers who have diverse backgrounds and occupations. Although about seven people are regularly involved with production and operations on a part time basis, we are very fortunate to have many more volunteers who love what we are doing and dedicate their time and talent as often as they can to prepare quality programs month after month. We are also grateful to have generous sponsors who support us financially as underwriters or with in-kind service to help us continue our programs and services.
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07