Although some felt "Communitube" would have been a better title for University Community Video's biweekly series, it was "Changing Channels" that premiered Wednesday, October 9, 1974. Getting Minneapolis' PBS affiliate KTCA to accept the idea of a regular series took long hours of negotiations, partly because of technical obstacles and partly because the programs would not have the sophisticated look of broadcast television. A compromise was struck when UCV agreed to comply with the FCC requirements for color burst, borrowing the strategy TVTV had used with Lord of the Universe by inserting color graphics throughout their black-and-white program. The series' opening title was accordingly produced using color film animation. During the first season, the new series was optically scanned, producing what critic Will Jones observed to be a "less-than-perfect image . . . resembling news film, and with a bright line flashing through the picture every 15 seconds." But the argument of content over technique finally prevailed over KTCA's other objections. 1 The university arranged to buy the half-hour of airtime for $200 per show, and KTCA reserved the right to review each episode 48 hours before airtime for "appropriateness."
The series proved to be the best advertisement for UCV's community training workshops, attracting viewers who had seen the show and now wanted to learn how to produce a tape about an issue of concern to them. UCV staff told a reporter for the St. Paul Dispatch that they would train anyone to use video. The Video Access Center would then edit shows, selecting segments for their general interest although favoring "subjects not usually treated by commercial stations." They were careful to note that not all shows produced through the Center would be aired, due to time limitations and broadcasting requirements, but anyone could show their segments over closed- circuit TV. Although they aspired to "true public access," UCV ac