After years of calling themselves an alternative video magazine, the producers of "Changing Channels" began to suffer from a peculiar form of anxiety that comes from not knowing what you are, only what you are not. According to Stephen Kulczycki, it had worked only as long as they were immersed in the culture that had formed them. But in the late '70s, baby boomers who grew up wanting to believe they were something more complex than the 7-Up Generation discovered they were buying a hell of a lot of 7-Up. One day they woke up thinking, "Dammit, I deserve more than three or four minutes a show. I'm not going to do all this work for just a four-minute piece. I could make a ten-minute or a twenty-minute or a two-hour piece."
The producers--in particular, Mulligan and Pratt--had burned out after four years of full-time, nonstop producing for "Changing Channels." They felt they were too drained creatively and personally to sustain the show. Their decision to leave, announced during an annual planning retreat, was the source of heated debate. UCV staff were split on their views of how important "Changing Channels" was to the Center. Some felt the show had diverted UCV from its primary mission to serve as an access center for the university and local community. But others, including the university fund-raiser, insisted the series was the carrot that led community people to the center; and, without the highly visible and successful series, it would be more difficult to raise money to run the center and justify its importance. The debate was moot, however, because without the commitment of "Changing Channels'" core producers, there would be no series.
UCV's decision to cancel the series was overshadowed by an even more compelling event; KTCA had reorganized, and, in re-evaluating its policies, had decided to abandon its practice of selling airtime to anyone. After years of grumbling about "Changing Channels," the new administration was eager to do business with UCV, but only if