The broadcasters at BronxNet are celebrating a big birthday.
The public access organization “by, for and about the Bronx” was first on-air 20 years ago, on July 1, 1983.
The quality, diverse programing represents the diversity of the Bronx and is an opportunity for the borough to correct mass-media misrepresentations, said BronxNet Executive Director Michael Max Knobbe.
“We have the chance to make the case and set the record straight,” he said.
Gary Axelbank, host of BronxTalk, said the Bronx is also severely under-served by media. Before BronxNet and later News12, the Bronx had no daily media outlets of its own.
“Part of poverty is poverty of information,” he said.
Axelbank said BronxNet has helped to serve that need and created a place where Bronx issues are treated as important issues.
“This borough, 1.3 million people, deserves media coverage,” said Axelbank.
In addition to serving Bronxites with news, BronxNet also provides broadcast media training to students through internships and Bronx residents through workshops. BronxNet studios are on the campus of Lehman College.
Knobbe said the station will be getting upgraded technology soon, in addition to renovating their offices to make them more efficient and welcoming.
“There’s a lot to celebrate,” he said about the 20th anniversary.
Paul Gentile, chairman of BronxNet’s board of directors, said BronxNet is also expanding its studios beyond Lehman College to Mercy College this year, and to the Bronxchester development in the Hub in 2017.
The new partnerships, he noted, will allow BronxNet to provide media training to more Bronxites in different parts of the borough.
Calling training “The most important mission of BronxNet,” Gentile noted that over the past 20 years BronxNet has trained thousands of students and Bronx residents, giving them the skills to work in front of and behind the camera.
“That to me is our greatest accomplishment.”
To celebrate its anniversary, BronxNet is hosting a luncheon Thursday, May 1, at the Marina del Ray in Throggs Neck. The celebration will honor Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Lehman College President Dr. Ricardo Fernández, and NBC anchor by way of BronxNet, Darlene Rodriguez.
BronxNet programing is available on Cablevision channels 67-70, Verizon Fios channels 33-38 and at www.bronxnet.org.