Forty-five years ago, in the basement of Roberts Hall at the United Theological Seminary, Roxie Cole went on-air for the first time, birthing Dayton Public Access Television (DATV).
The then-named Access-30-Dayton station started cablecasting to the city of Dayton on March 1, 1978 with the one-woman staff and a small budget. DATV was created to give “everyday people the opportunity and freedom to share their thoughts, ideas and programs with all of Greater Dayton,” according to a release from the station. Now, DATV is celebrating its birthday as a cornerstone of Dayton access television.
DATV became a nonprofit station in the spring of 1992, and set off “with a mission to serve as a community forum that empowers all citizens to learn, create, and express their ideas through electronic media in a non-commercial format,” according to the station. DATV also offers workshops, which have serviced over 12,000 members, and has created 96,000 new television shows through 80,000 volunteer hours offered by the station.
Randy Philips, DATV executive director, has been there for 20 years of the station’s history. Although he began his role as executive director in the fall of 2022, he has been involved with DATV as a board member, producer, director and member of DATV for two decades. He said the celebration will honor a legacy of change— both in technological advancement and community change in the last 45 years.
“As I say, DATV is the voice of community change because we allow everyone the opportunity to voice their opinions and be the change they want to see,” Phillips said. “DATV has been the center of a lot of things here for the community.”
On the station’s 14th birthday, it received a name change and switched to channel 20. When it turned a quarter-of-a-century in 2003, the staff buried a time capsule to be opened on its 100th birthday in 2078. For its 45th, the station is connecting back with the community it serves.
The anniversary celebration at the DATV studio on March 1 will feature a keynote speaker. City, county and state officials will also be present to make proclamations in celebration of the station’s birthday. Community members are invited to join the staff of DATV at 7 p.m. for refreshments as they ring in another historic milestone, the station said.
For the next 45 years and well beyond, Phillips said he knows DATV will be the community’s hub for public media education in Dayton and continue as an outlet for community conversations.
“That’s what DATV is all about— bringing people together to create those conversations, to be that catalyst to get that conversation going,” Phillips said. “DATV continues and wants to continue to be that voice of change here and to help people make that difference for all of Dayton.”
HOW TO GO
What: DATV’s 45th anniversary celebration
When: Wednesday, March 1 at 7 p.m.
Where: DATV studio, 280 Leo St., Dayton
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