What Is MCAT?

Missoula Community Access Television (MCAT) provides Missoula residents and organizations with the equipment, training, and channel time to produce TV programs based on their interests and concerns. These programs reflect Missoula's cultural, political, and intellectual diversity, and help foster a community dialogue about people and issues that might otherwise go unnoticed.

What is Cable Access TV?

The Community's Access to a television is a logical extension of the First Amendment right, to the most powerful communications technology of our day. Using community access television, local people can speak for themselves through programs they produce for the cable system. These programs reflect the culturally diverse city of Missoula. Show topics include politics, comedy, culture and many others.

How do I Become a Producer?

Any Missoula resident can produce programming at MCAT. You must attend a basic orientation and training session and pay an annual membership fee of $20. Find out more about Producing Shows.

MCAT Offers Basic Training..

MCAT offers basic training for anyone in the community with a desire to learn how to use television equipment. MCAT offers classes in television production throughout the year. Classes include hands-on instruction in camera operation, sound, lighting, and editing. Technicians and teachers are available for one-on-one assistance when needed. Find out more about our Training.,

Share Your Interests...

MCAT will provide channel time for programs not produced at MCAT. Local programs take priority in scheduling but imports are welcome. Call us if you have a program to share.

MCAT Administration

A Board of Directors consisting of community volunteers administers MCAT. This board is responsible for overseeing all matters pertaining to finances, personnel, and policy regarding the use of the facility, equipment and staff time. Volunteer producers provide input and direction. The MCAT Board of Directors meeting is cablecast live at 7pm the fourth Tuesday of every month. The public is welcome to attend.
MCAT Offers Non-Profit Organizations and Civic Groups in-kind donations.

Non-Profit organizations and civic groups are granted eight hours of staff time and all the television equipment needed to produce their program. The MCAT staff will directly assist your organization in creating a program to highlight your organization, free of charge. The finished program will run on the MCAT channel. Organizations have used this service to share special events, conferences, and mission statements.

Other Ways to Get Involved

Volunteers keep MCAT alive! The opportunities for volunteers here are plentiful. You can assist in a variety of tasks, including:

  • Be a TV show producer
  • Help with training
  • Help with maintenance
  • Become a Board Member

The Mission of Missoula Community Access Television is to promote the dissemination of information and exchange of views, ideas, and opinions within the Missoula community by providing public access to cable communications in the Missoula area and promoting the use of such cable communications by the community.

The Goals of Missoula Community Access Television are to supervise and manage local public access television; to advise the Missoula City Council on matters pertaining to all aspects of local public access television; to act exclusively for civic purposes as a nonprofit corporation; to promote the use of public access television in a manner consonant with local, state and federal laws and the ideals of a free and democratic republic; and to engage in lawful, nonprofit corporate activity, including maintenance of staff, facilities, and equipment for local public access television, as stipulated in its Articles of Incorporation.,

In carrying out its goals MCAT's objectives are to:

  • Seek and identify communities of interest and encourage them to use facilities and channels over hich MCAT has jurisdiction to express their interests, concerns, ideas and aspirations.
  • Provide training in cable communication production for individuals and community groups.
  • Assist individuals and community groups to develop and produce programs for cablecasting.
  • Assure the availability of accessible cable communication production facilities, pursuant to prescribed rules governing the use of such facilities.
  • Assure the non-discriminatory, non-commercial use of facilities and channels over which MCAT has jurisdiction.
  • Encourage the use of facilities and channels over which MCAT has jurisdiction to express divergent ideas and opinions on the broadest range of subjects.

MCAT maintains a neutral position regarding the content of public access programming produced or sponsored by Missoulians for the MCAT channel. Producers warrant that their programs do not violate local, state or federal laws as outlined in a program contract which is signed and submitted prior to the initial cablecast of each show. The MCAT Program Contract is available here.

MCAT provides three types of television access service: public, educational and governmental. (This is sometimes called “PEG” access for short.)

Public access is the most diverse programming at MCAT. Any individual or group may produce a program on any subject for cablecast by MCAT as defined under programming policy. Public access enables people to express their creativity, explore important issues and exercise their first amendment rights through television.

Educational access programming challenges MCAT to work with local schools, both public and private. Currently School District One, Missoula County High Schools, the City-County Library, the Missoula Museum of the Arts, the Missoula Vo-Tech, Valley Christian School, Sussex School, the University of Montana, and other educational organizations provide programs for and about Missoula's educational community.

Government programming provides an important communication link between the local jurisdictions and the community. The City Council and School Board meetings are regularly covered and cablecast live, and repeated again weekly. Coverage includes other important public hearings, civic services, and a listing of municipal events on the community message board.

Training for the public, education, and government entities and constituencies is regularly provided to residents of the City of Missoula. In an effort to extend access beyond such material limitations as ownership of a television set and subscription to a cable service, all programs on the cablecasting schedule are also available for viewing at the studio.

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