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Learn, Create and Collaborate with Digital Media – Ramona Howard Talks to NCTC About What’s New at Nevada County Media

Nevada County Media (NCM) operates a nonprofit state-of-the-art production facility that the community can access via a membership. NCM’s mission is to foster community dialogue, increase civic engagement, and enrich the cultural life of our community through digital media. The studio is a place to learn, collaborate and create. They operate three Public Access cable channels, several YouTube channels, a teaching Academy, and a production team.

Ramona Howard, Executive Director at Nevada County Media, will be giving a virtual tour of the new NCM facility at the June 16th TechTonic. We spoke via video conference about what NCM has been up to since their move. Here is an excerpt from our conversation.

NCTC: How did you get involved with NCM?

RH: Someone called me out of the blue for this job. The organization needed help, and I like a good challenge, so I took it. I was surprised something like this didn’t exist already with the video background and the creativity here in our community.

We had to overcome the history of NCTV. The biggest problems was it was very specific – it was tied to television and nothing else, and media has changed since the conception of NCTV. Media changed, but NCTV didn’t. Overcoming that has been the hardest thing for us. We still have three cable channels but we do so much more than just TV. We have nine YouTube channels and a professional production team now. The name change (NCTV to Nevada County Media) became official early last year.

NCTC: Why is digital media important for our community? What impact is Nevada County Media making?

RH: If you do it right, video allows you to communicate your message well and have so much more of an impact. NCM gives our nonprofits a way to create good storytelling at an extremely affordable price. Business and organizations can use digital media for advertising, seminars, to entice members, but you have to know what you are doing. It has to look beautiful and sound good. The audio is what sets an amateur apart from a professional.

We partner with organizations in our community on a variety of projects: livestream events, documentaries, Zoom meetings with 100 people. When the pandemic began, we started a news program in collaboration with The Union: Nevada County Now has been airing five days a week for over ten weeks now.

NCTC: Who can benefit from your services?

RH: A large portion of the community can benefit from our facilities – we do lots of different things. Young people can come and learn. Businesses and nonprofit can hire our paid production team to film live events, commercials, documentaries. And we have tools for the community to use to create. The more comfortable you can get with the tools, the better.

For instance, are you interested in learning a new skill in media? How to do a podcast? Be the next YouTube star? Master the production aspect first at NCM.

Want to master audio mixing to record live music? We have a recording studio!

Want to create a product – a video for your website? Come learn how to do it, or hire us to do it. Or both. The ability to have your hands on all of this higher quality equipment is a fantastic opportunity for our community.

In the new space, we have more stuff on the audio side, and new in-house productions: a cooking show, a music show, a kids’ show. Interns and members can work on one of these real productions and gain skills with hands-on experience.

Last year we had 21 interns doing project-based learning and helping with community projects. They learned how to edit, film, edit audio, animation projects, 3D animation. We have the tools and the knowledge. This year they helped film a documentary about the Senior Firewood Project, with support from skilled professionals.

NCTC: How can people get involved with NCM?

RH: Become a member. Everything is done through our membership: For $100 a year for an individual you get the use of everything we have, including the ability to take classes at a reduced rate and hang out at a really cool place. You can get certified on equipment and then use it, and join actual productions and get experience. We host community gatherings – we are a media hub.

NCTC: What will our audience learn about on the TechTonic tour?

RH: They will learn about everything that is available to use – there are so many types of things you can do at the NCM facility, including all kinds of media: audio, video, some graphic design, animation.  Take the tour and you’ll know if you want to be here or not.

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