President's Message | March 24, 2020

Access Channels & Covid - 19

As the Covid-19 emergency affects more and more communities in the United States, we are seeing access channels prepare, react and step up to the challenges.  Here are some of the examples we are seeing:

Emergency Communications and Public Service:
Correct and clear information is vital during this public health crisis. Our channels are working with the CDC and local and state authorities to get useful news and information out to residents. This is especially important with business and public facility closures that are occurring with the outbreak.

Remote Meetings:
Members are figuring out ways to accommodate remote meetings so open government and transparency can continue in a time of crisis. This means adapting practices to conform with state open meeting laws, integrating remote meeting platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts into production workflows, and coaching elected officials and staff how to conduct remote meetings well.   

Religious Services:
In some states, groups of over ten people are banned, so religious organizations are scrambling to find solutions to provide faith and sabbath gatherings.  While public access has always had a tradition of religious sermons from all faiths, organizations are reaching out to local congregations to find ways to help provide solace and spiritual connection in a trying time.

Entertainment, Exercise and Education:
We’re seeing centers working with musicians and artists to provide local content and a virtual performing space when music venues are closed to the public; we’re seeing Zumba and yoga classes, lots of homework help and televised classwork to assist children at home in the outbreak.  

Above all, PEG organizations are providing connection for the needs of their communities, something we know well – but we are doing it in stressful conditions.  Organizations are doing this in remote work environments and centers have in most cases closed to the public.  

What are you doing to help your community during the Covid-19 outbreak?  Document what you are doing every week and help ACM share this story with others.  Members have been sharing their solutions and stories on the ACM Listserv the last few weeks – if you AREN’T on the Listserv, you can join by emailing  It’s been an invaluable resource and will continue to be in coming weeks.  

The Virtual Watercooler / Zoom

I’ll be hanging out at the Watercooler this week – the virtual watercooler. I’ve set it up to check in with members across the country as we are dealing with the crisis.  If you want to join me and others to swap stories and tips, blow off steam, or just connect, drop by the Watercooler.  

Here’s this week’s schedule:

Tuesday 3/24 - 2 pm ET
Wednesday 3/25 - 4:30 pm ET
Thursday 3/26 - 12 Noon ET
Friday 3/27 - 4:30 pm ET 

You can find me on Zoom at 
Meeting ID: 625 793 4140
Password: H20

Stay well!

Mike Wassenaar

President & CEO
The Alliance for Community Media