Metro Media

Archives accessible at the Crista Dahl Media Library and Archive, VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver: Metro Media Special Collection. Information: Metro Media Association of Greater Vancouver (1971-1983) was founded in 1971, one of the groups to grow out of Intermedia. Its activities included “training citizens in the use of small format television equipment, cable casting community programs over Channel 10 in Vancouver, and, bringing awareness of communications policies to the community level.” (A History of Vancouver Community Television Association). In addition to providing access to video equipment for the alternative and art communities, Metro Media worked closely with educational and social service agencies to promote media democracy. Metro Media provided access to video equipment to many Vancouver producers. Between 1971 and 1974, Metro Media was responsible for over 500 hours of cable programming. In 1974, Metro Media developed the concept of a split cable license between a representative community group and the commercial company operating the community station as a means of improving the community’s ability to broadcast issues of immediate concern and to be more effective in creating “positive social change.” They advocated this concept at the Cable Television Hearings in Ottawa, the C.R.T.C., and directly with Premier Cablevision. This lead to the incorporation of The Vancouver Community Television Association on October 8, 1976. In the late 1970s, Metro Media suffered a number of setbacks including losing its federal funding as a video access centre. By the early 1980s the organization pivoted. “Our organization is primarily concerned with community art access. We do not make the distinction between the community and the artist. The artist, in our view, is an integral part of the community who involves him/herself in a cultural discourse with other members of his/her community.” Metro Media became a multidisciplinary art space with facilities for exhibitions of sculpture, video, photography, mail art, paintings, films, publications; and a performance space for music, art dance, poetry, and more. For a period it was the only permanent experimental film theatre in Western Canada and the only monthly mail art show in North America. Metro Media continued to struggle with funding decreases. When Metro Media was dissolved, Video Inn inherited its equipment (under directives inherent in Canada Council’s equipment agreements).