Del Mar TV expands its horizons to capture more community programming

DMTV Producers Group recording “Producers Showcase” program.

Del Mar TV has served its community for nearly 30 years, covering everything from government meetings to cooking shows. Now it’s undergoing a makeover of sorts, moving away from some of the older studio production shows and more into capturing live events in the community of Del Mar, but also expanding coverage to Carmel Valley, Solana Beach and Encinitas.

According to Debi Salmon, president of the Del Mar Television Foundation (a 501c3 nonprofit), “We want to be more integrated with the various nonprofits in the community and support their outreach activities. We would also like to see more interaction with young people at schools and universities to make DMTV relevant across the age spectrum.”

set program
On the set of “Producers Showcase” program. Courtesy

Several technological advancements are also in the works. Del Mar TV is converting from standard definition to high definition, or HD, and updating to digital equipment. They’re also looking at webstreaming and mobile and social media distribution. And with full days to fill on Channel 99 ATT and Channel 24 Spectrum, they’re always looking for more programming from other affiliate producers or even students using their IPhones.

One of the most popular shows on Del Mar TV is the “Del Mar Foundation (DMF) Talks” series. "It Takes a Village to Raise a Wall" and the "Children's Oral History” shows are also popular retrospectives. The station profiles fun or significant local events in short video pieces called “pulses” -- like the grand opening of the new City Hall, Cinco de Mayo at the Plaza and the Rotary Club's Chili and Quackers Challenge at the beach. These pieces give local residents a chance to see themselves on television while they participate in a community event. Del Mar TV has a video archive of events going back to the late 1980s, which they plan on keeping for historical purposes.

“We try to commemorate significant events like the Del Mar Art Show or the Del Mar Historical Society's celebration of the Lake Hodges Dam Centennial,” explains Salmon. “We just covered the Rose Society's Competitive Show at the library, and currently have works in progress with the Garden Club and the Farmers Market. We also try to provide programming with a focus on the local environment, like wildfire emergency plans or encountering rattlesnakes while walking your dog in our lovely canyons and beaches.”

As president of the DMTV Foundation, Salmon is tasked with reinventing the station after some serious hits including attrition in the foundation’s board and Producers Group and losing their production facility. “I think we were overdue for a change and I'm hopeful we can reinvent DMTV to provide opportunities for some exciting public access television,” she says. “There used to be a lot more passion for DMTV as an important part of the community and I'd like to see that spirit and support regenerate.”

Salmon has been with Del Mar TV since 2002, and still appreciates the diversity of projects produced there. “What I really enjoy is the mix of people who come to the group with a passion to produce a specific program, or a desire to build their show reel, or some who are there year after year providing support and encouragement to others,” she shares. “One producer quit his job as a mortgage broker and honed his skill as a camera and audio operator, ultimately landing a job with the Discovery Channel. Some people have joined to overcome stage fright or improve their English. It is a place to learn and grow without judgment and being creative is good fun. Making community programs gives one a sense of belonging and it can be very purposeful.”

Anyone can submit a program or program idea to DMTV for review. A finished product that is ready to air needs to meet a set of guidelines that apply to community access television and FCC regulations. If the program submitted meets the requirements, it is added to the program schedule and the producer is notified of the date(s) for broadcast. If someone has an idea for a program, they can contact DMTV and set a meeting to discuss and plan the production. DMTV can be involved as much or as little as desired.

Currently the funding for DMTV comes from the CIty of Del Mar and the budget covers operating costs for the city government meetings (City Council, DRB, Planning Commission, ad hoc meetings and workshops) and some allocation for training or promotional videos the city requires. However, additional funds are always needed to produce quality programming.

To that end, DMTV is having an open house “Summer Soiree” on Tuesday, June 4, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event will take place at the Del Mar Civic Center Town Hall. Wine and food will be served along with live music and a silent auction. Tickets are $15 at the door or available online at after May 11.

Council meeting
Production crew during broadcast of a Del Mar City Council meeting. Courtesy
Show location
Producers editing a show on location. Courtesy

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