Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga

Structural Patterns

Reflections on Art, Technology and Society

Archive for August 26th, 2010

Señal 3 – Community Television in La Victoria, Santiago, Chile

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Señal 3 television recording studio

During our stay in Santiago at the end of July to beginning of August, the curator of “portables” and our host, Ignacio Nieto took us to a community television station and media school, Señal 3 (Signal 3). Located in La Victoria, considered amongst the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods of Santiago, Señal 3 pirates its signal to the immediate area. The government and police do not intervene, because they are afraid to enter the neighborhood.

Señal 3 interior mural
A mural in the hallway leading from the television recording studio to the post-production and broadcast studio.

During the visit, I took the opportunity to interview one of the members who established and helps maintain the community TV station. Learning in detail about the history of Señal 3, seeing their outfit and what they have created as well as their mission is absolutely inspiring. The men who established and run Señal 3 grew up together in La Victoria and were once vigilantes of their neighborhood… ignored by the police and government, it was up to the community to keep the peace. The members of Señal 3 earn a living through video production as they maintain a pirate television station that they’ve transformed into a local media center.

Señal 3 Broadcast studio
The broadcast studio.

Community media has a long history in La Victoria. In the 70s the neighborhood ran pirate radio, in the 80s the local church was given large televisions that would be stationed on various corners of the neighborhood for major soccer games. Señal 3 with it’s current members has been broadcasting since 1997.

The transmitter in a converted alley way between houses.

The television broadcast was once bounced from member home to member home as necessary. However, several years ago, the home next to one of the members was raided by the police. The owner was selling drugs and pimping girls. He spent time in jail and upon returning to his home the neighborhood would not allow him to remain. The members of Señal 3 made a bid for the drug dealer’s home and then transformed it from a drug den and under age brothel to a community media center… they established a home for their transmitter.

The classroom
The classroom!

Today the house has a dedicated television studio, a mixing and production studio and media classroom. The members were always dedicated to community television production and working with local kids and neighbors to create programming. However a three years ago, Señal 3 was awarded a major grant by a Spanish institution. They used that grant to establish a proper classroom, equipped with high end iMacs and a projector. Each school year, Señal 3 accepts a handful of kids to run a year long media production course that covers video production – shooting, editing and broadcast as well as computer graphics and web programming. Their intention is simply to make these kids into media producers rather than passive consumers.

Soon they will begin fund raising for the next enterprise, a new building where Señal 3’s current home stands. The new building will offer the community better production facilities, larger classroom… a place where kids in the neighborhood will have access to tools that Chile’s educational system will never make available to those of La Victoria.

Written by ricardo

August 26th, 2010 at 9:10 pm