COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Find yourself behind the camera, in front of the editing monitors, or starring in a show, all right here in Kenton County.

The Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (TBNK) allows locals to experience television magic firsthand. And it's all for free.

"We allow the public to produce their own programming and get their ideas on the air," TBNK executive director Tim Broering, 56, said.

"We are also filling the gap. There is really a feeling that Cincinnati media thinks that the river that separates us is an ocean. Northern Kentucky coverage is our priority," the Fort Thomas resident said.

It's been that way since 1998 when a new franchise agreement was made with the local cable company. The board — made up several members representing Kenton County Fiscal Court and 15 of its participating cities — was established and launched a local community programming center at 3414 Decoursey Ave., Covington.

Nineteen years later, TBNK is still there and going strong.

According to Broering, who's been on staff for 16 years, TBNK shows a few hundred shows weekly over six channels.

Programming includes shows supplied by local residents and organizations, original shows produced by staff, government meetings, and coverage of various community and sporting events.

Several of the staff-produced shows, as well as those by residents, have received recognition locally and nationally, Broering said.

Program Director Jason Dudas will have been at TBNK 19 years next month. Dudas, 47, of Independence, said he spent some time in Hollywood. The glam of a Los Angeles studio doesn't even compare to the work he's doing now.

"My work here is much more satisfying," Dudas said. "I like knowing that someday a guy is going to show his kid the big touchdown he scored. He'll be pulling out a DVD of the game we covered and produced. It's tucked safely on his shelf. He never made it to the pros, but that's his special memory to share. It's important."

According to Dudas, the projects he worked on in Los Angeles were forgotten just as soon as they were released.

"We're more important here," he said. "We're a big part of people's daily lives."

TBNK staff includes three full-time employees and 12 project-based employees or freelancers. Volunteers, as well as high school and college interns, are also welcome. Visit tbnk.org for information.

TBNK offers various training opportunities to residents interested in volunteering or producing their own programs.

Broering said another important aspect of TBNK's success is the partnerships the organization has made with other local organizations, especially nonprofits, that may not otherwise be able to afford to get their information out to the community.

The Kenton County Public Library is a recent partner. TBNK offered training to the staff and each branch has set up live video feeds to showcase some of their events and classes.

Looking to the future, Broering said he expects TBNK to have continued success. Some goals, of course, include keeping the franchise agreement and converting to high definition, the standard in broadcasting.

"We want to keep developing partnerships with schools and local community service organizations while producing and making quality programming accessible to Northern Kentucky," Broering said.

TBNK on the move?

TBNK operates six channels. Recently, as part of a channel realignment, Spectrum has moved TBNK's channels. The Government Channels have moved to 203 and 204; the Main Event Channel is now 200; Educable is now 202, The Devotion Channel is now 186; and NKY Community Television is now 185. Channel locations on Cincinnati Bell Fiopotics, however, have not changed.

For more information, visit tbnk.org.

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Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com