Lanesville TV Overview I

1972 | 00:32:18 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3

Collection: Videofreex Archive, Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: Activism, Documentation, Family, Film or Videomaking, Future, Portrait, Television

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"Between March 1972 and February 1977, the Videofreex aired 258 television broadcasts from a home-built studio and jerry-rigged transmitter in an old boarding house they rented in the tiny Catskill Mountain hamlet of Lanesville. It was a revolutionary act in defiance of FCC regulations — the first unlicensed TV station in America."

— Parry Teasdale, Videofreex: America's First Pirate TV Station, Black-dome Press

Shot on March 22nd 1972, this tape tells the behind the scenes story of Lanesville TV. Bart Friedman is behind the camera, and the video opens on a van stuck in a wet driveway. It is a rainy day in Lanesville. Two female Videofreex (Carol Vontobel and Nancy Cain) are in a bar talking to local people about the uses of the TV station, before driving around the locale. The scene then shifts to the Lanesville TV studio before and during a live broadcast.

This is a wonderful record of the way the broadcasts worked, with many of the Videofreex appearing: Parry Teasdale and Nancy Cain are VJ-ing; Chuck Kennedy is on hand to make technical adjustments; others are sitting around the living room watching the broadcast, in the control room on air, or doing tech. We see Carol on the phone taking calls about the reception from viewers. Two neighborhood boys join the group to watch the broadcast, which includes footage from Carol and Nancy’s earlier interviews, Mushroom, Henry and Sam and Lanesville Last Sunday. After the show, other neighbors stop by to report on the reception.