About Us

About Us

DCTV tells stories that matter to help our communities thrive.

As Washington, DC’s 24/7 public media platform, we amplify local voices that represent the vibrant communities of our nation’s capital. We create original content and train individuals and nonprofit organizations to engage people through the power of meaningful storytelling. DCTV reimagines the role of media and sparks relevant, inclusive conversations to build a stronger DC.

Community Voice

DCTV is Washington, DC's only television station devoted entirely to local programming created by and for DC and metropolitan area communities. We empower people to exercise their freedom of speech by providing:

  • Opportunities to learn, create and share media through training courses.
  • Access to state-of-the-art media facilities.
  • Distribution on Comcast, Verizon FiOS and RCN cable channels that also stream online.

Our Philosophy

  • We believe that communities are enriched when people are empowered to share their unique voices.
  • We believe in putting the power of the media in the hands of everyday people, and in educating them in areas of media production so that they can freely create programs.
  • We believe that community residents and organizations should have opportunities to create television programs and telecast them on a fair and equitable basis, free of censorship or editorial control.
  • We believe in democratizing television by ensuring the presence of diverse cultural groups and ideas, especially those that are under-represented in the media.
  • We believe in engaging the entire community in a dialogue that is broadly representative of its varied perspectives and cultures.

Our History

The year was 1988. VCRs were the “must have” electronic device. A hash tag was just a pound sign. Your “smartphone” was a pager, and that meant that you were kind of a big deal. Cable television was just getting started and something transformative in telecommunications was taking shape.

In Washington, DC, Mayor Marion Barry and Cable Commissioner William Lightfoot wanted to make sure that with cable’s emergence came some powerful public benefits. DCTV, a new concept for a community television network was launched to give District residents the means to create television programming.

We began broadcasting with one cable channel, serving our first members out of a small cubicle in the basement of a DuPont Circle apartment building. Today, from the Brooks Mansion in Brookland, we transmit 7 channels on Comcast, RCN and Verizon FiOS, and provide our members with accelerated media training courses, meeting rooms and access to state-of-the-art equipment including HD cameras, editing suites, and studios. DCTV programs are also streamed live, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, accessed through DCTV.org.

Since our launch in 1988, we have made a significant impact on the landscape of Washington, DC by giving voice to people traditionally unheard and unrepresented in media.

"Public access is important because it reflects the local community. When an individual comes into DCTV to produce a program they feel like they are a part of something important."

Bunnie Riedel, Former President of Alliance for Community Media

"One of the great things about DCTV is the friendship, the fellowship and the people coming together. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned pro, they bring people together that will help create your message."

Alvin Jones, Alvin Jones Communications Group, DCTV member since 2003

The DCTV capacity building grant program offers eligible nonprofits an array of benefits that build organizational communications and storytelling capability and provides an ongoing presence on cable television. We designed these grants to offer training and expert guidance to the nonprofit community, which enables you to robustly expand your impact within the DC community.

“Grant Level” is the amount of money your organization contributes to receive the grant. The grant term is initially one year and requires a very small organizational match. DCTV will provide documentation so that you can appropriately record “in-kind” services in your financial records. Grants may be extended or renewed with DCTV approval.