Programming & Channel Use

5.01   Local Programming

CTV accepts only local programming produced by residents of Knoxville or Knox Co.  Local programming is defined as programming that contains no more than 10% of material produced by non-residents of Knoxville or Knox Co.

5.02   Program Rights

Pursuant to the Producer Agreement Form signed by each producer, CTV is licensed to broadcast all submitted material whether or not it is produced using CTV equipment.  Programs produced using CTV equipment must be for the purpose of airing on the access channel. CTV owns the copyright to all material produced using CTV equipment (studios, portable equipment, computers, etc.).  Any outside use of material produced using CTV equipment, (other than personal home viewing or educational use), must first be approved by the General Manager.  This can be accomplished by submitting a written request to the General Manager.

5.03   CTV Produced Programs

As a general rule, CTV does not grant permission to make copies and/or publish derivative works (clips or otherwise edited versions) of programs for which CTV owns the copyright, including coverage of government meetings.  With written approval from the management, unedited copies of CTV-produced programs may be allowed under certain conditions (including government meetings).

5.04   Program Liability

Executive Producers agree to indemnify and save harmless CTV, the City of Knoxville, Knox County, Comcast/Xfinity, Knology/WOW!, Charter, AT&T/U-verse and any members of their staffs, boards of directors, officers, or stockholders, from any and all claims, demands, damages, or other liabilities which may be made against or arise out of the broadcast of the program submitted to them, whether or not the program has been reviewed by CTV prior to broadcast; and to pay CTV, the City of Knoxville, Knox County, Comcast/Xfinity, Knology/WOW!, Charter, and AT&T/U-verse all legal fees and expenses incurred by it in connection with any legal proceedings concerning broadcast of such programs, as such legal fees and expenses arise.

5.05   Program Content

CTV encourages community producers to exercise the responsible expression of their 1st Amendment rights.   Executive Producers must be at least 18 years of age and are solely responsible and legally accountable for the content of their programs and as such may be subject to prosecution for the broadcast of illegal material.  Executive Producers are required to complete a Producer Agreement Form in which they accept responsibility  for the content of the program and provides CTV with a contact telephone number through which the Executive Producer can be reached for viewer comments.  This phone number will be made available to all who request it.

The following are absolutely prohibited for any and all programs or messages cablecast on the access channel administered by CTV:

  1. Contests that involve directly or indirectly the elements of a lottery, gift, enterprise, or similar scheme, offering prizes dependent in whole or in part upon lot or chance. Reference section 76.213 of the rules of the Federal Communications Commission.
  2. Material which would subject the producer or supplier to civil or criminal prosecution under any applicable local, state, or federal law for production or presentation of obscene or erotic material, slander or libel, invasion of privacy.
  3. Material soliciting or promoting unlawful conduct.
  4. Material that is copyrighted or subject to ownership or royalty rights, union residuals, or other payment (e.g. music, written works, photographs, film, video) unless the producer has obtained all necessary permission, releases, licenses and made all necessary payments to authorize broadcast of any such material. Original evidence of such payment or permission must be produced.
  5. Promotion of any business, product, service, private school or commercial event.
  6. Direct solicitation of funds.
  7. More than 10% of imported programming content, including any copyrighted material for which permission for use has been obtained.
  8. Promotions and endorsements on behalf of political candidates.
  9. Promotion or mention of any website owned or managed by a for-profit entity (company or individual).

If a court order is issued against a program or series for any reason, the broadcast of that program or series will be suspended pending the legal decision.

5.06   Potentially Offensive Programming

The following guidelines are not intended to discourage free expression.  They are intended to achieve a balance between the First Amendment right to free speech and the cable subscriber’s right to be protected from unwanted viewing of offensive material.

Content.  CTV policy is to refrain from the broadcast of programs that are obscene under federal or Tennessee State Law.  CTV may, however, broadcast programs that are identified as “potentially offensive” based on the content categories outlined below.  CTV’s Board expects that these guidelines will change in the future based upon actual experiences with specific programs.

A program that contains any of the following will be considered “potentially offensive to some audiences” and will only be broadcast with a viewer warning during a late nighttime slot.

  • Language: slang, vulgar or colloquial expression which refers, in the context in which it is used, to sexual intercourse, masturbation, anal or oral sexual contact, to human genitals, or to human elimination; or abusive language against men or women, ethnic groups, religious groups, sexual orientation, or persons with disabilities.
  • Sexual Activities: images or depictions of the Specified Sexual Activities defined in Article XII, Section 16-468 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Knoxville.
  • Anatomical Areas: depictions of the portions of the human body defined as Specified Anatomical Areas in Article XII, Section 16-468 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Knoxville, and that appeal to the prurient interest.
  • Violence: extreme acts of violence against actual people; or a depiction of extreme violent acts in dramatic and/or poetic manners.
  • Graphic Images: images or depictions of human or animal elimination and/or mutilation; images or depictions of graphic medical surgical procedures; or images or depictions abusive against men or women, ethnic groups, religious groups, sexual orientation, or persons with disabilities.

Program Agreement Form.  Each Executive Producer is responsible for certifying to CTV on the Program Agreement Form whether their programming contains any “potentially offensive” material according to the above guidelines.  Should any Executive Producer fail to properly disclose the “potentially offensive” nature of a program, CTV has the right to suspend or terminate the producer’s privileges.  Any suspension or termination of privileges will include both the Executive Producer and all other persons associated with the program.  In addition to the foregoing factors, CTV also has the authority to determine classification as potentially offensive based on items which may not be listed above.

Mature Audience Rating.  All programs identified as Potentially Offensive Programming (POP) will bear the “TV-MA” (TV – Mature Audience) rating.  No program identified as POP will air until such time as the cable interactive program guide has identified and marked the timeslot for that program as TV-MA.

“Late Night” Time Slots.  Programming containing potentially offensive programming will be broadcast during “Late Night” Time Slots between midnight Friday until 4 am on Saturday.

Viewer Advisory Message.  If a live program is intended for a general audience, and measures are taken to prevent indecent language to no avail, scheduling of replays as adult programs can be avoided by editing out vulgarities.  If indecent language cannot be deleted, then the producer must add a Viewer Advisory Message to the program and any subsequent replays will occur in “Late Night” time slots.  The Viewer Advisory Message (audio and video) shall be broadcast and/or edited on the video for 30 seconds to 60 seconds prior to the start time of the program. Viewer warnings may also be required in the body of long (60 minutes or greater) programs.  CTV retains the right to place Viewer Advisory Messages before any program.

5.07  Program Scheduling 

CTV welcomes community producers who submit single programs for air on the channel and other community producers who provide multiple episodes of regular series programs.  Time slots on the channel are randomly assigned to producers of regular series who have met the minimum requirements pertaining to the number of episodes that must be submitted in order to maintain a regular time slot.

Master Schedule Two different master schedules are created each year; one for the first half of the year (Jan – Jun) and one for the second half (Jul – Dec) for 2 important reasons: (1) to be fair to everyone, and (2) to help everyone reach a wider audience.  Time slots are randomly assigned within each of these schedules around other fixed time frames (regular government meetings, live programs, etc.).  New regular series that begin after the program schedules have been created and other non-series programs are awarded time slots at the discretion of the General Manager based upon program length and availability.

Regular Time Slots  Regular time slots are awarded to Community Producers who commit to providing new programming on a regular basis.   For regular weekly shows, it is expected that a new program will be created for each week.  Most producers create and submit 4 episodes at a time to stay ahead of scheduling deadlines. The minimum requirement to maintain a regular weekly time slot is to submit an average of at least 2 new episodes per month.  Programs must be submitted at least two business days before they air.  Programs not delivered in accordance with this schedule may be delayed.  Regular time slots may not be bartered or sold.  Producers should not assume time slots traditionally associated with “prime time” on commercial television are equally desirable on community television.  In fact, prime time on commercial television may be considered less desirable because of competition.  All programs aired on CTV may also be viewed at any convenient time by visiting

Repeats   Executive Producers of a regular series of programs may repeat a previously aired episode twice during their regular time slot but airing of such programming is always at the discretion of CTV. The “repackaging” of previously aired program material (changing the program title, rearranging scene sequences, using clips from old programs, etc.) does NOT constitute “original” programming.  Programs containing more than 10% of such material shall NOT count as original programming for the purpose of airing, reporting, or count toward the required number of new programs needed to maintain a regular time slot.

5.08   Advertising

Programming submitted by community producers shall not contain any advertising, promotion, or endorsements of any business, product, service, private school, or commercial event in any context that involves the producer’s promotion, endorsement, approval or recognition of such.  Except as expressly permitted below, this includes mentioning or displaying the names, logos, phone numbers and locations of such.

5.09   Underwriting

Producers may not require compensation or consideration of any kind from individuals or businesses in exchange for appearing on their programs or promotion of any kind.  Credit for underwriting support, (limited to goods or services provided to make the production possible), may only appear at the conclusion of the program using graphics on a full or partial screen with a plain background, or using a voice-over for a maximum of 10 seconds.  The underwriting support message shall be limited to the following: “Support for this program has been provided in part by . . . underwriter name(s).”  Underwriters shall not be recognized during the body of the program.

5.10   Commercial Affiliations  Producers and guests with a commercial affiliation who appear on CTV programs may be verbally identified once at the beginning of the program, and once at the end by name and qualifications only.  Graphics displayed throughout the program may contain only the name of the individual, or individuals, not their affiliation.  Under no circumstances should reference be made to any commercial entity that employs, or is owned in any way by, the producer or guest.  Violation of these policies may result in suspension or revocation of access privileges.

5.11   Political Programming  Any program describing or endorsing declared political candidates or describing ballot issues that is directly related to a current campaign is considered “Political Programming.”   Programs which include appearances by incumbents acting in their current elected or professional capacity are not included in this definition.  Each political program produced by CTV and for which CTV has direct editorial control (e.g. “Equal Time”) will be nonpartisan and will provide an equal opportunity for all candidates or parties concerned to participate. If a candidate or issue representative declines to participate, CTV will not be obligated to provide other opportunities.  CTV encourages local community producers to provide like opportunities when they produce programs about political candidates or ballot issues.

5.12   Live Programming  Live programming is available from the CTV live studio, using video conferencing such as Zoom, and from the Assembly Rooms at the City/County Building.  Requests for live programming must be approved by the management at least 30 days in advance of the program date.  The proposed live time slot must be available.  If the proposed time would preempt a regularly scheduled program, the Executive Producer of the live program must have written approval from the Executive Producer of the program that would be preempted.  It is up to the Executive Producer to negotiate this approval. A live video access fee of one dollar ($1.00) per minute will be charged for all live programming.  This fee must be paid to CTV prior to air.  Events that CTV is contractually required to cover like government meetings may never be preempted for other programming.

Executive Producers of LIVE programs may earn and maintain a reserved time slot for a regular weekly series under the following conditions:

  • The regular series must be produced during normal operating hours.
  • Four (4) pilot episodes must be produced during four (4) consecutive weeks to earn the time slot.
  • Successive episodes must be produced every week thereafter, with no more than one exception per month.
  • More than one exception in a month will result in loss of the “reserved” status of the weekly time slot for 6 months.
  • CTV reserves the right to preempt live series programs when necessary.
  • A Live Fee ($1/minute) must be paid for ALL live programming prior to air.
  • Pre-recorded episodes may be aired in the time slot on occasion, but the Live Fee must still be paid.

 5.13   Community ENGAGEMENT Calendar  CTV proudly hosts a graphics based Community Engagement Calendar for local nonprofit organizations to promote programs, services, and upcoming events. Over the years, it has become the most comprehensive, regularly updated community calendar in our region, airing on our channel between scheduled programs and at other convenient times throughout the day and night, to reach the widest audience possible. Our online version allows visitors to view the calendar at any time at the front page of our web site.  There are only three (3) REQUIREMENTS a nonprofit organization must meet to post announcements on our calendar:

  1. Official Proof of the organization’s nonprofit status must be provided.  The preferred proof is a copy of your federal or state nonprofit determination letter.
  2. A small annual Calendar Access Fee must be paid, allowing the organization to post up to 4 different announcements per month.
  3. A registered User Account using the real name of an organization representative.

5.14   Educational Access  The affiliated education access channel (KCS-TV) is operated and managed by Knox Co. Schools to deliver programming and support services for public educational institutions in the City of Knoxville and Knox Co.  Programming on that channel is dedicated to educational access programming if it falls under one or more of the following categories:

  1. produced and/or supplied by a public educational institution or organization (a school, board of education, teacher’s union, etc.);
  2. produced by students or members of a public educational institution or organization on behalf of that institution or organization;
  3. contains subject matter related to structured education (such as that received in public schools), sanctioned by a qualified learning institution;
  4. on-air participants are representing a public educational institution or organization.

Programming will be produced by the various public educational institutions in the City of Knoxville and Knox County districts, CTV, or may be imported.