Commander’s access channel set to debut at Robins

Above is a depiction of the actual screen that will be displayed on Watson Cable channel 15 beginning Tuesday. U.S. Air Force Illustration by 1st LT. SEQUOIYA LAWSON

Above is a depiction of the actual screen that will be displayed on Watson Cable channel 15 beginning Tuesday. U.S. Air Force Illustration by 1st LT. SEQUOIYA LAWSON

Robins Air Force Base, Ga., -- Keeping Team Robins in the loop will now be even easier thanks to the addition of a commander's access channel. The commander's access channel will join the Web site and Robins Rev-Up as additional avenues for getting information out to the public.

The commander's access channel is a staple at many bases across the nation and Col. Theresa Carter, commander of the 78th Air Base Wing, thought it was time to bring one to Robins.

"I was surprised when I got to Robins to find out we didn't have a commander's access channel; it's a common feature at every base to which I've been assigned or visited in a TDY capacity," Colonel Carter said.

She said although it's most commonly used to disseminate information about core installation services, its most effective use is to quickly communicate information to base personnel in the event of an emergency. The colonel said the commander's access channel will be an invaluable tool if the base is challenged with a natural disaster or other scenario requiring immediate dissemination of information detailing specific actions base employees and residents need to take in order to stay out of harms way.

"At Maxwell Air Force Base during Hurricane Ivan, we were able to post information about actions employees and residents should take during each HURCON level and ensure everyone on base would be safe. When you consider the huge transient population at Maxwell with over 2,200 lodging rooms, this capability was absolutely essential to quickly communicating important information," Colonel Carter said.

Although one of the major criticisms of commander's access channels has been that few people watch or pay attention to messages being displayed, Colonel Carter feels that this initiative has the potential to be effective.

"I believe it will be very effective over time. New technology will help us make the (channel) an even better tool for communicating command messages and information. Rather than simply replaying a series of power point slides, we will be able to incorporate streaming video and text to help communicate the information," the colonel said.

Anyone on base will access to Watson Cable will be able to tune to Channel 15 to see the commanders access channel. The colonel said she would like to see the CAC played on TVs in waiting areas and break rooms. Eventually, she'd like to see the channel available on Cox Cable as well as Watson, as many residents in family housing use Cox for their cable TV provider.

Although excited about the potential, Colonel Carter recognizes it will take time for the channel to build an audience. "It will take some time for personnel to know the channel is there and for us to continue fine tuning the information presented to ensure we meet their needs," she said.

The 78th ABW Public Affairs Office will maintain the channel, with 2nd Lt. Evan Lagasse being the content manager. Lieutenant Lagasse said the channel will be more than just a set of scrolling slides.

"I envision the channel as being a great tool to educate, inform and possibly even entertain our Airmen here at Robins," Lieutenant Lagasse said. "We don't just want it to be Powerpoint slides; we want to include audio, video and much, much more. The potential is there for something great, but growing something from scratch takes time. I hope people on base will be patient and give it a chance."

Public affairs has a written policy with guidelines outlining what content will be approved for display on the channel, but Lieutenant Lagasse said he is welcome to input from members on base as to what they'd like to see on the channel.

The commander's access channel will be live Tuesday.

What to know:
Information displayed on the channel will be of interest to the general internal audience. In addition to mission-essential and emergency announcements, information about official programs and events, combat and special interest program events, services events, chapel events, college seminars and registration dates, and meeting times and dates for military and Services-sanctioned organizations may be aired on the commander's access channel. The channel will not be used for personal reasons, such as birthdays, retirement ceremonies, sales and concessionaire promotions or classified advertisements. Squadron commanders will designate a single agency or point of contact to submit items for the access channel. To have content considered for commander's access channel, contact 2nd Lt. Evan Lagasse at 222-0812 or evan.lagasse@robins.af.mil.