Portable Channel was a Rochester, NY non-profit (1971–1987) founded by documentary filmmaker and activist Bonnie Sherr Klein. Portable Channel supported community access to video equipment, provided training, and produced programs with an emphasis on community activism and documentary work.

Portable Channel’s mission was to develop television into a medium for social dialog and artistic expression, with production by, not simply for, the people in a community.

  • The Portable Channel tape collection consists of 910 videotapes in various formats; the majority of the material is ½ inch open reel with some ¾ inch and a few examples of 1 inch and quad. About half of the videotapes in the collection were produced for HOMEMADE TV that ran from 1972 to 1975 on WXXI-TV in Rochester, NY. The programs varied in format and content but were united by the goal of expanding television by encouraging community involvement in TV production. All programs are ©Visual Studies Workshop. For more information please contact taranelson@vsw.org.

    Visual Studies Workshop is currently raising funds to continue to transfer this important collection of community television to digital.

    To date VSW has received five preservation assistance grants from the Bay Area Video Coalition that have allowed us to transfer over 100 tapes.

  • Video Preservation at VSW