The City Channel, Columbia's Government Access channel, belongs to a special group of broadcast channels known collectively as PEG channels. The PEG acronym stands for Public, Education and Government. Bandwidth for PEG channels is provided by the local cable franchise in exchange for use of public rights of way for private transmission lines. Each of the three PEG channels has its separate mission in service to the community, but community service is an essential core component that they all share in common.
Columbia's Public Access channel, Columbia Access Television, is commonly referred to by its acronym, CAT, or CAT-TV. Columbia Access gives anyone in the community an affordable way to access rich media resources, develop a "voice" and gain technical skills in audio and video production. Programming runs the gamut, from personal creative expression in short films and episodic series to live musical or theatrical performance to political talk shows and public forums. Columbia Access takes great pride in its role as a community resource and encourages every segment of the community to take advantage of what it has to offer.
The Education Access channel in Columbia, CPSTV, is managed by Columbia Public Schools as a function of the Columbia Public Schools Community Relations Department. They televise live School Board meetings and videotaped events, as well as video segments produced in the schools by students studying journalism and broadcast media.
The City Channel's mission is to inform the public of government activities. In addition to live broadcast of City Council and Planning and Zoning meetings, City Channel serves as a voice for City departments to communicate to the public information that they deem useful. Programming covers a wide range of topics, from listings of current job openings or parks and recreation programming to announcing public meetings, road closures; from highlighting economic development or cultural events to getting the word out about available financial assistance programs that help improve homes and neighborhoods.