Plans to merge KVZK and ASTCA
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A “Transition Plan” is being developed for the proposed merging of KVZK-TV — the Office of Public Information — with the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority (ASTCA), according to ASTCA board chairman Iulogologo Joseph Pereira.
Reports of KVZK-TV coming under the auspices of ASTCA first surfaced more than a year ago, after the appointment of the late Pulele’iite Tufele Liamatua as ASTCA CEO. Late last year, after the Hawaiki fiber optic cable became fully operational in the territory, through ASTCA, reports surfaced again that plans for the merger of the two ASG entities will move forward — where KVZK-TV will become a part of ASTCA.
Responding to Samoa News inquiries, Iulogologo — who is also the Governor’s Executive Assistant — confirmed the planned merger.
“With ASTCA's current schedule, we envision that the merger will happen next year,” said Iulogologo over the weekend when asked when the Lolo Administration plans to merge the two entities.
Asked where the merger stands at this point, Iulogologo explained that ASTCA CEO Lewis J. Wolman and KVZK director, Tuimavave Tauapai Laupola “are working on the development of a Transition Plan, [which] will detail the transition process and appropriate timelines.”
The transition plan “will guide ASTCA Board decisions after consultation with the Governor's Office.”
As to why the government is merging the two agencies and the benefits of such a move for the public, Iulogologo responded, “Cost savings through government size reduction. Moreover, ASTCA will be offering cable television so it makes sense to bundle these two services.”
While KVZV-TV (Office of Public Information) is an agency of the Executive Branch, ASTCA is a semi-autonomous ASG agency, governed by a board, appointed by the governor, but not subject to Fono confirmation, because ASTCA is still operating under an Executive Order which created ASTCA several years ago.
When Samoa News asked how much control the ASTCA board will have over the contents aired on KVZK once the merger is completed, Iulogologo responded, “The existing policies governing the content of the materials being aired will be maintained along with continued compliance with prevailing US Federal Communications Commission rules and regulations. The ASTCA Board will articulate the policies and management will shoulder the responsibility to comply with these policies.”
ASTCA’s cable television referred to by Iulogologo is the IPTV which ASTCA said in its 2nd quarter FY 2019 performance report is expected to be launched in the 4th quarter of FY 2019. (See Samoa News July 8th edition for details).
IPTV is delivered through internet protocol (IP) technology and ASTCA has been working on this development for more than two years.
Samoa News notes that KVZK-TV during the Manu’a Cession Day last month broadcasted the event live for the first time, with the help of ASTCA, which also assisted with live-streaming online. It also worked with ASTCA for broadcast from Samoa of last month’s Pacific Games.
KVZK-TV is the first and longest running television station in the Pacific, outside of Australia and New Zealand. The station started as an instructional television initiative in American Samoa — it was the first in the region that attempted to modernize an educational system.