On air in Minneapolis and St. Paul: TV shows produced by the homeless

Director Ron Kenebrew and host Ted Dennis discuss a camera shot.
MinnPost photo by Steve Date
Director Ron Kenebrew, left, and host Ted Dennis discuss a camera shot.

Pastor Luis Alvarenga of First Lutheran Church in St. Paul uses television as part of his ministry. But he is more social activist than TV evangelist. 

Alvarenga formed the Multimedia Collaborative www.mmcstudio209.com shortly after arriving in Minnesota two years ago with the goal of inviting people from the community, especially the homeless, to produce programs on MTN (Minneapolis) and SPNN (St. Paul) cable-access stations.

Alvarenga developed his TV and radio skills in his native El Salvador covering sports and later as a news reporter. When he came to the United States, he began producing shows in Los Angeles for and about Salvadoran immigrants.

First Lutheran pays for SPNN membership and classes for the Multimedia Collaborative crew and on-air talent, which is almost entirely composed of people who are homeless or have been homeless. Alvarenga recruits trainees through his church and from homeless shelters. 

Alvarenga said he hopes to help them develop skills that can result in employment in media or other fields.  About 30 people have been trained over the past two years, some getting jobs and others doing freelance work or moving on to other pursuits. 

The Multimedia Collaborative produces three shows. “Voices for Change Forum,” www.voiceschange.wordpress.com hosted by Ted Dennis, focuses on issues of homelessness. Alvarenga is the moderator of “Voices,” featuring immigrants and discussions of immigration reform, and “Voces,” the Spanish version of the show.  (“Voices” airs Fridays on SPNN at 9 p.m.; show times vary on MTN.)

I spent an evening with them recently as they recorded a “Voices” show featuring two local homeless musicians, Tony Criss and Dennis Peoples.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Reva Rasmussen on 08/25/2009 - 12:05 pm.

    This is an amazingly helpful and creative form of ministry. Yay for this pastor and his congregation! Would love to read more about it in further articles.

  2. Submitted by Mike Hazard on 08/28/2009 - 08:20 pm.

    This homeful piece makes me proud of my hometown. Thanks for the good media on this good mission.

  3. Submitted by Michael Spence on 09/02/2009 - 03:34 pm.

    Any person wanting more information about the Multi-Media Collaborative should be incouraged to check out the website http://www.mmcstudio209.com, or Contact Pastor Luis Alvarenga @ luis@mmcstudio209.com, or call 651-776 7210 ext 304.

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