Cable television first came to this area in 1981 when Rogers Cablevision contracted with Orange County to provide service to Rossmoor on Channel 37. Rossmoor residents could use the public access facility at Rogers’ Garden Grove facility.
In 1982 Los Al TV also contracted with Rogers Cablevision, and gained their own channel — 39. But, as a city they insisted on their own public access facility. After failing to make a deal to rent space at the high school, they set up shop in a spare area at the Metrovonics electronics warehouse on Catalina Street. By 1985 Rossmoor residents had shown a preference for using the closer, more convenient Los Alamitos access facility on Catalina Street, and the Los Alamitos channel was happy to air the additional local programming. A change in cable companies, and to a larger system, allowed Rossmoor to have Channel 3 as their station. By the end of the decade, the Rossmoor and Los Al officially combined their public access operations and Rossmoor surrendered Channel 3 for use by the Los Alamitos station. It has operated as such ever since.
Despite their early issues, the station quickly forged a strong relationship with Los Alamitos High School, especially with the beginning of the Orange County High School of the Arts (OCHSA) in 1987. Channel operations were moved to the former auto shop classrooms on campus. The station equipment was eagerly used by OCHSA students for training and OCHSA productions provided great content for the channel. This relationship lasted until the academy left to become its own high school in Fall 2000. About the same time, school officials, in reaction to unfortunate events across the station, made it a policy to limit school facilities to just school operations, so Los Al TV relocated to far more costly facilities across the street.
In the late 1990’s the station Board of Directors changed the name to LATV — a name which caused a little confusion — not only because of the bigger LA to our north, but also because there already was an LATV (a Spanish-language station in Montebello).
The growth of online digital equipment and media platforms (especially YouTube) changed the whole dynamics of public access television. People could present their opinions and views far more easily and to far greater numbers than a community TV station. But a community station could still present many things not available elsewhere,
Los Al TV has had to adapt — from government meetings to high school sports and concerts — but its goal is still to provide the community with programming of local interest that is not available elsewhere.