Put local government meetings on grassroots cable TV | SummitDaily.com

Put local government meetings on grassroots cable TV

The picture is still fuzzy, but it looks like progress is being made to give Summit County a public access TV channel with grassroots programming.

Questions remain on whether to contract the channel or to operate it with paid staff. One obvious contractor would be RSN-TV.

Before an agreement is fashioned, the public should understand the programming aspect.

In other communities, the grassroots TV channel airs town council and county commissioners meetings, often live, very often repeated at all hours of the day. At other times, people might see an important public meeting about a hot topic or a community’s Fourth of July parade.

We think Summit County deserves the public service seeing elected officials at work.

While meetings may not compete with the latest “Jackass” show or a “Skinemax” adult movie, they still help lay bare the goings-on of local government.

The Summit County Telecommunications Consortium (SCTC), the same multijurisdictional group of local government officials overseeing the Beanpole high-speed Internet access project, is administering the cable TV channel.

The SCTC is not red-hot on showing local government meetings.

“Nobody wants to talk about live broadcasts of council meetings,” Silverthorne town manager Kevin Batchelder recently remarked to the Mayors, Managers and Commissioners work group.

County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom said he likes the idea. So there’s one vote of confidence.

Some think TV coverage of meetings will prompt the actors to play to the cameras. We say, so what? Grandstanding and outbursts are already facts of life at meetings.

Dillon Mayor Barbara Davis said, “That’s not a reason not to do it.” The absence of cameras doesn’t stop the grandstanding. So there’s two votes of confidence.

We hope the momentum builds and the public business becomes viable programming. If it doesn’t, it becomes a good question just how 24 hours, seven days a week of air time will be filled.

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