The City of Great Bend will dabble in broadcast television, the City Council decided Monday night. For a six-month trial period, the council’s regular meetings will be shown on the city’s public-access cable Channel 20.
At the Dec. 4 meeting, Councilman Brock McPherson made a motion that: The meetings of the governing body be broadcast live on Facebook; that by Wednesday following the meeting, a recording of the meeting be placed on the on the city’s Cox Cable channel for broadcast at least twice a day for at least one week; and that the council agenda be placed on the channel not later than Friday of each week prior to the next meeting. Councilman Dana Dawson seconded the motion.
However, the discussion was tabled until Community Coordinator Christina Hayes could report on the extent of the process to make this happen. The measure approved Monday excluded the posting of the agenda on the TV.
“We are currently streaming live to Facebook,” Hayes said. As for television broadcasts, “there are a couple pros and cons. Ultimately, it is up to you,” Hayes told the council Monday.”
On the plus side, “it will keep the citizens informed,” she said. Cox has 3,295 subscribers in the 67530 zip code that would be reached.
“It is easy to do and it is free,” Hayes said. However, it would take one to four hours for her to upload a meeting to Cox, depending on the length of the meeting.
On the downside, the channel would not reach residents without cable or who those who subscribe to a different service, she said.
In addition, Channel 20 is home channel in most Great Bend motel rooms. It is an informational channel about the city, but Hayes questioned airing the city’s sometimes dirty laundry (such as abatements) in such a setting.
Councilwoman Jolene Biggs agreed. “You want to put Great Bend in a great light,” she said.
For McPherson, reaching these cable subscribers is important. “I have a lot of people telling me they don’t have Facebook,” and can’t view the meetings now.
“What we’re doing needs to get out,” he said.
As for showing the meetings on the city’s website, Hayes said they are in the process of revamping the city’s internet presence. But, Hayes said the city isn’t going to be getting the extra storage required to handle video.
When it came time to vote, the first vote was on the tabled motion McPherson made on Dec. 4. That failed 5-2 with the only “yes” votes coming from McPherson and Councilman Dana Dawson.
“No” votes came from Allene Owen, Joel Jackson, Jolene Biggs and Vicki Berryman.
This included putting the agenda on the TV channel. Hayes said doing this would take another one to four hours and, once done, it was difficult to read on the screen.
Besides, the agendas are all available on the city’s website.
It was Dawson who moved for the six-month trial period for the broadcasts without the agendas. This passed 6-1 with the sole no vote cast by McPherson.