After receiving the new schedule for Channel 74, I was able to catch the City Council meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Here is Police Director/Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig
explaining a police reorganization plan to the council. The audio suffered greatly from a noisy air conditioner in City Hall library and so not much could be heard. This was the June 10 agenda-fixing session.
On Wednesday, I told someone the council meeting was scheduled for 8 p.m., but it turned out another show was on.
I had hoped to see the June 30 school board meeting again, but on Saturday the screen froze into this interesting mosaic for a while and I went on to other things.
These are more or less trial runs for school and council meetings. Since June 30, there was a July 8 school board work-and-study session and a July 15 business meeting that I don't think were recorded. The City Council met on July 14 and 21, again with no recording that I know of.
Last week I ran into Parris Z. Moore, the consultant who is producing shows for Channel 74. He mentioned the time it takes to edit shows, but I said I thought the governmental shows were "gavel-to-gavel" and didn't have to be edited. It turns out he was talking about the hours needed to edit the new shows (Hello Plainfield and Plainfield at Work, for example) and there was only one person doing the editing.
Meanwhile, interest is building on getting the promised educational channel up and running. But there are many, many questions about how that could be accomplished. The Cable Television Advisory Board, which oversees Channel 74, has been meeting on fourth Thursdays, but two board members who tried to attend last Thursday found there was no meeting.
According to a Board of Public Utilities schedule, a report on the ascertainment process is due next month. This report is part of the franchise renewal schedule. The ascertainment phase begins three years before renewal and so should have begun in August 2006. It is supposed to include getting feedback from cable subscribers on how well Comcast is providing service. The franchise is up in 2009, although Comcast officials say they have the right to an automatic renewal.
A new issue - Verizon's FIOS availability - may soon also be on the table.
Considering that about 70 percent of city households have cable subscriptions, the local origination channel(s) could be a valuable communications tool. What would it take to make it happen? Any comments?