TGOV for all?

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Reader K. A. Hruzer writes to note that TGOV, Cox Cable's local government access channel, has rather limited access:

I'm frustrated that I cannot see/listen to our City Council Meetings.

TGOV is a COX Cable proprietary offering, which is good. However, less than 1/3 of local residents subscribe to COX Cable. Besides omitting those disproportionally too poor to afford a cable subscription, newer technologies such as VOOM, DISH or DirecTV are on the increase. None of these people have access to our local government activities in this manner.

I'm sure the powers that be wish to minimize this form of coverage; at least keep to the minimum definition of any 'Open Records' requirements.

I expect more.

In fact, it is not expecting too much that minutes of Council meetings be posted on the City Council website and archived for research purposes. A full transcript taken from the video would be even better. For that matter, streaming video posted.

IAC, it irks me that I have to wait for the 'Whirled' to 'report' their version of events, then, try to decipher what really happened.

This morning, I had the thought that better live coverage of the Council meetings should be strived for. The COX thing is good, and should be commended. But, the access is too limited. I wondered if you might try to influence your friends at KFAQ to do a live audio feed on the meetings? I don't know a thing about markets, time slots, etc. with regard to radio. The 6:00-7:xx time slot might be an important one for their revenues. In that light, even a replay late that evening would be better than none. And, those of us wishing to use exact quotes would be satisfied.

Anything which makes us less dependent upon the 'Whirled' for our information is good. Sure, blogs are good, too. But, they often don't get updated for days and are also subject to perspectives and opinions. So, the horses mouth is always best.

K. A. makes a great point. TGOV is a major breakthrough for citizen awareness of city government, broadcasting meetings of the Council, Council committees, the Board of Adjustment, the planning commission, and the Airport Authority, as well as some special programming. At the same time, because it is only offered through the local cable system (as a condition of their franchise agreement with the City of Tulsa), satellite subscribers and rabbit-ears users don't have access.

I don't see KFAQ preempting Laura Ingraham to broadcast commercial-free Council meetings. Anyway, you miss a lot without the visuals to let you know who is speaking.

Streaming video over the Internet would be the way to go -- it would be accessible at public libraries and at home for broadband Internet subscribers. Citizens would be able to watch the latest meetings any time, rather than just during designated rebroadcasts. And it would be possible for bloggers and others to link to and comment on specific excerpts.

The technology is not cutting edge, but there would be some cost involved to set it up and to pay for the bandwidth and the server software. Video is already being converted to digital format -- you can buy DVDs of Council meetings.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 17, 2005 1:48 AM.

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