Thursday, October 1, 2009

Government channel adminstrator asks Fayetteville City Council to fund purchase of automated video equipment for council chamber

City seeks updated equipment for televised meetings
By Northwest Arkansas Times
Thursday, October 1, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE — The way Fayetteville City Council meetings are televised may be about to change.

The Fayetteville City Council at its next meeting will consider spending $23,183 on new television broadcast equipment, including three remotecontrol wall-mount cameras that will eliminate the need to have two employee-operated cameras on the floor of the council chambers.

City officials estimate the equipment, which will replace electronic devices 10 to 20 years old, will reduce the manpower needed to televise City Council and other meetings from Room 219 of City Hall from three employees to one.

Fritz Gisler, manager of the local GovernmentChannel, said the change will free up two employees to devote their time to work on other meeting coverage or Government Channel productions. One employee will be able to control cameras and switch among them from the control room above the council chambers.

Government Channel coverage is shown on Cox Communications Channel 16 in Fayetteville. Meetings shown live or recorded from the council chambers include the Fayetteville Planning Commission, the Fayetteville Housing Authority and the telecommunications board. The room is also used to produce internal informational sessions for employees, such as meetings about employee benefits.

Gisler said viewers of live meetings may see an improvement in images because the new purchases will replace older, less advanced equipment. The production values won’t change much, although the purchase will add a fourth camera to the room pointing directly at speakers at the podium rather than the profile angle used in the past, he said.

Evaluation of the broadcast system was sparked by the discovery during routine maintenance that the video switcher at the heart of the operation was failing. The switcher is at least 20 years old, and replacement parts cannot be found, according to Gisler.

The new system comes from Electronic Video Systems of Springfield, Mo., which was the lowest of three bidders.

News, Pages 3 on 10/01/2009

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