BY JENNIFER SOLIS
---- — NEWBURY – It just got a little easier for Newbury residents to stay informed about their local government. Thanks to a year and half long effort by the Media Committee, the town’s first cable access TV channel began broadcasting this month. The Newbury Channel – or TNC-TV channel 9 – will initially cover all Board of Selectmen’s meetings live and then rebroadcast them periodically during the weeks afterward.
“For now, our channel Director, Caleb Noble, is videoing the meetings, scheduling the broadcasts, and downloading other programming available to local community cable operations,” said Media Committee chair Paul Daubitz.
As more residents volunteer to help with the broadcasts other municipal departments and boards can also be covered. Motivated volunteers will be trained to operate state-of-the-art broadcast equipment, how to run the video cameras, and how to select the shots to be broadcast.
“Eventually we hope that this resource will grow to provide more locally produced TV programs available both on TV and over the Internet,” said Daubitz. The cameras, microphones, and other broadcast equipment, were purchased through franchising fees funded through the town’s agreement with Comcast.
Formed with leadership from Selectman David Mountain in the fall of 2011, the 5-member volunteer Media Committee spent its early months contacting local vendors of TV broadcast equipment; talking with community TV directors in Salisbury, Rowley and Newburyport; and drafting a set of prioritized goals.
By last summer, they had identified a vendor on the Massachusetts State Bidders List, which streamlined the purchasing process and guaranteed best pricing. Last November the equipment was delivered and the system was wired up, tested and debugged. The volunteers then trained on the new gear, and prepared for round-the-clock broadcasting.
“The final step was for Comcast to connect to our station which happened on April 16,” said Daubitz.
TNC-TV provides Newbury cable subscribers with government and public access programming. Municipal meetings in Town Hall are broadcast live, re-broadcast over the next few weeks, and archived at The Newbury Channel on YouTube for on-demand viewing.
When committee meetings or other public interest content is not playing, town information and public announcements are displayed. In addition to selectmen’s meetings other current programs include shows on healthy living through organically grown local food, aging gracefully, cooking with comedy, fishing with Dan Kenney; “A Veterans Story” by Joseph Shutt, and a recent Coast Hazard Mitigation meeting.
A link to the cable access program schedule is located on the Media Committee page of the town website www.townofnewbury.org . The Media Committee is working with the Triton Regional School to make their programming available on channel 8.
Anyone interested learning more about the cable access program or in volunteering should email Caleb Noble at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave their contact information at Town Hall. Interested resident are also invited to attend the next Media Committee meeting on May 22, 2013 7 p.m. at Newbury Town Hall.