By Kathleen Sloan
John Kaufman, president of Sierra Community Council, gave a brief presentation to the Truth or Consequences City Commission at the regular Tuesday, April 24 meeting.
SCC is the not-for-profit organization hired by the city to oversee the Public Access channel, available through Baja Broadband. Channel Nine is the local station. SCC has named it TV for TorC.
Kaufman said the contract between the city and SCC is up in August. He said 800 residents with Baja cable are able to view the channel, but they would like to expand the viewing audience.
A $250 a month fee to a service provider and a one-time $10,000 fee for “streaming technology equipment” would set them up, said Kaufman. Those interested could go to a website and access videos on demand. Kaufman said the SCC was thinking of offering city meetings, the Fiesta parade and similar local happenings. People wouldn’t have to view them on a pre-determined schedule, he said, which is the case with Baja cable.
Kaufman said the city gets $16,000 per year from Baja in user fees. He said SCC “spent about half that ($8,000) the first year.” He estimates about $30,000 is in a city account. This is the money SCC would like to use to provide on-demand videos and to pay the monthly fee to a provider.
Kaufman said the city has never provided SCC with an accounting of access fees from Baja.
TV for TorC currently is located in the basement of the Truth or Consequences Civic Center. Kaufman said it has “poor lighting and poor acoustics.” The organization would like other digs “so citizens could come in to do interviews, panels, whatever,” he said.
Mayor John Mulcahy said streaming video “is what we need to get people in touch and involved, and I think it’s terrific. Hunt for a studio. You need to come out of the dungeon.”
No action was taken by the city commission, but Mulcahy and Commissioner Steve Green asked Kaufman to come back with new studio space proposals and formal pricing for expanded services. They also asked new Finance Director Linda Lanham to find the $30,000.