Saturday, November 14, 2009

No nude bowling

Sometimes it would be foolish to not to be sensationalistic.

Keizer 23 viewers shouldn't expect to see nude bowling on the city's public access cable channel anytime soon.

At their first meeting Monday, members of the Keizer 23 Task Force tabled discussion of whether to open the channel up to public submissions. Instead, the group elected to focus on beefing up the channel's governmental and education offerings.

A nude bowling program was mentioned repeatedly as an example of the type of programming members of the task force didn't want to see.

To clear the way for progress in the discussion, members agreed that public content on the channel was a topic for a later meeting. One member, however, promised to hold the task force to its word.

"When we had the first Channel 23 Task Force we deferred the decision to go public until sometime in the future. The future is here," said Cathy Clark, city councilor-elect. "We better start looking into expanding our horizons."

Currently, the channel's meager offerings include city council meetings, budget meetings, "Cop Talk" segments with interviews of police department officials and "Fire Talk" segments with officials of the fire district.

Other community events like the Iris Festival Parade and a recent skate park competition have also been broadcasted, but the dearth of content has led to city council meetings being aired 14 times every week.

"It's the same thing every day because that's all the content we have," said Stacey Robertson, Keizer 23 guru and production manager.

The station's budget is about $80,000 annually, but surpluses have been socked away to the tune of $30,000, which gives the channel some room for growth. The funds come from franchise tax revenues paid to the city by Comcast.

Task force members are charged with deciding the direction of growth.

Bill Quinn, citizen-at-large on the task force, suggested airing the Keizer Fire Board's monthly meeting. Previously, members of the Fire Board voted to pursue the televised meetings, but the $250 cost for each meeting kept them from jumping at the opportunity.

Mayor Lore Christopher suggested the city might be willing to cover the $3,000 annual cost of the taping with some of the excess in the channel's budget, but that making it happen would require further talks with city and fire district officials.

"There's interest, but whose going to pay for it?" asked Greg Frank, Keizer fire chief and a task force member.

Clark said there may be other organizations interested in having their public affairs meetings broadcasted, such as Marion County Fire District No. 1, which covers the area of Keizer north of Parkmeadow Drive.

Rob Kissler, director of the city's public works department, said he would like to produce a quarterly segment informing residents of the progress on construction projects underway and notifying area residents of construction on the horizon.

Construction of the city's new civic center would be better addressed as an independent project than as part of the public works overview, Kissler said.

The task force plans on reviewing the definitions for allowable content on the public access television station at its next meeting Tuesday, Jan. 2.

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