Na Leo Forks Over $75,000 for Council Meetings to be Broadcast… $140,000 and Still Not Much Public Access

You better bet Na Leo ‘O Hawaii should be coming up with money every year to pitch in to our council meetings.

Na Leo ‘O Hawaii has come up with $75,000 so the Hawaii County Council can continue to air its meetings on public access cable TV channel 52 in Hilo and Kona.

For them to even think about not giving up money would be totally against everything that community programming is for.

…Goodenow said the county’s contract with Out of the Sea Media Arts, a private video production company, totaled $131,000 for each of the past two fiscal years. He said $140,000 had been earmarked for videos of this year’s meetings.

Out of the Sea, which is owned by Jeff and Wendy Haun, records each meeting and hands Na Leo a ready-to-air DVD. The contract is renewable on a yearly basis.

“That seventy-five grand represents over half the cost of what it takes us to produce these programs,” Goodenow said. “Actually, (Hilo Councilman) Donald Ikeda said, ‘Hey, I think Maui and Oahu get some kind of funding. So I wrote a letter to Na Leo, saying that given budget cuts, we were considering reducing the number of meetings we record.”

Na Leo Board Chairman Gerald Takase, who is also a county deputy corporation counsel, said he “pretty much stayed out of the process…”

I think Big Island Video News and I could probably do a much better job and put these meetings not only LIVE On the Internet as the meetings are happening…. but also archive them for viewing later.

Anyone can videotape these meetings and then put them to DVD. With the software that is readily available people can do this in not much time at all.

I’m not trying to knock the company that is doing this… but the process and the way the county is doing this is all messed up.

That $140,000 should be spent on 3 County Employees that are hired to video document everything that happens and put it all online.

The technology is there and could be done. Why not create 3 county positions and have this done the right way where more public access could be had by all for are tax dollars.

$140,000 to watch these shows that are aired how many times? I’d like to know the actual “Viewership” numbers of the people watching them.

That could be figured out easily if they were online… well at least how many times the online copy was viewed.

…The state, which regulates cable television, charges a franchise fee, essentially a tax, to each cable subscriber, which is used in part to finance public access television, which operates channels 52-56 on the Big Island…

This is actually considered “PEG” Funding. Public-Education-Government Funding.

I don’t know what part of the “G” Na Leo doesn’t get?

Funding for PEG is managed through the government issuing the franchise agreement. This same government receives franchise fees that ultimately come from the local cable subscribers. PEG television probably experiences interruptions in contract negotiations by the local governments, late payment of contracted operating monies, or obstructive or restricting behavior from the government issuing the franchise agreement…
…PEG television stations are often poorly managed and give rise to numerous complaints. Complaints range from the poor scheduling and playback, programming playing late or not at all, or signal strength being so weak that the program becomes unviewable. Complaints may reflect viewers’ general disagreement with other people’s viewpoints that result from running programming created by other member’s of the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. Complaints may also reflect discrimination in the resources a PEG organization applies to one type of programming vs. another…

I haven’t watched any of the council meetings on TV this year, but I remember when I was a Production Assistant for the Hawaii State Legislature, we were just running one camera via remote for most of the legislative meetings. When the larger chamber meetings went on, that’s when we would switch to a multi-cam gig. I can’t see the necessity of having a multi-cam gig on a single council meeting.

I like what Dave Corrigan of Big Island Video News said about the lack of live streaming in a question I posed to him:

“…If you think about it, they are already live streaming (locations from Waimea, Kona and Hilo) so its just a matter of making that feed available to the public over the internet…”