Conway official asks Freedom selectmen to participate in PEG channel
October 01, 2009
FREEDOM — A Conway Selectman asked the Freedom Selectmen if they would be interested in sharing a Public Education Government television channel with Conway and other regional towns during Monday night's selectmen's meeting.
Conway selectman Mike DiGregorio said Conway residents can watch government meetings, Kennett High School activities, and other local programs of interest, on Channel Three, which is run by an outside contractor called Valley Vision. Channel Three is funded through a franchise fees on cable subscribers not by taxpayer dollars. Valley Vision covers the town of Conway, Albany, and Fryeburg, Maine, according to valleyvision.com.
Currently, Freedom and Tamworth do not get channel three programming but that could be changed, said DiGregorio.
"I talked to Time Warner (the cable provider) already and they can easily fix that problem," said DiGregorio. "I've had a lot of conversations with people who live down here and it seems like there is a lot of interest in what happens at the high school."
A video production class at the high school makes a 10 minute programs that air announcements daily. In the future, DiGregorio said he would like to have those show aired live on Channel Three. The cost of the program is being paid for out of a capital reserve fund, said DiGregorio.
There will be a meeting to discuss broadening participation from more towns on Monday, Nov. 2 at Kennett High School starting at 6 p.m. Freedom selectmen said they would try to send one representative.
Officials in Eaton and Albany are already putting money into Channel Three and Madison officials are interested too, said DiGregorio.
"Each town has the right to pick its own channel but we would rather do it together," said DiGregorio. "I'm a believer that we all come from one community."
It may take some time for officials to get used to being filmed, said DiGregorio who says he likes it.
"Everybody can get first hand information," he said.
Towns can participate in several ways. Officials can tape their own meetings or events or they can have Valley Vision do all the work, said DiGregorio. Freedom selectmen wondered if Valley Vision gets stuck with outdated equipment from Time Warner. But DiGregorio said the town of Conway's cable contract doesn't allow Time Warner to dispose of its junk through Valley Vision.
"We don't play those games," said DiGregorio.
Freedom Chairman Les Babb said Freedom had considered joining Channel Three a few years ago when Adelphia was providing cable service, but found that it would be too expensive.