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Colonie has joined the ranks of area municipalities that have turned to cable television to promote better access to town government.

After months of preparation public access Channel 17 aired at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, out of the second floor studio of the William K. Sanford Town Library. It bumped the NASA channel.

The first segment was The Money Factor, an interview of Rocco Ferraro, executive director of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, by library Assistant Director Richard Naylor.

The public access channel will air taped interviews and informative segments begin-ning at 8 a.m. and lasting as late as 11 p.m., depending on scheduling. The goal is to eventually broadcast taped town meetings. All day, seven days a week, the channel will air a bulletin board of town events and meeting schedules.

"It's going to be a great way to get our message out there. All these exciting programs are the tip of the iceberg. There is no end to what we can do with this," said Colonie Supervisor Mary Brizzell.

For months, the library staff has been training with the equipment to learn the ropes of television production.

As part of the agreement between the town and Time Warner Cable, the library studio has been outfitted with $175,000 in camera and post-production equipment. To recoup its investment, Time Warner has spread the cost among approximately 28,000 Colonie subscribers. The channel will cost cable subscribers an additional 31 cents a month over the course of two years.

Colonie officials said they plan to take programming above and beyond what other municipalities have done in the past.

Brizzell said she does see some issues with taping town meetings, but has watched other towns' taped meetings and would like to improve upon the format. For now, the town will work on getting the channel up and running, Brizzell said.

To better the programming the town plans to work with its municipal agencies, such as police and emergency medical services to develop educational and informative material, said Brizzell. The audience will also guide some of the content in the long run.

"Hopefully we will have enough program variety," said library Director Robert Jaquay.

The Channel 17 production staff has already taped 16 segments, including book reviews with local authors, money management segments, and segments to give residents a better look at the town's schools and youth services.""

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