Broadcast fee proposal returns in Rotterdam

Town Board to decide on annual $5k agreement with public access provider

— A proposal to sign on with Open Stage Media has gained new life in the Town of Rotterdam after it was put on hold during a previous administration.

The Rotterdam Town Board on Wednesday, May 9, heard a presentation by Proctors CEO Philip Morris requesting the town join Open Stage Media and pay an annual fee of $5,000 toward services provided by the public access television group. Morris approached the previous administration, but discussions never led to the board voting on a resolution for the agreement.

“We wanted to change the way this works so that the towns participate and the city is not the only player,” Morris said.

Supervisor Harry Buffardi said Morris had approached him after he was elected. Buffardi said he wanted Morris to present the plan to fellow board members before any decisions were made. The board is set to vote on a resolution to authorize the agreement during its next board meeting on Wednesday, May 23.

“I am in favor of reaching out to the public to keep them in contact with town government,” Buffardi said. “I personally am in favor of it and will put it on the agenda, but I personally have not spoken to (fellow board members).”

Buffardi said he knows there are residents not attending meetings who will watch it broadcasted on Open Stage Media. He said it is important to keep residents engaged with government.

Buffardi also thought the $5,000 annual contribution was “fair” for the service. He said if the town wanted take a more involved role in the production and post videos online it would cost around a similar amount. Open Stage Media operates a “video on demand” service online allowing residents to view archived footage of meetings that air on its channel.

When Open Stage Media took over SACTV it gained control of public access television in Schenectady County. When the switch was made, all three public access channels began to be used. Now, channel 16 is for public access programming, channel 17 is used for government programming and channel 18 is used for educational programming.

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