Channel could air city, school meetings
Lights, camera, Tonganoxie.
Starting next month, Sunflower Broadband's Channel 26 will be home to an informational channel covering Tonganoxie.
The channel is a joint effort between the city and the school district. Last year, when Sunflower Broadband renegotiated its franchise agreement with the city, former City Administrator Shane Krull requested that a local-access channel be part of the agreement, said assistant city administrator Kathy Bard.
Two school employees -- David Walker, Tonganoxie High School media instructor, and Carl Robison, who handles technology issues for the district, will run the channel. Walker's media students will help produce items for the local channel.
"Our game plan is to make it a very informative Tonganoxie-type channel," Walker said.
Possible programming includes listing school lunch menus and community events, along with daily school announcements.
In addition, Walker said it's possible the channel would show city council and school board meetings, along with athletic events. Coaches' shows for various sports also might be broadcast.
If meetings are broadcast on the channel, Walker said they would be on a 30-minute delay.
He said the channel would use that format in case something unexpected occurred, such as someone cursing during the meeting.
"We're kind of covering ourselves in case there would be an event," Walker said. "We don't want to, but if there are situations, we can dictate that."
If council meetings are broadcast, Mayor Dave Taylor said it would provide a good situation for the city.
"I don't have any problem with it," Taylor said. "I think it will be a benefit to have the meetings televised.
"Some people can't make it. It would be the future. That's the future of the city."
Equipment for the channel is funded, Walker said, through the school district, although more equipment could be purchased soon.
"We'll probably purchase more equipment in the near future to expand and give us more capabilities," Walker said.
In the past, the media class has produced highlight videos for sports teams as a way to raise money toward the class. Walker plans to continue that trend, and hopes to secure donations also.
Robison's office and Walker's classroom will serve as locations for equipment, with Walker's classroom being the studio. Eventually, after the school district builds an addition to the west side of the high school, the current auditorium will become the school's media room.
Walker's room contains equipment and lighting and will have a green wall, much like television studios have for news and sports shows. The green wall allows video or graphics to be shown behind an anchor person or reporter.
During the first few weeks of August, Walker said the channel likely will show last May's high school graduation and clips from THS sports teams' highlight videos.
Once the school year begins, local residents should see current programming appear on Channel 26.
"It's really exciting and just in ground stages," Walker said. "There's probably hundreds of different things we'll try and other things that will come into play as we go."
Sunflower Broadband is owned by the World Company, which also is the parent company of The Mirror newspaper.