Town Takes Over Channel 4



So now, with its takeover of Channel 4, the town of Payson is going into the TV business.

You know Channel 4 -- the government access station that is the only still-life television channel in America. Besides telecasting town council meetings and a couple of talk shows, all Channel 4 shows is slides of homes for sale.

Channel 4 is even more boring than the slide show before a movie at Sawmill Crossing. Even more boring than the proclamations portion of a town council meeting.

Anyway, Deputy Town Manager/Chief Fiscal Officer Glenn Smith recently prepared a background paper on the subject for the town council in which he wrote:

"Currently, the town of Payson is broadcasting live meetings using one camera from the middle of the council chambers. One angle from this camera shows the back of the guests that are addressing the council. The motion from moving the camera from point to point can be very distracting. It is almost impossible to keep up with a conversation with one camera. From the viewer's perspective, this is very annoying and gives an impression that what is happening is unimportant."

Gee Glenn, you don't think viewers might be getting the impression that what is happening is unimportant because a lot of it is?

The proclamations section of the meeting, for example. I mean it's fine that March 6-12 is Girl Scout Week, but do we need to pack every Girl Scout this side of Tonto Basin onto the floor of the council chamber like a bunch of pony-tailed sardines?

And any invocation more than 30 seconds -- Is God more likely to "bless the important proceedings being conducted this evening" any more because some verbose preacher asks him six times during a five-minute invocation, or would just once do the job? Being God and all, I'll bet he gets it the first time.

And a list of the upcoming sporting events at the high school from Councilor Tim Fruth.

And a plug for the Literacy Cook Book (which you just know has to include a recipe for alphabet soup) from Councilor Dick Reese.

I don't know about you, but I'm not so sure it's the limited number of cameras that make council meetings real snoozers.

Anyway, we have come here not to bury the town's new venture, but to praise it. And, of course, to offer our input.

Now that the town will be running Channel 4, it will need to put some programming on in place of those slides. Here are our suggestions for its new fall lineup:

"Sing Along With Fred"

That irrepressible town manager/DJ takes to the airwaves with a "follow the bouncing ball sing-along." All together now, "You are my reservoir, my only reservoir..."

"Renegade Mayor"

In this slapstick cop sitcom, Payson's own Keystone Kops chase a badge-flashing mayor from bar to bar.

"Rim Country Horror Hour"

Each week a different citizen gets stuck on the roundabout and can't get off. Theme song: "MTA" by the Kingston Trio.

"Small Town Council"

In this irrepressible sitcom, an "imaginary" town council listens to proclamations, gives each other birthday cards, and professes their love for dogs while secretly plotting to steal water from their neighbors.

"Name That Grant"

Beth Beck hosts a rotating panel of town department heads who vie to apply for the largest grant.

"The Amazing Race"

Teams of two race down Tyler Parkway, only in this race the slowest team wins.


A helicopter crashes in Payson, and the passengers -- a group of Salt River Project executives -- wander around in a daze looking for golf courses.


"Chosen" representatives of the Rim country's 66 (count ‘em) churches arm rassle in a showdown for the title of "Holier Than Thou."

"Demolition Derby"

Just set a remote camera up at the roundabout, grab a cold one, and settle in for an evening of live mayhem.

"CSI Payson"

Payson's finest doing what they do best -- pulling over drivers as they enter the town on Highway 260 following an evening at Pete's Place. Are they inebriated or just mesmerized?


Backstabbing is the order of the day as tribes from Payson and Star Valley square off over water. Live from Mayfield Canyon, this show is hosted by that madcap head ranger of the Payson Ranger District -- Ed Armenta.

"The Contender"

We've joked about mud wrestling before, but this time we're serious. In this corner, ladies and gentlemen, the honorable mayor of the fair town of Payson ...

"Desperate Residents"

As Buzz Walker ratchets up the nation's toughest water conservation ordinance, parched townspeople try to get used to drinking only on even days after sundown.

"The OC"

Residents of Chaparral Pines feverishly set about building the world's strongest gate to keep the rabble at bay.

"Third Watch"

Live from Rumsey Park, local fire departments take turns letting a brush fire get away from them and threaten an entire subdivision.


They don't wear capes. They don't leap tall buildings. But live from Payson Regional Medical Center, they do repeat really bad radio commercials ad infinitum.

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