When you tune into TV Channel 4 Saturday, Oct. 1, you will notice that the programming is different. That's because at 12:01 a.m. the town of Payson takes over the broadcast operations of TV4.
Rich Edgar and Steve DeHaan, the town's information service technologists, have spent the last three months putting together a new broadcast system funded in part by a 1 percent increase in cable franchise fees, passed by the council in May 2004.
"This fund generates about $24,000 per year, which is pretty close to the new operational cost of the system," said Payson town manager Fred Carpenter.
Capital costs for the equipment -- microphones in the council chambers, four cameras, and a television -- was $71,000. Carpenter said that $48,000 of that amount came from the first two years of the 1 percent levy. A $5,000 grant from the cable company provided additional funding and $18,000 came out of the town's general fund.
TV4 is a government access channel. As such, it is supposed to have programming related to government and nonprofit organizations. Commercial advertising is prohibited under Federal Communications Commission rules.
"We will continue to broadcast the council and planning and zoning commission meetings," Carpenter said. "We will also have our TV programs like ‘TOP Talk,' ‘Inside Payson' and ‘Burning Issues.' Regular programming will run announcements that are all related to government programs, from animal control to zoning and nonprofits. We will also scroll announcements across the bottom of the screen to provide emergency information, weather forecasts and the like."
Additionally, TV4 will be linked to the town's website, where an online video stream will play whatever is broadcasting on Channel 4.
Not only will the new programming comply with FCC rules, but also the quality will be improved. The new system features four cameras in the council chambers that are remotely operated. The cameras will be able to focus directly on a speaker.
"Either myself, or someone trained to operate the equipment, will sit in here and move the cameras as different council members speak," DeHaan said.
Carpenter said programming may be expanded to include other government functions, such as school board meetings, but nothing concrete has been set.
The town invites nonprofit organizations to post announcements about coming events on the TV4 calendar.
"We have developed a set of guidelines for use by organizations," Carpenter said. Those guidelines are available by calling the town at 474-5242, ext. 211.
Carpenter said it will take a while to develop a programming guide, but in the meantime, the regular shows will air at their usual times and will be replayed several times throughout the week.
Current TV4 programming--minus the town meetings--will move to Channel 62.