CITY WIDE — Santa Monica’s government access channel will wrap up its live programming season on May 29 with school district Superintendent Sandra Lyon taking resident calls.
CityTV has hosted two live call-in shows in the past month; one focused on traffic issues and the second feature police chief Jacqueline Seabrooks. Residents will be able to call, text or e-mail the channel to interact with Lyon during her segment.
Robin Gee, Cable TV and Public Information Manager said the city used to produce live shows about 20 years ago using a cable channel’s studio. She said production of live shows dropped off due to a lack of access but when CityTV moved into a new studio last year, she said she had the opportunity to bring back live shows.
“It’s a great idea to bring in people who are in charge of important institutions in our community and allow our community to interact with them, bring their questions, concerns, issues or things that might be on their mind,” she said.
Gee said producing live television is far more complicated than a taped show and incorporating live phone calls is even more time consuming. The channel is only able to produce the live shows when it can rely on support from students at Santa Monica College, hence the “seasons” tied to the spring and fall semesters.
She said she hoped to expand the live shows beyond the call-in format. “I’m hoping to have an election related live program as well so that will be something that is pretty exciting,”
She said producers are also experimenting with text polling to make the shows more interactive. “We’re trying to engage the community in the programs,” she said.
Sam Morrissey was one of the first guests in the current season. He said the show provided a great way to reach a large audience. “I really appreciated it because parking and traffic are such huge issues, if you live or work here,” he said. “People are always asking about it and I think it’s important for us to be able to talk to people about it.”
Morrissey said he fielded about seven questions over the course of the hour, many of which addressed some of the most common resident concerns. “They were good general questions that I think were on a lot of people’s minds and they were from actual callers,” he said. “We were concerned if people would call in but we did get good calls.”
The shows are streamed live at the time they air and also recorded for future broadcast. Gee and Morrissey said the focus on multiple distribution methods helped bring the information to more residents.
“It’s good to have multiple venues to let people ask you questions and ask you why the city does certain things,” said Morrissey.
CityTV is the government access channel for the City of Santa Monica. Seen on cable channel 16, on-line and on mobile devices, the channel is a 12-time Emmy Award winner and airs live public meeting coverage, local news and other programming over four cable channels. The final call-in show will be on Thursday, May 29 from 7 – 8 p.m. Visit smgov.net/departments/citytv for more information.