County takes over city TV production

William R. Toler | Daily Journal Jimmy Quick, far left, Eddie Frye and Drew Boone sit behind the control panel during the Rockingham City Council’s June meeting. The crew from the Richmond County Information Technology Department is now producing the city’s meetings for broadcast.

ROCKINGHAM — There were a few — somewhat — new faces behind the control board at last week’s city council meeting.

Jimmy Quick, director of information technology for the county, was joined by Eddie Frye and Drew Boone recording the Rockingham City Council’s regular meeting.

Quick and company also handle the production the Richmond County Board of Commissioners meetings for broadcast on the county’s Public Education and Government channel and have been for about the past five years.

“The person hired to tape, edit and deliver monthly meetings to county for airing could no longer do it,” City Manager Monty Crump said in a recent email, “and we worked out a professional service arrangement for the county staff to tape, edit and air city meetings as they had experience as they do the county meetings.”

Crump said the city is paying the county the same rate as the previous private contractor: $500 per month.

“We were excited to partner with them and continue to try to get everyone moving forward in thinking about the PEG channel and PEG channel use,” Quick said Monday.

With the county and city governments meeting a week apart, Quick said the three to four hours per month spent producing the city meetings wouldn’t be a burden.

“We will fit it into the schedule in the course of things we are already doing,” he said.

In the off-chance that the boards would overlap, Quick said the videographers would split into two teams.

Working directly with the city, Quick said he and his crew will be making suggestions on changing camera angles and upgrading the city’s equipment to high-definition, to “help them improve the meeting quality for playback.”

He said he’s also offered to provide a link for the city’s website where residents can watch the meetings online.

Another benefit to the partnership, Quick said, will be a quicker turnaround in having the meeting ready to air.

“I have no knowledge of cost of or plans to upgrade to HD at this time,” said Crump. “But I am sure it will be something that we will address in the future, as city’s current recording equipment/technology is now 13 years old.”

The county recently revamped its entire system, including five new high-definition cameras, three 70-inch HD monitors hanging on the walls and a new interactive podium with a computer, document camera, Blu-Ray player and inputs for external devices — such as laptops or iPads — which can be controlled and switched from the podium.

The new upgrade to the PEG channel also allowed the county to air meetings live.

Quick told commissioners in March that the county would also be able to offer live broadcasting capabilities to the Rockingham and Hamlet city councils, and will be able to have a scrolling crawl at the bottom of the screen in case of emergencies.

However, he clarified Monday that while the county has the equipment to do so, the cities may not.

Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.