Local governments turning to streaming for meetings

From The Blade The latest Waterville city council meeting was the city’s first to be live-streamed on YouTube — making a long-planned digital addition a reality.

“By putting it on the internet, it will allow it to be seen by more people,” City Administrator Jim Bagdonas said.

Local governments around and including the city of Toledo have leveraged their websites and social media to make their meetings more accessible.

“I just wanted to get the information out to as many people as possible,” Bedford Township Supervisor Paul Pirrone said about the recent addition of a Facebook Live stream of township meetings.

Both Waterville and Bedford Township have added online viewing options to their traditional broadcast channel, which will continue for both municipalities.

Bedford’s live-stream reaches thousands of potential viewers. So far hundreds have checked in to view the meetings. Those clips are archived both on the township Facebook page and website.

Waterville had long broadcast its meetings on its Time Warner Cable channel, but with audio and video quality that reflected the old technology in Waterville’s city council chambers.

“The quality of the audio and video wasn’t what we wanted it to be,” Mr. Bagdonas said.

City council had the $25,000 it took to upgrade the technology set aside in its capital improvement budget for the past five years, he said, with everything coming together in time for the July 24th meeting.

Bedford Township had its meetings broadcast live on its Buckeye Broadband channel at no cost to the township. Buckeye and The Blade are owned by Block Communications Inc.

The city of Toledo’s city council meetings are broadcast on WGTE-TV, with audio placed on the city’s Google site shortly after the meetings end. Only the most recent meetings are kept live on the site because of space restrictions, Toledo city council clerk Gerald Dedinger said. Older footage is available by request dating back to 2000.

“We typically get it online right away,” Mr. Dedinger said.

Several municipalities have the full audio from meetings published, including the cities of Oregon and Sylvania and Perrysburg and Sylvania Townships.

Sharon Bucher, the city of Sylvania’s clerk of council, said in her five years in the job there have not been any discussions about adding video recordings to the website.

“The most important part is the audio,” she said, and the city typically places the full audio online the day after the meeting.