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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Is anybody watching public access TV in Safety Harbor?



Before Safety Harbor approves a plan for the city to shell out $4,000 per year for public access television, commissioners want to answer one question.

Is anybody watching?

City Manager Matt Spoor is getting price estimates on a scientific survey. But in the meantime, Safety Harbor has asked viewers to make themselves known.

Safety Harbor's public access channel, which generally runs a loop of city commission meetings and educational programming, now reads like this for roughly 20 hours per day.

"From April 3rd to May 3rd, the city is asking for resident feedback. If you watch this channel daily, weekly or monthly, please let us know. Our goal is to weigh the cost to continue hosting a government access channel with the number of residents who utilize the service. We would like to see how often you watch InSight Safety Harbor along with any other comments about its programming."

The message has been up for more than 100 hours.

The response? Mostly crickets.

One person has called and another emailed. The caller was a former city commissioner.

"If more people don't speak, we're going to assume there's not a lot of people watching the television," Spoor said.

The city's ailing production equipment is in need of $40,000 in replacements, so Spoor negotiated a deal to share a station and programming with Oldsmar at an annual rate of $4,000.

But some commissioners proposed scrapping the channel last week, expressing skepticism about whether the number of viewers warrants even that smaller investment.



[Last modified: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 1:14pm]


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