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TDS ‘ups’ Town gear


A change to an agreement between the Town and TDS Telecom led to one of Farragut’s aldermen taking issue with the Town’s recording equipment, which records and broadcasts Town meetings on Farragut’s public access television channel.

“We really don’t have a good system here,” Alderman Bob Markli said during Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Thursday, July 28.

The TDS franchise agreement change allows TDS to give the Town a one-time payment of $16,000 for a character generator, which allows the Town to broadcast meetings and display its “roll screen” of general information.

Markli asked if the new character generator — a Carousel Solo 310, which will cost $3,950 with maintenance costs of $575 a year — would solve various problems he cited with the current meeting broadcasts.

There are “real problems with the sound quality,” he said, citing meetings in which citizens or elected officials speak into microphones, but no sound is heard on television.


“People who watch this at home, on TV, there are big gaps when somebody stands up and speaks and in the middle of it, there’s no audio,” Markli said.

“Would this fix that?” he asked.

“No, it’s two separate [systems],” Town recorder Allison Myers said.

Markli asked just what would help the sound quality problems.

The sounds gaps Myers said, are caused when citizens or officials don’t speak directly into the microphones, which have red lights that indicate when they are recording sound.

“I see people standing in front of the microphone just like I am now and half of them are coming through and half of them won’t,” Markli said.

He then asked Myers just what would help the sound problems.

“Training,” she said.

“Who would we have to train?” Markli asked.

“Everyone,” she answered.

“Can we train the public every time they come to speak?” Markli asked.

Town administrator David Smoak said the red light means “you’re on.”

“If people can remember to look for that red light, we’ll be in good shape,” he said.

Markli said, “It seems to wander in and out,” adding that news shows and talk shows never seemed to have the problem of sounds being inaudible.

“If you want to give me the money for their budget, I’d be more than happy to spend it,” Myers said.

As she spoke, Myers’s light blinked off.

“Yeah. We can’t hear you; your light’s not on,” Markli said.

In the end, Markli moved to accept the agreement change that would allow purchase of the new equipment; Alderman Ron Honken seconded and the motion was unanimously approved, with Alderman Jeff Elliott absent.

In other business, the Board:

• Approved, on second and final reading, a request to close Herron Road right-of-way near Buddy Gregg Motor Homes

• Approved, on second and final reading, an amendment to Farragut Zoning Ordinance that would allow motorized wakeboard cable systems in the C-2 district

• Approved, on first reading, an ordinance to amend the fiscal year 2011 Capital Investment Program funds, reflecting an appropriation increase of $1,266,727 for McFee Park Phase II construction.

• Approved, on first reading, an ordinance to amend fiscal year 2012 Capital Investment Program funds, reflecting various appropriation changes, resulting in a CIP increase of $2,015,761

 

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