County set to launch ‘ecotv’ |

County set to launch ‘ecotv’

Kathy Heicher
Bret Hartman/Vail DailyKaren and Ken Rinehart of Mountain Direct Productions film the State of County address Tuesday at the County Building in Eagle. The speech was filmed for the county's soon-to-be-launched television channel.

EAGLE – Bored with the usual television fare of soap operas, crime-scene investigation shows, and sports coverage? There’s a new television viewing option coming to the valley soon: “ecotv.” Eagle County is initiating a new communications program, featuring television coverage of county meetings, among other programming. The channel also will feature a constant stream of “real time” information, including weather reports, arrival and departure times for flights out of the Eagle County Regional Airport, and emergency messages. Expect the system to be operating in a few months.Televised meetings are already the norm in some upvalley communities, where public access television channels offer both live coverage and re-runs of local meetings.”Television coverage is a common thing in county government … I think people expect us to get on the bandwagon here, and broadcast our meetings, so they can see what is going on,” County Administrator Jack Ingstad said.

Last week’s county commissioners’ annual “State of the County” address, and the swearing-in ceremony for the new commissioners. That program will show on ecotv when the system is up and running.Initially, the television coverage will be available only to Comcast cable customers from Edwards to Vail. Upvalley viewers will be able to catch ecotv on channel 18. As soon as CenturyTel, the primary cable television provider in the western end of the valley, completes an upgrade, ecotv should be on the air downvalley on channel 99. The county has budgeted about $150,000 for the start of the television broadcast. Most of that money came from cable companies.Ingstad said ecotv will be operated largely by existing county staff, possibly with the assistance of an intern or two.John DeNardo, innovation and technology director for the county, said three pan-tilt zoom cameras have been ordered, and will be mounted at different locations in the county commissioner meeting room. The county has also purchased a portable camera with wireless microphones.

“As far as equipment goes, it swill be pretty state-of-the-art,” said DeNardo.There will be a lot of activity on the screen during broadcasts of meetings.County Communications Director Deborah Churchill sees ecotv as something of an extension of the county’s up-graded Web site, she said. In addition to meeting coverage and real-time information, the channel will also be used to promote upcoming county events, such as the First-Time Homebuyers class; or the Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed, an annual fundraiser for the County Fair.”We have made (the Web site) a sort of one-stop shopping source for citizens. The cable is a really good extension of that,” she says.

Ingstad said the county will also produce some documentary-type programs for ecotv, which would cover topics such as the airport or the open space program.”We understand that meetings can be boring. There are a number of things we have in mind,” Ingstad said. County Emergency Services Manager Barry Smith’s work vehicle will be equipped with a satellite web service, that will allow him to post real-time incident information from out in the field about emergencies, such as forest fires or the closing down of a highway.Ingstad said coverage of meetings will not be edited.”If something occurs in a meeting that we don’t like … we’re not going to edit anything,” he said. Vail Colorado

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