NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Wausau city leaders propose shutting down the public access cable channel. It's the channel were you can watch City Council meetings. And when the city council is not in session, it's where you see church services, school plays, and other community content.
The savings for the city: $90,000. The city will cut the salary of the person who coordinates the channel's line-up, and will save on buying and maintaining the equipment that's used.
This is a cut that makes sense.
The next time you drive around Wausau, look at all the satellite dishes attached to people's homes. Those are people who use Dish Network or Direct TV. They are not cable customers, so they do not see the cable access channel. Same thing for people who get their tv through an antenna instead of cable. As cable tv's share of the marketplace goes down, fewer and fewer people are seeing what's on public access.
But the issue goes beyond number of eyeballs looking at a screen. This is a question of being cost-effective.
What's the cost of putting City Council meetings on YouTube? Nothing. It's free. And unlike public access, the YouTube video can be watched at the viewers convenience, and can archived forever. That kind of on-demand video is far more valuable than a watch-by-appointment cable channel.
Church groups and high school drama clubs can set up their own YouTube pages at no cost. The Christmas Mass, The Music Man, and the holiday parade will also be available, on-line, forever.
When the city has a better alternative that's free, doesn't it make sense to save the money?
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau