Politics Blog

Public access TV in Bellingham: not 'anything goes'

Citizen-produced programming should be on Bellingham's BTV 10 by October.

The City Council's Committee of the Whole (all seven members) this afternoon unanimously recommended to the full council a resolution to begin a 12-month pilot of public-access programming on the government television station.

The city would set aside six hours a week for TV programs created by members of the public, nonprofits, etc. -- the usual public access fare, I would suspect.

City staff is tentatively setting aside 6 p.m. to midnight on Sunday, Oct. 5, for the first airing of the public access shows.

Again all this is tentative, but submissions of videos could happen starting on Monday, Sept. 15. The city will hire somebody to train would-be TV producers on how to shoot a program, as the city will have quality standards.

Final approval of the city's entree into public-access TV is expected when the full council meets at 7 p.m. tonight in City Hall, 210 Lottie St. 

Content will not be edited or censored, city officials said. But there will be limits.

"Content-neutral doesn't necessarily mean that anything under the sun goes," city attorney Alan Marriner said at this afternoon's committee meeting.

Staff, with help from city attorneys, will come up with policies and procedures for programming. The intent is to have those ready before submissions are accepted.