First post-BKAT broadcast lacks audio

The first attempt to tape the first Port Orchard City Council meeting after the city ended its contract with Bremerton Kitsap Access Television (BKAT) was only half successful, as the microphones were not plugged in during Tuesday's meeting.

"We were all set to load the tape onto the server this morning," said City Clerk Patti Kirkpatrick. "But when we played back the video, we found out there was no sound, even though the video looked pretty good."

"If you've seen the amount of wiring involved in the broadcast setup, you can see how easily something like this could happen," Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola said. "Rest assured that everyone involved in this project knows for a fact it won't happen again."

Port Orchard ran several successful tests under BKAT's supervision. The final test, on Dec. 22, was successful.

At that point, BKAT told the city they were "ready to go," according to Kirkpatrick.

While the city owns the camera equipment, BKAT had brought its own sound board. The board was removed from the system after the meeting but the microphones were not plugged in afterwards.

BKAT Public Access Manager Charleen Burnette said the sound board was not necessary for the operation "but was installed because we didn't want to have to walk down the hall every time we needed to adjust the audio."

The mistake was discovered on Wednesday morning, when city employees were attempting to determine the reason for the lost audio.

The silent video, along with a draft of the meeting minutes, were expected to be posted onto the Web site on Jan. 14.

The first meeting to appear on the website with full audio will be taped on January 26.

In the future, the city hopes to record the study sessions, which occur on the third Tuesday of every month.

BKAT has been broadcasting council meetings for about three years.

While preparing the 2010 budget, the city sought to cut costs and made BKAT a lower offer that the cable channel decided to refuse.

BKAT said it could not provide the service for that price, so the city decided to run the broadcast on its own.

The new process uses city-owned equipment that is already in place.

Instead of cable broadcast, it will be shown from the city's Web site.

Aside from a decreased cost, the advantages of this arrangement include a larger audience and the flexibility to view meetings at any time instead of a fixed schedule.

The taping process is controlled by Assistant City Clerk Brandy Rinearson, who is also responsible for preparing the meeting minutes.

She said she is able to perform both tasks simultaneously.

The law requires written minutes and does not call for a video record, although most municipalities provide them.

"We will take responsibility for this mistake," Kirkpatrick said. "We should have checked this again before the taping. But we thought it was working because we had tested this before."

"It's too bad this happened," Burnette said. "But that's one of the reasons we get to every meeting early, to make sure everything is working correctly."

Kirkpatrick said the city has not decided whether or not to buy a new sound board.

"We want to see what kind of sound quality we get with the equipment we already have," she said.

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