MORGANTOWN — Morgantown City Manager Paul Brake said another round of improvements are coming to the city’s government access channel — Channel 15 — that should significantly improve the quality of the city’s broadcasts.
Brake explained the city records its live meetings digitally in high definition. However, due to antiquated audio/video infrastructure in city hall, the feed is converted to analog before it’s delivered to cable provider Comcast.
“This is something that is outside of our control. Comcast is in the process of installing new equipment so that we will be sending a digital signal like any other channel that a viewer would watch,” Brake said. “It is a significant degradation of the signal when it’s converted to analog. It just makes for a poor viewing experience.”
He said it looks as if the changes could be in place in the next couple weeks.
Live and recorded broadcasts on the channel include meetings of the Morgantown Planning Commission, Morgantown Board of Zoning Appeals, Morgantown Utility Board and Morgantown City Council, among others. The city also broadcasts special events like municipal elections, a community bulletin board and prerecorded content.
The quality of the broadcasts, particularly the audio, has been a point of frustration for viewers and city administration alike.
The city has taken steps in recent years to improve the quality, including the purchase of a $10,598 UltraNEXUS-HD video server earlier this year.
According to The Dominion Post archive, Channel 15 began in early 2000 as part of a franchise agreement between the city and Adelphia Cable. The city used a $50,000 grant to purchase equipment to broadcast city council meetings.
Former City Manager Jeff Mikorski — at the time the assistant city manager — was instrumental in getting the channel up and running, and produced much of the early content.
In 2016, Mikorski said most of the equipment in place was original to when the channel was started.
Along with the live and rebroadcast meetings on Channel 15, videos of recorded meetings can be accessed through the city’s website, morgantownwv.gov.