Monday, August 8, 2016

Equipment Upgrade at City Hall

A weekly blog from Tom Reeser, KOCT’s Executive Director

Big changes are coming to the Oceanside Council Chambers when the council returns from summer break for their August 10th, 5 pm meeting. The City’s IT Department has added new equipment and technology.  Back in 1981, Oceanside was one of the first cities in San Diego County to videotape their meetings and in the beginning it was accomplished by volunteers and City Staff members working together in the old City Council chambers. 
Here’s a picture of how KOCT used to cover the meetings—three camera operators, a floor director in the Council Chambers and a Director and Audio member out in the City AV trailer—which was towed to and  parked outside the old City Council chambers  for each meeting.

All of the TV monitors were in black and white, and no matter how we tried the Hitachi camera pictures had a slight green tinge to them. In the early days the cable company would only give KOCT 2 hours of air time-- so the floor director’s job was to take notes so that the Editor could select the most popular or important agenda items and edit the 4 hour meeting down to two hours. We then had to drive the ¾” U-Matic tape to the cable company for airing!

In the late 80’s the cable company provided a channel for us to share with MiraCosta College and we were able to air the entire council meetings—first as tape delayed and later ‘live’ as the meetings happened.

In 1989 Bob Bowditch, the founder of KOCT, and Chief Engineer William ‘Mr. Bill’ Sinatra were excited about the new Civic Center being built with plans that included a new larger room for City Council meetings. However, they were aghast to discover that no plans had been included to upgrade, improve or change how the council meetings were to be videotaped. Anyone who knew Bob knows what happened next. Bob and Mr. Bill sat down over many hurried weeks and designed the basic AV system structure of robotic cameras, projector, audio and director’s console. Here is the last picture I have of Bob Bowditch and Mr. Bill working on Chamber drawings at Bob’s Fire Mt. home. Bob died from brain cancer before he was able to see his final work in the new civic center.

The cameras have been repaired and modified many times since then, but starting in August all of the Robotics, Cameras and Directing equipment will be replaced with new high-definition cameras and all digital equipment.

KOCT is working with the City’s outstanding IT department who oversaw and implemented this improvement to the City Council chambers. A big shout out of thanks to the City’s Information Technology Department Manager Yukari Brown and IT Specialist Dave Riha for their leadership on this project.  
A look at the new system                            KOCT crew on site for training session

Check out the new look by watching the next meeting ‘live’, via replay or on the City’s YouTube channel. Joint meetings of the Oceanside City Council, Community Development Commission (CDC), and Harbor Board of Directors are typically held on two Wednesdays of each month at 5:00 pm and are broadcast live at KOCT-North County’s Channel  19 through Cox Cable or on AT&T’’s U-Verse channel 99 channel. Replays can be viewed the following Thursday at 2:00 pm, Saturday at 11:00 am, and Sunday at 5:00 pm