After nearly seven years as a possibility, Vienna's cable channel has become a reality with the launch of the Town of Vienna Community Network (TVCN).
The channel, which is onow live on Cox 27 and Verizon FIOS 38, runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At the moment, it runs basic town information, bulletins and emergency alerts as-needed, but it will expand during the course of the next year to include online streaming and original content, Public Information Officer Kirstyn Barr.
"Over the last year, the town has utilized various platforms to better communicate with our residents, visitors and businesses — namely social media tools and the revamping of our website — and TVCN serves as an additional platform to provide town information," Barr said. "Our goal is for residents, businesses and visitors to utilize TVCN to keep up-to-date on town activities as well as to get involved in the Vienna community."
Town staff explored a cable channel for Vienna in 2005 and 2008, but the proposal never moved forward because it required one full-time and two part-time positions to manage the channel, Barr said.
When Barr joined the town staff in 2010, she worked with Vienna IT administrator Craig Griffin to develop a plan that charged the PIO office with channel management and IT with equipment maintenance, which requires no additional staffing. They also utilized PEG funds to fund startup costs, Barr said. Council approved the plan on April 25, 2011.
The town researched similar local channels — such as those in Fairfax County and Reston — as well as others across the state, and also hired a consultant specializing in cable production to guide staff through the launch, Barr said.
The channel will continue to develop this year in phases: By May, the town will make the channel available online. Town Council meetings will be available live both on the channel by the end of the year as part of renovations to Town Hall. The Council Chambers will be equipped to broadcast any meeting or event in that room, Barr said.
In 2013, Barr said, the town will begin developing a volunteer program to help support the channel and develop original programming.
The town will need volunteers to do creative planning, on-camera acting and hosting, voice-overs, video editing, and camera operating, as well as volunteers to staff the council meetings, Barr said.
A live studio isn't part of the plan for now, Barr said, but could be in future years.
If you are interested in being a part of a volunteer program to support cable channel programming efforts, contact the Public Information Office at 703-255-6330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: Live Council meetings will be available by the end of the year.