Galveston City Council on Thursday voted unanimously to submit a request for proposals for a vendor to provide Streaming Video of its city council sessions. Public Information Officer Alicia Cahill said the RFP is the same as one issued prior to Hurricane Ike. Following the hurricane, City Manager Steve LeBlanc said that the city could no longer afford the Streaming Video project. Guidry News Service had been told by city officials that there would be no funds for Streaming Video in the FY10 Budget that was recently approved. Cahill said that the process - from RFP to actual Streaming Video - will take at least 60 days. (Corrected: We previously quoted her as saying six months.)
Thursday's action caught us by surprise because we had asked to be informed of any change.
To review: Guidry News Service has been posting Streaming Video recordings of Galveston City Council meetings since the December 12, 2008 session. Lynda and I felt that because so many Galvestonians were living on the mainland after the hurricane, and many others did not have access to cable, that we should provide the service.
Our original offer to the city was to provide the service for the remainder of the 2008-2009 Fiscal Year, through the end of September, 2009 - if the city provided a file suitable to upload to our website. This would have required some expense on the city’s part, and LeBlanc declined to participate.
Thus, we arranged to obtain the DVDs from the Channel 16 telecasts. We then converted them to files that we could upload to GuidryNews.com.
We had hoped to recoup our expenses with advertising. There was very little interest in sponsoring these broadcasts, so we continued through FY09 as a public service.
We fully intended that the September 24 meeting would be the final session we would broadcast, but numerous people encouraged us to continue the service. Therefore we decided to reconsider continuation if there is now sufficient interest from Galveston businesses and other organizations to sponsor the program.
The October 8 meeting will be posted early next week. To review the past postings of city council meetings please follow this link: Galveston City Council Streaming Video
We were seeking at least 10 one-year commitments for sponsorships at $200 per month. Our solicitation was based on our understanding that the city council would not provide the service.
My initial reaction to Thursday's reversal, without the courtesy of even a phone call or email about the change, as had been promised, was to chuck the whole thing. I have expressed my opinion that Galveston City Council is dysfunctional in previous editorials - that may be why the city is so uncooperative.
However, the fact remains that there are very many Galveston residents who are still displaced to the mainland and many others who cannot access Channel 16 on cable. We are not doing this for the city council, but for our fellow citizens who are recovering from Hurricane Ike.
Thus, Lynda and I have agreed to modify our proposal to sponsors, and are seeking a six-month committment for advertising.
We are now seeking at least 10 sponsors for the Streaming Video at $200 per month, but with a six-month committment. Sponsorship will be in the form of billboard or display ads on the page, linked to the sponsor's website or email. This is an excellent advertising value.
The response to our initial proposal has been positive, but we have not received enough committments from sponsors for us to committ to continuing the program.
We will continue to solicit sponsors for the next week and will decide by Friday, October 16.
Please forward this editorial to any business or other organization that you think might be interested in participating.
For additional information contact me at Jim@GuidryNews.com or call (409) 763-NEWS(6397).