Public Comments To Air

Loudon public TV to include remarks

Board OKs comments in broadcasts

Local residents had petitioned the board to modify the station's policy of not recording public comments. The policy had been in place for several years because of technical and scheduling limitations.

LCTV-3 general manager Jim Fella presented the board with the results of his own research into the policies at other public television stations around the state.

All of the stations cover public meetings gavel to gavel, he reported.

Board member Jane Whitaker, who had requested the survey of other station policies, made a motion to adopt a policy that allows recording of the public comments. The policy is similar to that used by the public television station in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The new policy should ensure gavel-to-gavel coverage except during periods of recess, executive session or other extenuating circumstances, Whitaker said. Board member Chris Smallen seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

"I want to thank Jim Fella and all the members of the advisory board for taking the time to listen to our concerns," said Loudon resident Pat Hunter. "Public television should be responsive to the public."

Public participation is critical to making our government work, Hunter said. Comments made by citizens who show up at county commission and school board meetings are just as important as the comments made by the elected officials, she said.

Fella said he found the examination of policies at other stations in the state to be an instructive process. Loudon should review and update its own policies and procedures where applicable, he said.