Article - Office of College Advancement

Trustees ready for their close-ups

Ohlone board meetings will be aired live over the Internet beginning Wednesday

By Angela Woodall, Staff writer.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area: The Argus.
(Republished as Ohlone College board meetings go live on Internet on Friday, September 15, 2006.)

Fremont—Lights. Camera. Action. Ohlone College board meetings will go live on the Internet starting Wednesday.

While the live broadcast using Web cameras is unlikely to make the trustees stars, as many as 200 viewers can tune in to the board meetings using their personal computers, said Gary Kauf, director of TV operations for the college.

Viewers will be able to watch the board meetings live or download them later from the Ohlone Web site, Kauf said.

The view of trustees discussing or voting on proposals won't be much better than it is now because of the narrow design of the boardroom and the curve of their seating, Kauf said. Only one or two trustees can be seen on screen at a time, and a wide shot capturing speakers and board members is impossible, he said.

But they will get the widest shot possible and a better image, he added.

The webcasts are a move toward broadcasting meetings live on television, a move that will take another two years. Until now, meetings were shown only on the college cable channel for two days after the actual event.

The Child Development Center, where trustees meet—at the foot of the Fremont campus along Mission Boulevard at Pine Street—lacks the equipment for live broadcasts, Kauf said.

The college plans to change that when the board moves to a new room in what will be the student services center.

The future boardroom will have "all the bells and whistles for broadcasting," said Ohlone President Doug Treadway in May when trustees voted to give the college $18,000 to equip theroom with the necessary webcasting equipment and technology.

That money included $5,000 for a webcasting appliance and $13,000 for lighting, built-in microphones and camera-technology upgrades. In contrast, cost estimates for outfitting the current boardroom ranged from $10,000 to $40,000.

For now, Ohlone will pay $2,375 to store footage of a year's worth of meetings on a separate server, Kauf said. The space required depends on the length and frequency of the meetings.

Trustee Bob Brunton characterized the webcasting as a "baby step."

"But it is a huge movement toward the right direction," he added.

Staff writer Angela Woodall can be reached at (510) 353-7004 or at awoodall@angnewspapers.com.

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