By Debi Brazzale, COLORADO NEWS AGENCY
When TV crews descend on the State Capitol, it’s usually to record lawmakers in action. On one day last week, however, the aim was to teach the public how to get in on the action. The Colorado Channel was taping a segment called, “How to Testify”–intended to teach the public-access cable channel’s viewers some of the basics of voicing their views before the General Assembly.
For the many Coloradans who cannot come down to the Capitol to see what their elected legislators are up to, the Colorado Channel telecasts proceedings of the House and Senate via cable to homes across Colorado. The channel’s content is also available on the Web at www.coloradochannel.net. The channel offers an assortment of legislative programming; “How to Testify” is its latest endeavor.
The Colorado Channel Authority was formed in 2009 after the passage of House Bill 09-1307. The channel is sponsored by numerous groups including Comcast, the Rose Community Foundation, the Boettcher Foundation, the Gay and Lesbian Fund of Colorado, the Colorado Broadcasters Association and the Denver Foundation. No public taxpayer funds are used.
Rep. Debbie Benefield, D-Arvada, one of the sponsors of the enabling legislation, chairs the committee that oversees the Colorado Channel. Benefield says the channel is beneficial in many ways.
“It informs the general public that we exist,” said Benefield. “It’s in its infancy right now, but hopefully we will become a “CSPAN” for Colorado.”
The proceedings on the floor of the House and Senate are streamed live–unedited, uninterrupted, in accordance with the channel’s mission statement–on the Internet and cable and is archived on the channel’s website, too.
The expanded programming is intended to enhance current content that includes interviews, basic biographical snapshots of legislators and their districts and rebroadcasts of floor proceedings.
The newly created segment on how to testify at the Capitol is the type of programming the Channel aims to expand upon. Benefield says it’s part of a longer-term plan that will eventually include filming judiciary proceedings by 2013.
“They came up with a plan for how we could enrich programming during the off-season,” said Benefield. “We’re trying to broaden the programming rather than just showing old, dead sessions.”
For more information and for a list of areas where the channel is offered by Comcast, go to www.coloradochannel.net.