WGTN-TV 3 makes the move to live streamingWORTHINGTON — Snowbirds heading out of the area for the winter no longer have to worry about missing little Johnny’s basketball game, and citizens wanting to peek in on the Nobles County Board meeting without showing up at the Government Center are in luck.
WORTHINGTON — Snowbirds heading out of the area for the winter no longer have to worry about missing little Johnny’s basketball game, and citizens wanting to peek in on the Nobles County Board meeting without showing up at the Government Center are in luck.
Thanks to a grant from the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities Program (MIRC), WGTN-TV 3, formerly only accessible for cable subscribers in Worthington, can now be accessed through the Internet.
Available at www.wgtntv3.com, anyone with an Internet connection can watch live coverage of local sports games, community meetings and other events covered by WGTN-TV 3.
The events will also be archived for viewing at anytime.
“We started having meetings about this in November 2010,” said station manager Kelly Reeves.
She applied for MIRC grant funds of $6,500 to cover the hardware, software and design costs, and received the funding in March 2011.
“You can now watch it from anywhere in the country — anywhere in the world,” said District 518 Board member Steve Schnieder. “Grandparents down in Texas can watch the big game.”
“This also increases access to elected officials,” added Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark. “People can go the web to watch county board, city council and school board meetings.”
Reeves said the cable channel’s joint powers board started talking about being able to gain viewers from beyond the city limits in the late 1990s, but the only real option then was a low-powered television station.
“That was just cost prohibitive,” she said.
Clark said getting the access to more people has been something he’s been after for quite a while. The MIRC grant makes it possible, but there was still work to do after the funds showed up.
“We had to develop the website,” Reeves said. “We worked with Ideas Computers on that. There were several different pieces of hardware involved, and there was lots of trial and error — writing and rewriting programs.”
The website was in the working stages throughout the summer and fall, but now the group is confident the site, both live streaming and archived material, is ready to go.
While it is great that people out of state will have access to the site, Reeves is happy knowing those who live outside city limits can now keep better tabs on what is going on at the school and in the community.
“The city of Worthington and the school district serve many outside city limits,” she explained. “The enhanced video services will ensure that community information will be delivered in a timely manner to everyone with Internet access.”
The website also carries the WGTN-TV 3 schedule, which is helpful to anyone looking for the local programming.
The MIRC funds will cover the initial setup costs, including software, on-site service and service fees, but sustainability will have to be attained, she added.
“As time goes on, we’ll try to further develop other programs within the community,” Reeves said.
“We’re hoping that this will also encourage and help people become more involved with how to film,” Schnieder said. “Staff-wise, the station is limited, but maybe we can get something going with community education classes. There are a lot of talented people in the area, and we’d like to get them involved.”
Consideration is also being given to updating some of the station back drops, he added.
Clark said the MIRC grant gave the joint powers board the opportunity to do something he’s been hoping to see happen since he arrived in Worthington.
“Local government depends on its citizens,” he said. “This is just one more way to keep them informed.”
There were a few bumps and bruise along the way, he acknowledged, but that just makes fruition of the plan even better.
“Oh, we certainly learned a few things along the way,” Reeves agreed, then laughed. “OK, we learned a lot.”