Fort Mill Times

Fort Mill's Channel 19 begins new era

Channel 19 has a new look.

Its signature informational slide presentation is gone, thanks to a video upgrade.

“It's a great vehicle to provide information to our town residents on things that concern them,” Fort Mill Town Manager David Hudspeth said of the new video-based programming. “It provides unlimited opportunities for us to get information out about the town.”

The town debuted a revived Channel 19 earlier this month.

Fort Mill had used its dated slide presentation for about a decade, but the move to video brings new life to Channel 19, Fort Mill Mayor Danny Funderburk said.

“I'm very pleased with the recent developments,” Funderburk said of the revised Channel 19. “It has become a very user-friendly product for the town. There's an opportunity for Channel 19 to become a great communication tool for the town.”

To accomplished that endeavor, town leaders worked with Comporium to start paving the way for residents to view more than still slides when they visited Channel 19. Comporium, among other things, provided basic videoing equipment and connected Fort Mill to Comporium's fiber network to enhance video transmission.

The revamp cost the town about $30,000, Hudspeth said.

The town's share came to about $15,000 with Comporium matching. The result yielded new flavor for Fort Mill's Channel 19 that mostly offered town information, news and other tidbits via slide presentations.

But not anymore.

Now, videos keep Fort Millians in the loop about town news, including tips about what should be placed in recycle bins and “Cop Talk” messages.

“There are public safety tips from the police department on how neighbors can keep themselves and their property safe,” Hudspeth said about Channel 19, which also includes video that captures council meetings. “It's much more interesting to watch than the slide show.”

During the upgrade, two cameras were installed in town council chambers. Plans called for one camera to be aimed at the council while another camera would record residents and others who addressed the council. Similar services are used by the City of Rock Hill, Tega Cay, York and York County. In Rock Hill, Comporium spotlights city council meetings and some local high school football.

In Fort Mill, town leaders plan to offer a hodgepodge of information when viewers tune into Channel 19. Videos, ranging from five to 15 minutes, showcase town news and fun such as festivals and pictures captured from such celebrations, Hudspeth said.

“Right now, we are broadcasting the July 4 program that we had on Main Street,” Hudspeth said. “There's (also) video programming on the channel that highlights things that are on going on around the town.”

The facelift also gives town officials a new approach to talk safety tips, such as how to burglary-proof homes, and fire safety tips like stop, drop and roll. The revamp also paves the way for town officials to form a partnership with the Fort Mill School District. Video plans also include five to 15 minute contributions from the school district. That initiative will allow local students a chance to get involved in producing videos germane to what's happening at their high schools.

“If residents have not viewed Channel 19 in a while, they should take some time to view what's on Channel 19 now,” Hudspeth said. “They will be impressed.”