LACONIA — Lakes Region Public Access television will have a new look in the future — based on the Public Broadcasting model, relying on sponsorships, grants and even membership dues, rather than fees assessed for each member community.
Dale Eddy of Gilford, a member of the board of directors of LRPA, last night described the new model as fee for service and said it will greatly reduce the fees paid by member communities, many of whom have opted to handle their own videotaping of public meetings.
Eddy said the board is grappling with a number of changes, including those being negotiated in a new 10-year contract with MetroCast Cablevision, which will include a direct public access channel for each community. The new contract will go into effect in January of 2014.
LRPA is the public, educational and government (PEG) cable station serving central New Hampshire broadcast by MetroCast on channels 24, 25 and 26. It is a nonprofit corporation with an annual operating budget of approximately $126,000 funded by contracting municipalities, grants and sponsorships. The station's studio is located at Laconia High School.
The station is perhaps best know for its annual live broadcasts of the WLNH Children's Auction, which have been widely credited with taking the financial results of that 5-day event into the stratosphere, starting in 2000.
Denise Beauchaine, director of LRPA, said that the station's programming, via MetroCast, reaches 21 municipalities in four counties — Belknap, Merrimack, Grafton and Rockingham — encompassing more than 50,000 households.
MetroCast bills its subscribers a franchise fee, which it then disburses to the municipalities in return for being able to operate a monopoly public service within their boundaries. But there is no direct legal connection between the franchise fees and LRPA-TV.
Meanwhile, LRPA bills its contracting municipalities for services rendered. Beauchaine said that prior to the recent recession, 13 municipalities, including the 11 in Belknap County, contracted with LRPA and paid their agreed upon share the station's overhead. However, the number of contracting municipalities has shrunk to a half-dozen — Alton, Belmont, Gilford, Meredith, Laconia and Northwood — which Beauchaine said share less than a third of the franchise fees they collect from MetroCast with LRPA.
Eddy said that the old business model no longer works and the new model is designed to produce enough revenue to keep LRPTV in the black and enable it to fulfill its original mission.
''It's far more sustainable than what we have now and it will far more palatable to the communities we serve,'' said Eddy.
He and Tilton Selectman Joe Jesseman, who represents Tilton on the board of directors, recently gave a presentation to the Belmont board of selectmen on the new business plan, which both said was well received.
Eddy said that as only four of the eight board members were present at last night's meeting that the full board will need to more thoroughly review the new model at its next meeting and be prepared to look at the revenue side of the new plan.
''We have the basic outline but need to flesh out the details,'' said Eddy.
LRPA Board Chairman Ken Curley of Northwood said that the name brand of the new model will be Channel 25, which will continue to air its currently scheduled programs which have a regional focus, while Channel 24, the educational channel will be airing community bulletin board material and Channel 26 will become the local government channel for each community which chooses to broadcast its own meetings.
He said that there has been some discussion of how Channel 26 can default to the regional programs on Channel 25, such as Belknap County commission and convention meetings, rather than continue to repeat the same local government programs unique to each community.
The board also discussed a request from the Belknap Economic Development Council to shoot footage of its Business Resource Fair which will be held at the Taylor Home Woodside building on Sept. 11 from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. The board voted to approve the request and bill BEDC half of its production costs.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 02:16
LACONIA — The City Council last night authorized the expenditure of not more than $275,000, drawn from the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Fund for improvements to what has been dubbed "Gateway Plaza" on the north side of the Main Street bridge over the Winnipesaukee River.
The plan consists of adding four elements to the existing space. Planting beds edged with granite curbing, each with two shade trees, would be placed in front of Sawyer's Jewelry to the west and near the entrance to the parking garage to the east. In addition, to the planting bed there would be a brick island with planters and benches on the west side of the foot of Main Street. A green space, ringed with shade trees and lined granite seating, would front the Grace Capital Church, accented by circular brick plaza, 20 feet in diameter, at the corner of Main Street and Beacon Street West. Finally, a brick island with planters and would lie along Beacon Street East overlooking the Winnipesaukee River.
The Main Street Initiative, which had expressed misgivings about an earlier, more extensive and expensive proposal, endorsed the project.
In response to a question from Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3), Planning Director Shanna Saunders said that the Downtown TIF Advisory Board would be presenting a more comprehensive proposal for improvements in the near future. She stressed that the plan for the Gateway Plaza must be incorporated into the design for the reconstruction of the Main Street bridge and submitted to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation by next week.
NOTE: City Manager Scott Myers reported that the volume of recyclables collected at the curbside in the two weeks between August 5 and August 16 represented $23.1-percent of the total tonnage of solid waste , compared to 24.8-percent for the prior two-week period. He noted that together with half the 30.85 taken to the remote sites, recyclables topped 30-percent of the total solid waste stream. "We're seeing really strong compliance across all areas of the city," he said, adding that after the first few weeks of the new collection regimen the number of violations has diminished significantly.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 03:53
LACONIA — A Tilton man spent Sunday night in jail after allegedly trying to bite a police officer who was booking him for driving while intoxicated.
Joseph M. Buckley, Jr., 51, of Dublin Drive is charged with one count of resisting arrest, one count of assault on a police officer and one count of driving while intoxicated.
Police affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said Buckley was stopped by police at 7:19 p.m. after a man called to report an erratic driver on Weirs Boulevard.
Police stopped him by Laconia House of Pizza and said Buckley voluntarily took a field sobriety test. The arresting officer said he swayed when he got out of the car and needed to hold on to it for support.
After Buckley was arrested and taken to the Laconia Police station, he allegedly became irate and refused to fill out an administrative license suspension form. He also refused to answer any questions related to his arrest or identify.
When told he was being transported to the Belknap County House of Corrections, he stood up but allegedly resisted the officer's attempts to handcuff him.
A struggle ensued and after the officer took him to the floor and got the handcuffs on his left hand, he allegedly began to thrash and kick. After numerous warnings the officer deployed pepper spray.
Buckley allegedly yelled, "Did you just spray me, bitch," and grabbed the officer's right forearm and tried to bite her. When he tried to flip her onto her back, a second officer assisted getting his other hand into the handcuffs.
As the two were escorting him to a cruiser he became combative and continued to struggle. Police said he pulled away from them and fell to the floor and hit his lip.
He was seen by an EMT and taken to Lakes Region General Hospital by an for treatment for a cut lip and then taken to jail.
Judge Jim Carroll ordered him held on $3,000 cash bail $10,000 personal recognizance bail. Buckley posted $500 yesterday and is free provided he post the remaining $2,500 by tomorrow at 4 p.m.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 03:44
LACONIA — A Loudon woman who won a Guide 147 canoe from Old Town Canoes and Kayaks and Irwin Marine when she registered online for LakeFest says that she and her husband are looking forward to taking part in the ''Hands Across the Water''' event which will be held at Weirs Beach next month.
''We already have a kayak and will be bringing that to the event,'' said Denise Byrne, who showed up Sunday at Irwin Marine along with her husband, Rich, to claim her prize.
Tom O'Brien, president of the New Hampshire Lakes Association, said that organization's plan to have more than 2,000 canoes and kayaks assemble and paddle together on Saturday, September 7 to form the world's largest raft and set a new Guinness World Record.
''We gave away the canoe as a promotion in order to get people to register and show up for LakeFest,'' said O'Brien, who said that he is heartened by the response from lake associations all over the state which are planning to send teams to the gathering.
He said that the canoes and kayaks will be launched from a number of shoreline access points, public and private, roughly between Awka Marina to the west and Pendleton Beach to the east. Once all of the boats are assembled the 3,000 to 4,000 participants will raise their paddles, and then join hands and raft together for at least 30 seconds.
He said the event will break the current world record, set in upstate New York last summer, when 1,925 canoes and kayaks gathered at 4th Lake at Inlet, New York in a ''One Square Mile of Hope'' fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
A blast of the horn from the MS Mount Washington cruise ship will be sounded at 10 a.m. as the signal for the participants to paddle out to a designated area, 1,000 feet by 1,000 feet, just off from Weirs Beach, which will be surrounded by support boats..
''We're working with volunteers from paddling groups and from lakes all over the state,'' said O'Brien, who said that the goal of the event is to raise awareness of the spread of invasive aquatic weeds such as water milfoil, which he said is already costing more than $1 million a year statewide to combat.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the association's efforts to combat invasive species, something that the organization, which administers the statewide Lake Host program, which coordinates the voluntary inspection of boats in lakes all over the state for invasive aquatic species, is very familiar with.
Now in its 12th year, the Lake Host program awards payroll grants to local groups which carry out its educational programs at boat ramps open to the public on lakes, ponds, and rivers throughout New Hampshire.
O'Brien said the rafting event will be followed by an on-land celebration which will be set up at Endicott Park at Weirs Beach and hopefully will draw between 1,000 and 2,000 people.
A Loudon woman won a Guide 147 canoe from Old Town Canoes and Kayaks and Irwin Marine when she registered online for LakeFest, which will see an attempt made on September 7 at Weirs Beach to set a new Guinness World Record for largest raft of canoes and kayaks. Denise Byrne, second from right, is shown with Bill Irwin of Irwin Marine, left; her husband, Rich, and Tom O'Brien, right, president of New Hampshire Lakes. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Last Updated on Monday, 09 September 2013 09:17
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