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New path for local cable station

May 26, 2010 - By Susan Bromley

Staff Writer

Ortonville- Greg Normand has been waiting for direction as the coordinator of local cable station OTV. After 10 years, he may be about to get it.

The village council unanimously approved hiring Jeff Malicke as a cable consultant during their May 24 meeting. If the township board also agrees to hire him as consultant, he will evaluate the station and its employees, including Normand's performance.

"A year ago, we were criticized for what we were or won't doing and not given any direction," said Normand Monday night.

"I'm waiting for direction from you... We've had 10 years of confusion."

Last year, the village, township and school district forged an intergovernmental agreement to jointly collect cable franchise fees and make decisions regarding the cable station, found on channel 99. A cable advisory committee was formed to examine ways to improve the station and Normand has been on a month-to-month contract since last July when the township board, village council and school board decided that a written contract for the cable coordinator was needed. Normand has never had a written contract detailing what is expected of him.

In January, Thurman announced that the cable advisory committee was seeking outside sources for consultant proposals to improve the quality and educational value of the cable station.

Malicke has been the Brandon High School broadcasting teacher for the past three years and has worked closely with Normand, said Interim Village Manager Larry Brown.

Councilmember Melanie Nivelt expressed concerns about the objectivity of Malicke.

"He's reviewing Greg and he works with him," she noted.

"Will he be objective enough?"

Brown said Malicke will evaluate cable operations at events as well as in the studio and will observe school, township and council meetings. He will discuss the effectiveness and quality of the station with various community members, the viewing audience, and will make recommendations for the overall improvement of the station.

He would begin work June 8, give a final report by July 23, and be paid a stipend not to exceed $720 if approved by the township board.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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