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Brandon Township cable review, evaluation complete

September 01, 2010 - Brandon Twp.- The local cable station, OTV, and its staff including Coordinator Greg Normand, has received an evaluation that is mostly positive.

The review of the cable access station was conducted by Jeff Malicke, the Brandon High School broadcasting teacher, earlier this summer and Township Supervisor Kathy Thurman released the report this week.

"We feel the station is heading in the right direction and there is nothing happening that needs immediate attention, but we do want to examine the recommendations to determine how we want to go forward," said Thurman. "I'll be working on crafting a cable coordinator contract. It appears we will offer Greg Normand the contract."

Normand has been the local cable station coordinator for more than a decade, but has never had a written contract detailing what is expected of him.

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 July 2009.

Malicke was hired this summer to evaluate cable operations at events as well as in the studio and also observed school, township and council meetings. For a roughly $700 fee, he was to also discuss the effectiveness and quality of the station with various community members, the viewing audience, and make recommendations for the overall improvement of the station.

In his evaluation, Malicke praised Normand for directing each production "as skillfully as possible," and noted that the cable coordinator and his staff, consisting of current and former Brandon High School students, "care about creating a solid product to be broadcast to the community."

His sole criticism of Normand was a tendency for the cable coordinator to come across as "brash."

"Although Mr. Normand is tough on his staff, he never does so in a way that is hurtful or disrespectful," Malicke said. "By being exposed to high expectations and being held accountable and maybe even being yelled at, allows the staff to decide how to handle high pressure situations and whether or not they have the ability to work in the field."

"OTV is an excellent opportunity for the high school students to learn and grow," wrote Malicke in the report. "Although there will be the occasional mistake, the positives from this partnership outweigh the negatives and hopefully this partner-ship will continue into the future."

Malicke noted that the timeliness of post-production needs to be worked on, saying while some shows are current, others seem to be delayed in reaching the air. He believes this can be achieved by improved communication between Normand and the staff.

While some shows are not getting on the air promptly after they occur, Malicke said outdated programming is no longer a concern.

"I have found that the programming at OTV is updated daily," he said.

Audio complaints have been rectified from a service and technology aspect, continued the report, and Normand was informed by Charter Communications that the cable provider had technology issues causing poor audio which have subsequently been repaired. Malicke notes that any current audio issues would be a result of a production quality problem, such as subjects not speaking directly into their microphones.

OTV is found on Channel 99.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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