CWC decides to end live webcast of board sessions

Sep 23, 2012 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to discontinue live webcasts of its regular monthly meetings.

The broadcasts have been available to the public since April, when board members voted to stream the monthly meetings live through August.

Throughout the summer, chief information officer John Wood said all but one of the regular meeting broadcasts attracted fewer than 10 people. On May 16, 2012, the webcast reached fewer than 50 people.

Public information officer Carolyn Aanestad noted that the view figures include some college personnel that monitor the webcasts during the meeting.

After looking at the numbers, trustee Charlie Krebs said it does not seem worthwhile to continue the broadcasts.

"This is a good idea, but nobody's listening, nobody's around," Krebs said.

He also did not think the effort was worth the investment of $10,000 that President Jo Anne McFarland said would be necessary to continue webcasting the meeting. McFarland said the current "shoestring" budget for the broadcasts results in poor video and sound quality for viewers.

"In order to continue the webcasting as we've done we would be wise to invest in a better sound system -- not a great one, but a better one," McFarland said, adding that extra staff would be necessary as well. "I don't think the timing's really great. ... We have many important initiatives underway, and those, I think, would prevent a really high-quality effort."

Trustee Frank Welty disagreed, pointing to the college's award-winning use of technology as recognized last year in the seventh annual Digital Community College Survey. CWC placed second in the small colleges category of the survey, which recognizes institutions that utilize information technology to provide a high level of service to faculty, students and communities.

"I find it incredible we aren't willing to spend the money to communicate with our constituency," Welty said. "(CWC is) an entity that is in the business of communicating and educating people."

Also in favor of continued meeting webcasts, trustee Judy Pedersen noted that the college has regularly broadcast basketball games in the past. She asked why the board meeting effort would be any different.

"I understand there are complications, but I find it kind of dismaying there's that discrepancy in what's important to the people," she said, adding, "It may well be that nobody cares."

Trustee Scott Phister seemed to think Pedersen's second statement was accurate.

"The issue is that people aren't watching it," Phister said.

"The information is available. But I think people who want information about the board meetings or workings of the board can find it, and do. ... I don't think it's worth spending money for."

Board chair Caroline Wells encouraged any residents interested in learning more about the board to call her or any of the other board members.

"My number is in the phone book," she said.

The board approved Phister's motion to discontinue live webcasts of regular meetings in a 5-2 vote. Trustees Wells, Krebs, Phister, Roger Gose and Colton Crane voted in the affirmative, while trustees Pedersen and Welty opposed the motion.

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