Portage la Prairie City Council meetings can now be seen on cable television. Rogers Television Station Manager Kevin Neil says they broadcast meetings out of Winnipeg, but also throughout various communities in Southern Manitoba including Portage la Prairie.
"We realized that they're doing a live stream of their meetings," says Neil. "So, from a technical perspective, it was really easy for us to just pick up their feed and put it on the channel. We made contact in December or maybe November with them, just figured out the details, and did the first meeting earlier this month. We hope to continue carrying the meetings throughout the rest of this year and beyond."
He notes contact was first made before the pandemic, and again recently. Neil explains their mandate is to provide local community programming, not just in Winnipeg, but also in smaller communities throughout the province.
"Portage la Prairie is one of those communities with a lot of stuff going on and we're always looking for content in those communities," continues Neil. "City Council meetings seemed like a great platform that we didn't have. We do carry City Council meetings from Winnipeg and we carry the Manitoba Legislature Question Period broadcasts. But we didn't have Portage Council Meetings, so it was a great way to get Portage la Prairie reflected on the community channel."
Test runs were made to see how smoothly the broadcast would fare, and checks were done to see if anything unforeseen might occur. Neil says they're now out of the test phase and are glad that those who usually don't use online services can access the meetings on television.
"Smaller communities don't get represented on TV all the time," adds Neil. "We want to make sure that Portage has an outlet on the community channel and we're always looking for for content that's reflective of the local communities."
The council meetings are held every two weeks on Monday evenings. They're listed in the channel guide.
Neil adds community broadcasts are free of charge, noting they work primarily with nonprofits, individuals, but also community organizations, sports teams, and so on.