Community cable channel on hiatus

As Mesa County continues to confront budget challenges and constraints, one of the immediate effects will be a temporary suspension of new community programming on county cable Channel 12.

The channel will still continue to broadcast a number of public meetings, including the Board of County Commissioners’ weekly Monday meeting, regular meetings of the Grand Junction City Council and the city’s Planning Commission meetings.

What will not be broadcast — at least for the foreseeable future — is new public service content from a number of community groups that have taken advantage of the channel in the past.

The reason for scaling back the channel’s programming at this point is because the county said it was “temporarily unable” to hire a new public information officer position, after Jessica Peterson left the job earlier this year.

The county also has not filled the PIO job at the Department of Human Services, which was left vacant when frequent cable-channel contributor Karen Martsolf left the job.

Interim County Administrator Tom Fisher said the county would like to hear feedback from the partners that have used the programming opportunity in the past about whether the cable channel is still an effective way for them to get their messages out to the community.

“I just want to understand that, as we look at the future of our external communications, and how we are going to design those (PIO) job descriptions in the future,” Fisher said.

Fisher said the board is taking a fresh look at the vacant communications positions and whether they’ll be described and offered the same way as in the past.

“We realize that there are certain gaps in our level of communication (after Peterson and Martsolf left),” Fisher said. “We’re just looking at it organizationally, and whether there are efficiencies we can gain. And then we’ll go into the process of hiring, once we make those decisions.”


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