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Apr. 1, 2014 8:15 am

Online livestreaming slated for Baltimore city public access TV before 2015

An effort underway to bring new programming and a new brand to the City of Baltimore's public access television will include perhaps the biggest improvement of all: livestreaming of City Council meetings and other government hearings to the Web.

An effort underway to bring new programming and a new brand to the City of Baltimore‘s public access television will include perhaps the biggest improvement of all: livestreaming of City Council meetings and other government hearings to the Web.

Currently known as TV25, the city’s television station run out of the Mayor’s Office of Cable and Communications will relaunch this summer as CharmTV along with a new website. While government hearings will continue to be broadcast live, a new evening programming block called Prime Engagement will feature 30-minute shows that cover local food, CEOs and attractions, said TV25 general manager Tonia Lee.

To do this, the station will enlist the help of freelance producers who have worked on shows for the Travel Channel and HGTV. The station itself has a budget of $1.4 million in fiscal year 2014. Baltimore’s proposed fiscal 2015 budget would increase funding to the Mayor’s Office of Cable and Communications to $1.5 million.

Although primetime programming won’t cut into scheduled City Council meetings that are typically shown on the City of Baltimore’s television station, Lee said.

And the relaunch of the TV25 website to CharmTV.tv will allow for livestreaming, hopefully, before 2015.

“We want to bring livestreaming,” said Lee, who has worked in television for 12 years. “A livestream of whatever’s going on on [CharmTV] similar to what CNN does on CNN.com. We’ll also feature downloads or an on-demand option to access content that previously played.”

Right now the “first priority” is the relaunch of TV25, said Lee. But the goal is to livestream the new shows — as well as government hearings and City Council meetings — to the web before the end of 2014.

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist in Philadelphia and the former lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. Before moving to Philadelphia in June 2014, he was a contributing writer to Baltimore City Paper and a Tech Check commentator for WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore city’s National Public Radio affiliate. He has written for The Atlantic, Outside, Richmond magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore Style magazine, Next City, Grist.org, The Atlantic Cities, and elsewhere.

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