Beaufort News

The County Channel: Democracy in real time

Ryan Copeland
Ryan Copeland

If you’re running for office in Beaufort, it’s probably a good idea to attend some of the public meetings of the office you seek. That advice applies even if you’re not running and are simply someone who lives and works here.

It’s up to you to decide how interactive to be, but if you can’t attend personally, there is a way to assure you’re up to speed on the issues. On the County Channel, you can catch meetings in real time or in replays. You can even yell at your television or computer without threat of being gaveled out of the chamber.

The lineup of programming is impressive. In addition to the award-winning Coastal Kingdom and Coastline programs that explore local nature and history respectively, there is also a smattering of sports coverage of USCB and local high school sports teams. And, of course, there are also all manner of meetings.

Missed the last Public Services Committee meeting or a called session of the Stormwater Management Utility Board? Don’t worry. They’ll come back around. Finance Committee meetings are also must-see, pop-the-popcorn television.

Thanks to the archives on channel’s website, you can even stream TCL nurse pinning ceremonies from years past, the Coursen-Tate Memorial Park Dedication and candidate forums from election year coverage. That might be helpful in deciding if you voted for the wrong person or not.

Imagine how hard it was to stay informed about government before the channel existed? You’d have to either go to the meetings (who has time for that?) or wait for a news article (again, who has time for that?). The channel presents meetings and debates without a talking head or a narrator to filter or editorialize. The cameras and microphones recording the proceedings are silent, but very important, spectators. What you see is what happened, in real time. It’s up to you to decide how to process it.

The informational aspect of programs like Coastal Kingdom and Coastline are presented in entertaining fashion with knowledgeable hosts. This is not a public access channel in Peoria showing “Wayne’s World.” The sports speak for themselves in terms of athletic competition.

But it’s the meetings that are the biggest draw.

Some fans watch the channel for the same reason some car racing fans watch motor sports - for the wrecks that sometimes happen when members disagree or the floor is opened for public comment. If you really enjoyed the fireworks, you can even order a DVD copy of it for all posterity to show your grandchildren how adults sometimes behave.

It’s that transparency in government that The County Channel so valuable.

With the programming available, you can brush up on the issues, tune in for entertainment or just press “mute” while you work out on a punching bag.

What you can’t do is say local government proceedings aren’t available to you.

The County Channel’s archives can be accessed at www.bcgov.net/departments/community-services/county-channel/index.php

Live streaming is also available on the website.

The County Channel is also shown on:

Comcast - Channel 2

Hargray - Channel 9 and 113

Time Warner - Channel 63

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