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Resident Rails City over Cable Channel by:

Like cheerleaders on a football team, city commissioners touted the greatness of Margate at their March meeting. One resident agreed, but criticized the city’s ability to effectively utilize public-access television to promote itself.

“I got Comcast today and went right to the Margate channel and it was pathetic,” Anthony Caggiano told Margate City Commissioners.

Comcast Channel 78 is Margate’s government public-access channel. It enables cities to broadcast information 24/7 and televise meetings live. Cities have full reign over content on the channel with some Broward cities leveraging broadcast capabilities better than others.

Witnessing a 1-minute, 55-second loop of a water quality report, Pledge of Allegiance, names of city officials and meeting notices, Caggiano said the city could do better.

“We’re talking about this thing rotating 30 times an hour. We have a channel dedicated to the city that’s being wasted in my opinion by having two minutes of almost nothing,” he said.

Caggiano suggested the channel could be used to promote Sounds at Sundown concerts, Movies in the Park and other events sponsored by the city and area non-profits. Given plans to spend tens of thousands of dollars on branding, the city should better leverage the channel to its benefit.

“Let’s use this channel wisely. I don’t know who runs the channel, but whoever does should be running it a whole bunch better. And if nothing else put some music in the background,” Caggiano said.

Having neglected the channel for years, and with no discernable way to determine how many people view the broadcasts, the city commission directed the City Clerk’s Office to explore informational improvements.

Since Channel 78 in Margate broadcasts only live audio of city commission meetings, Margate resident, Scott Yardley, offered to supply the city with videotapes of meetings he produces for his Margater website as a means of promoting transparency in government. Commissioners said they would consider it.

Coral Bay resident, Tony Spavento, suggested using footage of Margate parades, veteran ceremonies, and awards at City Hall as content for the channel. Speaking to Caggiano's earlier point on rebranding, Spavento said it makes no sense to pay $55,000 or $155,000 to rebrand Margate.

"You don't have to advertise 'I'm going to be better.' - be better and it will go out," he told commissioners.

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