Madison Heights broadcasts meetings live on Ustream

By: Andy Kozlowski, | Madison - Park News | Published July 1, 2015

MADISON HEIGHTS — Transparency is important to the Madison Heights City Council. To keep residents in the loop, the city has started live-streaming meetings on the Internet via Ustream. Now you can follow the decision-making process from the comfort of your own home.

To access Ustream, simply visit the city’s website, www.madison-heights.org, and click the “MHTV Live Stream” link on the left-hand column. If a meeting is taking place, you’ll see it there.

City Council meetings are also archived and made available on YouTube. The city’s YouTube channel is “Madison Heights TV.” 

Madison Heights City Council meetings are at 7:30 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays of every month. Council meets at Madison Heights City Hall, 300 W. 13 Mile Road. Everyone is free to attend — Ustream and YouTube are just more options. The meetings are also broadcast live on Comcast Cable TV Channel 15 and WideOpenWest (WOW) Cable Channel 10, and are rebroadcast the week of the meetings on Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m.

Linda Williams, the city’s economic and community engagement supervisor, said Ustream is more in line with how people get updates today.

“Anyone with an Internet connection, either from their computer or any kind of mobile device, can use this,” Williams said. “A lot of people are getting news feeds through their smartphones and tablets these days, so it makes sense we update our technology and offer this service where folks can see the meetings live. It’s very straightforward and very convenient.”

City staff went back and forth with the city’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC), researching the best way to implement live-streaming at city meetings. Madison Heights City Councilman Mark Bliss said in an email that the city’s use of Ustream is an example of how they’re leveraging new technology in the “ITAC era.”

He explained how before, live-streaming wasn’t possible since meetings were recorded to VHS and then converted to playable web files after the meeting, a process that was time-consuming for staff and produced a low-quality recording that, as Bliss puts it, was “tough to watch.”

The switch to Ustream was part of an overall video production upgrade that was budgeted and recently installed. The new process is near-automatic and streamlined, delivering a high-quality recording that residents can watch live on Ustream or later on YouTube.

“Personally, I’m thrilled about the results of this project,” Bliss said. “Putting our meetings online was a major goal of mine so that we can make it as easy as possible for our government to be fully transparent, and give all of our residents the opportunity to finally watch our council meetings live, and share them more easily following the meeting.

“This is especially important for those who don’t have WOW or Comcast and were unable to watch meetings in the past,” he said. “In the future, this new platform will allow us to share videos of individual agenda items and further engage the residents watching live.”

Madison Heights City Council meetings are at 7:30 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays of each month. To watch the meetings live, visit www.madison-heights.org and click the “MHTV Live Stream” link on the left-hand column. For archived videos, look up the city’s YouTube channel, “Madison Heights TV.”