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Syracuse council, county legislature will begin live-streaming sessions

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
The Syracuse Common Council.

The Syracuse Common Council and Onondaga County Legislature will soon begin live-streaming their meetings to the public. The goal is give more residents the opportunity to see their government in action.

The city and county are entering into a partnership with Syracuse public television station WCNY to live-stream everything from budget hearings to council and legislative sessions. Since a lot of these meetings happen during the day, most people do not get the chance to go to them. Talks started with the prior mayoral administration, but WCNY President and CEO Robert Daino said things have moved quickly under Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. Daino said it is a financial and organizational commitment from the station.  

“But it fits in our mission as a public broadcaster to shine a light into transparency and open government to the communities we serve,” Daino said.

With the help of central New York state Sen. Dave Valesky, a $90,000 state grant will cover the cost of cameras and other equipment. It is also a chance for the council chambers to get a new sound system. The meetings will not air on TV, but WCNY will handle the online broadcasts and FCC requirements like closed captioning and related services. 

“For the city or the county to try to do this unto themselves, they don’t have this whole kind of broadcast infrastructure," Daino said. "It would be very costly for anyone to try to spin this up on their own.”

Syracuse meetings will be archived on the city’s YouTube channel. The broadcasts are expected to begin next month to coincide with the budget process.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.