New Champaign TV show to educate public

By Eric Heisig

Champaign’s TV station, CGTV, now has a little more variety designed to educate the community.

Last Thursday, the city of Champaign premiered its new monthly television show, “Champaign Connection.” The show, broadcast on CGTV, or channel 5, is designed to bring more attention to issues in the community that the city feels citizens should be aware of.

Jeff Hamilton, telecommunications and A/V technician for the city of Champaign, said the idea has been thrown around for some time but has only recently seen the light of day.

“We have been kicking it around for five or six years and figuring out how to use our channel to better communicate with the public,” he said.

Hamilton said the show will spotlight issues the community should know about but may not be anything any of the local news outlets would cover.

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“We always send out press releases, but we never know whether or not the media will run the story,” Hamilton said. “This is an opportunity to deliver the city’s message.”

The first episode featured segments about the new Champaign Public Library and the Garden Hills youth initiative, and showcased other construction projects and developments around the city.

Mary Bissey, assistant director for the Champaign Public Library, said the TV show was just one of the ways they have been trying to promote the new facilities, and Hamilton had approached them early on to cover it for the show.

“To him, it seemed like a logical first feature,” Bissey said.

The show’s host is Rick Atterberry, local broadcast personality and media communications specialist for the University. He said he was chosen because he has been doing various broadcasting activities in the community for almost 20 years.

The episode premiered for the city staff last Thursday at 3 p.m., with the first airing at 6:30 p.m. the same day.

In future episodes, Hamilton said there are a variety of issues the city wants to spotlight, including identity theft, programs the library offers, the Boneyard Creek restoration project, construction on a new park downtown and flood control.

Both Hamilton and Bissey said they had not heard any public comment since the episode aired, but it was well received by the staff.

The next episode of “Champaign Connection” will air May 15.

Each month’s episode is shown most nights at 6:30 p.m. on CGTV and is available to watch on the city of Champaign’s Web site.