Frequently Asked Questions
Founded in 2007, Darien TV79 is the government television station run by the Town of Darien and available to subscribers of Cablevision in the town. Our programming is also available online, on-demand on this website and on our Vimeo website. You can also watch our video “stream” on YouTube from any internet device. We also maintain a Facebook page and Twitter account.
Our capital equipment is bought using grants from Altice (Cablevision) accrued from annual cable charges paid by subscribers. In addition, those subscriber funds help defray some of the costs of camera operators. The balance of our operating costs is paid by budget allocations by the town.
We also have received several generous grants from The Darien Foundation allowing us to update our technology and expand our program offerings.
Co-founders David Dever and Jim Cameron volunteer as General Manager-emeritus and Program Director, respectively. The Chief Technology Officer is Cecil Wade. They report to The Darien TV79 Advisory Board which is appointed by The Board of Selectmen and meets quarterly.
We have extensive “Operating Guidelines”, detailing what we can and cannot cover. You’ll find a copy on the Town website here.
You can call our TV studio (203-656-7300 ext 7484), send us an e-mail ([email protected]), or contact TV79 Advisory Board Chairman Mike Wheeler ([email protected])
TV79 tries to cover all major town meetings including Board of Selectmen, Representative Town Meeting, Board of Finance, etc. Meetings in Town Hall’s rooms 119, 206, 213 and the Town Hall Auditorium are usually covered live, while others are recorded for later playback. All meetings are re-aired for at least one week and are always available online, on-demand, indefinitely on our Vimeo channel.
The Board of Education records video of many of its own meetings using its own equipment and staff. TV79 receives copies of those meetings which we air, in their entirety, on a timely basis. TV79 does not assume responsibility for the content or production of those meetings.
Under the state’s Freedom of Information Act, TV79 has the same rights as any citizen to attend and record audio / video of any public meeting in town. The only exceptions are meetings held in “Executive Session” (see below).
The camera operator covering a meeting will post signs in the meeting room to remind all participants that the meeting is being recorded or aired live. Every effort will be made by the camera operator to speak to the Chair of the meeting in advance to also remind them that the meeting is aired live or being recorded.
Our cameras are run by remote control from our booth and are not equipped with “tally lights”. Because we switch frequently from camera to camera, meeting participants won’t know which camera is “on” or what it’s focused on. Just assume you’re on camera and don’t worry.
We only point the camera at whoever is speaking and any charts they may be showing. We occasionally may pan across the dais or the audience, but we do not seek “reaction shots” of people.
In room 206 we have permanent mic’s on the dais, the podium and audience mic’s hung from the ceiling with an additional mic usually on the front table. In rooms 119 and 213 there are mic’s hung from the ceiling. In the Auditorium we use that room’s PA system mics. All mics are left in the “on” position, so please be careful not to cover them with papers or make excessive noise.
When we are recording a meeting we start recording before the meeting begins to check audio levels, lighting and focus. When we air a meeting live, we are also recording before the meeting is called to order. (If we weren’t recording we would miss the “call to order”.) But what is seen on the air, either live or on replay, is ONLY the “gavel to gavel” portion of the meeting from the “call to order” to when the Chairperson declares “we are adjourned”.
If you are Chairing a meeting it is very important that you clearly delineate those two points with that language: “I call this meeting of the XYZ Board to order” and “The meeting is adjourned”. That is where we begin and end our coverage.
If a meeting takes a brief break (recess) we air that live with the audio turned down. On taped replay we will edit out that break and try to put a notation on the opening title slide.
Again, anything that may be recorded by TV79 before the meeting convenes or after adjournment will NOT be aired.
While we make every effort to have our cameras and mic’s unobtrusive, getting good audio at a meeting can be a challenge. Please be sure the mic nearest you is not covered by paper and encourage anyone at the podium to keep the gooseneck mic pointed in their direction.
In the Auditorium all members of the public offering comments must use the PA system mic’s, either at the podium or hand-held. Casual comments from the seats won’t be picked up by the mics, leaving viewers wondering what they missed.
Very often presenters use maps or charts, especially at land use meetings. But if they are pointed only in the direction of the Board or Commission and not visible to the TV cameras, the viewers at home have no idea of what’s being discussed. Remember… more people watch your meeting on TV79 than ever attend in person, so always keep our viewers in mind and keep any visual aids visible to our cameras.
Advise the TV79 camera operator in advance and ask the presenter to give them a copy of their “deck” for copying to our computer BEFORE the meeting. The camera operator also has a thumb drive in the TV79 booth and can make a copy of the PowerPoint from your laptop. Then, when the slides are being shown live at the meeting, we can show a clean, digital “original” of the same slide at the same time via our in-booth PC.
Just as members of the public are excluded from such privileged discussions of personnel or legal matters, so too is TV79. So it is essential that the Chair of the meeting advise the camera operator before the meeting if the body plans to go into Executive Session, at what point in the meeting and for how long.
If the Executive Session is at the end of the meeting and the body will reconvene only to then adjourn, TV79 will end its coverage when Executive Session is begun.
Here again, please let the camera operator know if this is likely (for example, if you know the meeting may run 2 – 3 hours) and when you call for a recess, please say for how long. On air we will put up a slide indicating that the meeting is on a break and will reconvene.
During the adjournment / recess we will NOT air any audio from the room, so conversations that may occur that are not part of the official meeting will NOT be aired.
When the meeting is re-aired, we will edit out the “break” and advise viewers what they missed and why.
Whenever possible, we air meetings live. But if there are two or more meetings happening simultaneously, we have to make a judgment call as to which should go live and which should be aired on tape delay. All live meetings are also taped, re-aired and available online.
Our new program week starts Friday afternoon when we issue our Program Guide for the week ahead. Thanks to our new computer server we air dozens of new and old meetings and community public affairs programs each week, prioritizing the latest government meetings to “prime time”, 6 -10 pm weekdays.
To get a free copy of our weekly e-mail Program Guide, click here.
Yes! The easiest way to find and see available archived meeting coverage is right here on DarienTV79.com. Using the menus at the top, you can select the meeting type, and the thumbnails that are presented are almost always in reverse chronological order.
We also maintain a channel on Vimeo (something like YouTube) where all of our meetings are archived in reverse chronological order. Click on the name or thumbnail for the meeting of interest and you’ll see a link to its agenda and the full video. You can watch all or any part of the video, stopping or starting whenever you wish.
In addition, we have a channel on YouTube that maintains a record of all DarienTV79 Live Streams. We Live Stream to YouTube each day from 4 PM to Midnight. YouTube keeps historical copies of previous Live Streams, and, if you tune to the YouTube Channel between 4 PM and Midnight, you can watch the show that is currently being broadcast on TV79.
Yes. DVD copies are $25 each and are usually ready for pick-up in a few days after ordering. Just e-mail us your request to [email protected]. When you pick up your DVD you will also be asked to sign a Waiver indicating that you acknowledge that the DVD is for your personal use and may not be edited or posted on any website without permission.
And remember… all of our meetings are available for free both on this website, and on our Vimeo channel, either for viewing or downloading.
Before converting to an all-digital operation all of our shows were recorded on DVDs now archived at The Darien Library where you can view them or request copies.
In addition to town hall coverage, TV79 also airs other meetings of civic interest from The Darien Library, Darien Community Assoc., Darien Arts Center, Darien Men’s Association and similar venues. We also cover the Memorial Day Parade and Remembrance Services, Veterans Day, the July 4th “Push Pull Parade”, etc.
We always air the League of Women Voters’ “Candidates Night” (debate) before each local, state and national election.
We also have two continuing series of interview programs, “Inside Town Hall” and “Community Matters”, hosted by Program Director Jim Cameron.
And occasionally TV79 airs a program from a neighboring town’s Government TV station, but only when the subject matter pertains to Darien.
Yes, Channel 78 is “Blue Wave TV” and is programmed out of Darien HS. The Darien Board of Education is responsible for programming on this station.
We are often looking for camera operators and video producers, especially folks with experience in this field. Even without experience, we offer hands-on training for several weeks before allowing you to “solo” and cover a meeting. Our camera operators are paid up to $30 per hour for their time and can work as little as one evening a week. For more information, contact us at [email protected]
Appointed by the Board of Selectmen, the seven members of the TV79 Advisory Board meet on a quarterly basis to review the station’s funding, programming and operations. You can find more information about the Board here.