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Community 7 Television debuts new studio and closed captioning

Public access station marks nearly 35 years of broadcasting open meetings
Posted at 6:47 AM, Dec 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-04 08:48:02-05

Community 7 Television, located in the Lincoln Center in Billings, is debuting a brand new studio remodel. The project cost just shy of $100,000, and was accomplished as money from the Cares Act took care of other projects that money was originally set aside for.

Community 7 Television is best known for playing a critical role in government transparency for the past 35 years, broadcasting Billings City Council meetings, Yellowstone County Commissioner meetings and School District Two board meetings live and in their entirety.

“It's stuff that really affects people's lives directly in Billings, right, if you have children in Billings public schools and even if you don’t, do you want to fund a new mill levy to build a new high school?” says Robyn Driscoll Community 7 TV Board Vice Chair.

Community 7 TV has a brand new look, but it has also recently launched closed captioning, which isn’t common among community access stations due to the high cost. The captioning project was completed with joint funding from a Billings Community Foundation grant, The City of Billings, Yellowstone County and SD2. Ongoing costs for year one were personally picked up by Billings Mayor Bill Cole and his wife Anne.

“Closed captioning doesn’t seem like a big deal to us, but for the hearing impaired and people with disabilities, it’s a big thing and it's expensive to get the equipment to do that,” says Community 7 Television General Manager Tim Harrington. “The total cost was nearly $70,000 for us to put that together.

The speech to text closed captioning equipment went online last year.

“The transparency in government of being able to see rather than little bits and pieces of what’s going on, they can watch the open meeting from start to finish,” says Harrington.

Whether Community 7 Television viewers are watching the channel and listening or reading captioning, the station has built a solid reputation of bringing residents hours and hours and hours of open meetings, keeping everyone informed, all from the comfort of your couch since 1989.