Mayor plans to take on oversight of community media

By Brandi Makuski

Mayor Mike Wiza is asking the city to move the community media department inside his direct oversight.

The department includes the city’s website and public access television station and radio station, along with various social media platforms.

According to historical notes collected by Tom Schrader, former parks director, and John Quirk, the city’s community media manager, the department has been overseen by the parks department since 1982, which the exception of 1998-2007, when it was supervised by the mayor’s office.

When Quirk came on board in 1994, the city began expanding the department’s responsibilities, which until then focused on recording and broadcasting city government meetings. The department soon began recording meetings of the Portage Co. Board of Supervisors, and broadcasting meetings from the Stevens Point Area Public School Board.

In recent years, video broadcasting has expanded to include interviews conducted by the mayor, various community events, and public forums.

“All of these things have allowed the people we serve to better connect with our government and our community,” Wiza wrote in a memo to the personnel committee. “It is not a Parks and Recreation function.”

Wiza said he’s discussed the possible move with Schrader and Quirk, and he believes the services provided by the department are “more attune to Information and Technology and is also one of our smallest workgroups”.

“Having community media under administration also allows for more uniform content from all departments which would be a sizable improvement for our citizens,” he wrote. “The physical location will not change nor will the current department structure, but the intent.”

Wiza said he plans to hire a part-time PR/marketing position at some point in the future, which would work with IT and the community media manager.

The personnel committee will discuss the issue at 6 p.m. on Monday in the Community Room of the Stevens Point Police Department, 933 Michigan Ave.