KTOO updates chamber about Gavel to Gavel plans

KTOO General Manager Bill Legere speaks to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce about the value of the station production of Gavel to Gavel during their Thursday luncheon at the Moose Family Center.

The Gavel to Gavel program has been a part of KTOO’s operations tasked with keeping up with the Legislature since 1995. But as time progresses, so do the demands. KTOO has built its content lately and has more on the way.


KTOO General Manager Bill Legere gave the Juneau Chamber of Commerce a rundown of Gavel to Gavel’s 2011 changes, starting with its new logo and nickname, “Gavel Alaska.” Legere said when dealing with a brand, introducing a new nickname can be tricky, as it’s a recognition factor. He said the station is not changing the actual name, but giving viewers a shortcut to finding it online.

One of the station’s biggest changes was its new website, www.gavelalaska.org. The enhanced site features video-on-demand for archives of all of Gavel to Gavel’s TV events to complement its audio archives.

In addition, the site will have improved live web streams due to moving its content distribution network to Seattle. KTOO has done its own streaming for more than a decade, but Legere said the higher bandwidth in Seattle will improve quality and accessibility more than the in-house options.

Other new content includes “Capital Views,” which branches out from covering legislators to include commissioners and administrative professionals.

There are also legislative staff profiles not for those in positions of power, but rather those that work around them such as carpenters, clerks, assistants, managers and other support staff. Legere described the feature as “putting a human face on what goes on in the Legislature.”

Other new features are headlines, new graphics, easier-to-read titles and time-lapse videos of various Juneau scenes.

The improvements aren’t done yet. Gavel to Gavel’s future plans entail more ways to reach the public, such as letting viewers access it on smartphones.

“The number one request is to put Gavel to Gavel on an iPhone app,” Legere said.

KTOO also intends to get the program on YouTube plus other cities’ radio channels and sub-channels.

“If we get Gavel to Gavel on radios in other cities that would be one way to expand the service.”

Other online plans include enhancing its current social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter to keep the public more current on certain legislative schedules as they happen, as they can be hard to detail ahead of time.

KTOO also wants to utilize the Alaska Rural Communications System and increase its coverage to include more public policy events, headline news, agency profiles, boards and commissions and Alaska history. Legere also wants to expand profiles and interviews outside of Juneau.

Gavel to Gavel’s video channels include General Communication Inc., DirecTV, the DISH Network and channels in Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Legere also remarked on KTOO’s financial status with operating costs at $605,000 a year. Its revenues total $325,000 with contributions from KTOO at $140,000 plus another $140,000 from the private sector.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.



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