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Fri, Feb. 28

City of Prescott looks to Channel 15 to program tourism information

PRESCOTT - While visitors to Prescott are relaxing in their hotel rooms, Prescott City Councilman Chris Kuknyo would like them to have a venue for learning about the community.

During a council discussion earlier this week, Kuknyo proposed using the local Channel 15 "as a vehicle to help our tourism."

As Kuknyo envisions it, the city would program the unused government access channel with an hour-long tourism-oriented program that would play continuously.

By combining already produced shows such as "Live + Work + Play" and "Prescott Great Outdoors" with regularly updated tourism information, Kuknyo said the city could come up with an entertaining and informative format for visitors and residents alike. That, in turn, could be programmed to be the channel that comes on first in Prescott hotel rooms and lobbies.

The council appeared receptive to the idea on Tuesday. The first step would involve meeting with representatives of the lodging industry to get their take on the plan.

Currently, Kuknyo maintains, "We do not do a real good job of directing our tourists. They are left to their own resorts." By showcasing the community's attributes in one place, he says the city could help to rectify that.

For example, the 2011 Emmy-nominated "Live + Work + Play" video was intended to capture the unique qualities that make Prescott a good place to live. Featuring narration by nationally known singer Toni Tennille, the video showcases scenic images such as clouds moving over Watson Lake and a snowstorm in the Granite Dells.

The city also has "Prescott's Great Outdoors" and "Arts & Culture Prescott" - videos that are currently available on the city's tourism website,

Prescott Tourism Director Don Prince agreed that tourism-oriented programming on television would be useful in getting information out to visitors - "not only while they're here, but also for reasons to come back."

The Channel 15 idea has been under consideration for several years, Prince said, but has so far not come to fruition.

Kuknyo hopes to push the idea forward.

"Channel 15 has been available to us for decades, but we haven't used it," he told his fellow council members. "This could be up and running in a couple of months."

The city currently uses the public access Channel 13 to televise its government meetings - a venue that Kuknyo said "serves us well."

As a part of his presentation, Kuknyo showed a prototype of what the hour-long program might look like. He recorded examples of comments that City Council members might provide, introducing various aspects of the community.

Each week, Kuknyo said the city could update the program, inserting fresh information on upcoming events. And to alert hotel guest about the program, he said the city could leave small paper "tents" in each room that would explain the content.

"The question that arises hinges on the policy on the use of 13, 15," Prescott City Manager Craig McConnell told the council. "Does the council as a whole want to keep the meetings on 13?"

If the council does want to proceed with the Channel 15 idea for tourism, McConnell said, "I think it's do-able with existing staff."

Prince pointed out that his department already regularly compiles a calendar of events, which could be useful for the programming.

Mayor Marlin Kuykendall suggested that the council should discuss the matter further at a future workshop.

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