When it comes to telling a story, video offers the opportunity not only to be educational, but also entertaining. That’s why VOP-TV, Oak Park’s government television station, is such an important tool for disseminating information about municipal programs and services.
Thanks to YouTube and other social media, VOP-TV programming reaches audiences far beyond local cable television subscribers. VOP-TV’s YouTube channel — www.youtube.com/vopnews — currently hosts nearly 400 original videos.
Of course, VOP-TV is government-sponsored television under the Federal Communication Commission definition, which means a focus on programs and services that are available to or supported by Oak Park taxpayers. But that doesn’t mean the information is drab or dry. In fact, VOP-TV programs have won numerous national awards.
Program topics range from purely government information like explaining specific municipal programs to coverage of special events, like the annual A Day in Our Village festival and the July 4th parade. But VOP-TV videos also feature recycling tips, public art and special Oak Parkers. Production quality — lighting, sound and editing — are top tier, thanks to the skills of Media Production Manager Joe Kreml, who studied at Chicago’s Columbia College.
Relying at times on other Communications Department staff for help with script writing and occasional on-camera appearances, Kreml produces, films and edits the videos, many of which feature municipal employees and residents in a wide variety of roles.
VOP-TV, which is housed in Village Hall, was set up originally to broadcast Village Board meetings, a role that remains an important function. But even the meetings now are streamed live and archived in a searchable database on the Village website at www.oak-park.us/boardtv. Cable television continues to be an important outlet for VOP-TV programming, which is available to Comcast subscribers on channel 6 and AT&T customers on channel 99.
VOP-TV cannot support private events and activities of not-for-profit or political organizations, but training and equipment for individuals who wish to become public access television producers are available through Comcast. Public access programming is broadcast on Comcast channel 19.
More information on VOP-TV and other public information programs is posted at www.oak-park.us/publicinformation.