RACINE — Anyone who has tuned into BelleTV, previously known as CAR25 (Cable Access Racine), over the past week or so has found a blank screen.
City Communications Director Shannon Powell said the equipment to maintain and broadcast BelleTV has been having issues with overheating and shutting down for some time, and stopped working about a week ago. Officials estimate the cost to replace the equipment would be more than $30,000, which was not been budgeted for 2020.
City Administrator Jim Palenick said that with a growing number of residents cutting the cord and relying on streaming instead of cable television, it’s debatable whether the station would be worth the investment to maintain it.
“At one time cable access was very important,” said Palenick. “There seems to be much better ways to provide that service.”
Alderman Sandy Weidner of the 6th District has submitted a request to amend the 2020 budget to include the needed repairs for that equipment. She argues that there are many people, particularly older residents, who still rely on the channel.
“There are plenty of people who don’t get their government news on a computer or a smartphone,” said Weidner.
City meetings that would normally play on BelleTV, such as the City Council and Committee of the Whole budget hearings, are still available online at belletv.viebit.com.
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