In a move that will likely make it easier for citizens and the media to follow their state government, the Hawaii Legislature plans to launch a video-on-demand channel.

Think CSPAN, but probably without a Vivaldi concerto in D major. Slack-key, maybe.

Olelo video camera at the Capitol. 15 jan 2016. photograph by Cory Lum/Civil Beat

HSPAN — the Hawaii State Public Access Network — will broadcast on Channel 50, a digital channel available on Oceanic Time Warner Cable.

Capitol TV, which broadcasts state House and Senate hearings, briefings and major floor sessions, will control the production at the Capitol, while Olelo Community Media will manage the transmission.

HSPAN logo -- official

“This shows real vision on the part of the Legislature,” said Jack Bates, Olelo’s senior advisor for marketing. “They wanted to get more transparency, a way to have a CSPAN-type channel that would give the public more information.”

It’s not clear whether all videotaped content will be available for viewing on demand, or how it will be archived. But the Senate Clerk’s Office, which helps determine programming along with the House Clerk’s Office for the respective chambers, said the goal was to provide as much content in video-on-demand format as possible.

Chief Clerk Carol Taniguchi cautioned that HSPAN is “a work in progress,” with a lot of technical details still to be hammered out. It is also something that has been in discussion for a number of years and involving a variety of parties.

What makes HSPAN possible is that Oceanic holds the cable franchise. Part of that agreement requires a channel dedicated to state government.

It’s not clear when HSPAN will launch, but the goal is sometime during the 2016 session, which officially opens next week. Taniguchi said she did not expect HSPAN to come at any additional cost to the state’s general fund or require additional staffing.

Olelo camera

For a state with a unique geographical terrain, video on demand could be an appealing platform, especially for the neighbor islands.

Meanwhile, Capitol TV’s regular broadcasts of legislative proceedings on Olelo Community Television Channels 49, 52, 53 and 54 are expected to continue.

Capitol TV’s website also indicates that its broadcasts or rebroadcasts may be viewed on Akaku (Maui Community Television Channel 54) and Na Leo O Hawaii in Hilo and Kona on the Big Island.

Hoike (Kauai Community Television Channels 52 and 53) is also listed on Capitol TV’s website, but Kauai viewers and others say that Capitol broadcasts have been hard to come by on the Garden Island.

A preview of HSPAN is set for Jan. 26 at the Capitol Auditorium. An invitation from Sanford Inouye, Olelo’s president and CEO, promises that the new channel will enable the public “to view many, if not all hearings and conferences held in the Capitol.”

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