Access LaPorte County
"This resource makes information available right at the public's fingertips. It brings government into the homes of the public which increases transparency (and) public involvement."
–Ron Meer (Mayor of Michigan City)
Michigan City, IN—Running three channels and catering to numerous towns and cities in the greater Michigan City area, Access LaPorte County turned to LEIGHTRONIX for broadcast automation and online video-on-demand solutions. The county-wide station utilizes the
UltraNEXUS-SDI™, TOTAL INFO®, PEG Central PRO™, a mobile PEGvault-SD™ unit, and a second PEGvault-SD unit housed at the station. With three LEIGHTRONIX products and two LEIGHTRONIX services, Access LaPorte County greatly bolstered its broadcast and streaming capabilities. The reason why, according to Mike Dempsey, the station's director of operations: there was a need.
"We manage and administer the LaPorte County Government Access Channel, Michigan City and LaPorte Indiana Public Access Channels, and we also administer and manage the Crown Point Indiana Access signal. So you see the need for the equipment," Dempsey said.
The station airs LaPorte County, City of LaPorte, and Michigan City government meetings, town council meetings from the neighboring towns of Trail Creek, Long Beach, and Michigana Shores, services of five churches, city hall and city works meetings, and any show a resident comes in and produces for the public access station. Anything that is done in house is uploaded directly into the UltraNEXUS-SDI, but for the various meetings throughout the county Dempsey takes advantage of the PEGcasting™ capability of the PEGvault-SD.
To PEGcast™, Access LaPorte County sends their mobile PEGvault-SD unit to the meeting or event and hooks the video feed directly into the PEGvault-SD. The PEGvault-SD then encodes the video and sends it to their UltraNEXUS-SDI which begins broadcasting the video content on as little as a two minute delay.
The station had so much success with PEGcasting that they were approached by Purdue North Central, a local college, and asked to do a county council meeting from their campus.
"We have Purdue North Central here in our community, and we took the PEGvault-SD out there to do a Next to Live™ county council meeting at the university. The people at Purdue were tickled to death with the signal and the audio quality and the video quality," Dempsey said. "So they told us we would probably be broadcasting more events from their university."
In addition to broadcasting all of the county's content on its various broadcast stations, Access LaPorte County was also storing all of the content on their website for online viewing. Because of the cost of storage, Dempsey found himself deleting videos from the archive more frequently than he wanted in order to keep costs down. With the PEG Central® service, LEIGHTRONIX hosts all of the on-demand video files, making it a very attractive option to Dempsey and Access LaPorte County, because the station would no longer have to worry about the storage restrictions of their previous solution.
"I really wanted our archive to be one or two years of videos so I looked into PEG Central and we were able to afford PEG Central and that solved all of our video storage problems," Dempsey said.
Not only does PEG Central provide Dempsey and Access LaPorte County with their own customizable video-on-demand page, but it also allows Dempsey to embed the videos directly on the Access LaPorte County website without having to worry about the station's storage capacity. Dempsey has taken full advantage of this feature and regularly embeds videos on the homepage of the station's website.
Again, the station's success led to being approached by an outside company for help. This time, Access LaPorte was approached by a financial institution who wanted to post their training videos online. However, the financial institution wanted to password protect the training videos. By simply upgrading to PEG Central PRO, Access LaPorte County was able to accommodate the financial institution with the added security of user authentication. PEG Central PRO provides user authentication on all or select online video resources, and in this case only a few select resources needed to be restricted for the financial institution. PEG Central PRO provided the financial institution with the necessary security while still allowing the rest of Access LaPorte's videos to be publicly available with no login requirement.
"Originally it was just PEG Central but we had a local financial institution, a bank, offer to pay us to come in and video tape their training videos," Dempsey said. "So now we use PEG Central PRO because it's password protected, and I supply their employees with a user name and password and they just log in and watch the training videos through PEG Central PRO."
Severe Weather Warnings
While keeping the county residents informed and providing a station for them to create their own shows is very important to Access LaPorte County, the station's favorite features are the overlay feature of the UltraNEXUS-SDI and the
Zoned TOTAL INFO feature because of their impact on the safety and well-being of the LaPorte county citizens.
"I really like Zoned TOTAL INFO, where you can have the three different panes on the window at one time. I use that a lot, especially when we have inclement weather," Dempsey said. "Believe me, we're right on the southern tip of Lake Michigan so we get all kinds of nasty weather so in conjunction with the National Weather Service, when we get their reports we put overlays on all of our channels."
From PEGcasting, to video-on-demand streaming, to severe weather reports, Access LaPorte County is seen as a source of valuable information. With all the services Access LaPorte County has been providing, people have begun to take notice including Ron Meer, the mayor of Michigan City, who has personally thanked Dempsey and Access LaPorte County for their contributions to the community.
"I think it is important for me as Mayor to point out the valuable resource that Access LaPorte County is for Michigan City and the county as a whole," Meer said. "This resource makes information available right at the public's fingertips. It brings government into the homes of the public which increases transparency, public involvement, as well as archive government meetings. In addition, there is tremendous value in the updates sent out on their channels for public health and safety regarding weather and other emergencies that happen within and surrounding communities that may have an impact on our community."
With three broadcast channels and a need to create an accessible online archive, Access Laporte County had a need for both an automation broadcast server and online video-on-demand solution.
How It Works
The UltraNEXUS-SDI and two PEGvault-SD units allow the station to broadcast content that originates from both inside and outside the station. The three units are also capable of uploading content to the station's PEG Central site, which houses the online video-on-demand content.
In Their Words
"We have Purdue North Central here in our community, and we took the PEGvault-SD out there to do a Next to Live county council meeting at the university. The people at Purdue were tickled to death with the signal and the audio quality and the video quality."
Director of Operations
"I really wanted our archive to be one or two years of videos so I looked into PEG Central and we were able to afford PEG Central and that solved all of our video storage problems."
Director of Operations
At a Glance
- Name: Access LaPorte County
- Location: Michigan City, IN
- Station Beginnings: "Access LaPorte County was first organized in 1997 and was started as part of an Indiana state sponsored program that included all 92 Indiana counties encouraging each of them to have and maintain a county website presence."
—Access LaPorte County website
- French Origins: LaPorte County derives its name from the French phrase "la porte" which means "the door." Explorers gave the area this name after discovering a natural opening in the area's dense forests, providing a westward gateway.
- Famous Residents:
- Daniel D. Bruce–U.S. Marine, posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1969 for heroism in Vietnam
- Anne Baxter–actress known for role as Queen Nefertari in "The Ten Commandments"
- Amy Spindler–former style editor of The New York Times Magazine
- Don Larson–former MLB pitcher,1956 World Series MVP, pitched a perfect game on October 8, 1956
- Abe Gibron–former NFL player and coach
- Janet L. Robinson–former President and CEO of the New York Times
- Anita King–former stunt driver and actress
- John G. Roberts–Chief Justice of the United States
- William Scholl–founder of Dr. Scholl's
- Scott Skiles–former NBA player and coach