Among the first major moves made by Bloomfield Township under the leadership of Supervisor Leo Savoie last fall was to start videotaping and live-streaming township board meetings.
Now, with the help of a creative college intern, the township CEO hopes to continue the improved accessibility by starting an interactive show where he talks directly to citizens with questions.
'Real Time with Leo Savoie' debuts this Thursday at 6 p.m. on Bloomfield Community Television, Channel 15 for Comcast subscribers. The no-frills 20-minute spot features Savoie recorded in his office answering questions directly from residents willing to ask them in multiple media platforms.
The questions are usually captured on video by host and creator Samuel Ging, a township resident and intern at the station. He posted a short video about the show on the township's Facebook site last month and has taken questions from residents while out around town.
His visits so far include the Bloomfield Township Public Library, local farmer's markets, and the Bloomfield Township Senior Services Center, but Ging said he'll go anywhere that he knows people with questions or concerns are milling about.
"We're trying to get people in the community to talk about their concerns, and educate them about who the decision makers are and the political system they abide by," said Ging, a Seaholm High School alumnus now entering his senior year at Grand Valley State University.
The debut show features questions that dealt mostly with government procedure, but Ging said that he expects the topics to vary.
"People are stumped a bit when we offer them a chance to ask a direct question, but it can range between the political and the personal. And we hope to keep it fun," he said.
Another anticipated benefit is increased interaction with citizens through the township website and social media outlets. Residents may also submit questions via Facebook, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and can arrange to be professionally taped while asking a question.
Leslie Helwig, Bloomfield Township's Director of Community Relations and Cable Coordinator, said both station programmers and Savoie quickly saw value in the show's premise.
"It's a good idea and gives (Savoie) a chance to educate people about their local government, and the different areas where they get services. That's a service right there," Helwig said.
Upcoming 'Real Time' schedule:
- Thursday, July 12 at 6 p.m.
- Friday, July 13 at 2 p.m.
- Sunday, July 15 at 8 p.m.
Stay tuned for additional air times for the week of July 16, which had not been scheduled as of Monday morning.