Shelby County commissioners recently voted to spend more than $100,000 of taxpayer money to create their own podcasts, according to various news outlets.
That doesn’t sit well with the Nashville-based Beacon Center of Tennessee, a free-market think tank.
“It’s insane. It’s hard to justify how the county commissioners in Shelby County could possibly think this is a good use of tax dollars,” Beacon spokesman Mark Cunningham told The Tennessee Star Tuesday.
“A couple of people on the council will have weekly shows and break down what happened at the meetings. It will be an hour-long show telling you what they think, which, honestly, sounds a lot like state-sponsored TV.”
Cunningham said people can already watch commission meetings on the Internet.
LocalMemphis.com quoted Commissioner Mick Wright, the only commissioner to reportedly vote against the deal paying the Kudzukian network almost $110,000 to produce podcasts.
“The cost of it. This contract is so outrageous. It just baffles me why we are doing this,” Wright reportedly said.
“When you are talking about over $109,000, you could buy a small fleet of vehicles for that amount and still do a podcast.”
The website reported the City of Memphis has a similar contract with Kudzukian — but for far less money.
“The city is paying the company just over $21,000 a year to produce and distribute up to four ‘Neighborhood Connect’ podcasts per month,” according to the website.
The website founded cheaper options in town.
“The OAM Network operates out of Crosstown Concourse. Here a podcast costs $300 for the first episode and $100 per episode after that. OAM’s owner questions why the county is even paying for podcasts when it video streams its meeting and also broadcasts them live on the radio,” the website reported.
According to the Memphis-based WMCActionNews5.com, the podcast is the idea of Commissioner Van Turner.
“We want to reach as many constituents in this county as possible,” Turner reportedly told the station.
“It makes for a more transparent government, a more honest government and it makes for a more accessible government.”
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