Because Albany records its meetings, people can watch them days later. This, though, has been the case for a number of years as the meetings were broadcast live via the local television station and then saved to the city’s website.
Work sessions for the city, however, were not televised but when COVID-19 forced the council online, those sessions were held via a meeting software program called gotomeet similar to Zoom and the public could join and weigh-in.
In 2020, the city posted 591 hours of public meetings to Youtube, averaging 25 viewers. Prior to the pandemic, that average was less than five viewers. On Facebook, Harrington said about 59% of viewers watched the meetings live.
Greater Albany Public Schools, like the city, has had its eye towards streaming before the pandemic but has seen an increase in engagement in 2020.
“Streaming board meetings, which began with in-person meetings in October 2019, has been a great way to provide our community easy access to both live and recorded meetings and has helped increase submission of public comments as well,” said GAPS spokesperson Andrew Tomsky.
Between March of 2019 and February of 2020 — just prior to the COVID-19 shut down — GAPS views totaled 2,225 and the district received 28 public comments. Between March of 2020, just as COVID-19 restrictions went into effect, and February of this year, GAPS has had 19,996 views and 37 comments.