AUSTIN EDITION - Q-TV license is on agenda for board meeting

From staff reports

The Austin School Board will vote Monday on whether to approve a contract for no more than $80,000 for a consultant to help transfer the district's KSMQ-TV license to Southern Minnesota Quality Broadcasting Inc.

During its monthly meeting, the board will vote on a consultant-service contract for Don Thigpen of Creative Educational Consulting through April 30, according to the board's agenda. His consulting services started Aug. 16. Because of flooding in the city council chambers, the school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. in Banfield Elementary School's carpeted gym.

Thigpen was a consultant for the community group that proposed transferring the license of the public-television station. KSMQ serves about 655,000 viewers.

Riverland Community College, the city of Austin, Hiawatha Broadband Communications of Winona, Hormel Foods Corp. and Rochester Community Technical College made up the group.


The board approved the license transferal Aug. 9 after about a year of talks.

If approved, the contract would allow the district to extend the contract on a monthly basis if necessary. It would pay Thigpen $785 a day.

Some aspects of Thigpen's work would include starting the Federal Communications compliance process, examining KSMQ's existing organizational structure and making recommendations, leading monthly team meetings with all staff in each program, and contacting appropriate state and federal agencies for permission to transfer the license.

The community group is seeking to keep KSMQ in Austin by building or renovating a facility into a 15,000 to 20,000 square-foot station. Officials with the group have said they want KSMQ to "carve its own niche" rather than compete against the Twin Cities and Iowa broadcasts that reach southern Minnesota.

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