Tom Morton, Townsquare Media
Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

Casper City Council largely blamed itself for not keeping up with the work of the video production company it hired three years ago to create programs for its public access channel 192.

It also agreed during a work session Tuesday that it needed to cancel the contract it signed in 2013 with Dennis Rollins and his Wolf Gang of Wyoming.

"I was a little bit surprised, but pleased, that the council did take on a majority of the responsibility for lack of communication between themselves and my company as to what we actually have been doing on the channel," Rollins said after the work session.

"I was disappointed that there seemed to be a great lack of knowledge among people as to what we're doing with some of the shows we have produced over the years," he said.

During the work session, Assistant City Manager Liz Becher referred to a memo she wrote questioning whether the city needs an outside production company. Her office provides a website announcing local projects, events and topics of interest. The office also provides press releases and is heard on K2 Radio twice a month.

She also said in her memo Wolf Gang has not produced any recent content and its contract was not in the 2016-2017 budget.

The latter comments shocked Rollins, who learned about the work session Friday evening, he said.

Rollins responded with a letter to council members saying his company broadcasts 84 hours a week.

Wolf Gang has produced 40 half-hour programs about city services, preservation and culture, a five-part series on the restoration of Morad Park, a calendar, two nights of movies a week, programs from its library, and classic television shows.

Rollins also recognized the city's financial straits and offered to reduce its payment one-third from $3833.33 to $2555.55 per month.

During the work session, council members agreed the contract needed to be canceled.

Mayor Daniel Sandoval also said council needs to have another discussion about whether it wants original programming to promote the city, and to clarify the council's responsibilities to Rollins.

Three years ago, council told Rollins it wanted to meet with Rollins and work together, Sandoval said. "I don't feel like council's really done that."

Kenyne Humphrey asked if there was a way to track viewership.

And a couple of council members had little idea what was on Channel 192.

"If we're essentially the purchaser of a product, I have to admit that I'm unfamiliar with the product we've purchased," Charlie Powell said, adding he would like to see a list of what Wolf Gang has done.

After the work session, Rollins said he agreed the contract needed to be canceled in order to move ahead.

"They do still feel that having a television channel is a viable thing for the city, and I certainly hope that I can work with them to provide that for them in the future," Rollins said.

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