Best Practices

Mayor Patrick Henry Hays

NLRTV -- Student Television Station

The City of North Little Rock and the North Little Rock School District established an innovative partnership to create NLRTV, a student-operated television station. What was once an underutilized, boring local government access channel has evolved into a lively, fun and informative venue for high school student-produced television shows.

Early in his first term, Mayor Patrick Henry Hays asked Todd Larson, Director of Commerce and Governmental Relations, to develop some proposals for better using the government access channel that the Comcast Cable Company made available for city use. Mr. Larson worked with James Smith, North Little Rock School District Superintendent of Schools, and his representatives to create NLRTV, which would be operated by high school students. Mayor Hays strongly supported the proposal, with the city making financial and equipment contributions. City and district employees built a production studio in the high school building.

Another commitment from the school district helped ensure the success of NLRTV. Television production classes were developed, and an instructor, Jim Billings, was given the time and support necessary to make this partnership work. Students receive credit for several television-related courses. Approximately 500 students have taken NLRTV-related courses. Working closely with Joe Smith, Director of the Mayor's Office of Administration, Mr. Billings and his students provide the time and talent required to create, write, direct, edit, produce, announce and act in the wide range of shows found on NLRTV. Each school year week, five hours of original programming is produced. This ambitious undertaking has been recognized for achievement with an award from the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media.

North Little Rock High School football and basketball games, graduation, talent shows and city council meetings are covered live, then replayed throughout the next week. The only high school mobile production van in Arkansas allows student announcers, commentators and camera operators to cover these and other special events of interest to the community. In fact, for the last several years, NLRTV coverage of our National Night Out Against Crime has helped the city place in the top 20 cities recognized for having effective National Night Out programs. Currently, NLRTV is working with the North Little Rock Police Department on a monthly news magazine show that will begin airing soon.

Contact: Office of the Mayor, (501) 340-5330

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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