MILTON, Ga. — Milton recently completed the switch to YouTube for streaming city meetings to fix playback issues it encountered with its prior service, but at a recent meeting, audio issues plagued the video feed.
The timing was discouraging for the city. Many had tuned in online to view the council’s discussion on a contentious issue — use permits for the Painted Horse Winery and Vineyards. After about 20 minutes of the meeting stream playing without audio, some viewers took to the comments section on the video stream to complain.
The city took notice, had its IT department work on the issue and restarted the stream, but viewers missed over 20 minutes of audio before the audio began working on the refreshed meeting video.
“It was a technical glitch that we were able to resolve by restarting the livestream,” city spokesperson Greg Botelho said. “Still, we have very intentional built-in redundancy – in that, in addition to YouTube, we have copies of full meeting videos on a city computer.”
Milton has since uploaded the meeting in its entirety, including full audio, but those viewing it live missed out on the general public comment period, the initial portion of the city’s presentation on a land management plan for the former Milton Country Club property, the reappointment of members to the Greenspace Advisory Committee and the approval of the consent agenda.
While other meetings have not encountered problems since the city switched to YouTube earlier this month, the issues at the July 19 meeting were still a generally inauspicious start to the new service.
The transfer to YouTube streaming was spurred by several issues, mostly audio related, the city faced over the past year when more people than ever were tuning in remotely during the pandemic.
The city already had an established contract with the Granicus platform for livestreams, and during COVID it has also used Facebook Live and Zoom for city meeting video streams. However, issues like spotty audio from some microphones and compressed audio that made it difficult to understand what was being said were a consistent issue with the city’s livestreams over the last few months.
The city said it hoped the shift to YouTube streaming would alleviate those audio issues.
The move does present a cost savings to taxpayers of about $32,000 a year.