Video coordinator keeps his eye on Kent
By STEVE HUNTER
Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter
June 19, 2008 · Updated 8:21 PM
Seth Frankel has busy job with city
Nobody watches the city of Kent as closely as Seth Frankel.
From City Council meetings to Fourth of July Splash celebrations, Frankel captures it all on videotape.
Frankel, the city video-program coordinator, is the man behind most of the meetings and events that are shown on Kent TV 21 as well as on the city of Kent Web site at www.ci.kent.wa.us/kenttv21.
Residents within the city limits, who subscribe to Comcast cable services, can watch city meetings and events on channel 21.
“I hope what I do helps people turn on the meetings or programs,” Frankel said Tuesday, from his small studio on the second floor of City Hall.
In addition to shooting video, Frankel edits tapes, helps write scripts and sometimes even narrates programs. Two other city employees help shoot meetings and other events.
Frankel, who has worked for the city for 13 months, spent the previous 13 years working at Public Broadcasting Service stations in Colorado and California.
“At my first PBS station we had very specific duties,” Frankel said. “I wanted to do everything. I like that here.”
Frankel, 39, worked about 11 years as a director of production at a PBS station in Eureka, Calif., before deciding he wanted a new challenge. He saw the job posting for a video program coordinator for Kent and figured his experience would make him a good fit for the position.
“I watched the channel (21) online and liked the way the city was using technology to communicate to citizens,” Frankel said. “And the city has plans to take that to the next level.”
Right now, residents can click on the city Web site and watch City Council meetings or one of Kent’s many committee meetings, from public safety to parks and human services. Frankel videotaped three night meetings this week alone.
But by the end of the year, residents should be able to click on an agenda item of a Council meeting and go right to discussion of that item rather than having to watch the entire meeting.
That change is all part of an update of the city’s video equipment that has taken up much of Frankel’s time since he started the job last year.
Channel 21 offers 24-hour programming with about three to six hours of local shows. Several of the local shows are repeated during the day, including “Kent Today,” an interview show about city events or people hosted by Mayor Suzette Cooke. Kent Today is taped every other week.
Michelle Witham, city community and public affairs manager, produces Kent Today and works closely with Frankel on the program.
“He’s been great to help me put those shows together,” Witham said of Frankel.
In fact, one week Cooke phoned Witham early in the morning the day of the taping of “Kent Today” and said she could not make the show because of illness. Cooke asked Witham to sit in for her for the three shows taped that day.
“I had never done an interview and played the Oprah (Winfrey) part,” Witham said. “Seth filmed, edited and cut away and made me look like I knew what I was doing.”
Outside of work, Frankel lives in Kent and enjoys spending time with his wife, Christina, and their two girls ages 5 and 2. He likes to hike, jog, camp and is a big Rock’n’Roll fan. He saw his first Bruce Springsteen concert March 29 at KeyArena in Seattle.
“That had been a goal of mine to see him,” Frankel said, of his experience watching “The Boss” play live. “That was great.”
Frankel plans to create more local content for channel 21. He’s in the process of finishing a 25-minute program about recycling, where he rides along with haulers and follows items that go from the recycle bins in front of Kent homes to their final destination: a recycling plant in Woodinville.
“It’s a video to get out good information; it’s interesting to watch and it’s fun to do,” Frankel said.
Frankel, who grew up in Hawaii, moved to the mainland to attend the University of Oregon in Eugene, where he earned a degree in telecommunications and film. He never expected to one day be working a government job.
“But I like being involved in the community, to work in City Hall and be a part of that,” Frankel said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
So when the city dedicates Town Square Plaza Park on June 28 and celebrates the Fourth of July Splash at Lake Meridian Park, Frankel will be there with a camera.
“We try to convey everything that’s going on in the city,” Frankel said. “And in Kent, that’s a lot.”Contact Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter Steve Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-872-6600, ext. 5052.