TxDOT announcing "podcasting" as new way to deliver pro-toll propaganda

Link to article here.

January 11, 2008
“Keep Texas Moving”: your highway dollars still at work
By Peggy Fikac
Houston Chronicle/Express-News, Texas Politics blog

Undaunted by a lawsuit filed by toll-road activists, the Texas Department of Transportation is moving right along down the road with its multimillion-dollar Keep Texas Moving campaign.

The state agency today announced a weekly podcast will cover “a wide variety of statewide transportation-related topics,” including an interview with Texas Transportation Commissioner Ted Houghton on an upcoming round of town hall meetings in the Interstate 69/Trans-Texas Corridor project study area.

The Keep Texas Moving campaign plan outlined last year in a memo by the agency’s Coby Chase (and obtained by your favorite Austin bureau) included efforts directed at TTC-69, so the plan appears unchanged by the lawsuit mounted by Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom.

The lawsuit contends the $7 million to $9 million campaign violates a state prohibition on state officers or employees using their authority for political purposes.

“I think it’s just another avenue where they’re propagandizing to people,” TURF’s Terri Hall said of the podcast initiative. “It may sound great, new and exciting. Remember, it’s our taxpayer money that’s going to that.”

The state agency contends it’s a response to calls by lawmakers and the public for more information.

“There are a lot of ways to get information about TxDOT and transportation issues in Texas, but our podcasts are a good way to get that information directly from us,” said Larry Krantz, the podcast host, in the TxDOT news release.
_______________________________The TxDOT news release:

To Capital Press Corps: Jan. 11, 2008TxDOT podcast program features transportation issues

AUSTIN -Texans have a new way to stay informed on statewide transportation issues: The Texas Department of Transportation Podcast Program.

TxDOT, through its www.KeepTexasMoving.com Web site, is offering a weekly podcast covering a wide variety of statewide transportation-related topics.

“There are a lot of ways to get information about TxDOT and transportation issues in Texas,” said TxDOT’s Larry Krantz, the podcast host, “but our podcasts are a good way to get that information directly from us.”
The statewide podcast is part of TxDOT’s efforts to find new ways to communicate transportation issues.

Each statewide podcast episode is a weekly talk-radio-style audio program downloadable from the Internet. Statewide podcasts will be less than 10 minutes long and feature an interview with an expert in a transportation-related field.

Five episodes of the statewide podcast are currently available, including the most recent episode in which Krantz spoke with Texas Transportation Commissioner Ted Houghton on the upcoming Town Hall Meeting tour, which kicks off next week in Texarkana and proceeds throughout the I-69/TTC project study corridor.

“The Town Hall meeting concept is totally different from our outreach effort for TTC-35,” Krantz said. “The episode with Commissioner Houghton sheds some light on how feedback from the public has shaped – and continues to shape – the way we do business.”
Krantz has also interviewed TxDOT’s Randall Dillard about former Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson, who died in late December, Dr. Joseph Giglio, a college professor and author of several forward-looking books on the future of transportation, for an episode entitled “They Assume the Future Will Look Like the Past,” and TxDOT’s Deputy Executive Director Steve Simmons on why the I-69/Trans-Texas Corridor study area is so large.

For Krantz, who started the nation’s first state-sponsored transportation podcast in TxDOT’s Tyler District in June 2006, the challenge was a good opportunity to see if a statewide podcast could have a broad appeal.
“My little Tyler District podcast got some 5,800 hits last month alone,” Krantz said. “That’s not bad for something that’s never been advertised commercially. Hopefully the statewide podcast will be just as successful, but on a larger scale.”

Find the statewide podcast at:
http://keeptexasmoving.com/index.php/podcast
Find the Tyler District podcast at:
http://www.dot.state.tx.us/news/tyl_podcasts.htm
All TxDOT podcasts are also available on iTunes, search keyword:
txdot.

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