Berkshire's first electronic billboard proposed for Pittsfield site


PITTSFIELD -- The first electronic billboard in Berkshire County is proposed for a site just east of the Elm and East street intersection in Pittsfield.

Matthew J. Duddy, vice president and general manager of Lamar Advertising in the region, said Monday the new 11- by 23-foot billboard will be identical in size to the traditional billboards the company owns in the county.

Lamar Advertising will go before the Community Development Board at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, seeking site plan approval for the sign at 502 East St. on the south side of the street.

If city permits are obtained, Duddy said the firm would then seek approvals from the state Office of Outdoor Advertising. He said the state has approved the use of electronic signs in Massachusetts.

"I think one important thing is what it is not," Duddy said. "This will not be Times Square and it will not be Las Vegas. It is not a traffic risk."

Instead, the sign will be similar to signs Lamar owns along Route 787 and Interstate 90 in the Albany, N.Y., area, although not as large. "It is a clean, progressive looking sign," he said.

Duddy said there will be no scrolling words, no animation and no flashing lights, adding that a series of images are presented in slideshow fashion, each lasting about six seconds before the next appears. Up to six clients can place ads on one electronic billboard.

Companies in the Berkshires have seen the electronic signs in Albany or other areas and have asked about it, Duddy said. The flexibility includes being able to change the message immediately, including an option that allows the business owner to make changes from the office.

Lamar Advertising also works with the FBI on wanted alerts, Duddy said, and with Amber Alerts on missing children. Weather information also can be displayed.

The company is based in Baton Rouge, La., and in the region in Latham, N.Y., and Pittsfield. Lamar purchased Callahan advertising in the Berkshires in 2005.

To reach Jim Therrien:,

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