Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/05/07

Cities Challenge FCC on Cable Franchise Order
by Ira Teinowitz
TV Week

The formal publication of an FCC order intended to jump-start competition by making it easier for phone companies to obtain local cable franchises has kicked off a major battle with the nation’s cities that could tie up the FCC’s order for years.  Even as phone companies today praised the Federal Communications Commission for acting, the National League of Cities was expected to announce it would challenge the FCC order; the league already listed overturning the order as among its top legislative priorities this year.  The cities have argued the FCC is illegally seeking to take away their power to regulate the cable industry and said it’s going beyond its legal authority. —>

In Your Own Backyard
by LatinTeacher
FEMA, Katrina, and other bad words

Larry Holmes, at least from what I know, is the most famous citizen of Easton – even has a street named for him and a restaurant on the Delaware.  From time to time, I watch local public access TV because it’s funny and/or has local sports on. Larry Holmes has a show on weekly.   —>

TV program tackles end-of-life issues
Carmel Valley artist shares perspective gained from caring for elderly parents
by Dave Nordstrand
The Salinas Californian

—>  “My dad died in 1996 and Mom just died,” she said. “My story is having been caregiving most of 11 years.”  Harris’ book is still in the works, but much about her caregiving experience can be seen as part of the rerun of a TV show, one in a series on end-of-life issues called “Healthy Aging.”  The Harris segment is scheduled for March 12 on Comcast’s cable TV public access Channel 24.  The segments are part of an effort by the Compassionate Care Alliance.  The Monterey-based nonprofit, a grassroots community coalition formed in 2000, provides information on end-of-life issues.   —>

California Haunts
California Adventures

A new independent cable production which takes its hosts and viewers on a voyage through the golden state that includes visits to historical locations as well as national and state parks is hitting the airwaves.  —> “California Adventures” is a light yet informative program which follows the travels of its three hosts as they visit areas and cities in the state of California and in many cases; participate in activities which include hiking, camping, fishing, parachuting and spelunking.   —>  The half-hour episodes will aire on channel 21, WAVE TV in Woodland California. and on channel 17 in Sacramento.

Putting the focus on government
Teen seeks permission to videotape Hamilton Twp. meetings
by Timothy Puko
Press of Atlantic City

Brian Furgione brought a video camera to a Hamilton Township Committee meeting last month. It’s not an act that would seem unusual: Most municipalities in Atlantic County and several others in the region videotape their meetings and broadcast them on cable television.  In Hamilton, Furgione’s simple act sparked a monthlong controversy. There were complaints of public grandstanding, oppressed democracy, invaded privacy and cumbersome bureaucracy. One meeting began with an unusual 45-minute executive session after which Hamilton’s committee set limits on what Furgione could record of its meetings.   —>

Consumer groups or covert lobbyists?
Groups with names that may mislead flock to telecom debate.
by Rebecca Catalanello
St. Petersburg Times

—> [Rep.] Traviesa described the folks behind him as “a real variety in terms of a group of supporters, consumer advocates and experts from around the country.”  They included well-known Tallahassee consumer advocate Mike Twomey. But also standing in support were representatives from a collection of consumer-named groups: TV4US, Internet Innovation Alliance, Video Access Alliance and the American Consumer Institute. They described the bill as good for consumers because it would increase competition for TV delivery, lower prices and expand access.

What wasn’t mentioned is that these groups are financially backed by or tied to telephone companies and other businesses that would most benefit from the bill’s passage.   —>

Project Lightspeed makes headway
In negotiations: AT&T applies to put boxes along Kane county highways
by Steve Lord
Courier News (IL)

—>   While the court case technically remains unresolved, it is largely moot, because the six months have passed, and many municipalities enacted guidelines for right-of-way construction.  Since that time, the company has agreed to follow rules similar to a franchise agreement, most notably paying the 5 percent of revenues fee to the municipalities cable also pays.  Kane actually has nine cable franchise agreements for unincorporated areas throughout the county. It likely would sign one deal with AT&T for all unincorporated areas. Kane gets about $420,000 in revenue from the nine agreements, so the 5 percent of gross revenue is not insubstantial.   —>,3_1_EL05_A3LIGHTSPEED_S1.article

Worst Video Franchise Bill in the Country Introduced in Illinois. AKA, Which Corporation Wrote Illinois HB 1500?
by Friefunker

The worst state franchise bill I’ve ever read has just been introduced in Illinois — ironically called the “Cable and Video Competition Law of 2007” — this act guarantees redlining of un(der)served communities, the poor, and the rural. —>   Just about every single provision of this bill has been jiggered to maximize the power of telco incumbents — whether redefining “low income households” so that they’re not tied to the federal poverty level, but actually specifically defined as $35,000/year, or allowing providers to get out of existing franchise agreements with 90 days written notice. What’s clear about this bill is that it was written by telecom lobbyists and signed off on my multiple legislators.   —>   In seeking some of the most invasive governmental regulations to date, these telco providers are also rewriting eminent domain laws to allow them to seize private property to deploy their networks.

HB 1500 is a wholesale giveaway of local power, local control, and individual autonomy to private corporations. It usurps community control over their own land and quality of life. It protects telcos from being sued for redlining and provides no meaningful protection and enforcement mechanisms to prevent these companies from yet again running amuck in Illinois.

USA TODAY Taps Pluck Social Media Technologies to Create Conversations Around News
New Design Features Blogs, Photo Sharing, Reader Comments, Personas and Social Networking for Millions of Site Visitors
Business Wire

AUSTIN, Texas–The adoption of social media technology by mainstream media organizations continued today as Pluck™ Corporation announced that USA TODAY has incorporated Pluck SiteLife and Pluck BlogBurst into its newly redesigned site launched this past weekend. Designed to create a community around the news – one that connects readers to reporting and each other – the dramatic new site delivers advanced interactive capabilities that showcase a new way of thinking about the news.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, citizen journalism, community media, FCC, municipal programming, PEG access TV, public access television, redlining, social media, user-generated content, video franchising

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