Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/11/07

Townships pull support from local cable channel
by Joseph VanWagner
White Pine Press (MI)

Several townships in northern Michigan have pulled funding from local public access channel TCTV2, which may jeopardize the existence of the station in the near future. “We’ve been facing these budget crises for some time,” says Mike Kroes, head of TCTV2. The station broadcasts a variety of regional school sport events, township meetings, public rallies and independent television shows, providing an outlet for broadcasting to a local audience. But changes in how the station is funded have left the channel with dwindling options.

Known as “TV2,” the channel went live in 1993 with the support of a grant from the original cable company, C-TEC, and money from Traverse City and 13 area townships.In 2005, a revised franchise agreement with Charter Communications voided the original grant, leaving the station entirely dependent on existing support from area townships to pay their average $90,000 annual costs.

Under the new agreement, Charter gives five percent of cable revenues back to each township, and participating local governments can choose provide 30 percent of that cut as funding for public access. Since the revision, a handful of townships have already pulled out; East Bay, Bingham and Peninsula townships have stopped funding in the past two years due to their own budget shortfalls. With TV2 reaching as far north as the Mackinaw Bridge, the audience for public access shows is potentially vast. “The whole region gets the benefit of public access, but they don’t fund the station,” says Mark Nixon, a TV2 volunteer. —>

Statewide cable franchise bill bad for consumers, critics say
Fox Cities HD (WI)

The Capitol Times in Madison reports several major flaws to the proposal which could prove more of a headache than a benefit to consumers, including relaxed standards for customer service. The article also claims the idea of “price wars” coming about because of statewide franchising “false,” citing that Verizon has raised rates where they have offered video services for more than a year, and introductory price decreases from cable operators usually do not hold very long either. —>

City Council Sub-Committee to Discuss Cable TV Legislation
by Mimi
Left in Lowell (MA)

The busy Lowell City Council Sub-Committee on Comcast/Cable TV Issue is meeting tomorrow night at 5:00 p.m. in City Council chambers. The meeting will be televised on LTC, Channel 10. There are two major items on the agenda. The first item is a discussion on a significant piece of legislation which is being introduced in the Senate. The bill if passed would in effect move cable tv franchising authority from the municipalities to the state. One of the sponsors of the bill is our State Senator Steve Panagiatakos. The Chair of the Sub-Committee announced that the Senator will be at the meeting tomorrow night. —> In addition to loss of local control, the bill has generated concern as to how it will impact on Public, Educational, and Governmental Access television, and even net neutrality.

Attending The Left Forum 2007
by Danny Schecter
Danny Schecter News Disector

These are not the best of times for the American left. As our unions represent fewer workers while industries downsize, as left parties atrophy (and even Ralph Nader is demonized as a spoiler) lots of activism moves on– online –few mass based radical organizations or movements. The radical left has shrunk, and is clearly ageing even as its analysis may be more relevant than ever

For years, there have been debates about what’s left of the left. The long hair of years past is now dominated by white hair in many cases but, there is still fire in the rhetoric and passion of those carrying on the American radical tradition in the fight for a better world.

I spent part of Saturday and Sunday at Cooper Union, the institution that hosted the Abraham Lincoln-Stephen Douglass Debate before the civil war. Talk about old.
The annual Left Forum was in town with a plethora of panels and discussions of a kind that are all too rare these days on campuses or even on TV, except for an occasional public access show or C-SPAN event.

The Left Forum 2007 on the theme of “Organizing a Radical Political Future” was ably organized by Julie Ruben and drew 1500 paying participants– including activists and academics from 30 countries

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: PEG access TV, public access television, user-generated content, video franchising

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