Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/21/07

BEAT Director Accolades (MA)

Jane Winn, Berkshire Environmental Action Team’s Executive Director, received the Environmentalist Of The Year award from the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC). —> BEAT ensures the taping and broadcasting of the Pittsfield Conservation Commission, Pittsfield Municipal Airport Commission, and the Berkshire Metropolitan Planning Commission – the agency responsible for planning all the state-funded road construction. —>

Consumers lose with pay-TV bill
St. Petersburg Times editorial (FL)

The Florida House would have you believe the barrier to competition in the cable television business is the concessions that companies must make to local governments in exchange for using the public right of way for their wires. The real barrier for companies is the expense of building that network and the time it takes to sign up enough subscribers to recover the cost. That’s why the bill pushed again this year by state Rep. Trey Traviesa remains fundamentally flawed.

The Tampa Republican revived a bill from last year that would deregulate pay-TV. Rather than hammer out franchise agreements with every local government whose jurisdiction it serves, cable and video providers under HB 529 would merely cut a check in Tallahassee to obtain a state permit. The move would erase virtually all consumer protections. These companies could cherry-pick which areas to serve, limit educational and public access programming and make it harder for customers to resolve complaints about their bills and service. —>

Mediacom Fighting Bill That Could Increase Competition

AP – The state could grant a statewide cable television franchise under a measure approved Tuesday by the Senate. —>

AT&T backs legislation allowing cable distribution via phone lines
by Kiyoshi Martinez
Rockford Register Star (IL)

—> Opponents to the bill also say it could eliminate local public, education and government programming, or PEG, because public access channels wouldn’t be able to produce enough original content to stay on.

“AT&T is telling people they’re going to take care of (PEG),” said Barbara Popovic, executive director of Chicago Access Network Television. “Having read the legislation, I can tell you they sure didn’t take care of it the first draft. It looks pretty bad.” The bill states that PEG channels would have to produce at least eight hours of non-repeated programming each day, otherwise the provider can stop showing the channel. —>

Opponnents of HB-1500, AT&Ts Statewide Franchise Effort, to Testify in Opposition Before House Cmte. Thursday
The Illinois Channel

Earlier this year the Illinois Channel covered the press conference in which state Rep. Jim Brosnahan introduced HB 1500. The bill is designed to allow AT&T to have a statewide franchise and thereby avoid the need to negotiate with municipalities across Illinois, as cable companies did when they rolled out their service.

The Illinois Channel has twice requested permission to cover these hearings and twice Rep. Brosnahan, who is the Chair of the House Telecommunications Cmte. which is hearing the bill, has refused to allow Illinois Channel cameras to record these public hearings. We regret his decision and regret that we are unable to offer our viewers televised coverage of the hearings. This is one of the more significant pieces of legislation that will be considered by the legislature this session.

Tomorrow, [Thursday, March 22] opponents of AT&T’s position will testify and then hold their own press conference. The Illinois Channel cameras will record their remarks for later broadcast. In this manner we may attempt to balance our previous coverage of AT&Ts press conference. We believe that this is an issue that many citizens will find involves much more than merely offering competition to cable companies. —>!B0DB128F5CD96151!2046.entry

Local Governments Denounce FCC’s Video Franchising Decision
Brockport Village Manager (NY)

Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission released its Report and Order on video franchising. Several local government associations have announced their disagreement with the decision. Here’s a link to that report, and a link where you can download a FREE white paper published by ICMA. —>

SB 117 is part of national telco drive against communities
Callahan’s Cleveland Diary

Ohio Senate Bill 117, the proposal to strip Ohio’s local governments of franchise authority over cable and video providers, is just one of several anti-community bills on the march through state legislatures in a coordinated campaign by telco giants AT&T and Verizon — sometimes supported by the cable TV industry, sometimes not. The Benton Foundation’s “Headlines” email this morning links to a National Journal Technology Update article as well as local coverage of the fight over Illinois House Bill 1500. From the National Journal article: —>

WLST: Senator Goodman (R-Bexley) opposes SB 117
Callahan’s Cleveland Diary

Jill interviews David Goodman, the GOP Senator from Bexley, on AT&T’s bill to end local video franchising.

“I will be the lone voice opposing it, but I might get some traction because I believe that the best government is the one closest to you and knows best. The local constituents have the right to vote people out of office if they don’t like how the local government has handled something… The cable companies can opt out of the service provision and AT&T doesn’t have to talk to a local municipality ever. The rural areas wlll be screwed because they’ll get sold on the idea that this is a free market.”

Will the State of Ohio give away last bastion of local control?

Bill Callahan reports that legislation has been introduced that effectively eliminates local control and public interest requirements video franchises in the State of Ohio. Ohio Senate Bill 117, modeled after AT&T-backed legislation passed in Michigan, is intended sweeten the return on phone companies video over broadband services by eliminating local franchising. Cable companies are OK with that because once their local franchises end they will not have to renegotiate them. What will happen? According to Callahan: —>

Statewide Video Bills Advance
by Shirley Brady
Cable 380

The push for statewide video franchises and legislation favorable to telcos’ video ambitions—spurred by aggressive lobbying by AT&T and Verizon—is heating up this week. A snapshot: [FL-GA-IL-IA-MO-NY-TN] —>

Comcast, AT&T square off in ads
Phone giant pushes bill to bypass local ‘Net TV approval
by Naomi Snyder
The Tennessean

—> As debate started Tuesday in the state House Commerce Committee, the cable companies have been fighting the bill and have put together their own TV campaign. “Don’t let AT&T shortcut and shortchange Tennesseans,” says a TV ad paid for by the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association, which is funded by Comcast, Charter and other cable companies. —>

TN: AT&T supports cable comp. bill
by Lucas L. Johnson II
Business Week

—> McDaniel’s said there has been a lot of discussion over the past year with opponents of the measure to try to reach a compromise. He said two provisions of his bill that resulted from those discussions include franchise fees remaining the same and going directly to cities. Both McDaniels and Dickens said they plan to have more discussions with the Tennessee Municipal League, one of the bill’s biggest opponents. “We look forward to sharing our thoughts with the committee,” said TML spokeswoman Carole Graves.

Chad Jenkins, TML’s deputy director, has said that cities would lose their leverage over cable companies if they are cut out of the franchising process. For example, he said cities would lose the power to require cable companies to connect to schools and less lucrative parts of the community. —>

Plan for statewide cable franchise sparks opposition
by Jay Gallagher
Poughkeepsie Journal (NY)

ALBANY — A proposal to allow companies offering fiber-optic video compete more effectively against cable television for subscribers ran into opposition Wednesday from both cable-TV officials as well as from Verizon, which is building a fiber-based network in select communities.

At issue is a bill that would make broad changes in telecommunications regulations, sponsored by Richard Brodsky, D-Greenburgh, Westchester County, chairman of the Assembly Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee. One of its chief planks is to remove the requirement that companies trying to offer video or cable TV seek a “franchise” from individual localities and instead allow them to apply for a statewide franchise. —>

High school journalists take two top prizes
Springfield’s TV, print products honored
by Stephen Seitz
Rutland Herald (VT)

SPRINGFIELD — The students who produce Springfield High School’s newspaper, The Green Horn, and those who produce its weekly cable newscast were honored recently at the American International College’s annual Scholastic Press Forum. The school won two first-place prizes, one for its cable television news show and the other for having the best small-school newspaper. “Winning first place for the (cable television) news program was a stunner,” said journalism teacher Mike Janiszyn. “We’re only in our second year. This really bodes well for the program.” —>

ZEZAN and Naperville Community Television (NCTV17) begins web streaming community television for all
India PR Wire (IL)

“We can’t get Channel 17,” said one disappointed parent. “We were so excited you put the Waubonsie band on, but unfortunately we can’t get NCTV from our house.” These words, echoed frequently from people outside the NCTV17 viewing area will be heard no longer. Naperville Community Television, Channel 17 (NCTV17) has partnered with ZEZAN Data Center to stream NCTV17 programs on their website, creating virtually limitless viewing opportunities. Through ZEZAN IP broadcasting services, NCTV17 programming can now be viewed live on the internet simultaneous to the broadcast on Channel 17. NCTV17 is one of the first public access stations in the country to offer live web streaming of its channel.

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2007, NCTV17 continues to expand on its mission to educate, inform, preserve, entertain, assist, and celebrate one another through diverse programming that reflects the character and spirit of the Naperville community. “We can’t think of a better way to celebrate our milestone anniversary than to expand the viewing opportunities,” said NCTV17 Executive Director Liz Spencer. “We are very pleased to be able to bring our programming to everyone through our website streaming.” —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, community media, FCC, municipal programming, PEG access TV, public access television, redlining, video franchising

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