Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/26/07

Fla. Senate Amends Franchise-Reform Bill
Low-Income Homes Protected with Build-Out Guidelines
by Linda Haugsted
Multichannel News

A telephone-company-friendly franchise-reform bill passed late last week by the Florida House of Representatives was amended in a Senate committee to require penetration into one-half of the low-income homes passed by a new provider.  The draft of a Senate version of the bill, SB998, was amended to require new video providers to reach at least 50% of low-income households within five years of the launch of service in the areas the provider identifies as its service areas.   —>

Debate over state cable bill intensifies
by Jim Wyss
Bradenton Herald (FL)

TALLAHASSEE – One of the most watched dramas unfolding here isn’t on TV — it’s over TV. For the second year running, telecommunications and cable representatives have descended on the state Capitol to battle over The Consumer Choice Act, a bill that rewrites the rules that govern entry into the cable television market.  ‘Last year we called this bill, for the lack of a better term, the Lobbyist Relief Act,” Sen. Lee Constantine, R-Altamonte Springs, told a committee hearing packed full of smartly dressed lobbyists and bearded professors who came to debate the issue. “And you can see it still is.”   —>

The fight over cable goes well beyond cheap TV, advocates say.  In an age when cable is becoming the conduit for Internet, voice and other services, it’s vital to make sure poor and rural communities don’t miss out on the digital revolution, said Brad Ashwell, the head of Florida PIRG, a nonprofit consumer rights group.  ”I could care less whether or not a low-income person sees the Sopranos,” he said. “But I do care that they have access to high-speed Internet and public health information.”   —>

UCF Channel Launches Television Program on Health
by Karen Guin
UCF News & Information (FL)

Television viewers in Central Florida can learn the latest about health issues and health care in the region by tuning in to a new television program launched this week by the University of Central Florida.  “For Your Health” on the UCF Channel draws on the expertise of UCF’s faculty, alumni, students and community partners to provide viewers with health information they can use in their daily lives. The show features profiles on research activities, interviews with faculty experts in a studio setting and interviews of alumni working in local health-care facilities. The show also will include updates on the university’s College of Health and Public Affairs and developing College of Medicine and news from local hospitals.   —>

LADWP Science Bowl to Be Aired on Special Half-Hour Television Program on LA CityView Channel 35 and KLCS Channel 58
Business Wire (CA)

LOS ANGELES — A special half-hour program broadcasting the complete final round of competition and highlights of the LADWP Science Bowl XV will air seven times in April including four times on LA CityView Channel 35 and three times on KLCS Channel 58…
The winner of the match represents the city of Los Angeles and LADWP Science Bowl regional competition at the U.S. Department of Energy National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C. April 26 to 30, 2007. A total of 25 public, private and parochial high schools were represented this year in the regional…   This year there are 67 regional competitions in 40 states including 10 in California. A total of 12,000 students in 1800 high schools participated.   —>

The Enemy Within: Selling Alternative Reality to the American Public
by Susan MacAllen
Family Security Matters (DC)

Oliver North has a beef with the Smithsonian.  The American institution, largely funded by public tax dollars, has decided what information it will allow him – or anyone – to present to the public.  Recently Col. North, on behalf of his Fox News series “War Stories”, went to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to get footage of the Enola Gay – the WWII airplane that dropped the nuclear bomb on Japan.  To his surprise, he and his crew ran into such resistance from the museum that, in the end, it was impossible to get the material they needed for their documentary; this, in spite of the fact that the Smithsonian exists to preserve American history for us all.

Col. North commented that he received better cooperation from the Vietnamese government and Ho Chi Minh’s protegees.

It turns out that the Smithsonian has entered into a “secret” business deal with Showtime/Viacom, which gives the media company exclusive control over film and photos of historical treasures (our historical treasures) in over 150 of its museums.  Senator Charles Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee (which oversees the Smithsonian), told Col. North, “This raises serious concerns about any contracts that the Smithsonian may have entered into that limit people’s contact with American treasures…”

Why should it matter that a media conglomerate controls access to the Smithsonian?   —>

New cable providers should pay same fees
McMinnville News Register (OR)

—>   McMinnville and other municipalities charge utility companies franchise fees for the use of their rights of way. Those fees feed city budgets, but they also fund public, educational and governmental access to cable TV. Without those fees, local access channels such as McMinnville Community Media would be out of business.

Telcos such as Verizon and AT&T don’t want to play by those franchising rules. They want greater concessions from local, state and federal government, including the elimination of support for institutional networks that tie hospitals, libraries and local governments together. They don’t want to be bound by the concept of “net neutrality.”    —>

Local TV creates opportunity
by Liz Schillinger
McMinnville News Register (OR)

Mike Santone, local clay artist, is an active guy. He is president of the Arts Alliance of Yamhill County, a volunteer at McMinnville High School, art mentor and, since August 2006, a community television producer at McMinnville Community Media (MCM). The Arts Alliance sponsors Arts Alive, a weekly program featuring local artists. Lynda Wiegan, the host, has long been the driving force behind Arts Alive, but after nine years as both host and producer, she needed a break. Mike volunteered to step in as producer.

“It’s given me a new area to think about,” Mike said. “Using video is an additional way to communicate about the artist’s process. Video gives artists a chance to reach out beyond their own studios.”  Mike is like millions of people across the United States who use media to inform, educate and enrich their communities.   —>

Former council members: Civility starts at the top
by David Singleton
The Times Tribune (PA)

—>    The animosity hit a new level last week when Council President Judy Gatelli and Councilwoman Sherry Nealon Fanucci claimed they had been stalked and threatened and had their personal property vandalized as part of a campaign orchestrated by Councilwoman Janet Evans and political activist Joseph Pilchesky. Both Mrs. Evans and Mr. Pilchesky denounced the allegations.  Last Thursday’s council meeting was canceled, and Mrs. Gatelli ordered the removal of Channel 61’s cameras from council chambers at City Hall.   —>

Telco, Cable TV Price Wars Aren’t Coming
Says Wisconsin professor, despite think tank reports…
by Karl
Broadband Reports

Wisconsin is just one of many states considering statewide cable franchising. The incumbents (and the think tanks who love them) there are issuing reports promising consumers lower TV prices if they support the idea of eliminating local franchise authority (and many consumer protections in the process). Local telecom professor Barry Orton is warning locals that these promises just aren’t accurate. “This is a sock-puppet report repeating every one of AT&T’s talking points over and over,” Orton says. “It’s based on false assumptions, wrong facts and biased research done by former telephone company ‘economists.'”   —>

District building plan educational campaign underway
by Susan Larson
The Daily Journal (MN)

A community-wide informational campaign is underway regarding the school district’s building plan and will encompass print, neighborhood canvassing, informational meetings, electronic and video media, as well as presentations at businesses and service clubs by Superintendent Jerry Ness.   —>   More information is available on the school district’s web site,; on PEG Access, channels eight and 18, by calling the district office at 998-0544 and in The Daily Journal.

compiled by Rob McCausland
Director of Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media

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

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