Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/04/07

New Voices: 10 New Citizen Media Ideas Are Funded
Institute for Interactive Journalism

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Ten new ideas for amplifying community news will receive $12,000 New Voices grants to launch news sites for under-covered communities, embed TV reporters in neighborhoods, network regional radio programs, and map the local impact of climate change, J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism announced today. —>

Neighbor to Neighbor. Cambridge Community Television will embed citizen journalists in each of the five neighborhoods of Cambridge, Mass., to report on local issues and events, feature local viewpoints, and facilitate participation in local issues. Five neighborhood segments will be produced and edited into a monthly 30-minute program to air four times each week, streamed live on CCTV’s web site and archived. Segments will be incorporated in the Cambridge Media Map. —>

News Desk on Access SF. To train San Francisco nonprofits to produce a monthly community news program with a neighborhood focus for cable access television and video blogs. Five special interest desks will produce stories targeting youth, LGBT issues, arts and culture, age and disabilities, and multi-lingual stories. Each special interest desk will have its own video blog, supported by Access SF, the city’s community television corporation. —>

TV camp enrolling now
The Chapel Hill News

The People’s Channel, Chapel Hill’s public access TV station, will offer its Media Production Summer Camp for students ages 12-17. The camp has four sessions: Narrative Production (June 18-29), Studio Concepts & Production (July 9-20), Documentary Production (July 23-Aug. 3) and Animation Production (Aug. 6-17). —>

Peak Moment Television presents five new online videos
by Peak Moment Television

Peak Moment Television has produced five new online videos focusing on community localization topics from local currency to electric cars, plus a conversation with Richard Heinberg. Take note of episode 50 with local land trust wizards Dan Macon and Cheryl Belcher… The series is cablecast on community access TV stations nationwide and are available on DVD… A listing of stations nationwide is on the Peak Moment website. —>

Is Public Access Under Fire by AT&T U-Verse?
411 Productions (TX)

Public Access Producers in San Antonio Texas have been in a long battle over keeping Public Access Television alive in Texas. We monitor what goes on at the City and State level. Since San Antonio was the 1st city to be impacted by changes to telecommunications laws in Texas we are the crash-test dummies for what will happen to the rest of Texas and the U.S. when it comes to Public Access Channels.

A threatening item is on the Agenda for the San Antonio City Council meeting on April 5, 2007. Below is a copy of the agenda item. Of note is the part of Alternatives. This request for action basically states that if the AT&T U-Verse test fails, that AT&T should not be required to carry the Public Access, Governmental, or Educational channels (PEG for short), And THAT THE OTHER CABLE COMPANIES SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO AS WELL, which would kill public access. Is this how AT&T is trying to get out of having to carry the public access channels? —>

Local officials took their concerns about a pending state bill that would deregulate cable TV to their state representative Monday. It might have helped.
by Peter Abbott
Sussex Sun (WI)

State Rep. Donald Pridemore (R-Hartford), who represents all of Sussex and Lannon and the northern half of Lisbon, appeared to inch closer to the village’s position after meeting with Sussex officials for almost three hours about the bill and other issues. —>

Verizon, AT&T and the manipulation of public opinion
Needed: Blacks, Hispanics, disabled, deaf, low-income and the elderly to support the telecoms’ positions on anti-consumer FCC rulings and legislation.
by Bruce Kushnick
Nieman Watchdog

—> Some of the organizations quoted in the release are the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Internet Innovation Alliance, and the National Association of the Deaf, the Alliance for Public Technology, and the Video Access Alliance itself. Other groups that sent out releases supporting the telecoms on this and related topics include the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Consumers for Cable Choice, Netcompetition, and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

What do these groups have in common? They all receive funding from AT&T and/or Verizon, and then lobby for them. —>

Local Governments Petition Courts to Reverse FCC Video Franchise Order
by Spencer D. Chin

The FCC’s… order last month to overhaul the outdated process used to grant new cable franchises is running into stiff opposition from local governments across the country, with a number of them filing petitions asking Federal courts to reverse the commission’s decision. —>

Suit by cities, counties may hinder Qwest cable TV goal
by John Dunbar (AP)
Denver Post

Washington – Local governments across the country went to court Tuesday to challenge federal rules intended to spur competition in the cable television industry. Lawyers for organizations representing cities and counties asked the appeals courts to invalidate rules the Federal Communications Commission approved in December to smooth the way for new competitors who want to offer cable television service. At issue is whether the agency overstepped its authority when it voted 3-2 to require local governments to speed the approval process for new competitors, cap fees paid by new entrants to local governments and ease requirements that competitors build systems that reach every home. —>

City, towns oppose state control of cable companies
by Tasha Kates
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal (NY)

Town boards in the Town of Lockport and Pendleton approved resolutions Tuesday night opposing two state bills that would take cable out of the municipalities’ hands. —>

Cable Committee Summary
by Mark Harmon
Knox Views (TN)

Knox County Cable Committee met April 4, 2007, 8:30-9:30 am… The group discussed and unanimously passed my resolution below:

Whereas: Tennessee Senate Bill 1933 and House Bill 1421 take away the current authority of the county legislative body to enforce franchising agreements, including collection of franchise fees.

Whereas: These two bills are the latest in a historical pattern of stripping away the legitimate exercise of county authority over easements and impeding the enforcement of franchise agreements regarding cable and video service providers.

Whereas: The lack of a “build out” provision in these bills inevitably means some neighborhoods will not be served, leading to second- and third- class digital citizens.

Whereas: These bills also contain provisions threatening the availability and the very existence of public, educational, and government channels.

Therefore be it resolved that the Knox County Commission urges the East Tennessee legislative delegation in Nashville, and all state legislators, to oppose SB 1933/HB 1421.

Be it further resolve Knox County Commission urges the East Tennessee legislative delegation in Nashville, and all state legislators, to support these related bills:

HB2100/SB1572 would establish a non-profit “Tennessee Broadband Access Corporation to facilitate the deployment of broadband technologies across the state.”

HB2103/SB1716 requires “the department of economic and community development to establish a ConnectTN program to bring statewide broadband expansion.”

HB2099/SB1580 “Expands the membership of the Tennessee Broadband Task Force to include a representative of the Department of Education and requires the task force to submit an assessment of the state of broadband deployment on an annual basis.” —>

Extend cable deals, city attorney says
If passed, Columbia’s franchise agreements with Mediacom would go to June 19
Columbia Missourian

—> Cities can still work out franchise agreements until the bill takes effect Aug. 28, but Boeckmann said in a memo to the council that the bill has “significantly affected the franchise renewal negotiations with Mediacom.” “Under the bill, they have the option of not renewing the franchise and going with the PSC,” Boeckmann said. “We’ve had, since the bill passed, two phone conferences with them, and basically I think they don’t know and we don’t know what we’re going to be doing.”

Boeckmann said Columbia’s franchise agreement with Mediacom has been essentially the same for 30 years, but the city was proposing “significantly different” terms this time around, especially relating to funding for public, education and government access channels. “But once the (state) bill passed, there was little incentive to pass an agreement that had stricter terms than what was called for in the legislation,” Boeckmann said.

The new law will require cable companies that have franchise agreements with cities to provide public access funding through 2011 or until the end of their agreement, whichever comes first. Language in the bill suggests that cable providers will be able to opt out of their city franchises once the law goes into effect, but the legality of that option remains unclear. —>

Congress Nudges an FCC on Hold
Agency Tackles Backlog of Pending Matters After Democrats Complain
by Charles Babington
Washington Post

Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) scolded the five members of the Federal Communications Commission when he finally got them before a powerful subcommittee last month. The FCC botched handling of cable television franchising, racked up a backlog of unanswered consumer complaints, and dallied on various disputes between industry rivals with little oversight from the previous Republican-controlled Congress in recent years, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said in the March 14 hearing.

Within days, word spread that the FCC was accelerating efforts to complete action on about 150 pending matters — from regulating cable television service in apartment buildings to settling quarrels over the distribution of telecommunications funds in rural areas. Some analysts saw the move as a direct response to lawmakers’ complaints. —>

FCC: The Attack of the Legacy-Admission Clones
by Colin Brayton
NMM Business Continuity

—> The return of Congressional oversight continues to turn over rocks to discover slimy things. My favorite example so far was the Fish and Wildlife appointee who handed over confidential documents on pending matters to friends in an online role-playing game — and to third parties at “” e-mail addresses. See also the case of the Defense Dept. employee who handed confidential information over to AIPAC — who handed it over to the Mossad. Also interesting: The use of political campaign e-mail addresses by White House staffers to conduct official business while avoiding the e-mail archiving system at This is a violation of a federal law on government record-keeping. Remember when Bush’s favorite epithet for nations in the “axis of evil” was that their governments were “non-transparent”?

Since Gen. Colin Powell’s son departed, the federal broadcasting and communications regulator has been chaired by a (Harvard Law-educated) K Street lobbyist whose only previous experience was clerking for a Florida judge and the Bush campaign. See also Molly Ivins, Rotten, Old-Fashioned Corruption at the FCC (May 2003), who writes:

“The FCC is what is known in government circles as a “captive agency.” It has been captured by the industry it is supposed to regulate. Those who work at captive agencies come to identify with their industry and believe their function is to service it, not regulate it. The center,, also found that the FCC increasingly relies on industry-generated data to justify sweeping deregulation proposals. Great, it doesn’t even have its own numbers.”

Blog in Transition
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition

What started here as a blog to discuss technological developments and innovation in PEG Access TV is now transitioning towards my M.A. thesis project at Emerson College to further explore these and other issues. While the project is not set to “officially” begin until the Fall 2007, I’m working on a number of things in the meantime, including gathering relevant background information. —>

Hillary Stumps for Rural Broadband… or Votes
by Paul Kapustka

As part of her plan to “Restore the Promise of Rural America,” Sen. Hillary Clinton is proposing a new fund and strategy for rural broadband deployment. While we admire the Senator from New York’s savvy for noticing how improved Internet infrastructures can help economies, we can’t help but wonder if last week’s announcement is designed more to grab Iowa voter attention than to realistically spur federally supported carriage of bits. —>

Cable Commission Has Questions on Verizon Agreement But it Does Not Matter
by John F. Bailey
White Plains Citizenet Reporter

The White Plains Cable Television Access Commission deadlocked last night 2-2 when they were asked to approve the proposed Franchise Agreement between Verizon and the City of White Plains introduced two weeks ago. However, three of the four members attending learned to their surprise that whether or not they had questions or reservations about the agreement, their input would not be considered. The deal had already been decided according to the Chair of the Commission, Dr. Valiere Alcena.

Though four members of the Cable Commission present all were in favor of another company coming in to compete with Cablevision in the White Plains market, Mary Ann Keenan and Milogros Lecuona said they had many questions to be answered to determine if the $250,000 tech support upfront, $1 a subscriber paid each month for 15 years (approximately $228,000 to $240,000 a year, and 5% of Gross Revenues agreement was the best arrangement White plains could negotiate. Lecuona had numerous questions. Keenan said $250,000 technical support for the White Plains Public Access studios did not seem enough compared to the $800,000 the city received from Cablevision in cablevision’s recently expired franchise agreement with White Plains. —>

After an hour an a half of discussion, and questions from the “studio audience,” this frank talk about a time limit on the part of Dr. Alcena and Mr. Kenny, shook up Ms. Keenan and Ms. Lecuonos who came to the realization they were not going to be able to make changes in the agreement. Thanks to a recording of the next dramatic moments made by Don Hughes, WPCNR is able to bring you this real life drama of government in action: —>

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

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

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