Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/05/07

Prisoners TVs go Digital – No doubt the Sun and Daily Mail will go batty at this news.
posted by John Hirst
prisonlawinsideout (UK)

This from the Inside Time – National Newspaper for Prisons (April issue):

I write on the issue of digital television. At my prison we have changed over to digital in preparation for the analogue signal being switched off. The channels we are now able to receive being: BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, ITV2, Channel 4, Channel 5, Film Four, The Music Factory Channel, Sky Sports News Channel. Those of us who purchased Freeview boxes found they could no longer pick up any channels … basically they are dead!

On approaching staff and the engineer who converted the televisions to digital, they stated the prison service had instructed them (the TV engineering company) to install only 4 channels and it was to be the same four channels throughout the prison system.

Is the above statement from the engineering company true? If so, why are they only making four channels available and who chose said channels? Will prisons be getting the full package in due course and if not, why?   —>

Marshall talk show to premier on public access
by Dave Lavender
The Herald-Dispatch (WV)

HUNTINGTON — The Tri-State gets a new taste of the twilight talk shows as “Up Late,” premieres today on Marshall University’s Channel 25 on local cable TV.  Students from the video production course, being taught by Jamie LoFiego and Eric Himes, have put together “Up Late,” which will debut at 11 p.m. today and re-air throughout the early morning hours.  Marshall head football coach Mark Snyder is the guest on the first show, and the musical guest is Under The Flood, a hard rock band from Charlottesville, Va.   —>

Join the Studio Audience
Cambridge Community TV (MA)

Get your FREE ticket now to be part of the live studio audience for the fifth episode of “CRITICAL FOCUS: A FORUM ON MEDIA TODAY,” a series of media literacy programs being co-produced by CCTV and Somerville Community Access TV. This month’s episode, on “Media and Race…”  Panelists for this show include:   Gloria Tristani, Mark Lloyd, Derrick Jackson, Ceasar L. McDowell.   —>

Bells Using Minority, Disabled Groups For Telecom Propaganda?
by Karl
Broadband Reports

Bruce Kushnick pens a piece for Nieman Watchdog exploring how AT&T and Verizon are manipulating public opinion by “co-opting” (read: paying) legitimate minority, disability, elderly and low-income groups into supporting positions that are frequently not in their members’ best interests. This, of course, is in addition to their use of consumer groups they’ve made up completely, or think tanks they’ve paid to produce public relations disguised as objective economic analysis. Collectively, it creates a very loud “sound wall” of consumer support that actually doesn’t exist.

Example: The National Association For the Deaf (NAD) recently issued a press release praising the FCC’s recent partisan vote on video franchise reform, proclaiming “it matters a lot that broadband networks and their new interactive applications are widely available everywhere in America.” However, a primary goal of the telco’s “franchise reform” lobbying push is to eliminate build out requirements, which increases their ROI, but ultimately means fewer people actually get service. The telecom primer on NAD’s website was co-written by Verizon, and AT&T and Verizon are the top contributors (pdf) to the organization.

A fair question to ask: Are such groups serving their members or their donors?

Muncipalities Take FCC to Court in Video Franchise Fight
Bob Wallace
xchange online

Several groups representing municipalities have asked a federal appeals court to throw out the FCC’s national video franchising order.  The organizations on April 3 said the agency’s rules would “severely restrict” local government’s ability to protect citizens, rights-of-way, community channels and public safety networks.

The Alliance for Communications Democracy, Alliance for Community Media, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, National Association of Telecommunications Officials and Advisors, and The United States Conference of Mayors also contend the FCC order reduces the money local governments make off franchise deals. They further say it threatens to cut off cable services to government buildings and schools.   —>

Wisconsin Cable Franchise Bill March 2007
ViodiTV – Beta Site

Roger Bindl reports on the March 27, 2007 public hearing on Wisconsin’s Cable Bill’s AB-207 and SB-107. These are general highlights from 7.5 hours of taping the authors, city, and public responses. The views are contradictory at times, but hopefully presented with a balanced view overall.

TV 4 Them
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Big Money Blog

In a blog posting last week, we pointed out AT&T’s sudden interest in making campaign contributions to certain state lawmakers who will play key roles in deciding the fate of cable TV deregulation legislation the company sorely wants passed. The March 29 blog also highlighted the involvement of a Washington, D.C.-based bill mill in the development of the cable franchising proposal.

Campaign contributions are only one way AT&T is seeking to influence the outcome of the debate over this controversial legislation seeking to take decisions about community cable TV service out of the hands of local elected officials. The telecommunications giant also has 15 lobbyists working the halls of the State Capitol, and is leading a coalition called TV4US that is doing heavy television advertising across Wisconsin to build public support for the bill.

Our friends at the Center for Media and Democracy recently posted an item on their excellent SourceWatch site about TV4US.

Robin Stearns: Loss of public access TV not worth deregulation’
by Robin Stearns
The Capitol Times (WI)

I attended the March 27 hearing on “deregulating” cable TV in Wisconsin. I had been asked to speak in defense of public access television. This so-called video competition bill will require public, educational and government stations to air 12 hours of programming per day, 80 percent of which must be locally produced and not rerun. This alone will destroy community access TV in Wisconsin.

This winter, I had the great fortune to work with Fitchburg Community Access TV to produce four episodes of a television show that focused on the issues surrounding ATC’s proposed power lines and the need for an independent study.  This fabulous experience allowed our group to provide information about some very important and complex issues. Many people felt we provided insight that was unavailable through other means.   —>

Stay tuned: Cable bill, hot wired for quick passage, leaves municipal leaders cold
by Jo Anne Killeen
West Salem Coulee News (WI)

—>   “I’m dead set against it,” said Onalaska Mayor Jim Bialecki. As of now, municipalities each negotiate with cable companies to provide services to communities and in return for rights of way, etc., the municipalities can receive up to 5 percent of the cable company’s gross revenues from that community. Some municipalities use it for general revenues. Others use the funds to improve video infrastructure.

“Home rule should be the prevailing way of providing services,” Bialecki said. “I don’t see how it will increase competition. I don’t think the state should get into this. (Onalaska) has a lot in the ground that the city maintains.”   —>

City raises concerns over controversial cable bill
by Nate Moribito
Tri Cities TN/VA

Cable television customers could pay the price if a bill making it’s way through the Tennessee Legislature becomes law according to some Johnson City Commissioners.  AT&T legislation in Tennessee that would change the rules when it comes to providing cable service. The company wants to bring its cable television package to the Volunteer State, but wants to do it differently than the other cable providers.

Tonight, Johnson City Commissioners take issue with that proposal, voicing fears that customers will suffer. Currently, all cable providers answer to local governments. They even have to pay a cable franchise fee to provide service in that community., but if AT&T gets its way, opponents fear cities will lose their control and customers will lose even more.   —>

In cable takeover, Comcast buys Patriot Media
by Lauren Otis
The Princeton Packet (NJ)

—>   Mr. Creesy, of the Princeton joint Cable Television Committee, said Princeton could end up losing several public access, education and government channels if Comcast opts to pursue a system-wide franchise agreement with the state, rather than municipally negotiated franchise agreements. Currently, he added, Princeton has six of these channels, including a channel for both Princeton Borough and Princeton Township, the Princeton Regional School District, TV 30, Mercer County Community College and for Princeton University.

State statute mandates a system-wide franchise must provide two public access channels for each municipality. If that did occur, Mr. Creesy said, Princeton would still be two channels short compared to its current services.   —>

Arialink covets cable TV business
City Council expected to OK franchise for company
by Jeremy W. Steele
Lansing State Journal (MI)

Telecommunications company Arialink is looking to get into the cable television business.  The Lansing-based company has applied for a cable TV franchise in its home city. That makes it the first telecom company in Lansing – and one of the first in Michigan – to take advantage of new statewide cable franchise rules.

The Lansing City Council is expected to approve the franchise at a special meeting today.   —>

State video franchising laws
Pegasus IntelliScan Domain Industry Report

Are you following the debate over state franchising?  FreePress is.  And there’s a lot going on in many states.  According to today’s U.S. Communications Law Bulletin, there are video franchise bills pending or passing all over the place that would take authority away from municipalities and give it to the states — Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Tennessee… Similar measures failed in Utah and Idaho.  Lots of other states involved.

These are shaping up to be titanic battles between the telcos (who want quick and easy access to video subscribers) and cablecos (who got there first).  Here’s a good overview of arguments against this kind of measure in Illinois.   —>

Tucson and Cox reach new tentative accord
Arizona Daily Star

Tucson and Cox Communications have again reached a tentative agreement to end the battle over the company’s cable-franchise renewal with the city.  The City Council voted 5-2 on Wednesday to approve the tentative agreement, the same one the two sides agreed to after a special meeting on March 3.  The accord would ultimately reduce the cable provider’s public, educational and governmental channels from nine to five, and would last five years, officials said.   —>

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

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

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