Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/08/07

Council opposing cable proposition
by Josh Comer
Advertiser Tribune (OH)

Tiffin City Council unanimously opposed an Ohio Senate bill Monday that would allow cable companies to overstep local governments and reach service agreements with the state. —>

Committee opposes bill on cable franchise fees
Newark Advocate (OH)

City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday opposing an Ohio Senate bill which eliminates local franchise authority over cable and other video service providers. —>

State primed to take over control of cable TV
The News-Press (FL)

Cable television subscribers who have been able to rely on their local governments to regulate service, may soon be calling Tallahassee for help. A bill that was passed by the Florida House and Senate late last week would take control away from local governments and turn it over to the state. Supporters believe it will help increase competition among television, telephone and Internet companies. That could lead to reduced customer rates.

The bill, called Consumer Choice Act of 2007, only needs Governor Charlie Crist’s signature to become law. That could happen next week. The bill comes at a time when Comcast, the primary cable TV provider in Lee County, has been under fire the past several months for service outages, interruptions and complaints about customer service. The major problems occurred, primarily in Cape Coral, when service was changed in February from Time Warner. —>

News Sentinel editorial on AT&T cable franchise bill
by R. Nea
Knox Views (TN)

The Knoxville News Sentinel weighs in, sort of, on the state-wide cable franchise bill being proposed by AT&T. They cover all the concerns with the bill regarding local control and revenues, build-out requirements, threats to public “cable access” educational and government programming (PEG), and other consumer protection issues. But there are a couple of curious remarks. —>

AT&T claims wide support for cable bill
by David Callender
The Capital Times (WI)

All 132 state lawmakers have received a thick binder full of the names of constituents backing a bill to deregulate the state’s cable TV franchise system, the latest move in a high-stakes effort by telecommunications giant AT&T to win swift legislative approval of the measure. “AT&T is really pulling out all the stops,” said Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, as he leafed through his three-inch-thick volume on Monday. “This is a very polished presentation.”

The binders went out late last week as “a way of making sure that lawmakers understand that this is not just a priority from some faceless corporation,” said Thad Nation, executive director of TV4US, a coalition of groups led by AT&T that are pushing for the bill. —>

Laws for sale! Astroturfing and citizen apathy on the rise
by Nate Anderson
Ars Technica

Astroturf: it’s like “grassroots” organizing, but fake, and it’s the new promotion vehicle of choice for corporations with a message. Consumers have long since learned that when a Fortune 500 company shows up at a regulatory hearing and insists that some new plan is “better for consumers,” it usually turns out to be better for the company. When a “neutral,” non-corporate research and advocacy group pitches the same idea, it can sound a whole lot better.

That’s why plenty of large companies have founded or sponsored such groups, a fact that gets surprisingly little mention in the media. Bruce Kushnick calls out journalists for their shoddy reporting of such astroturf groups in a new piece in the Nieman Watchdog, a publication of Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism, and illustrates exactly why we need to pay closer attention. —>

TV standards
by Cal Audrain, CAN TV Board member
Chicago Tribune (IL)

The Tribune’s May 1 editorial “Bring on cable competition” correctly points out that protection of public access channels is achievable in statewide legislation. Unfortunately that has not been true in the majority of the states where AT&T-backed legislation has passed to date.

As originally written, House Bill 1500 harms funding, reception quality and the potential for growth of PEG (public, educational, governmental) channels. Negotiations are under way to rectify those problems and assure that no state bill undermines the public’s right to participate in the most powerful, most pervasive media of our time. —>,1,1654456.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

Cable regulation
by Mitchell Szczepanczyk
Chicago Tribune Weblog (IL)

The Tribune’s May 1 editorial “Bring on cable competition” adopts the enthusiastic tone of AT&T’s advertising campaign when extolling the virtues of cable competition. But the Tribune does nothing to prove its contention that in other states, lower cable TV prices and a faster rollout of high-speed broadband service from cable providers has resulted. —>

Elected officials learn- in Vegas
Cable TV industry sponsors junket
by Jeffrey Meitrodt and Monique Garcia
Chicago Tribune (IL)

SPRINGFIELD — With lawmakers wrestling over a highly contentious bill that would dramatically overhaul the cable television business in Illinois, the industry took at least 11 House and Senate members to Las Vegas last weekend for schmoozing and schooling. —>,1,816268.story?coll=chi-newslocalchicago-hed

HISD sees no demand for airing meetings
Officials think the public doesn’t want to watch board discussions
by Cynthia Leonar Garz
Houston Chronicle (TX)

A small group of Houston ISD administrators and elected trustees gathered around a conference table one day last week, as they often do in twice-a-month, 7:30 a.m. workshops.

These are the meetings at which the school board receives and debates detailed reports on subjects that in recent months have included school safety, prekindergarten and HISD’s lobbying priorities for the ongoing state legislative session. Though official votes are rarely taken, it’s during the morning workshops that school board members and Houston Independent School District administrators make their priorities most clear.

And practically no one outside the school district ever hears what they say. Even though HISD operates its own cable access channel, public school board meetings aren’t part of the programming. —>

Can you teach an old media new tricks?
Do traditional media provide any value that can’t be replaced by citizen journalists? All this week, Glenn Reynolds and Robert McChesney debate the future of media.
Los Angeles Times

Today, Reynolds and McChesney address the state of contemporary news media. Later in the week, they’ll debate the citizen journalism, media consolidation and other issues. —>,0,7194127.story?coll=la-opinion-center

AT&T Ups U-verse Spending by $1.4 Billion
by Bob Wallace
Xchange Online

Facing challenges on all fronts with the deployment of its IPTV-driven U-verse triple-play bundle, AT&T Inc. confirmed Monday that it will spend an additional $1.4 billion on its initial plan to drive the offering and is reducing it subscriber target by 1 million. —>


Revolution in the Air
Community radio in the Colonial capital offers unique outlet for local musicians and…Christian dream interpretation?
Portfolio Weekly (VA)
by David Paul Kleinman

Hampton Roads radio sucks. We have Hunter Hughes, Jae Sinnett, Paul Shugrue, and Cathy Lewis—that is it. Elseways, I’ve never heard such sapless playlists (Bob) and homophobic—read: homoerotic—blubbering (Mike & Bob). Sure, All Things Considered is great, but what does that show have to do with Southeast Virginia? All this makes me glad I know one entertaining person and spend my disposable dollars at Relative Theory.

But then Leona Baker (Senior Editaurus fabulosa de PFW) drops me a line about WRRW, 100.9 FM, Revolutionary Radio, in Williamsburg. I click onto their website for a listen since they only beam a scrimpy 100 watts into the air. And what do I hear? Songs that sound like Bob Allen Zimmerman. Songs from artists I’ve never heard of. Songs from the Caribbean. More songs from artists I’ve never heard of.

But then, I stream Christian Dream Interpretation, a show that promises you will “learn about angelic messengers, demonic spirits, symbolism and the signifigance of animals and colors in your dreams. Is the dream symbolic, prohetic, or both.?”

Huh? Reads like someone needs to take my ENG 01 class. This is interesting, but what gives? And how is it Norfolk is the professed urban corridor, but Williamsburg has two (gotta count 92.3) decent radio stations with honest-to-God 24/7 local programming to Nah-fudge’s nil? —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Dir., Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media

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

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