Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/11/07

For ‘Consumer Choice,’ the best choice is a veto
Palm Beach Post Editorial (FL)

It is called the “Consumer Choice Act of 2007,” but the bill the Legislature has sent to Gov. Crist really gives most of the choices to cable TV and telecommunications companies. Consumers won’t choose them; the companies will choose their consumers.

And here’s a safe prediction: They will be most interested in providing services to the most affluent consumers. For that reason, Gov. Crist should veto House Bill 529. —>

Cable law has too many flaws
Ocala Star Editorial (FL)

We never cease to be amazed by the willingness of Republicans in the Florida Legislature to talk “less government” and “smaller government” while they amass power for themselves and state agencies in Tallahassee, and shovel their responsibilities, and much of the costs thereof, onto local governments.

Various property tax “reforms” floating around offer a good example. Even though the people have the power, through elections, to directly control tax levels for services by choosing their representatives in city and county government, the Legislature, at no risk to itself, stands ready to dictate tax policies to the locals, who face losing millions in tax revenue as well as incurring the wrath of voters when services are halted, go unfunded, or become more expensive.

When it comes to the new legislation deregulating cable TV services, however, the difference is that GOP lawmakers were able to take many Democrats along for the ride. —>

Fraud behind state’s cable legislation is disgusting
by Cynthia Laitman
The Capital Times (WI)

Dear Editor: Today I received a glossy 8×10, full-color card in the mail from “TV4us.” Emblazoned across a background photo of $100 bills were the words “You can help Wisconsin Families Save Millions on Their Cable Bills.”

The senders urge Wisconsinites to support legislation pending in the Legislature called the video competition act. They claim it would promote competition, offer consumers greater choice and save money. Sounds good. Too bad it’s phony! TV4us, also known as, is co-sponsored by AT&T, the major corporate backer of the legislation. —>

Plale Plans To Vote for Cable TV Bill Despite Donation
Bill could end direct cable access funding
by Dennis A. Shook
Shepherd-Express (WI)

It’s time for cable access and government/education channels to pay for themselves, says state Sen. Jeff Plale (D-South Milwaukee). If Plale’s view represents the majority of his colleagues, he could end up pulling the plug on those Public, Education and Government (PEG) channels that have been around since cable first came to Wisconsin.

The issue has been put on hold for another week or so as the state Legislature considers the fiscal impact of a bill that would allow AT&T to compete with cable companies such as Time Warner, which operates most of the cable TV franchises in southeastern Wisconsin. But Plale said he expects the issue to be settled before the end of the month, when he said the state Legislature is likely to approve it.

In the interim, there are some questions as to whether Plale, who is sponsoring the state Senate version of the bill, should even vote on the matter. Plale acknowledged receiving a $1,000 campaign contribution this year from AT&T’s political action committee, even though he does not have to face re-election until 2010. —>

This cable bill pulls plug – Lawmakers seek to end local franchise agreements
by Paul E. Kostyu
Times-Reporter (OH)

COLUMBUS – Cable television bills could go down if backers of legislation passed in the Ohio Senate are right. If they’re wrong – expect to pay more or not be able to get service at all.

Senate Bill 117, which overwhelmingly passed this week, creates a state franchising system for cable systems and ends local agreements with individual companies. It’s a fundamental change in how cable companies operate in Ohio. If it becomes law, SB 117 will “promote economic development, create jobs and improve our technology infrastructure and will provide real consumer choices,” said bill sponsor Sen. Jeff Jacobson, R-Dayton.

But the Ohio Municipal League contends it will allow cable companies to abandon their franchise agreements. That could cost townships and municipalities money. And the Consumers Union, the New York-based publisher of Consumers Report, criticized the measure for its lack of enforcement teeth. In fact, SB 117 specifically says the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and the Department of Commerce have no authority to regulate the cable industry. But the department can investigate alleged violations of the law. —>

Get Omnibus: Weighing the New York Omnibus Telecommunications Reform Act of 2007
Civil Defense – a weblog by Joshua Breitbart (NY)

I’m heading up to Troy, NY, this morning for a “New York State Strategy Session for the Future of Community Media & Media Justice.” Today’s get-together at the Sanctuary for Independent Media is a precursor to a larger event tomorrow called interAct Troy!, a community driven skill share and party. It’s a great chance to check out the Sanctuary, visit friends up there, and promote the Allied Media Conference.

There will also be the second round of the strategy session with Dee Dee Halleck, George Stoney, Michael Eisenmenger, and Steve Pierce, which is a not-to-be-missed combination of folks, especially if you care about New York and the future of public access television.

The focus of today’s discussion is the “Omnibus Telecommunications Reform Act of 2007,” sponsored by State Assembly Member Richard Brodsky. The bill is a mammoth one that would have extensive impact on the lives of every single person in New York who uses the Internet, telephone, or television. —>

Seeking Cambridge Neighborhood and Media Activists
by Susan Fleischmann
Cambridge Community Television (MA)

Do you live in Cambridge, have video production skills, and think that media should be used to empower local communities? Cambridge Community Television is launching a new project called Neighbor 2 Neighbor, to embed citizen journalists in each neighborhood of Cambridge, and we need you.

The idea is to produce media about local issues, to be cablecast on CCTV’s community cable channels and posted on the web, along with blogs, podcasts and other tools. Small stipends are available and we are looking for tech-savvy people who want to work with activists in their neighborhoods to help move issues along through on-line and real life social networking. (If you are one of those activists who is excited by this project, and you don’t yet have the technical skills, we can teach you!) —>

Hillcrest High to broadcast 18th annual “Buzz-A-Thon” Saturday
Springfield News-Leader (MO)

Hillcrest High School broadcast journalism students will broadcast their 18th annual “Buzz-A-Thon” Saturday, May 12, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Springfield Public Schools’ Mediacom public access channel 25, the school district announced in a news release.

The show is produced live by Hillcrest students and will feature original sketches, parodies, improvisational games, musical performances, viewer e-mail and segments produced by former Hillcrest students. —>

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

Explore posts in the same categories: astroturf, cable vs telco, citizen journalism, PEG access TV, public access television, redlining, video franchising

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