Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/17/07

Veto in order
Our position: The measure to increase competition in the cable TV market is flawed.
Editorial: Orlando Sentinel (FL)

The best thing you can say about the push to increase competition in the cable-television market in Florida is that the folks who came up with the title “Consumer Choice Act of 2007” have a sense of humor.  How else can you explain that most consumer advocates oppose the bill lawmakers passed last session, and many of the state’s largest cable-television providers now support it? The bill takes control away from local governments and sends it to Tallahassee in a move that could mean public-access channels get booted off TV altogether.

Gov. Charlie Crist ought to veto this bill and send it back to lawmakers for an overhaul next year.   —>,0,2893826.story?coll=orl-opinion-headlines

Justice Department backs cable change
It says lower rates, better service are possible.
by Steve Bousquest
St. Petersburg (FL)

TALLAHASSEE – The lobbying remains intense on both sides of a bill to let phone companies largely bypass local regulation to offer video programming to Florida consumers.  Among those pushing for the bill is the U.S. Department of Justice, which has embraced arguments that fewer government restrictions mean more choices for consumers.   —>

BellSouth rings up a $1 million bill for lobbying
The price tag for lobbying in the state Capitol is at least $26 million this year — and could approach $70 million — as BellSouth leads the way with a million-dollar effort.
by Marc Caputo & Gary Fineout
Miami Herald (FL)

TALLAHASSEE — In just three months, telecom giant BellSouth spent at least $1,020,110 — an average of $11,460 daily — to lobby state agencies and lawmakers, making it the biggest-spending firm in the Capitol, according to disclosure reports posted Wednesday.  The eyepopping amount the company spent in its drive to enter the cable TV market was a fraction of the minimum $26 million shelled out by an estimated 2,000 special interests that worked the Capitol this legislative session — amounts that some veterans found surprising.   —>

Two sides to cable TV bill
Editorial: Pierce County Herald (WI)

Cable television has been brought into the spotlight recently with a state bill that appears to be designed to lower cable TV rates.  Local officials across the state, however, are concerned that the new bill could take away most local control of cable franchises. The new bill also may jeopardize local cable access stations, and that has city officials worried…

We believe in the concept of competition, but the bill needs some work before it should be seriously considered. Among other things, local municipalities should have some assurance that cable access programming will be funded and continue. Local government agencies should not be penalized—either in service or financially—to make things more convenient for service providers.   —>

Is state ready for AT&T to enter cable market?
Editorial: Knoxville News Sentinel (TN)

>   There is some speculation the bill might not get to the floor of either the House or Senate this session, so contentious are the issues involved. That might be best because a full debate over the legislation has not been aired in either chamber.

Right now, AT&T and the cable companies are angling to be on top when the debate is done. Lawmakers should take control of the legislation and make sure consumers are the eventual winners.  It would be great to have a choice of TV_providers. The General Assembly should find a way to make that happen without sacrificing quality service and accountability for all Tennesseans.,1406,KNS_362_5525184,00.html

Don’t turn local franchising of cable over to the profit sector
by Elliott Mitchell
The Tennessean

As a volunteer board member of Nashville’s Metropolitan Educational Access Corp., I have been extremely interested in AT&T’s proposal for video-franchising legislation because it threatens the future of public, educational and governmental access (PEG) channels across Tennessee.   —>

Cable bill opponents continue fight
by Kathleen Folkerth
Leader Online (OH)

GREATER AKRON — A bill that would change the way cable franchises are negotiated is now in the Ohio House as opponents speak out on the changes it could bring to local access channels.  Ohio Senate Bill 117, called the Ohio Video Competition Act of 2007, was passed by the Senate’s Energy and Public Utilities Committee by a vote of 7-1 May 8. The next day it was approved by the Senate with a vote of 29-4. Now the bill is in the Public Utilities Committee of the Ohio House of Representatives. A public hearing for proponents of the bill is scheduled for May 23, while one for opponents will be May 30.

The bill provides for a state franchising system for cable television service, rather than the current system in which municipalities have that authority. Supporters of the bill say that the increased competition that will result from the bill will provide more choices for consumers.  But opponents of the bill question the cost of providing more choice. One of their concerns is that the public, education and government — or PEG — channels will be eliminated or put in the higher tier of cable channels, resulting in less accessibility to viewers.   —>

Boosting the signal for better public access TV
By Kate Irish Collins
Sun Chronicle (ME)

SACO – With just over $25,000 Thornton Academy TV can buy a new piece of equipment that would allow it to broadcast live performances and sporting events, as well as pre-taped programs and official city meetings.  The money for the new Leightronix Nexus system could come out of the fees paid by Time Warner to the city to offer cable television to residents.  This year Saco will collect approximately $232,000 from Time Warner, all of which now goes into the city’s general fund budget.

Last week the city council approved the creation of an advisory Cable Committee to look at the proposal by Thornton Academy.  The idea to purchase the Nexus system is that of Thornton senior Sean Campbell. Campbell, who has been a member of TATV all four years of high school, was working on an independent study when he came up with the plan for the Nexus system.

“It’s great because instead of seeing the same thing every two hours we could schedule programs to target audiences and also allow viewers to know what time shows will be on,” Campbell said.  The Nexus system would also allow TATV to broadcast even more original programming, including full-length football, soccer or lacrosse games. Right now Channel 3 operates with a two-hour DVD that gets looped throughout the day and over the course of the week.   —>

More city on cable?
The City Council approved a policy which could lead to 24-7 television programming.
by Angela Potter
OC Register (CA)

The City Council has approved a programming policy for its cable television channel, the first step toward 24-7 programming dedicated exclusively to the city.  The council approved the policy Tuesday night by a 3-2 vote, with Mayor Diane Harkey and Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Bartlett against. The policy allows for, among other things, public meetings, including the Planning Commission and Traffic Commission, to be broadcast. However, the policy is only a framework and specific programming decisions have not yet been made.   —>

City could have say in TV content
Joliet’s Public Access Station
by Andrea Hein
Herald News (IL)

JOLIET — After decades of airing community programs produced by volunteers, Joliet Community Television could be changing some of its content as Joliet officials create a city position to oversee the public access station.  Channel 6 programming could include official city opinions on local issues or rebuttals to articles published or aired by the mainstream media.

But before embarking on any changes, some city leaders want to establish a city committee to oversee the use of the channel, as well as other technology, and administrators cautioned that they should be mindful of community television’s purpose.  “It can’t just be something controlled by the city,” City Manager John Mezera said when the issue was briefly discussed during Tuesday’s council meeting.

More than 30 volunteers produce local programs, which include everything from interviews with residents to health tips. The volunteers also tape community events such as parades.  The public access channel, which is not available on satellite television, also airs live city council meetings and home Joliet JackHammers games, said Richard Schuster, a volunteer who has run the station for 20 years.  While volunteers are able to tape, produce and air between 500 and 600 programs annually, they do not have the time to cover all area events or develop additional programming.

“We’re not reaching our full potential,” said Schuster, who encouraged the city to hire a full-time employee.  This year, Joliet leaders included a salary for a station employee in the city budget.  While discussing that position during a city finance committee meeting this week, Joliet officials also talked about forming an information, technology and communication committee.   —>,4_1_JO17_COMMUNICATION_S1.article

Access TV thriving
Stories by Albert Ching
Arizona Daily Star

“We were YouTube 20 years before YouTube existed.”  Strong words? They come from Sam Behrend, executive director of Access Tucson, the group responsible for the three public access channels available locally through cable providers Cox and Comcast. They’ve been around since 1984, giving folks in the community a chance to produce and broadcast their own TV shows, about pretty much whatever they want.   —>

Irondequoit Community Summit on 5/21
Your Space: Irondequoit Public Library News (NY)

>   On Monday May 21, Irondequoit residents and other interested citizens will have an opportunity to get a status report on the work of the various study groups. Supervisor Heyman and the committee chairs will answer questions. The meeting will be held from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Christ the King Parish Center, 445 Kings Highway South. The meeting is free and open to public. It will be taped for future broadcast on Irondequoit Cable Access Television.   —>

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

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

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