Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/18/07

Crist signs cable TV bill but asks for tighter enforcement
by Bill Kaczor, AP
The Ledger (FL)

Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill into law Friday that is designed to increase cable television competition, but he also asked lawmakers to strengthen its consumer protection provisions in the future.   —>

Additional editorials urging a veto:

Boca Raton News:  Governor should put HB 529 In his pocket

Bradenton Herald: Veto cable bill – Deregulation not in consumer’s interest

[ What might this law mean for a municipally-owned cable system? – rm ]

Valparaiso has slim hopes for veto of cable TV legislation
by Patrick McDermott
Northwest Florida Daily News

VALPARAISO — Despite the city’s efforts to fight legislation that turns cable television franchising over to the state, the bill has made it to Gov. Charlie Crist’s desk.  There’s no indication the governor will veto the bill, but Valparaiso has not given up on their city-run cable system.  House Bill 529, named the Consumer Choice Act of 2007, will allow the state to hand out cable franchises.  “HB 529 threatens the viability of our taxpayer-owned cable system,” Commissioner Tom Miller wrote in a letter to Crist asking for his veto.   —>

Mapping a Public Interest Future (NY)
Save Access

>   So now we have the NY bill, the Omnibus Telecommunications Reform Act of 2007, sponsored by Assemblyman Brodsky with the support of the CWA. The bill creates a statewide broadband authority with its own universal service fund to ensure broadband build-out throughout largely rural NY state (with echoes of ConnectKy). It creates a statewide video franchise – that so far is the most progressive in the country in regards to PEG support. It has a net neutrality provision – given the approval of the ‘save the internet’ folks.

The bill also has strong build-out provisions – to ensure rural access and protect against urban redlining. Public interest organizations (including PEG) have been invited to provide input since the onset – a unique and rare occurrence. This all sounds great, and it actually mostly is, but given the legislation in the rest of country (and the comments above), one can’t help but feel this is an unseen twilight zone episode waiting to unravel a new unexpected morality twist…

This past Tuesday, a number of public interest organizations (consumers union, freepress, citizen action, common cause, nypirg) stuck their necks out and stood with Brodsky and the CWA in support of the current bill at a capital press conference (video).

I applaud all their efforts, each have played a part in helping to shape a bill far better than what we’re seeing anywhere else. We need good models that we can rally behind – and more importantly we need unity in principles, purpose and action. For too long we have allowed our efforts to be driven by our own singular campaign interests, often neglecting those of our natural allies, and unfortunately failing to hold the line in the end. Let’s use this bill to set a new standard of what’s possible, let’s make New York a united battleground for a communications policy of the public interest.   —>

Will Al Gore face his inconvenient truths about our stolen elections?
by Harvey Wasserman
The Budz

Al Gore has just made his second major contribution to our national political dialog.  His first, “An Inconvenient Truth,” has helped make the perils of global warming real to the American mainstream.  Now his “Assault on Reason” is excerpted in Time Magazine. With it he paints a compelling portrait of a democracy being obliterated by money and television.  The content is very much on point. But the former Vice-President must finally face the huge personal responsibility he bears for much of the problem.

First, he was an important party to the complex but catastrophic Telecommunications Act of 1996. This Clinton-era corporate goodie bag enabled a huge spike in the monopolization of the electronic media Gore now decries.

To fight the problem, Gore should now become an active agent in reversing that horrific pro-monopoly give-away. He could fight to re-establish meaningful pluralistic media ownership and public access, and for reviving both the Fairness Doctrine and Equal Time Provision, which once guaranteed balance in media content.   —>,1f2b0d/srt,0/?v=161&pv=164&CID=-1

Public access group posts Smithsonian images online
by Brett Zongker
The Examiner (DC)

Grabbing pictures of iconic Smithsonian Institution artifacts just got a whole lot easier.  Before, if you wanted to get a picture of the Wright Brothers’ plane, you could go to the Smithsonian Images Web site and pay for a print or high-resolution image after clicking through several warnings about copyrights and other restrictions – and only if you were a student, teacher or pledging not to use it to make money.  Now, you can just go to the free photo-sharing Web site

A nonprofit group is challenging the copyrights and restrictions on images being sold by the Smithsonian. But instead of going to court, the group downloaded all 6,288 photos online and posted them Wednesday night on the free Internet site.  “I don’t care if they sell the photos, but then once they sell it, they can’t say you can’t reuse this photo,” said Carl Malamud, co-founder of the group Public.Resource.Org, advocates for posting more government information online.  “You’re not allowed to chill debate by telling people they can’t use something because it’s under copyright when that’s not true.”   —>

Listen to the latest media news every Friday
Free Press Media: Minutes

Media Minutes is the longest-running syndicated radio program of its kind focused on media policy and reform. Media Minutes tracks the latest industry developments, keeps an eye on Washington policy-makers, and talks to the experts and activists dedicated to changing our media environment for the better.

Media Minutes: May 18, 2007
A Congressional drive to save webcasting gathers momentum. Local governments and citizen’s media advocates sue over the FCC’s new cable franchising restrictions. Beware of newly-sprouted Astroturf efforts to downplay the importance of network neutrality. And Clear Channel’s plans to go private hit another snag.   —>

Lights, Camera, Action
by Josh Bean
Press Register (AL)

BAY MINETTE — Video cameras were rolling as Baldwin County Public Schools officials handed out a long list of awards earlier this month at the annual Partners in Education luncheon.  When the school system named its teachers of the year earlier this spring, video cameras captured that event, too.  Both events will soon be shown on the county’s cable access channel beginning next week, the first of what Baldwin County Public Schools Communications Director Terry Wilhite hopes will become many such productions that showcase the school system.

The school-related programs will be shown on the Baldwin County Government and Educational Access Channel, which broadcasts County Commission meetings. The network, located at channel 5 or 6 on most local cable systems, is available in most areas of the county, except for rural areas such as Stockton, Elsanor and Rosinton, said Assistant County Administrator David Brewer.  “There are so many good things going on with our schools. What we propose is to give them an audience,” Wilhite said. —>,1f2b0d/srt,0/?v=161&pv=164&CID=-1

Barrier islands consider sharing cable TV channel
by Brian Ianieri
Press of Atlantic City (NJ)

STONE HARBOR — Three barrier-island municipalities are considering sharing time on a public-access television channel.  Stone Harbor, Avalon and Sea Isle City are looking into sharing a service to broadcast emergency warnings on cable channel 2, as well as providing municipal programming or promoting upcoming events.  Officials said the channel could alert residents and visitors to approaching storms, high tides or emergencies on the barrier islands.  But it could be used for more.

Ocean City, for example, uses channel 2 to televise council meetings, interviews with the mayor and community officials and even school programs, said Ocean City Business Administrator James Rutala.  “You’d be surprised at how many people do monitor channel 2, and it’s a good way to get information out,” Rutala said.

Stone Harbor Administrator Kenneth Hawk said the borough, Avalon and Sea Isle City still have much to work out regarding the shared use of the channel.  “We have to decide and agree on how to divvy up the time,” Hawk said. “There’s a lot of details that need to be worked out.”  Hawk said the programming would be free to the municipalities for two years, relying on local advertisers. After then, it would be evaluated, he said.

“It sounds like it’s got a lot of versatility if we can figure out how to harness it and determine how we have to share it with everybody,” Avalon Councilman Charles Covington said.  Avalon Councilman David Ellenberg said Avalon has talked about using the service to promote events in town, including the Bay Atlantic Symphony, which will perform there this summer.   —>

A long way from ‘Wayne’s World’
by Suzanne McBride
Chicago Tribune (IL)

When Ron Stenger wanted to tell the story of his family’s 19th Century brewery, he didn’t have to go far to find an experienced production company.  He turned to his hometown public access station — Naperville Community Television (Channel 17) — to produce an hourlong documentary, set to air in August.  It will be the sixth documentary produced since 2002 at NCTV17, believed to be the only cable access channel in the nation regularly producing documentaries.

The newest, “A Role of Her Own,” will be unveiled at a private screening Sunday. The production, which examines the lives of seven influential Naperville women, airs in June. It comes two months after the documentary “The Naperville Riverwalk: The First 25 Years.”

“Naperville is just loaded with good stories,” said station executive director Elizabeth Braham Spencer. The station has won a number of awards for the documentaries, including from the Illinois State Historical Society in recent weeks.   —>,1,7211161.story?coll=chi-newslocalwest-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

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

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

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