Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/21/07

we wuz surveilled
by dvtv Rich
Open Studio (NY)

in the release of the NYPD’s 600 pages documenting surveillance of individuals and groups prior to the Repug Convention in 2004, not only is MNN listed, but also our beloved Youth Channel.


many of us working at MNN (and many volunteers) helped to produce this programming. nice to see that someone was watching.

the fine people at i-witness video have a searchable database of the docs where you can see if you were watched as well.

big thanks to YC’s Andrew Lynn for this tip.

Legislative Update
The Business Journal (TN)

Competitive Cable and Video Services Act.

Quite possibly the most talked about legislation of the session is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Commerce, Labor and Agriculture Committee on Tuesday…  Both proponents and opponents of the bill have made presentations to the Commerce, Labor and Agriculture Committee in recent weeks.  This week, the committee heard amendments to address a number of concerns with the bill.  The amendments make several key changes to the bill:

  • Rights-of-way remain under local control.
  • Adds a build out requirement for new entrants.
  • Requires a telecommunications company with more than one million lines to offer service in 25 percent of its statewide footprint within three years and 50 percent within 6 years.
  • Makes the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA) the franchising authority rather than the Secretary of State.
  • Includes franchise fees and late fees as a part of the definition of gross revenues.
  • Customer complaints will be fielded by local representatives.
  • Deletes reference to placing equipment on land of private individuals.
  • Limits statewide franchise certificate to ten years.
  • Franchise fees remain under local control.
  • Statewide franchise holders must provide 90 days advance notice and provide refunds for service not provided if they want to terminate service.
  • Permits all existing public, educational and governmental access (PEG) channels for non commercial programming to be permanently preserved regardless of usage.

The committee will resume debate on the bill at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

House proposal would step up giving viewers more selection
Patriot News (PA)

A proposal in the state House is a solid step toward speeding up consumer choice in selecting cable television service while also providing necessary regulatory oversight.  House Majority Policy Chairman Todd Eachus, D-Luzerne, wants to create a statewide franchising law and put it under the auspices of the Public Utility Commission.

He has come up with a framework similar to one we previously raised. It has also garnered support from the public advocacy group PennPirg and the Consumers Union, as well as some labor groups, according to a copy of a memo Eachus circulated to other legislators…

Where we have parted with telecom companies like Verizon, however, is that some regulatory oversight is needed.  The PUC is the logical agency since it has long overseen telecommunications and would have the appropriate resources and expertise. Eachus also proposes empowering the state consumer advocate to represent consumers before the PUC, federal agencies and in the courts.

Overall, we like this concept, but will keep an open mind until we hear more from industry groups and others.   —>

State Franchises Mean Service Call of Duty
New Laws Have Regulators Trying To Solve Customer-Service Issues
by K.C. Neel
Multichannel News

As state lawmakers across the nation race to pass legislation taking control of video franchising oversight, state regulators are grappling with the additional responsibility and costs associated with that responsibility. Meanwhile, many city administrators say they’re trying to solve customer service problems regardless of whether they have official control or not.

“Last year the FCC held one of its town hall meetings in Keller, Texas, and one of our PUCT [Public Service Commission of Texas] commissioners stood up and told the FCC that even though they were supposed to take complaints from consumers about video service by new providers, they didn’t have the authority or the staff to do it,” said Margaret Somereve, assistant to the director of public works in Farmers Branch, Texas, and president of the state’s chapter of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Administrators. “So the cities are now dealing with them instead.”

She said her office has no certified oversight of telephone complaints, but “if someone has a complaint about phone service, they usually call us. We have a contact at AT&T who we can talk to to solve the problem,” Somereve said. “We are hoping that when AT&T launches U-verse here, the same situation will exist. We know we can’t tell people to call the PUC with a video complaint because we know nothing will happen. We will just try to solve it ourselves.   —>

Higher Music Royalties Create Static on the Net
Web Radio Stations Sing the Blues to Congress
by Mike Musgrove
Washington Post

This weekend, Live 365 chief executive Mark Lam is gearing up for his second trip to Washington in a month. For 2 1/2 days, Lam will be talking nonstop to congressional staffs in an attempt to drum up support for a bill that he’s hoping will help keep his company afloat — and keep thousands of independent Internet music stations online in the process.

At Live365’s site, anybody can create their own Web-based “radio station” of sorts. Starting at $9.95 a month, music fans can upload their own music and broadcast their playlists to promote their favorite bands. By the latest count, there are about 10,000 Live365 stations. Most play music that is rarely heard on traditional, or “terrestrial,” radio stations; though estimates vary, the research firm comScore puts the U.S. audience for Internet radio at 34.5 million listeners.

A chunk of the revenue generated by Internet radio companies like Live365 and rivals like Pandora, is paid out in royalties to an organization called SoundExchange, which was created by the recording industry. It, in turn, pays the artists whose music is being played. Listeners generally don’t pay anything for tuning into online radio.

Those royalty payments are about to go up as the result of a decision this year by the Copyright Royalty Board, a three-judge oversight panel that is part of the Library of Congress. At the urging of SoundExchange, the board decided in March to raise fees, which will eventually triple from their current rates. The previous rates had expired. What’s more, the new rules will require an annual $500 minimum fee from every Web-based radio station. The first bill is due July 15.

The rate increases mean that Live365 would owe $7 million to $8 million this year in fees, compared with $1.4 million last year, Lam said. “We don’t have the money to pay up,” he said.   —>

Omaha council approves reduction in public access channels
by Karen Sloan
World-Herald (NE)

After months of public discourse over a plan to reduce the number of Omaha’s public access channels, the City Council had little left to say Tuesday.  Without discussion, it approved a deal that allows Cox Communications to go from six analog public access channels to four, with the addition of one digital access channel. One of the four analog channels will broadcast EWTN, a provider of Catholic programming.

The decision angered some public access supporters, who said the city is giving away a valuable asset and getting little in return.  “I think the City Council is failing the city,” said public access supporter Peg Gallagher. “I just don’t understand what they are doing.”

Under the plan, Channels 17 and 18 will remain educational programming, and the minority affairs channel, 22, will also remain. All other public access users will share the new digital channel. That channel will only be available to digital cable subscribers, which some public access users said will reduce their audience.   —>

Images Cinema Offers Free Screening of “Frozen Glory” on Memorial Day
Greylock News (MA)

Williamstown, MA – War memorials surround us. From the Civil War to the present, people have tried to capture the lessons they’ve learned from bloody conflict in stone and bronze. From the ubiquitous soldiers of the Civil War to the tragic pieces of WWI to the grim geometry of the Vietnam memorials, each war’s memorials are different.

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 28 at 6pm, Images Cinema will be screening Frozen Glory (34 minutes) , a short film about war memorials by local filmmaker Patti Cassidy, who specializes in public sculpture. Cassidy has lived and worked in Tucson, Boston and Rhode Island, and, during the past year, in Williamstown, where she has served as the producer of the Images Show, Images’ public access television show.   —>

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

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

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: