[ Special issue on Portland FCC public hearing tomorrow – rm ]
Buildout Big Winner In State Video Franchise Laws
by John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable
Buildout requirements have been the big winner in the proliferation of statewide video franchising adopted by 21 states to date. That’s according to Gerry Lederer, legislative council to TeleCommUnity, an alliance of local government officials trying to maintain oversight over telecommunications service in their localities.
Lederer pointed out on a call with reporters Friday that of the first six states to adopt statewide franchises, only one, Virginia, required franchisees to meet buildout requirements, i.e. to provide service to specific areas or percentages of the total households. Of the last nine states to adopt statewide franchise, he said, five have required build-outs. He also said it was a good sign that increasingly those build-outs did not include meeting that obligation with DBS service, but required a wireline buildout. He said the best laws were in Virginia and New Jersey, where they talk about an eventual 100% build-out.
… Lederer talked about three other key metrics, saying that the issue PEG (public, educational and government channel) requirements was a “maturing” debate, saying that one issue is whether a Web stream can suffice for the PEG requirement and who is responsible for providing the interconnection from, say, a county council meeting or high school football game, to the headend. He said Illinois’ new state franchise law, which has yet to be signed into law, provides should be the model since it requires the franchise to provide the interconnection and says the streamed channel must be equivalent to a tradition PEG channel. —>
Local Governments Question Statewide Video Franchises
TeleCommUnity Claims Telcos Haven’t Accelerated Deployment
by Linda Haugsted
Laws moving video-franchising authority to the state level now exist in 21 states (including Illinois, where the governor is expected to sign the bill pending there), but the laws, promoted to speed franchising by competitors, have not accelerated deployment or lowered prices, asserted TeleCommUnity, an alliance of local governments promoting their role in franchising.
…In Lederer’s judgment, language of the bills has improved as more states take up the issue. For instance, the Ohio and Illinois bills prevent competitors from meeting deployment obligations with old technology like direct-broadcast satellite services in place of fiber-to-the-home or Internet-protocol-TV services, he said. More bills are specifying customer-service standards and designating what officials have enforcement oversight, he added. —>
Wisconsin “Video Competition” Bill Proponents Shut Out Opponents’ Views; Opponents Speak Out Anyway
by Barry Orton
Paul Soglin: Waxing America (WI)
—> Now the little guys are talking back. In a clever PSA campaign, the public access folks are arguing that those soapbox channels are really little local business incubators. The DailyPage’s Kristian Knutsen focuses on Blame Society’s spot featuring Chad Vader’s creators:
“This is what Blame Society Productions looked like back in 1993,” explains Aaron Yonda in a voiceover atop the clip. “And this is what we look like today,” he continues as the strains of an acoustic “Imperial March” start playing atop scenes from their breakout hit Chad Vader.
“But how did we get from this to this?” asks Yonda rhetorically over another pair of before-and-after images. “With the help of locally-funded public access TV stations,” he responds. Yonda goes on to credit cable access with the success of their programming and, more importantly, their subsequent ability to work as filmmakers in a state that’s quite a distance from either coast.” —>
Central City Public Library to celebrate trio of projects
The independent (NE)
The Central City Public Library has gotten a lot of work done over the past several months. And now it’s ready to show off. The library will have a get-together over coffee at 7:30 a.m. today for local businesses to celebrate three projects that it’s wrapping up: resurrecting the local public-access cable channel, installing eight new computers and sprucing up the building with a new paint job. —>
Play Ball: Responding to Nancy’s Post at Huffington
by Hannah Sassaman
Hannah Sassaman — Banned from the National Association of Broadcasters Since 2002
So Nancy Scola wrote a really interesting post at the Huffington Post yesterday — all about talk radio and its relationship to the ownership infrastructure in our corporate media. On my way back from hanging out with the Future of Music Coalition and the wicked charming gentlemen of OK Go, who were stumping for low power FM radio on Capitol Hill and spending some quality time with Local Community Radio Act of 2007 sponsors Mr. Lee Terry and Mr. Mike Doyle, I wanted to comment there. Sadly the Huffington peeps only let you post 350 words at a time, and no room for links! Here’s my thoughts on the relationship between low power FM and opportunities for ‘progressive’ talkers to learn their trade and gain opportunities to succeed on the radio dial:
I really like the baseball metaphor here, Nancy. Let’s take it one step further: We don’t just need double and triple-A teams for progressive (and dare I say local?) talkers to hone their craft — we need Little League.
Cities and towns band around things like high school plays, public school and community sports, and city council meetings not because there’s nothing better to watch on HBO or because there isn’t an arena rock concert or Broadway-caliber show in town. We get a chance to celebrate, appreciate and learn from our neighbors in the most vital ways when we wholeheartedly support their political, athletic, and creative work. Municipalities, local businesses, and churches fund enterprises like this because they are the lifeblood of healthy communities — and when personal or community-wide crises strike, relationships built on the bleachers at the soccer field or in the pews at church end up saving lives. —>
The Joys of “Civic TV,” or
Television You Probably Don’t Watch
by Jeffrey P. Jones / Old Dominion University (VA)
There’s a particular joy I find in subjecting my friends and family to television programming that makes them squirm. The programs aren’t filled with sex, violence, or foul language, nor are the shows comprised of poor writing, atrocious acting, or outrageous characters such as Flavor Flav. Instead, the programming is best categorized simply as television you probably don’t watch. Televangelists are often a great choice. Home shopping networks rank high as well. In fact, switching back and forth between televangelists and home shopping networks is big fun, but you tend to lose control of the remote rather quickly that way.
Another such destination is what I call Civic TV, although most cable systems formally call it “Public, Educational, and Government Programming,” or PEG channels. At its most rudimentary, the primary programming on government channels is typically comprised of city council meetings (what for most viewers is the equivalent of watching paint dry).
As I hope to convey, however, Civic TV has much more to offer than this stereotype suggests. Although some of the programming does resemble Chamber of Commerce videos, numerous communities across the United States actually produce quality programming on issues that are central to the health and welfare of a community, including many areas of life that academics typically complain are disturbingly absent from or underrepresented on commercial television—the environment, arts and culture, public health and safety, local history, community life, minority issues, education, and democratic institutions and processes.
Of central concern to me as an academic is how we as a public come to know ourselves as citizens of a community. —>
On a quiet day … Reflections AMC 07
For Lack of Better Words
The Allied Media Conference took place last weekend in Detroit. It was great to come home (I moved out to Brooklyn on June 2nd) to my community and be a part of such an amazing event. Crazy personal emergencies I had to deal with and all (I burned off some mad karma last weekend for real), the AMC was the most important couple of days that I’ve experienced in a long time.
They were important for many reasons. One, it gave me a huge burst of energy and hope. The folks that make up the Allied Media Conference are some of the most intelligent, creative, and forward-thinking people in this country (shit, the world). To share that space with them and hear about the work they’ve been doing, the motivations behind it, and the way it’s pushing things forward was incredible. The work represented in the room got me thinking about one of my favorite quotes by Arundhati Roy: “Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” Last weekend, I could hear more than just breathing. She came through in conversations, music, poetry, rap, books, films, radio, newspapers, hugs, laughter, and hot dance moves. Everybody was feeling it by the time they left—I was definitely not the only one leaving with mad amounts of inspiration. —>
compiled by Rob McCausland
Dir., Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media