Community Media: Selected Clippings – 06/03/07

Public TV could be jeopardized, critics say
by Alan Johnson
The Columbus Dispatch (OH)

Fun with Grapes could be crushed, Your Mortgage Matters might not matter and the morning Traffic Watch could be stop and go.  Those and hundreds of other public-access and government television programs across Ohio would be jeopardized by proposed state legislation, critics charge.    —>

Cable competition bill a threat to local programming, critics say
Associated Press
Beacon Journal (OH)

COLUMBUS – A bill that would rewrite the rules governing cable television franchises in Ohio and help telecommunications giant AT&T Inc. enter the video market threatens to wipe out local public access channels, critics say.

House passes cable competition bill
by Stephanie Sievers
MyWeb Times (IL)

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House passed legislation Thursday expected to bring greater cable competition by making it easier for high-tech video providers such as AT&T to break into local television service markets.  The bill, largely revamped in order to overcome cable industry objections, was approved 113-0 and now goes to the Senate as state lawmakers head into overtime session.   —>

Will AT&T win battle?
by Bob Okon
Herald News (IL)

The unfinished business in Springfield includes legislation expected to have a big impact on the kind of TV service people get.  Senate Bill 678 is the latest version of legislation hotly contested by Comcast and AT&T.  AT&T sought the new legislation, saying it needed a new set of rules to compete with Comcast and other cable providers with its own version of video service.  The Senate adjourned Friday without voting on the bill. However, it looks like AT&T is winning the legislative battle…

Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar said municipalities also are concerned about the future of public access channels that broadcast village board meetings and provide other community services.  “I want the same public access afforded to people who sign up for AT&T as the people who sign up for Comcast get,” Claar said.  Weeks of compromises in the legislation were crafted to address public access and other issues. The results are ironed out in sometimes very technical language in the 120 pages of the bill.   —>,4_3_JO03_CABLE_S1.article

Cable cost eyes are on Texas
by Jeff Richgels
Capital Times (WI)

Competition from phone companies designed to be boosted by the nation’s first state cable franchising law has not lowered cable TV prices in Texas but has provided consumers with a lower cost alternative, a study has found, reported this week.    Rates in Texas are closely watched because in 2005 it became the first state to shift cable franchising from the local to state level. A controversial bill to do that in Wisconsin has passed the Assembly but not the Senate…

Members of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors were prompted to begin tracking rates in February 2006, Margaret Somereve, assistant to the director of public works for Farmers Branch, Texas, and the NATOA chapter president told

Testimony claimed rates were 25 to 45 percent lower in Texas, due to the passage of SB5, Somereve said.  NATOA members “knew there was no such decrease, but we had to get hard facts together,” she told  The rates in the Texas study, more than a year in the making, reflect regular, published video-subscription rates that consumers will pay long-term, NATOA officials said.

Rates for a basic tier of cable service that includes off-the-air broadcast TV signals and public, educational and government channels have actually increased over the last two years in markets where there are two or more competitors, according to the study.   —>

Two Save Access TV Shows Available (MA)
Save Access

Wilmington Community Television has created two Save Access TV television shows and would like to share them with the rest of Massachusetts (and the country) in response to the hearing at the Massachusetts State House on June 5th concerning the Verizon authored franchising bill. Cambridge Community Television has uploaded the videos to our University Channel FTP account as well as our channel. Find out how to grab the content for your websites and cable channels below.

Save Access TV –
Perspectives: Save Access TV –

For those stations with digital server playback capabilities, download the cablecast quality, .mpg, program stream, layer 2 audio, version at the University Channel’s FTP server. Log-in and grab the two files out of the CCTV folder. For more information, email Renato Rodriguez at renato[at]

Join Access Centers from the around the state in Boston at the State House on Tuesday, June 5th at 10:00am to show your support for Public, Education and Government Television.  For more information, contact Jason Crow at jason[at]

City to challenge FCC on cable TV proposal
Los Angeles Times

The City Council voted Friday to file a lawsuit challenging tentative decisions by the Federal Communications Commission that city officials fear could reduce their authority to regulate cable television franchises.  Councilman Bill Rosendahl, a former cable television executive, said the proposed new rules could reduce public access programming and make it harder for the city to protect residents who are customers of the cable firms.  Rosendahl said, “It is not in the interest of the customers that this legislation go forward.”,1,7840484.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california&ctrack=1&cset=true

Rural broadband coverage incomplete
Experts: Unserved areas could lose out on future jobs
by Jerry Pelzer
State Journal Register (IL)

PETERSBURG – When Guy Sternberg wants to open an e-mail attachment from friends, it helps if he’s hungry.  “If we try to send things back and forth that are attached documents and so forth that are over three or four hundred k(ilobytes) or five hundred k(ilobytes) at most, I just can’t even open them,” said Sternberg, who runs Starhill Forest Arboretum in southern Menard County. “I’ll hit ‘Open,’ I’ll go eat lunch and to come back before I get it done.”

Sternberg, like a significant number of people in rural Illinois, doesn’t have access to broadband Internet options that most city dwellers take for granted: DSL, cable or wireless Internet.   —>

Trauma video sparks debate in St. Lucie
by Jim Kirley
TC Palm

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Anyone doubting there is disagreement over whether county landowners should tax themselves to staff a trauma center at a corporate-owned local hospital might want to turn on the television.

By tuning into the City of Fort Pierce’s public access cable channel 27, you can watch a video produced by the American Trauma Society that promotes hospital trauma centers as lifesavers.  But if you tune into St. Lucie County’s public cable access channel 21, you won’t see the same video — despite the fact that the same people operate both channels.

It’s no accident the video, delivered to the station by supporters of Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute’s proposed trauma center, got play on one channel and not the other: Station Technical Operations Manager Shane DeWitt said that County Administrator Doug Anderson told him to view the video and report whether it took sides.

DeWitt said he felt it did and Anderson told him not to air the video.  “In my opinion, what we’re trying to do is not give the impression that we’re pushing (the tax) either way,” DeWitt said.

But Fort Pierce Mayor Bob Benton, a longtime supporter of local trauma medical services, told station management to run the video on the city’s channel.  “I don’t think it is biased,” Benton said. “It shows what a trauma center does. If there is another side out there, if that other side comes to me with something, we would show it.   —>,2545,TCP_16736_5568181,00.html

Groups call for competitive spectrum auction
A consortium of businesses, consumer advocates, and think tanks want the upcoming auction of 700MHz spectrum to include open access requirements
by Grant Gross
IDG News Service

New broadband providers should be given a better chance of winning pieces of valuable wireless spectrum to be auctioned by early next year, several groups said Friday.  The groups, including Google, startup Frontline Wireless, and consumer advocate Public Knowledge, called on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to change the way it auctions spectrum when it sells off 60Mhz of spectrum to be freed up when U.S. television stations move to all-digital broadcasts.

The auction of the coveted 700MHz band of spectrum — which allows broadband-speed wireless signals to travel farther and penetrate buildings better than some other bands — presents the best hope U.S. consumers have of a third major broadband service to challenge cable and DSL carriers, said Michael Calabrese, director of the Wireless Future Program at the New America Foundation, a think tank that hosted Friday’s spectrum forum.

“If we do nothing — if we take the [auction] rules we’ve used for the last 10 years, the same incumbents are going to win,” added Harold Feld, senior vice president of the Media Access Project, an open media advocacy group. “There is no competition fairy. There is no magic that’s going to happen that if we just deregulate enough, somehow a new competitor is going to emerge.”   —>

Open Internet Coalition Launches

The Open Internet Coalition represents consumers, grassroots organizations, and businesses working in pursuit of a shared goal: keeping the Internet fast, open and accessible to all Americans.  Our coalition speaks for tens of millions of Americans and spans the entire political spectrum. In Washington and state capitols across the country we’re working for policies like network neutrality and universal access to high-speed Internet connections that will benefit all of us, not just the large phone and cable companies who sell connections to the Internet.

The Open Internet Coalition stands for:

An Open Internet – Access to broadband networks should be open to all producers and consumers of Internet content on fair and equal terms.

Universal Affordable Access – Broadband Internet access should be universally available and affordable.

Quality through Competition – A competitive marketplace creates jobs, helps the American consumer, fosters innovation, and drives economic growth.

We invite you to explore our site to learn more about what the Open Internet Coalition is doing to promote an Open Internet. If your organization shares our goals, please join our effort.

MetroEast, Outlook join forces for East County talk show
by Mara Stine
The Gresham Outlook (OR)

“MetroEast Outlook,” a talk-show collaboration between The Outlook and MetroEast Community Media, premiers Wednesday, June 6, on MetroEast’s cable channels.  The program will combine MetroEast’s video production and distribution capacities with the journalistic expertise of The Outlook staff, providing a public affairs program devoted to East Metro area issues.

“It’s the first time MetroEast and The Outlook have collaborated in this way, and we’re excited to provide this innovative and beneficial service,” says Rob Brading, MetroEast’s chief executive officer.  “Both organizations exist for the benefit of the community,” says Outlook Publisher Mark Garber, “so I think our motive will be very similar – and that is to inform the community and help shape an agenda for positive outcomes in East County.”      —>

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

Explore posts in the same categories: broadband policy, cable vs telco, FCC, media reform, net neutrality, PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising

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