Community Media: Selected Clippings – 06/04/07 (OH-MA Special Edition)

[ There are important statewide video franchising hearings this week before an Ohio House committee (the Senate already passed the bill), and a Massachusetts Joint Committee. Access advocates have been successful here in getting some decent press. Today in Ohio it was an AP story that made the rounds, but one blogger at As Goes Ohio also took the opportunity to mention net neutrality. In Massachusetts, meanwhile, strong pieces appeared by Harvard professor Nolan Bowie in a Globe Op-Ed and by noted press critic and Northeastern fellow Dan Kennedy on his blog. – rm ]

Critics oppose cable TV bill
Associated Press
Cincinnati Post

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.

Bill threatens access channels
Critics: Competition from AT&T entering video market could wipe out local public channels
Palladium-Item (AP) — 06/04/07

Proposed Law Would Allow Statewide Franchising For Cable Video
WHIOTV — 06/04/07

Ohio Senate Bill SB 117
by CZawadzki
As Ohio Goes

The Ohio House of Representatives’ public utilities committee will be holding another hearing on Senate Bill SB 117 on Wednesday, June 6,at 11a.m. …

While this is effort by At&T is threatening, the real effort to undermine Free Speech is Net Neutrality. Both Sen Brown and Voinovich are undeclared on Net neutrality and whether a corporation has the right to own the internet, whether a corporation can determine what you can and can not read online. Please call them and tell them “To vote Yes on the “Internet Freedom Preservation Act” (S. 215). We need to work together to pass Pro-Net Neutrality legislation in this Congress.”

Save Local Access TV in Massachusetts
by Colin Rhinesmith
Colin Rhinesmith

There is a public hearing tomorrow at the State House at 10am in Gardner Auditorium. The future of locally produced community television, Public, Educational, and Goverment access cable in Massachusettes hangs in the balance of bill sponsored by Verizon that will be debated by both those who support and oppose the bill. —>

Consumer benefit in cable franchising
by Nolan Bowie
Op-Ed: The Boston Globe

—> Verizon is a late comer that wishes to tilt the competitive playing field with a bill that would place restrictive burdens on many of its multi channel video customers outside of Greater Boston, especially consumers in Western Massachusetts. They would have to travel to Boston to register consumer complaints to the state regulatory agency. Local accountability and responsiveness will be minimized if the Verizon-sponsored bill passes.

In such a case where a business makes no promises of public benefit, there are no particular performance goals expected, except, perhaps, to shareholders for greater profits. This bill is not in the public interest of the citizens and consumers of Massachusetts and should be defeated.

Nolan Bowie, a guest columnist, is adjunct lecturer in public policy and a senior fellow of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

The threat to local access
by Dan Kennedy
Media Nation

When the euphemisms start piling up, the best thing to do is to take a closer look. The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy will hold a public hearing tomorrow on the Massachusetts Cable Choice and Competition Act. Well, gee, who could be against such a thing? In fact, the bill represents a massive assault on local media by the telecom giant Verizon. It’s also part of a nationwide campaign. The Web site is tracking the issue here and elsewhere.

The legislation, described in the Globe last Friday by Laura Colarusso and the subject of a Globe op-ed today by Nolan Bowie, would strip cities and towns of their right to regulate the franchising of cable television operations in their communities. Instead, all regulation would be carried out by the state. Such a change could result in less local programming — the government meetings, school plays, church services and community bulletin boards that don’t exactly compete with “American Idol,” but that form a vital part of the local media scene.

Because government-mandated funding formulas are based on the number of subscribers in a given community, larger cities such as Boston, Cambridge and Somerville have vibrant local public-affairs programming as well. Boston even has a daily newscast and a weekly political talk show, as I described in a story for CommonWealth Magazine earlier this year. State regulation wouldn’t necessarily result in the immediate demise of such funding mandates — but it would make getting rid of those mandates a whole lot easier.

So what’s going on? —>

Customers’ bills to drop? Cable TV law stirs debate in city
by Jason Tait
Eagle-Tribune (MA)

HAVERHILL – One side says your cable television bills could drop. The other says you could lose your community access television station. The debate has begun on how Massachusetts residents get and pay for their TV entertainment, and the fight is heating up in Haverhill. The City Council and mayor are clashing over a proposed state law that allows more than one cable television company to compete for customers in a community.

The proposed Cable Choice and Competition Act would make it easier for two or more companies to offer cable to residents of a community, creating competition and lowering cable bills, proponents say. Mayor James Fiorentini supports the law. But the City Council backs the current system, which allows Haverhill to sign a long-term contract with one cable franchise. In Haverhill that company is Comcast. —>

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

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

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