Community Media: Selected Clippings – 06/13/07

PSA from Wisconsin Association of PEG Access Channels

Another side to the video competition bill debate
Fox Cities HD (WI)

I think by now we’ve all heard the TV and radio ads telling us to call our legislators in support of Wisconsin’s so-called “video competition bill,” promising an end to skyrocketing cable bills with more choice. Well, if you’re a regular reader of our site, or just bother to do your own homework on the issue, you know there’s more to it than the talking points in the TV4US ad campaigns.

We here at Fox Cities HD are proud supporters of the Wisconsin Association of PEG Access Channels and We’ve both contributed to programming seen on PEG access channels in past and enjoyed a lot of interesting programming that comes to us as viewers of our local public access channels. And groups like WAPC have nowhere near the kind of deep pockets the lobbyists in Madison have when they want to get their side of the debate across, we’re passing along this PSA from WAPC found on YouTube. After hearing the TV4US ads and this PSA, we hope this leads you to do more research into the subject yourself before making up your mind. We encourage you to contact your legislators now and let them know where you stand, whichever side of the issue you agree with.

Illinois Cable Franchises: What Does the State Get in Return?
by James Carlini
Midwest Business (IL)

CHICAGO – What do we get in exchange for passing HB 1500 in Illinois?  Giving up local municipal negotiating rights for one statewide franchise agreement has to at least rank with the Indians selling off Manhattan for a couple trinkets and beads worth $22. It’s in the category of dumbest deals ever made…

The biggest disappointment is to see all Illinois state representatives voting for HB 1500 without even asking for anything for the state in return (like a guarantee for network infrastructure to be upgraded to 1 Gbps by 2011). That would have been a fair deal and would reflect some good negotiating skills on the part of the legislature.

Even if only one representative stood up and said “we demand more in exchange for giving up municipal negotiating rights,” I would have felt better. There would have been some hope that someone “really gets it” when it comes to understanding that the state’s future partially hinges on a solid network infrastructure.   —>

Today Maine leads nation on net neutrality
by Bill in Portland Maine
Daily Kos

Well skip to me loo and how’dyadoo, here’s reason number 34,350 to love this place —>

Lawmakers pass ‘net neutrality’ resolve
Bangor Daily News

AUGUSTA – A coalition that includes civil libertarians and online businesses said the Legislature’s final passage Tuesday of a “net neutrality” bill sets Maine ahead of other states in taking a stand for nondiscriminatory access to the Internet.  The resolve, enacted by the House of Representatives on Monday and Senate Tuesday, instructs the Maine public advocate’s office to monitor state and federal activity relating to Internet access. The public advocate must also submit a report to the Legislature’s Utilities and Energy Committee by Feb. 1, 2008.   —>

700MHz Winds Start To Shift
by Richard Martin
Information Week

As the Senate Commerce Committee prepares to hold hearings tomorrow on the upcoming auction of 700MHz spectrum, the issue of how to carve up and sell off this extremely valuable slice of airwaves is finally making the leap from the tech press to the mainstream of DC politics (though not to the MSM, natch). The latest salvo comes from Sen. John Kerry, who yesterday sent a letter to FCC chairman Kevin Martin calling for a set of rules that will open up the auction to new competitors beyond the cable and telecom incumbents that currently control something like 96% of all broadband access in this country.

“Competition [in America] has been insufficient to drive the innovation that brings faster speeds, next generation applications and a richer, diverse and multifaceted Internet,” wrote Kerry. “… We cannot allow this spectrum to be hoarded by large companies who don’t intend to use it, which stifles innovation and the growth of competitive networks.”

Kerry thus aligned himself with the 4G Coalition for America (a group of tech heavy hitters that includes Google, Intel Corp. Skype, plus satellite TV companies EchoStar Communications and DirecTV), Frontline Wireless LLC (whose investors include NetScape founder Jim Barksdale, who will testify on Thursday), and a small horde of progressive outfits that includes the Consumer Federation of America, the New America Foundation, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group in calling for some form of “open access” that will prevent the auction from being dominated by the likes of Verizon and Comcast.

To underline the importance of this auction: the 700MHz band comprises spectrum being vacated in 2009 by UHF television broadcasters, and these ultra-high frequencies are extremely powerful for wireless broadband networks because they have a very long range and pass easily through physical barriers like walls. This is almost certainly the last of the great spectrum auctions for a generation, and how this spectrum gets allocated will determine the shape of the broadband wireless industry for years to come.   —>

The Black Stake in Low Power Community Radio
by Bruce Dixon

Over the weekend of June 9, about seventy activists from around the country converged in a poor neighborhood of Greenville South Carolina. Led by the Prometheus Radio Project, a visionary Philadelphia-based organization of techies and media policy advocates, they came to assist organized local residents in what was billed as a “radio station barnraising” a weekend of collective work completing the studio, tuning, testing and raising the broadcast antenna, teaching and learning basic and advanced production skills and on Sunday evening, flipping the ON switch for Greenville’s first fully licensed low power community-owned FM radio station.

WMXP-LP Greenville’s broadcast range is only about 3.5 miles, but its impact is enormous. Owned and operated by the Malcolm X Grassroots Organization in that city, it’s one of many stations Prometheus and its allies aim to assist community, civil rights, environmental and other progressive organizations in creating. WMXP-LP Greenville will provide local news and analysis, a venue for locally produced music and other programming in English and Spanish. According to its founder Efia Nwangaza, a former SNCC activist and local attorney, WMXP-LP will serve, empower and enrich the life of its community in ways that large corporate broadcasters never have and never will.

For African American communities, corporate monopolization of the airwaves has reduced our musical choices to degrading minstrel shows.   —>

Why RSS Matters for PEG Access TV
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition

Just a quick word on why RSS (Really Simple Syndication) really matters for PEG access TV centers that are posting (or thinking about posting) their video online.  RSS feeds allow Internet video players (like Democracy) to subscribe to and deliver an access centers’ video to viewers on-demand. This is important because it provides a fairly easy distribution platform (and free as in Democracy: Internet TV) for PEG access TV centers looking to reach an audience on the web. This is also important for people like me who would like to have an easy way to find more access centers’ videos on the web.

I like Democracy because it provides a great way to search, find, and watch PEG access TV videos from centers like WCCA TV and CCTV right alongside other popular programs like NBC Meet the Press with Tim Russert. This is all made possible because these shows have made their RSS feeds available for subscribing to and watching via Internet video platforms like Democracy.

So if you’re at a PEG access TV center that is posting video on the web, please be sure to create an RSS feed for your online video so people (like me) can subscribe to them. If you don’t know how to create an RSS feed for your online video there are plenty of options. I would recommend visiting the “Publish Video” page on the Make Internet TV website. That’s a great place to start.

Council gets a change of scenery
West Branch Times (IA)

—>    Since the city abandoned its old city offices last November, the council has held its meetings at Town Hall. But a number of complaints from residents who watch council meetings on the local public access channel prompted Arlyn Verlo, the city’s volunteer public access director, to ask the council for a change of venue.  Poor acoustics in Town Hall makes it difficult to hear the council’s discussion, both for those who attend meetings and those who watch them on TV.   —>

I Am Woman, I Am All Women
by Liz
Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute

—>   Elaine B. Holtz produces a television show called, “Women’s Spaces” and the idea behind the program is to introduce ordinary women doing extraordinary things. “I Am Woman, I Am All Women” represents the message Elaine is trying to project.  Elaine says, “It is my hope through my television show and poetry women will want to get more involved and see their place in bringing about peace in this world.” Elaine’s television show, “Women’s Spaces” airs in Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Windsor and Mendocino in California.

Elaine explains, “The last interview I did which is more the exception to the rule was with Amy Goodman, she was at the Harmony Festival and she allowed an interview with me for our public access television station. I usually interview women in our community who are working for peace and justice in any capacity. I have found there are so many of us doing such marvelous things and I want to get that info out. Having someone like Amy was more of the exception but she supports public access.”   —>

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

Explore posts in the same categories: broadband policy, cable vs telco, community media, community radio, FCC, Internet TV, media ownership, media reform, municipal programming, net neutrality, PEG access TV, public access television, spectrum auction, video franchising

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