Community Media: Selected Clippings – 06/18/07

Bill may kill Miami Twp.’s TV channel
Communities would have to share public access
Cincinnatii Enquirer (OH)

MIAMI TWP. – They want their MTTV.  Officials in this Clermont County community also want to keep the $252,000 a year in franchise fees paid by Time Warner Cable, which funds the township’s TV channel.

But a bill now in the General Assembly could pull the plug on Miami Township Television – along with many other cable TV channels dedicated to villages, townships and cities throughout Ohio.  “Almost no community would have the right to continue with an exclusive channel,” said Miami Township Trustee Ed Humphrey.   —>

[ just gotta say – I really like this guy’s style.  Follow the link to read the full post ~  rm ]

SB 117 and the city: Moving on
by Bill Callahan
Callahan’s Cleveland Journal (OH)

The end of local cable franchising is not quite law in Ohio, not yet. The Ohio Senate must accept the House’s changes to SB 117, or a conference committee must reconcile the two versions, and the Governor must sign the final product. But this will all happen in a matter of days. The argument is over, the deal has gone down. Time to move on.

I think there are two take-aways for Cleveland community leaders and citizens who actually give a crap about what will happen to the city’s ability to govern itself and survive through the next couple of decades.

Take-away one: Nobody in the Columbus power structure — including the people we send there to represent us in the General Assembly, and the people we’ve supported for statewide office with our votes — gives a rat’s tookus for that quaint old concept known as municipal home rule. Nobody. It just doesn’t matter to them, when weighed in the political scales against anything desired by an industry, a moderate-sized labor organization, or fifteen random guys on suburban barstools…

Take-away two: “Our” cable company, headquartered in Connecticut, and “our” phone company, headquartered in Texas, have decided they’ll no longer accept a cooperative, accountable relationship with us to operate their networks over our municipal rights of way. The General Assembly has eliminated the necessity for them to do so. So Cleveland now loses its free institutional network and other bandwidth services, its right to ensure citywide deployment of fiber, its ability to negotiate support for community technology training (i.e. getting the networks to help pay for community programs that train new customers for them), etc.

If there was ever a good reason for Cleveland to hesitate to build our own community-owned, multi-user network infrastructure, that reason is now history.   —>

On balance, a good bill
Creation of state panel to award cable franchises looks attractive
Editorial: The Buffalo News (NY)

Right now, the final days of the State Legislature session are winding down. But in the meantime, there’s a controversy brewing among big business over a bill to change how cable television is distributed, taking it out of the hands of local municipalities and creating a special state panel to decide what company gets the franchise.

Despite Albany’s history of creating bureaucratic quagmires, the bill by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, which would award statewide contracts by the Public Service Commission, should be put to the test.  Local municipalities have been negotiating cable contracts for years and, unfortunately, it has resulted in a hodgepodge of services. If, by creating a state panel, the consumer ends up with a heavier hammer with which to wield in negotiations, then why not?

Brodsky’s bill doesn’t exactly break new ground in awarding state contracts. Others with laws providing choice for cable services include California, Indiana, New Jersey, Michigan, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

What this bill does do is encompass many moving parts of burgeoning technology that includes broadband and the delivery of Internet services to pockets, small and large, of the state. It also touches on Net Neutrality, which disallows networks to favor one particular destination or class of applications over others.   —>

Sides press for advantage in airwaves auction
by Carolyn Y. Johnson
Boston Globe

Telecommunications giants and entrepreneurs are squaring off over a valuable chunk of airwaves often touted as the last beachfront property in the wireless world.  With a slice of radio spectrum valued as high as $20 billion coming up for auction, academics, consumer advocates, and small businesses are pushing federal regulators to set rules that ensure that the space is used to foster innovation and not simply sold to the major wireless carriers.

“What we’re really looking at is the building blocks of a new broadband service, with all sorts of new equipment and all sorts of new services,” said Art Brodsky , communications director for Public Knowledge, part of a coalition of consumer groups pressuring the Federal Communications Commission to use the auction to create new competition. “An opportunity like this won’t come around again any time soon in the wireless area.”   —>

Community Media 2.0 and The Mission of Public Access TV
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition

There’s so many excellent articles in the Spring Issue of Community Media Review, it’s difficult to know where to begin. For my thesis, the mission of public access TV is the most important part of the project in exploring the present and future of public access media.

But, what does public access media really mean? How is PEG access TV on the web different from other social(able)/participatory media on the web? Does YouTube really = Public Access TV (see earlier post)?  Of course not. But why, exactly?  Here’s what the Issue’s guest editors, Lauren-Glenn Davitian and Kari Peterson have to say…

“No matter what technology we use, community media centers (CMCs) are woven from the dense threads of human relationships. Our primary tool is not the camera or YouTube – it is the stories that each of us tells to make sense of and belong to our local communities.   —>

Microsoft Rebrands Its IPTV Efforts
by Eric Schonfeld
The Next

Microsoft’s latest attempt to take over the living room is coming in the form of its Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) software that it is trying to sell to phone companies who want to compete with cable and satellite TV services.  IPTV has been slow to take off, especially in this country where Microsoft software snafus were previously blamed for the tepid launch of AT&T’s IPTV service (called U-verse) in a dozen cities across the U.S.  Now that those issues have supposedly been resolved, Microsoft (MSFT) is making a new push to turn its IPTV software into the standard for this budding form of television.

Today, Microsoft announced that it is rebranding its IPTV efforts as Microsoft Mediaroom, upgrading the software to include access to the photos and music on your PC, and opening it up as a development platform for companies that want to create interactive TV apps within the walled garden of a telco’s IPTV service.   As I’ve previously noted, it will also work with your Xbox (which could give people an added incentive to sign up for IPTV service if that becomes a set-top box option).    —>

Colorado Hoping To Put Legislature On Television
Associated Press

The Colorado House of Representatives may join 34 other states that are broadcasting legislative sessions on television.  Denver Democrat and House Speaker Andrew Romanoff says he’s not sure how many people will tune in, but thinks broadcasting the sessions live will help improve decorum.  He also says it’ll help the public understand the Legislature’s role in running state government.

Still to be determined are legal, technical and fiscal issues. Romanoff says it would cost an estimated $30,000 a year to have someone run the cameras.  The sessions could also be archived and put on the Internet to be viewed later.  Comcast Corporation has agreed to provide two cable channels, one for the House and one for the Senate, but the Senate has not decided whether to broadcast sessions.

Legal issues include concerns that the videos will be used in political campaigns.  Romanoff says other lawmakers have raised concerns about lawmakers pandering to the cameras, but he says he’s not worried.  He says he believes the risks of abuse are outweighed by the value of access.

Digital Revolution Excludes Closed Captioning
The Digital Revolution Has Made TV More Ubiquitous Than Ever — Except for Viewers Who Need Captioning
by James Hibberd
TV Week

Colleen Farrell is a 21-year-old college senior who’s been shut out of television’s digital revolution. She wants to watch her favorite shows online. She’s up for downloading programs to her iPod. She would like to watch shows on her brother’s high-definition set.  There’s just one problem: Ms. Farrell is one of 23 million Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing and must rely on closed captioning.

In the rush to create new products and make television programming available anytime, anywhere, the need for closed captioning is being overlooked.  The major broadcast networks have launched state-of-the-art online video players — that do not include captions.  Apple has revolutionized TV viewing by making shows available for download on iTunes — without captions.  The television industry is spending billions to deliver spectacular high-definition signals — but viewing captions on HD programming is a Byzantine process that has frustrated many viewers.

“With the move toward hi-def, and the explosive growth in video on the Internet, it’s like we’re starting all over again,” said Mike Kaplan, who serves on the steering committee of the Hearing Loss Association of Los Angeles. “Since 1993, closed captions have been built into every TV set larger than 13 inches. So why in 2007, with the latest and greatest technology at our fingers, is it getting harder and harder to view captions?”   —>

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, FCC, IPTV, media reform, net neutrality, PEG access TV, public access television, social media, spectrum auction, video franchising

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