Community Media: Selected Clippings – 06/21/07

Cities Seek Stay Of FCC Video Franchise Changes
by John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable

Groups representing local governments and nonprofit organizations have gone to court to try to block changes to the FCC’s video franchising rules. In a motion filed with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday to stay enforcement of the FCC order, the groups said the changes will “severely restrict the ability of local governments to protect their citizens, rights-of-way, community channels, and public safety networks.” —>

Illinois to become latest state to give telecoms statewide video franchise
by Eric Bangeman
Ars Technica

Illinois has become the latest state to give new entrants into the cable television market a statewide franchise. Passed by the Illinois State Senate yesterday and sent to Gov. Rod Blagojevich for signature, the High Speed Internet Services and Information Technology Act will give AT&T a green light to deploy its U-Verse broadband and IPTV service throughout the state, regardless of the wishes of local municipalities. —>

Community Radio Heads Up to the Hill, But Needs a Push
by Nancy Scola

Yeah, I’m a weekend writer but I’m going to use my free pass to post on legislative topics during the week, because this one’s important. Today is a huge day for those of us interested in community radio. Back in 2000, Congress passed the Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act that put the kibosh on the issuing of new licenses for low-power FM radio stations. LPFM stations are low-watt community-based radio stations that serve local areas by providing targeted information and acting as community hubs. They’re a way of injecting a bit of diversity into a local news market and can serve some of the functions that the Internet/blogs do for people that can’t afford a computer or Internet access. In fact, having an LPFM station with staff who have access to one computer and high-speed broadband hook-up can greatly open up the information available in local communities that might otherwise be off the news grid.

In January of 2000, the FCC began issuing LPFM licenses for (what I believe was) the first time. The National Association of Broadcasters objected, and in response Congress called for a study that would investigate whether LPFM frequencies interfered with existing radio stations, as NAB was concerned about. The MITRE corporation did that study and found that, technically, LPFM and full-power broadcasting can live together in almost perfect harmony: —>

Adelstein Steps Up on Open Access
by Matt Stoller

As we build our new blog, I’m going to keep you updated on the FCC 700 auction on MyDD. There’s some seriously important news out – Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein has come out for open access (last week he was pushing for business models for larger national chunks of spectrum). Telecom wonk extraordinaire Harold Feld is feeling good:

“Commissioner Adelstein publicly supported some kind of open access requirement for the 700 MHz auction licenses. Wooo Hoooo! For us policy geeks, it’s kind of like the moment when the Millenium Falcon comes out of nowhere and blasts the Imperial tie fighters targeting Luke as he barrels down toward the access port. Not that I had any doubt where Adelstein’s heart was, but it’s always reassuring to see him commit himself.”

FCC’s Adelstein Takes Up Open Spectrum Cause
by Jason Lee Miller

One down, four to go. That’s the count supporters of open airwaves and neutral networks are holding up as Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein publicly voices his support for requiring winners of the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction to keep a chunk of it open to competition. This slice of the airwaves is currently used by television networks, but will come available again in 2009 as they switch from analog to digital signals.

Open-airwaves supporters like Google,,, and some high profile politicians like Senator John Kerry and former running mate John Edwards, say that the spectrum is ideal for wireless broadband access, especially because of its ability to travel just about anywhere. —>

Civil-liberties tug-of-war
State politicians take a national stand
by Deidre Fulton
The Phoenix (ME)

An amazing thing about legislative bodies is their ability to take stands on just about anything — from what type of fish can be used as bait, to promotion of alternative fuels, to plumbing licensure. It’s a wide range, and those examples just skim the surface. But while many legislative actions are focused on specific niches of the community, there are times when state politicians dip their toes into more all-encompassing waters — and here in Maine, such a time is now.

State politicians recently acted on behalf of us little guys on two issues of national importance — Internet regulation and a sweeping identification system. In doing so, the Legislature set precedents for other states. When it rejected Real IDs (the standardized system of national identification cards that Congress approved in 2005 and that’s set to go into effect in 2009), Maine started a domino effect through states near (like New Hampshire) and far (like Montana). In the case of so-called “net neutrality” (more on that later; for now we’ll describe it as Internet equality), they’re hoping to do so. —>

Rockport signs 10-year cable contract with Comcast
Gloucester Daily Times (MA)

ROCKPORT – Selectmen have unanimously approved renewal of a 10-year contract with Comcast, the town’s cable provider. As part of the deal, Comcast paid $125,000 to buy out of its obligation to operate the town’s Institution Network (I-Net) and residents will pay a 31/4 percent franchise fee to the town to support a new, local access nonprofit corporation and other cable-related costs. —>

Police and Fire Disciplinary Hearings Will Be Aired on Live TV
My Fox Austin (TX)

AUSTIN — The Austin City Council voted to start broadcasting Austin Police and Firefighter disciplinary hearings on public access television. The hearings will be broadcast on channel 6, where the council meetings and other city events are currently aired. City officials say Austin is the first city to air such hearings. —>

Hardly camera shy
Summit City alive with moviemakers
by Steve Penhollow
The Journal Gazette (IN)

When area residents decide that they want to learn about videography and filmmaking, many of them end up at the downtown Allen County Public Library. And all of those people get to know Erik Mollberg. Mollberg has been coordinator of Access Fort Wayne, the Summit City’s public access channels, since 1981. The downtown library offers free instruction and equipment, and it is where most programming that airs on the aforementioned channels is produced. —>

Free Speech TV in Fresno
by Mike Rhodes
indy bay – Central Valley (CA)

—> When I asked for a comment last week about the status of the negotiations, [City Manager] Rudd said “Nothing has really changed. Comcast is unwilling to provide PEG funding for ongoing operations.” Buske says that local negotiations are moving slowly and that she would not be surprised if Fresno ends up, by default, with a state franchise agreement that would start on January 2, 2008. One thing is clear, Comcast is not motivated to make a deal with the City of Fresno if it would cost them more than the state franchise agreement. The City of Clovis, who has also hired Buske as a consultant, is waiting to see what happens in Fresno. They plan to ride the coattails of whatever agreement Comcast and the City of Fresno negotiate.

If we default to the state franchise agreement, which seems likely at this point, there will be funding for PEG access. 1% of the gross revenues that Comcast generates in this area will be used to fund PEG. Buske says that revenue stream will be about $550,000 a year. The expectation is that this money will be used to support the CMC facility and PEG access channels. The CMC will provide training in video production techniques and will make the equipment (video cameras, digital editing equipment, studios, etc) available for all interested community members and organizations. Programs will be pre-recorded or produced live. The Education channel will be used by area schools and the Government channel will be used to broadcast the Board of Supervisor’s, City Council, and other important government meetings.

The Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) was set up by a broad coalition of community, education, and government representatives to oversee the CMC and PEG access channels. Randy Reed is the chairperson of CMAC. Reed expects the City of Fresno and Clovis to recognize the CMAC as the group that will oversee the PEG access channels and CMC.. —>

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

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

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