Community Media: Selected Clippings – 06/27/07

A Haunting Refrain
by Bunnie Riedel
Telecommunications Consulting

—> Ohio went down and the most important thread was which cameras were most efficient and cost effective. Now the PEG folks in Ohio will be bankrupted by transmission costs and completely de-funded by 2012, if not sooner due to that opt-out clause in the bill, but at least they’ll be informed about the differences between Panasonic and Canon. Thank God.

And while the assaults continue some have the bright idea that streaming video is salvation. Tell that to ESPN. I’m guessing they’ve done their research and understand too well that people are not watching less television, they are watching more. You heard me, more hours of sitting in front of the tube, not less. It’s called “multi-tasking.” The cutting edge of technology is that people sit in front of their tv’s with their laptops and do both, surf the web and flip channels. Meanwhile the logic on the street is that PEG will survive if it can figure out a way to use the internet to communicate. Isn’t that making the at&t “you don’t need a channel we’ll just put you on the internet” argument for them? Or is that just drinking the Kool-Aid?

Years ago there was this meeting in Tucson in which we tried to discern the future. The intelligent folks gathered in that room came to an ultimate conclusion that whatever happened we would ride that horse until it was frothing at the mouth. Who knows? Maybe we failed to communicate that commitment.

Everyone is weary, I think…

At the beginning of this blog a million years ago I wrote about the state-by-state strategy mainly because I have witnessed that same strategy used in so many other issues. It’s slow, it’s costly, but is ultimately easier than trying to find a federal solution. And frankly at&t is coming ever closer to folding up their cable tent and Verizon has gotten more franchises than they can possibly build into the foreseeable future, there are tangible opportunities waiting.

Let’s just not go there. Instead let’s spend time in the geek-o-rama world putting our energy into endless discussions about open source web creation software and whether or not we should charge for studio rental. Is it just me or do you hear the leadership vacuum sucking loudly away?

Meanwhile Ohio is gone despite the valiant effort of the access television folks on the ground and there was hardly a whimper from their colleagues in more progressive circles like the much touted, so-called “media reform” movement. They’re too busy uncovering the scandalous attempt by Rupert Murdoch to purchase the Dow Jones, as if he’s going to turn the Wall Street Journal into some kind of capitalist right wing rag. For shame.   —>

Franchising of cable TV to be taken over by state
Beacon Journal (OH)

COLUMBUS – More than 25 years of local control of cable television have ended and statewide franchising has begun as Gov. Ted Strickland signed Senate Bill 117.   —>

Greece district rejects cable access proposal
by Meaghan M. McDermott
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (NY)

GREECE — The Greece Central School District will not become the cable access provider for Monroe County’s west-side towns.  The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to reject the idea, but authorized Superintendent Steven Achramovitch to pursue an agreement whereby Greece or other towns could use the district’s existing television facilities to provide cable access.  “This brings some closure to the situation,” said Frank Oberg, board vice president.

The board stipulated that any such agreement would also include provisions for Greece students to use the facilities.  “This is still a positive because it will allow for our students to use the studio,” said board member Roger Boiley.   —>

Watch out for Cable Biz lies on the Brodsky Telecom bill
Rochester Turning (NY)

Yesterday we asked you to call the Gov about supporting the Brodsky Telecom bill. It is indeed a no-brainer if you’re a regular citizen like you or me.  But what if you’re a cable company?  You get freaked out and spread misinformation to preserve your monopoly and profits.  This writer stands up to the lies:

Telecom reform, viewers’ reprieve

Cable companies have been spreading misleading information about a bill that would provide for statewide video franchises. The bill is the Telecommunications Reform Act of 2007 and is bill number A.3980 in the Assembly and S.5124 in the Senate. The record needs to be set straight.   The bill does not take anything away from our local municipalities but actually gives them more. It gives municipalities the maximum 5 percent of the gross cable revenues (a true 5 percent) in addition to 2 percent to support public access channels. Municipalities also retain full control of our right-of-ways as they do now.

In addition, the bill provides for free hookups to municipal buildings such as libraries, schools and police/fire stations.  The reason for these lies is simple. Cable companies want to continue their monopoly. Studies have shown that where a statewide franchise has been introduced, cable prices have dropped. It’s time the residents of New York had a choice for their television provider and stop the cable monopoly.  — Dan Power, Lancaster, Erie County

Developer uses Knight News Challenge grant to encourage citizen publishers
Editors Web Log

Using a $15,000 Knight News Challenge grant, JD Lasica plans on developing a user-friendlier set of citizen media tools for online development.  Over the next year, he hopes to explore and design a better “community media toolset” through his website, to encourage participation in citizen media sties.

According to Lasica, when he and his partner Marc Canter launched their first citizen media sites two years ago, they had to make several revisions to the Drupal open source content management system to develop “a language that could be understood by regular humans.”  Thus, he hopes that his project will help bridge the gap between open source coders and citizen publishers to facilitate the creation of more community news sites.   —>

Telecom: Back From The Dead
All those YouTube videos and MySpace pages zipping back and forth on the Net have revived the telecom industry—and charged up the economy
by Spencer Ante
Business Week

Peals of laughter rippled through the ether in April when hundreds of thousands of people clicked on (GOOG ) to watch comedian Will Ferrell’s short video, The Landlord. It’s pretty hilarious, after all, to see a tiny 2-year-old girl in a party dress playing the part of an irate landlord, squeaking, “I am tired of this crap…I want my money!” at Ferrell, her distraught, bushy-haired tenant.

What chuckling viewers couldn’t see was the sprawling framework that companies have cobbled together to zap millions of clips like this one around the Internet every day. After a student, say, at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., clicked on The Landlord, one of hundreds of thousands of computer servers in Google’s (GOOG ) numerous California data centers pushed the video through Web networking gear from Cisco Systems (CSCO ) and Juniper Networks (JNPR ). Last year, Google, YouTube’s parent company, spent $1.9 billion, or 18% of its sales, on technology systems and other capital expenditures to serve videos speedily and process search-engine queries.

From Google’s facility, the video shot across the U.S. on Level 3 Communications Inc.’s fiber-optic network, which encompasses 47,000 miles of cable. Reaching New Jersey, the clip was then handed off to a new fiber loop run by Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ ) Milliseconds later, Verizon served up the video to an apartment in New Brunswick through a broadband connection wired directly into the building.

In those taken-for-granted wires, cables, and computers lies a remarkable tale of resurrection. Seven years ago the communications business, made up of companies providing everything from phones to computer networks to routers and switches, was laid low by the worst collapse to hit a U.S. industry since the Great Depression. With breathtaking speed and little advance warning, high-flying companies like Global Crossing Ltd. (GLBC ) and WorldCom Inc., which had loaded up on debt to build out fiber-optic networks and buy up companies in anticipation of a never-ending e-commerce boom, collapsed into bankruptcy. Giants such as AT&T were ripped apart as they scrambled to recover from free-falling sales and profits. Hundreds of thousands of workers lost their jobs. Prices of some inflated stocks–boasting price-to-earnings ratios that topped 400 in the most extreme cases–tumbled 95% or more.   —>

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

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, citizen journalism, high school television, PEG access TV, public access television, user-generated content, video franchising

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