Community Media: Selected Clippings – 06/30/07

State Bill Opens Cable TV To Competition
Law Also Requires Prompt Repair, Rate Increase Notices

A bill signed into law by Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Saturday opens Illinois’ cable TV market to competition.   —>

A tale of two states’ video competition bills: one good, one bad
ZDNet (IL- WI)

—>   Wisconsin should take its cues from Illinois, says Gerry Lederer, a Washington D.C.-based lawyer who advises local governments around the country on telecommunications issues.  “What AT&T is offering in Wisconsin is below market compared to what they have agreed to elsewhere,” said Lederer, whose firm represented Milwaukee in its recent video franchise negotiations with AT&T.  “Wisconsin legislators have the opportunity to look out there and see what AT&T has been willing to agree to in various states around the nation. It seems to me the people of Wisconsin ought to be entitled to the best deal that’s out there.”

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz agrees that this bill needs help.  “Wisconsin has one of the worst bills compared to states like Illinois and even some places like Texas. We should be able to do better,” Cieslewicz said.  It seems that the Wisconsin bill was fast-tracked by the Republican-controlled Assembly, leaving little time for public scrutiny. The Illinois bill went through months of detailed negotiations between interested parties after it was introduced.

AT&T shows politicians the money (IL)
by Kevin McDermott
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — As AT&T was lobbying this year for a controversial overhaul of Illinois’ pay television laws, it was donating tens of thousands of dollars to the state lawmakers who would ultimately approve the measure, records show.  A Post-Dispatch review of campaign data found the telecom giant has been especially generous to the two lawmakers who were most instrumental in passing the bill, which is designed to help the company break into the pay television market.

… The records show that two of AT&T’s favorite donation recipients in the past few years are the two lawmakers most directly responsible for getting the bill passed: Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, and Rep. James Brosnahan, D-Oak Lawn. Both lawmakers were lead sponsors of the legislation, and both are chairmen of legislative committees that helped pass it.  Clayborne was unavailable for comment Friday. Brosnahan dismissed on Friday any suggestion that the AT&T donations to lawmakers give the appearance that the company was trying to buy legislation.   —>

New laws to have gradual impact
by Dave Williams
Henry Herald (GA)

ATLANTA — Education, health care, telecommunications and land-use planning are going to be different in Georgia starting Sunday.  But the impacts of four major bills passed by the General Assembly last spring that take effect with the start of the new fiscal year promise to be neither immediate nor dramatic.  Of the new laws governing charter schools, abortion, cable television and annexation, only the abortion legislation becomes fully effective today Sunday. The others merely begin processes that won’t take shape until later this year and in 2008.   —>

Do you want to live in a world without “The Fantasy Bedtime Tour”?
SF Weekly (CA)

What would we do without “The Fantasy Bedtime Hour” or “If Christ Returned to you Today?”  Do you want to live in a world without them?  Both can only be seen on San Francisco Cable Access Stations 29 and 76, so we may find out.  Zane Blaney, Executive Director of the San Francisco Community Television Corporation (CTC), says California’s new cable laws might force San Francisco’s local cable access stations off the air.

It’s part of a national trend that’s about to hit our borders. Across the country, cable access stations are closing up shop.  “Can’t happen in San Francisco? Think again,” Blaney said. “California’s new statewide cable franchises law as well as similar laws in other states are causing operational funding for public access to dry up and disappear.”  That would be tragic. There’s only one good reason to own a TV in San Francisco, and that’s San Francisco Cable Access.   —>

An open letter to Tom Leppert
by Avi Adelman
Pegasus News (TX)

DALLAS — The inauguration of a new Mayor and almost half of the City Council has been marked not by fireworks and parades, but by pundits and columnists writing about what they think the new leadership should do, could do, or might not do.  Rather than spout electrons in the hope that someone may read them, BD prefers the direct approach: An open letter to the new mayor.

“…And while you are doing that, how about webcasting all the briefing sessions and council meetings?? Not everyone has access to cable or public access television. And don’t forget to archive all those meetings.” —>

Ministries Aren’t Just for the Big Names Anymore
by Deborah Potter
Religion News Service

LAS VEGAS — Television ministry used to be the province of a few prominent preachers like Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell. But the business — and it is a business — has definitely come of age.  At this year’s National Association of Broadcasters convention, the “technologies for worship” pavilion drew hundreds of religious broadcasters, and they are only part of the picture. Industry leaders say there are some 10,000 TV ministries around the country, both big and small.

“If you turn on basic cable, and a public access channel, in communities all over — not only the United States — you’re going to find churches with a camcorder, a single camera shot, with an on-the-camera microphone, and a pastor who is sincere, who believes the word of God, and has a desire to teach that word and share it with other people,” said Rod Payne, media director at First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls, Texas, who attended the NAB convention.

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

Explore posts in the same categories: municipal programming, PEG access TV, redlining, video franchising

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