Community Media: Selected Clippings – 07/03/07


[ “Clippings” is now on pause.  I’m off to celebrate a friend’s wedding in Tuscany.  Posts should resume July 16. – rm ]

Town objects to new cable franchise rules
by William J. Kemble
Daily Freeman (NY)

NEW PALTZ – The Town Board has agreed to ask Congress to block the Federal Communication Commission’s order that would limit the period municipalities have to negotiate cable franchise agreements.  Objections to the revised regulations were raised during a Town Board meeting last week, when officials were given a list of changes that could affect current negotiations with Time Warner Cable.  “The FCC is making a significant effort to weaken the leverage of local governments when negotiating cable TV franchises,” town Public Access Committee member David Lent said.   —>

Cable bill foes irked at being listed as backers
by Mark Pitsch
Wisconsin State Journal

At the Democratic Party convention last week Cynthia Laitman urged delegates to oppose legislation pushed by telecommunications giant AT&T designed to bring competition to cable television.  But on Tuesday the Edgewood College professor learned that an advocacy group supporting the legislation identified her as one of hundreds of constituents of Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, who support SB 107 and AB 207, two bills that would allow companies to offer cable anywhere in the state.  “I’m absolutely furious about this,” Laitman said. “I think this is an outrage and they need to be accountable. They cannot fraudulently use peoples’ good names to forward their own vested interests.”  The list of alleged supporters given to Risser, prepared by cable competition advocates TV4US, also included two high-profile opponents of the legislation: former mayor Paul Soglin and lawyer Ed Garvey. Both have posted criticism of the legislation on their blogs.   —>

Cable bill travels down slow road
by Hillary Chabot
Berkshire Eagle Tribune  (MA)

BOSTON — Lawmakers say a controversial bill meant to encourage cable competition might not pass this year because of fierce opposition from cities and towns.  Rep. Brian Dempsey, D-Haverhill, who is chairman of the telecommunications committee reviewing the bill, said that the bill is in no way dead, but that committee members need time to study it after mayors, city managers and other municipal officials statewide spoke out against it earlier this month.   —>

Letter to Editor: Wired for arrogance
by Eric Bourassa
Boston Herald (MA)

Your editorial in favor of a bill to change the local cable franchising process implies that consumers suffer because telecommunications companies have a difficult time breaking into local markets (“House is hanging it up,” July 2). But nothing prevents companies like Verizon from signing identical contracts that existing providers have already negotiated with cities and towns. Verizon does not want to adhere to consumer protections, like anti-redlining provisions that require the provider to offer service to everyone in town no matter their income demographic. This bill is the epitome of special interest legislation and should be rejected by the Legislature.
Eric Bourassa, Consumer Advocate Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group

New Bedford Cable Access wins national competition
South Coast Today (MA)

NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford Cable Access was named the winner of the 2007 Hometown Video Award for “Overall Excellence in Public, Educational and Government Access” by the Alliance for Community Media… “The NBCA staff is committed to providing the finest quality public television to the residents of the city of New Bedford and I am pleased that they have been nationally recognized for their outstanding productions,” Mayor Scott W. Lang said. “New Bedford Cable Access is a great way for residents to stay connected with important government and education related activities and also is an outlet for community participation and communication.”   —>

College pals shoot public-access TV series about New Bedford twentysomethings
South Coast Today (MA)

—>  The miniseries is about “a group of kids in the ‘hood of New Bedford who are trying to avoid the violence in their city and better themselves through school and finding mentors,” Ms. Freitas said.  “We’re not focusing on violence, but that is a big problem in New Bedford. The group of friends all have to put up the front that they’re hard, but they have aspirations to better themselves, don’t want their kids living like they did.  “They’re finding a way out of the lives they lead every day, with a drug deal on the street or someone getting shot in their neighborhood.”

…RAB began filming the first of 11 episodes on Memorial Day weekend, and will hopes to air them this fall on Channel 17 public access in New Bedford. All the episodes will be shot exclusively in New Bedford.  “After that, we’re hopefully expanding to other local access channels,” Mr. Bartolome said.   —>

NCTV 17 Film Crew Rocks
World of Naperville Blog (IL)

Today I had the distinct pleasure to work with a crew from NCTV to film a quick interview regarding the World of Naperville BLOG. When most people think community access television, they think Wayne’s World from our neighbors to the west or really strange and uninteresting footage. We are very fortunate in Naperville to have a high quality community television station staffed by dedicated professionals who clearly have a great deal of passion for their craft. The production value and original programming are just two examples of what makes NCTV great. From what I gathered from our hard-working crew, much can be attributed to the vision of NCTV Executive Director Liz Spencer.

In a previous posting regarding the launch of NCTV online streaming a couple of months ago (see NCTV Finally Streams into this Naperville Home), I spoke of the heartbreak when we were forced to go with satellite TV over cable upon moving to Naperville.  The weekly NCTV programming schedules would taunt me as I could see there was plenty of interesting programming.  Despite the irony, I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to talk about the World of Naperville on NCTV and I was truly impressed with the energy and professionalism of their staff and intern.

Once the segment airs, I will be posting a copy of the segment to the World of Naperville very soon.  If you would like to tune into NCTV this Friday (7/6) during the news you will see the segment.  In the meantime, my thanks to Halie, Lindsey and Jeff for their interest and coverage of the World of Naperville.  In the meantime, I’m pleased to plug an upcoming event at NCTV 17 studios this coming Tuesday (7/10) when they will preview their latest Naperville documentary film, entitled “A Role of Their Own”.  For more information visit the following link:

Former FCC Chair: iPhone Hindered By Network Limitations
Reed Hundt notes that the iPhone’s popularity underscores the need for ubiquitous high-speed wireless coverage in the United States.
by Richard Martin
Information Week

Comparing the newly released iPhone to a Ferrari forced to drive on dirt roads, former FCC chairman Reed Hundt today renewed his call for an nationwide open-access wireless broadband network that is independent — i.e., not under the control of the major wireless carriers.  Speaking to reporters on a teleconference call, Hundt, who is co-founder and vice chairman of Frontline Wireless LLC, one of the companies planning to bid in the upcoming auction of 700MHz spectrum, said that the iPhone’s huge popularity underscores the crying need for ubiquitous high-speed wireless coverage in the United States.

Pointing out that the iPhone works exclusively over AT&T’s wireless network — and that a mandatory two-year contract at $60 a month will end up costing more than three times the price of the device itself — Hundt said, “No other consumer appliance in America comes bundled with mandatory service, at a price three times that of the device.”  The iPhone runs over AT&T’s EDGE network, which is considered “2.5G” and offers data speeds of around 100-140 Kbit/s. The national network Frontline is proposing would offer speeds 12 times that fast, according to Hundt.    —>

iPhone Frenzy Points To The Future Of News
by Piers Fawkes

Jeff Jarvis has an interesting observation about the large volume of public-generated content around the iPhone launch. He says that unfulfilled by what’s being transmitted through regular media channels, people went out there, covered the event themselves then put it on the new media channels they’re already using to share content and information:

“Something significant happened in the coverage of the otherwise insignificant and comically unnecessary lines that formed outside Apple stores waiting to get the iPhone:  The event was covered live, in video, directly to the internet and to the public, by the people in the story, without news organizations.  That is a big deal: the start of live, video witness-reporting. Scoble did it. More than one of’s folks did it. So did and Diggnation and the gadget blogs and more than I can list.  Not to mention, of course, all the reporting that went on via Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, blogs. . . .

“As I said in that post, this necessarily changes the relationship of witnesses to news and news organizations. When it is live, producers don’t have time to edit, package, vet and all the things that news organizations have always done. They can’t intermediate. All that news organization can do is choose to link or not link to what we, the witnesses, are feeding, as the news happens. The news is direct, from witness to the world.”   —>

Thinking about media as a platform
by Matt McAlister
Matt McAlister

Back in my InfoWorld days (2004-ish?) I somehow woke up to the idea that media could be a platform.1 Whereas my professional media experience prior to that was all about creating user experiences that resulted in better page views and conversions, something changed in the way I perceived how online media was supposed to work.  I didn’t have language to use for it at the time (still working on it, actually), but I knew it wasn’t inspired by the “openness” and “walled garden” metaphors so much. Neither concept reflected the opportunity for me. Once I saw the opportunity, though, the shift happening in online media seemed much much bigger.

In a presentation at the Bioneers conference back in August 2000 (below), architect William McDonough talked about designing systems that leverage nature’s strengths for mutually beneficial growth rather than for conservation or merely sustainability.  He tells us to design with positive results in mind instead of using less bad materials,

Similarly, the implications around the “openness” and “walled garden” concepts get clouded by the tactical impressions those words draw for someone who has unique assets in the media business.  It’s not about stopping bad behavior or even embracing good behavior. It’s about investing in an architecture that promotes growth for an entire ecosystem. If you do it right, you will watch network effects take hold naturally. And then everyone wins.   —>

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

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, citizen journalism, FCC, media reform, PEG access TV, public access television, social media, spectrum auction, user-generated content, video franchising

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