Community Media: Selected Clippings – 07/25/07

[ Afer a 3-week hiatus, “Clippings” now resumes – first with stories from just this past week. Once caught up, “Clippings” may revisit stories from earlier in the month, if it seems they’d received inadequate attention. Though some of the stories in these next few days’ catch-up’s will necessarily be somewhat dated, they’re included nonetheless because they seem to be necessary steps to understanding where we are at the moment. – rm ]

The Hillsborough Public Access Letter
Text of a letter from Louise Thompson, executive director of the Tampa Bay Community Network, to the Hillsborough County Commission on a budget proposal to eliminate funding for public-access television (FL)

Dear County Commissioners:

The County Administrator’s recommended FY 08-09 budget eliminates all funding for Tampa Bay Community Network, the public access cable television channel used by the residents of Hillsborough County to learn new and marketable skills and to produce programming that is not only important to them but is also protected by the First Amendment.

TBCN provides County residents with the training, equipment and facilities to produce their own programming. This includes programming containing speech that is critical of our elected officials and local governments as well as programming that highlights our elected officials, local non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. Please note that we are County Community Link Partners and please review our most current annual and quarterly reports [attached] for a detailed listing of all those we are serving. Also, please note that staff from the Museum of Science & Industry recently completed our video production training and is expected to produce programming featuring MOSI on our channels in the very near future.

It appears that there is more than enough money to have kept TBCN in the budget. Although the administrator’s budget cuts off all funding [$355K] to TBCN, it contains $900,000 in increases for the Tampa Sports Authority and Tampa Sports Commission as well as a $1.6 million increase to the Tampa Convention and Visitors Bureau and more than $300,000 over the next two years for the Tampa Convention Center.

Please note that TBCN has not received an increase in funding from the County for seven straight years. Our budget has been stagnant at $355,443 per year although we have asked for increases during every two-year budget cycle. Please also note that cable subscribers contribute a significant portion of the $27 million in revenue that the County collects from communications services taxes and should, therefore, be able to avail themselves of the services and programming provided by the public access channel.

We turn to you for help in assuring that the public’s voice remains on the cablewaves and is adequately funded. Please reinstate funding to Tampa Bay Community Network at least at the level previously allotted – if not more.

I will call your offices to set up meetings with each one of you at your convenience. Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Louise M. Thompson
Executive Director

Public Access Cuts Set Stage For Slams
by Ellen Gedalius
Tampa Tribune (FL)

Public television viewers who want their fix of Joe Redner talking about democracy, or who simply hope to catch a school board meeting, might soon have trouble finding that programming. Hillsborough County Administrator Pat Bean has recommended a budget that could kill the Education Channel and severely cripple the Tampa Bay Community Network, known for its quirky mix of religious advocates, atheists, ethnic shows and antigovernment forces. The proposal was met Tuesday with cries of censorship. —>

FCC Majority Backs Open Wireless
by Barry Levine
Top Tech News

Google’s back-and-forth with FCC Chair Kevin Martin about open access to the 700-MHz spectrum could obscure the fact that Google is evolving. Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Jupiter Research, said that if Google acquires spectrum, it could be setting the stage for offering even richer mobile experiences, including, possibly, a Google handset. —>

F.C.C. Heading Toward Rejection of Google’s Wireless Auction Conditions
by Miguel Helft
New York Times

The Federal Communication Commission appears ready to reject some of the conditions behind Google’s offer to bid at least $4.6 billion for some of the UHF TV spectrum that will be put up for auction next year. At a House Subcommittee hearing today at which all five F.C.C. commissioners testified, it became clear that there was little support for some of the four conditions that Google has placed on its offer. —>

McDonough officials scrap video-taping resolution
by Jaya Franklin
Henry Herald (GA)

The city of McDonough has decided to kill its resolution, dated July 16, banning video-recording equipment at city council, board of zoning appeals, planning commission and historic preservation meetings. “We can’t do it by state law,” said McDonough City Attorney Scott Bennett. “This was my mistake, the council was acting on what I told them,” he said. —>

County’s cable station is revamping its image
Key component will be reeling in young viewers
by Janel Davis (MD)

Check out the county’s government access cable station at any given time and you’re likely to see some county meeting, an interview with a county official or fuzzy pictures of traffic. While this type of programming may be popular with older residents, County Cable Montgomery Channel 6’s format does not pique the interest of county youngsters. To make the channel’s shows appealing to a wider audience, the channel is undergoing a complete makeover.

From rebranding the station’s image with a new logo to cross-promotion of educational channels, viewers should see changes by the fall, said Donna Keating, a program manager in the county’s cable administration office. —>

The Show – Episode 2
Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (IL)

I just finished editing my 2nd TV episode of The Show on 104.5FM. It features a discussion on language in the media and court cases with racially charged circumstances leading to exorbitant jail sentences for African American youth. It will air on public access TV this coming semester. I am looking for some critique. If you have a chance, let me know what you think of this episode:

I am currently editing video for episode 3 with Student Trustee Chime Asonye and local Aartists anattica. I will be recording footage for episode 4 this Friday with Prof. Lisa Dixon and Andy Moreillon on Friday, July 27, 2007 @ 10 PM on 104.5 FM. The URL to Episode One is located at:
Free download about the potential for community media to enhance social justice
Believing Impossible Things

From New Routes to Community Health ( …

In spite of its American slant, this downloadable publication has some useful ideas for an international audience:

The Media Justice Fund of the Funding Exchange ( explores the changing landscape in its new journal, Imagining the (UN)Thinkable: Community Media Over the Next Five Years. This collection of essays pushes the boundaries of current research on media policy and provides critical information on the potential power of the internet, radio, and community-access TV to enhance social justice movements.

Written from perspectives of people of color, low-income people, women and other marginalized communities, the report offers useful tools and strategies for media justice advocates. Download the 30-page PDF here (

Public remains as uninformed as ever
by Markus Prior
Times Gazette (OH)

Today’s news world is a political junkie’s oyster. Cable TV offers CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and C-SPAN. The Washington Post, BBC online, The Note and many, many more news Web sites are only a click away. But that’s where they remain for many Americans. Decades into the “information age,’ the public is as uninformed as before the rise of cable television and the Internet. Greater access to media, ironically, has reduced the share of Americans who are politically informed.

The most significant effect of more media choice is not the wider dissemination of political news but mounting inequality in political involvement. Some people follow news more closely than in the past, but many others avoid it altogether.

Now that Americans can choose among countless channels and Web sites, the role of motivation is key. Many people’s reasons for watching television or surfing the Web do not include learning about politics. —>

BlogJam: The insatiable urge
by David Mark

With a sharp focus on national issues and the sizeable audiences they draw, big-name bloggers on sites such as Daily Kos, MyDD and Redstate drive political discussions around the country. But sometimes the most resourceful bloggers are those reporting on state and regional politics — the ones who break news for the national media to follow. Today we profile examples of one such blogger [: Cenk Uygur ] …

Started blogging: While living in Miami in 1998, Uygur started posting articles on his own website, mixing the personal and political. He previously worked at a D.C. law firm. But an insatiable appetite for politics and policy led him within weeks of starting there to work part-time on his own talk show on an Arlington, Va., public access TV station. Word about the show spread, and it was picked up in several other local markets. —>

Comcast Launches Penn State ON DEMAND

Comcast Cable and Penn State University today announced the launch of Penn State ON DEMAND, a unique, groundbreaking collaboration that delivers the deep and diverse resources of Penn State to 2.4 million Comcast customers throughout Pennsylvania. The service, available at no additional cost to Comcast Digital Cable customers, brings hundreds of hours of provocative interviews, concise instructional and educational videos, revealing documentaries, and newly uncovered archival material to consumers on their own schedule, any time of the day or night.

Need to make your case to get started with online videos at your institution?
by Karine Joly
College Web Editor

The good folks at the Pew Internet and American Life Project have just made your life a bit easier by releasing today a new 28-page report about online videos. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates between February 15 to March 7, 2007, among a sample of 2,200 adults, 18 and older.

This report confirms that online videos have made it to mainstream. The majority of adult internet users in the U.S. (57%) report watching or downloading some type of online video content and 19% do so on a typical day. —>

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

Explore posts in the same categories: broadband policy, FCC, municipal programming, PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising

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