Community Media: Selected Clippings – 07/26/07

City needs to give more support to Columbia public TV
by David Ayrton Lopez

Cable providers Mediacom and Charter Communications recently ended their funding of the Columbia Access Television Channel. This has left the channel in a terrible financial situation. CAT3 has less than $7,000 left to fund the channel, which is grossly inadequate.  It is predicted that if action is not taken soon, Columbia Access Television will be off the air by the end of 2007.  It is crucial that this channel still be available to the citizens of Columbia. Therefore, it is essential that the city assert its legal power and raise the franchise fee on the cable companies. This increase in the fee would result in an adequate cash flow that would support CAT3 for years to come.   —>

City weighs effects of new franchise law
Tara Stubbs-Figuski
Enterprise (OH)

—>   Cable companies with existing franchises likely will opt not to renew their agreements with municipalities and will rely instead on the state franchise agreement, he said. If a cable company believes current franchise agreements are interfering with their ability to compete, they could opt out of existing agreements.  However, Miller said, his firm believes opting out of existing agreements would provide a legal challenge. At some point, he said, someone may challenge the constitutionality of S.B. 117.    —>

Allentown could get perks from cable agreements
Discounts for seniors part of deals with RCN, Service Electric.
by Paul Muschick
The Morning Call (PA)

Allentown senior citizens would receive a slight discount on cable bills, and the city would receive free television time to promote its activities, and possibly broadcast City Council meetings, under proposed agreements with RCN and Service Electric.  Council is close to renewing franchise agreements that allow the two carriers to install their equipment in public right of way. The carriers will pay Allentown 5 percent of their sales in the city, the most allowed by federal law.  Allentown has budgeted to collect $935,000 this year, the same amount as last year.,0,3082514.story

Mashpee Wampanoag Returns to the National Black Theatre Festival
“The Talking Drum” to be a Part of the Festival’s Late-Night Fringe Offerings
by Rob Schmidt
Newspaper Rock: Where Native America meets pop culture

Mashpee Wampanoag performing artist, and writer, Mwalim (Morgan James Peters, I) will be returning to the festival with his Black Indian styled, adult storytelling theater “The Talking Drum” as a part of the festivals lively late-night fringe offerings; on the nights of August 1 – 3, 10:30pm – 1:00am at the Best Western Salem Inn, 127 S Cherry Street, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “The Talking Drum” was a popular spoken-word & music show in Southeastern, MA from 1995 – 2000, Originally, it was a monthly show at the Prodigal Son Cafe in Hyannis, with video footage airing on public access television, it eventually moved to the Cape Cod Community Television studios in Yarmouth, in 1998, running as a monthly, live broadcast featuring poets, storytellers, rappers, and musicians from all over New England.

“The Talking Drum” will include feature performances by Black Indian spoken-word artists Garland Lee Thompson Jr. and Mwalim, as well as an open mic. This presentation is a part of the effort to raise awareness to the upcoming exhibit by the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian, exploring the Black Indian experience. Thompson, a member of the recently fractured Okalahoma Cherokees, and Mwalim, member of the recently federally recognized Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in Southeastern, Massachusetts.

Cultural Soup LIVE Talkcast Show Notes: Episode 50 Notes – Cultural Soup Free For All
English Second Language (ESL) Talk LIVE

I opened the phones up and was joined by very intersting people from all over the world. Hawaii, Florida, Seoul, Germany, California, and more.  Talked about public access TV (Support Public Access TV in Florida!!), the military, Korea, funny contests and more.  Peter told us about   —>

Live from Ashland: It’s – The Editorial Page!
by Randy Stapilus
Ridenbaugh Press (OR)

Here is something very neat that we’ve not seen before, in quite this fashion: A sort of editorial page discussion program with room for reader comment. On community access TV, backed up with YouTube online access.  The Editorial Page is a weekly cable access program featuring three editors of the Ashland Daily Tidings newspaper. Each Wednesday, the three editors go on camera and – they’ve gotten refreshingly loose and informal – talk about three editorial subjects of local import. These may be the merits of the recent 4th of July parade, or city government, environmental issues, or something else. They spend about seven minutes on each topic, and then invite viewer (/reader) response.

They’re now in season 2. (That’s right, we just happened on to it.) Archived video is available from as far back as last October, when the three talked about their city council endorsements.  This is not a bad idea. And easily hijackable elsewhere.

Can Danbury become a music center?
by Mark Langlois
News Times Live (CT)

Can Danbury create a music industry?  That concept is expected to be championed tonight on Comcast Cable television Channel 23 by CityCenter Danbury, the downtown promotions organization that works to attract business and customers downtown.  “Danbury has always had a history of an organic local music scene,” said Richard Matthews, president of Matthews Communications Media, which CityCenter officials contacted to help them explore this concept.  “Why not encourage the local, healthy music scene?” he asked. “The whole industry isn’t about megastars anymore.”

Matthews Communications has offices in Connecticut and California, and it works with an economist in Austin, Texas, a city that grew a music industry to rival Memphis and Nashville.  Matthews and Andrea Gartner Jabara, manager of CityCenter Danbury, will be guests tonight on the public access television show “Ideas at Work and Beyond” on at 9 p.m. Jabara will host the show in addition to being a guest.

Sunshine Again [children’s educational television series launch]

According to, public access is ‘commonly referred to as PEG, for “public, education and government,” television.’  2007 begins an historic year for US public access television, because this year, one educational television production company touted by PBS is taking public access seriously as a broadcaster of quality children’s educational television programming.  The company is Heather Ferreira Productions, based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the ambitious group with production facilities there, in Los Angeles and even in the United Kingdom has now offered public access stations across America an original series created to compete very aggressively with existing PBS kids’ shows like Oobi and Sesame Street for child viewers and their ages 30 to 45-demographic parents.

Titled Sunshine Again, this modular-format daily 26 x 60 program is keyed to those parents who grew up during the 1970’s watching landmark, imaginative, expressive children’s programming targeted to them as youngsters, and who desire programs of similar creativity and innovation for their own pre-K and kindergarten-age children.

Sunshine Again features a diverse cast of human characters and a large ensemble cast of furry creatures and comic puppets who both teach and learn.  Set in a small-town television station, the show features an endless kaleidoscope of bright cartoons, film segments, original music and comedy sketches that teach the alphabet, specific letters and numbers, colors, music appreciation, shapes, manners and different cultures to a child audience.  The program’s writing is multi-layered to keep watching parents and guardians entertained at the same time the child is.  Featuring an intentional slower pace and soothing production values, Sunshine Again is designed to remind parents of earlier days in children’s educational television, when learning and fun were the catchwords, and kids’ TV was a joy to watch.  The producers of the series are between the ages of 32 and 44, grew up in that era, and are committed to returning to innocence and to the wacky joy of Dr. Seuss and Jim Henson.

Vt. media activist receives free speech award
Burlington Free Press (VT)

Lauren-Glenn Davitian, executive director of CCTV’s Center for Media & Democracy, has received the Alliance for Community Media’s highest award.  The George Stoney Award for Humanistic Communications was presented to Davitian at the Alliance for Community Media’s recent national conference in Minneapolis, Minn.   —>

[ This event directly followed the ACM’s Leadership and Hometown awards ceremonies at the Walker.  Wonder how many other youth media networks are out there.  – rm ]

Twin Cities Youth Media Network Screening
Target Free Thursday Nights Film (MN)

As a part of the 2007 Alliance for Community Media national conference, the Twin Cities Youth Media Network (TCYMN) hosts a screening of works made by high school filmmakers from around the state. This screening is presented by the TCYMN, a collective of organizations that promote and support youth filmmaking. Call 612.375.7683 or e-mail for more information.

[ Here’s an idea – get your towns’ political parties to adopt support for PEG Access and other media reforms in their platforms – rm ]

The 2007-2009 platform of the Wilton Democratic Town Committee


•    Continue to provide routine reports from the First Selectman to ensure accountability to all town boards, commissions and citizenry via newspaper and websites.  Establish process to post meeting minutes and agendas for public review.
•    Encourage more active participation on the state level by the First Selectman.
•    Promote communication about Public Hearings to encourage greater participation.
•    Promote, support and utilize Government, Educational and Public Access television, including enhanced quality of audio to be sure all public meetings that are aired can be heard.
•    Continue to support measures to make Public, Educational and Government Access TV programming available to all Wilton residents, regardless of whichever company provides video services to their homes.
•    Continue to support the dedicated 24-hour channel for CT-N (The Connecticut Network) on BASIC cable television service.
•    Support modernization of public record keeping taking advantage of newer technology.
•    Improve the current town website with enhanced navigation.  Improvements will include ability to post town board, commission and committee meeting agendas and minutes.
•    Promote communication and cooperation with other municipalities to seek new opportunities to help improve services and reduce costs.

What the cable companies don’t want you to know
by PookyShoehorn
Ramblings of a Madwoman

A couple of months ago I cancelled my satellite tv service. I was sick of paying almost $60 a month for hundreds of stations that I have no interest in, and never watched. I mean, really, how many shopping channels do we really need? All the new channels that came on seemed to be geared toward ostentatious consumption. I’d love to watch a travel channel that covered trips I could actually afford. Or a DYI channel that showed projects that the average person might really be considering. You know, like “This Old House” on PBS.

Since then we’ve been watching regular broadcast tv. Rearranging the rabbit ears almost every time we change the channel; can only get the local PBS station on the tv upstairs (and that’s still pretty snowy).  So I was pretty interested to learn from my friends in Boston that they have a very cheap cable package that gives them good reception on the local channels without all the extra channels. I wondered if it was offered in Baltimore, so I did a little research, and guess what: It’s offered everywhere!

Here’s the deal: the FCC requires that all cable service providers have a basic services tier (it’s often called “Limited Basic Service”). According to the FCC, “The basic services tier must include most local broadcast stations, as well as the public, educational, and governmental channels ….”  In Baltimore, that means about 20 channels: the local NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, several PBS stations, 2 C-Span stations, the city government access channel, and the public access channel. It has 2 shopping channels. I guess I can’t get away from them entirely. The price in Baltimore is about $11 a month.

You wouldn’t know about this from watching the ads for Comcast, would you? When you call them up and ask for it, they know what you’re talking about and they’ll give it to you without a hassle. But don’t look for it on their website, or in any of their ads on tv.  Read the FCC rules here. Then tell all your friends about it.

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

Explore posts in the same categories: PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: