Community Media: Selected Clippings – 07/31/07

RFP: Public, Educational, and Government Access Channels (HI)

Request for Proposals (RFP) No. 07-043-SW
Operate, Maintain and Manage Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) Access Channels, Funds, Facilities and Equipment for the State of Hawaii   —>

N.C. Cities Score Muni Broadband Victory
by Michael Martinez
National Journal Insider Update

Local governments have pressured lawmakers in North Carolina to back off a proposal to limit the ability of municipalities to build and operate their own high-speed Internet networks.   —>

TBCN To Take Over All PEG Channels?
by Alex Pickett
Creative Loafing (FL)

Facing cutbacks that could reduce her budget by a third and shut down Hillsborough County’s educational channel, Louise Thompson, executive director of Tampa Bay Community Network, issued a audacious proposal this week: Take over all three cable television access channels.

“Bringing the PEG [Public, Educational, Government] channels under one roof will save the county more money than it does under the administrator’s proposed budget, and, most importantly, will assure that cable viewers can continue to enjoy both the Education and Public access channels, which are not funded at all under the administrator’s proposed budget,” she wrote in an e-mail. “This could be a win-win solution for everyone.”

Thompson estimates she could save the county $1.5 million by consolidating the channels with Speak Up Tampa Bay, the nonprofit that manages TBCN. Hillsborough County spends nearly $3 million to operate all three channels; more than half of that goes to the government’s channel.   —>

Republican Cable Bill Will Raise Property Taxes
Paul Soglin: Waxing America (WI)

Lost in the cable television discussion is the hidden property tax hike found in AB 207, the bill already passed by the Republican-dominated Wisconsin Assembly.  It contains a tax hike that is estimated to be as much as $2 million state- wide.

That is $2 million in property tax increases at the local level and/or a corresponding reduction in services.

Most municipalities in Wisconsin fund about 40 to 60% of their operations from the property tax. The additional revenues needed to operate the local budget comes from fees, fines and forfeitures, some shared revenue from the state, and a few other limited sources.

One of those sources is the franchise fee paid to cities by cable operators to use the public right of way.  Most cities that issue franchise permits to Charter or Time-Warner use part of that money to fund local cable TV programming and the remainder to run the city, town, or village.

The public right of way belongs to the people and it is not unreasonable for the public to be compensated.  After all, if Ralph wanted to operate his car dealership in the public right of way, we would expect him to pay some kind of rent. Or if Regina wanted to set up her real estate office in the right of way, it is reasonable to charge her, and to periodically review the terms and conditions of the lease as conditions change over time.

The sponsors of AB 207 want to change this system, which has been in place in Wisconsin since the 1950s, and give cable companies and AT&T franchise rights in perpetuity.  The bill also reduces in several significant ways (eliminating PEG fees and construction permit fees, for example) the rent to use the public right of way; thus the hidden property tax hike.


Allentown Municpal Government
Cable TV pacts can serve the public, too
Morning Call (PA)

—>   But, Allentown’s agreements go a few steps farther, and based on these provisions, the full City Council should approve them.  The main innovation is that the companies will provide a ”government channel” within two years. This would enable the city to use cable studios to produce programming of public interest. Along with that, we would hope, would be coverage of city meetings, press conferences and the like. The models, of course, are C-SPAN, which covers Congress, and PCN, the Pennsylvania Cable Network, both of which started in 1979. In both cases, cable companies — not governments or advertisers — provide funding for the service.

Once a government channel is created, planners say, the city could decide to make it available to citizens and groups — a public access channel. Allentown would need to develop a way to allocate such a thing in an even-handed way, no simple task, but worth doing.

In May, also via an agreement with Service Electric, Emmaus became the first Lehigh Valley municipality to have its meetings on cable TV. Being a bigger town and with a broader agreement, Allentown City Council should seize this opportunity to extend the spirit of open government. Perhaps, one day, the rest of the Valley will follow suit.,0,7900067.story

Community access programming now available on the Internet
Nevada Appeal

Access Carson City is offering people the chance to see some of its television shows on the Internet through its Web site,  The community access television service hopes to eventually move the Internet broadcasts to their own Web site. They’ve secured an address for when the offerings expand.   —>

Bismarck Police and Community Access Team Up For Safety Video
by Kevin Gribble

The Bismarck Police Department is partnering up with Community Access Television in Bismarck in an effort to protect children. They`ve made a video called “Safely To School.” It has all sorts of pointers to help parents and kids avoid problems when traveling to and from school. Officers say it`s never too early to brush up on safety. [video]

Comment: Black radio is about more than one man
by Mario M. Salas (TX)

—>   Two things come to mind when thinking of the successes of these two groups: the attainment of a public access channel, which is still part of the lineup with Time Warner and the city of San Antonio, and BET. For years, the late Rick Greene and I hosted one of the most popular public access cable TV shows on the system, “Left Bank Speakout.” Clay-Little chose to ignore this important contribution.

Waycross connection lasts 25 years now
by Rob Dowdy
Community Press and Community Recorder (OH)

After 25 years, Waycross Media continues to connect to the communities it serves through a cable wire.  The group had an open house July 25, inviting community members as well as former and current volunteers to snack on hors d’oeuvers and tour the facility.

Thom Schneider, government access coordinator, said while so many things have changed since Waycross’s inception into the community, many things have remained constant.  He said, most obviously, the equipment the group uses has gotten more advanced, allowing for more creative programming and the ability to do more than in years past.

“The equipment has gotten much smaller and lighter, which is good for old people like me,” said Schneider, who’s been with Waycross since 1988, first as an intern and then an employee.   —>

WBTN looks for ways out of the red
by Neal Goswami
Bennington Banner (VT)

A local AM radio station run by Southern Vermont College is facing significant changes as it continues to lose money, according to an SVC official. …   A day-long media conference sponsored by the college in May allowed for the beginning of a discussion about a Center of Community Media that would unite various forms of local media and provide educational experiences for SVC students, said Scribner.

…Gross indicated in May that options for incorporating the station into a media center will be considered to reduce or eliminate annual operating losses.  Scribner said the main focus for Gross and SVC will to ensure that the station remains a community station with mostly local programming.

“Broadcast licenses are a public resource and they are not given out lightly. I think it was given to the college in the hope that it would remain a community radio station. I think the college will try to manage it to remain that way,” said Scribner. “(Gross) has some really strong ideas about the value of community radio stations as a community source.”

Amazon to Copy and Sell Archives’ Footage
First DVDs Already Available Under Non-Exclusive Deal
by Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post

The National Archives and Records Administration announced yesterday that it has reached a non-exclusive agreement with and one of its subsidiaries to reproduce and sell to the public copies of thousands of historic films and videotapes in the Archives’ holdings.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Director of Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media

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

One Comment on “Community Media: Selected Clippings – 07/31/07”

  1. safety and health videos…

    workplace safety…

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