Community Media: Selected Clippings – 08/06/07

Detroit, Comcast spar over fee
by Amy Lane
Crain’s Detroit Business (MI)

LANSING — A dispute between the city of Detroit and Comcast Corp. is driving legislation that would strengthen cities’ ability to require certain fees from providers of cable TV and similar video services.

At issue in Detroit and in Senate and House bills is a fee to support public, education and government, or PEG, access channels. Michigan’s December 2006 video-franchise law provided for PEG fees of up to 2 percent of gross revenue and a separate annual franchise fee of up to 5 percent of revenue, as part of a new franchising system for telecommunications companies like AT&T Inc. and cable providers like Comcast. —>

Council adopts public access ideas
by Tim O’Brien
Times Union – Albany Politics Blog (NY)

Common Council members want to add a 35-cent fee to cable bills each month to help fund increased public access to locally based programming … like televised council meetings. The council adopted recommendations tonight from its Ad Hoc Committee on Cable Access, ideas that are meant to be used now as the city bargains with Time Warner for a new, 10-year franchise agreement. The existing agreement expired in 2004, but Time Warner continues to operate under it.

The recommendations call for Time Warner to pay $500,000 for start-up costs. Of that total, $257,680 would be used to buy cameras, editing machines and other equipment and to develop a studio at the Albany Public Library for residents to film public access shows. The rest would be distributed in the second and fourth years to expand public access programming.

Students at Albany High School would be able to take a course in filming and editing video. And equipment would enable meetings in the City Council chambers, whether the council itself or entities like the zoning board, to be put on the air.

The monthly fee would be used to pay for four full-time employees. The council would appoint a committee to oversee use of the funds. The proposals are similar to what is done in Schenectady. —>

wetlands wednesday
by Mariella
Sticks of Fire (FL)

Eight days before our county commission decides the fate of our Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) at the public hearing on August 16 (from 9 a.m. to noon), you can be informed and participate in the discussion at these three events, all this Wednesday, August 8:

… your third option is a panel discussion on these EPC issues. The panel discussion will be televised live on public access TV show The Buzz at 9pm. I’ll be slipping out of the Sierra Club meeting early to sit in on the panel. Host Mark Nash has also invited Ann Paul, of Florida Audubon, and a couple of others, who we’ll just call “surprise guests” for now. You can call in with your questions and comments during the show (254-1687). —>

Portland Grassroots Media Camp (8/24-26)
Portland Independent Media Center (OR)

The Portland Grassroots Media Camp (PGMC) is a weekend long event of skills trainings and workshops designed to make media creation and production more accessible to organizers, activists, and all community members. Workshops will take place across Portland at such sites as PCC Cascade Campus, the Musicians Union, St. Francis Church, KBOO, Laughing Horse Books, Liberty Hall, and the Center for Intercultural Organizing.

The weekend will be an opportunity for community organizers, activists, and members, especially from immigrant communities in and around Portland, to learn new skills, get connected with local alternative media resources, and network with other immigrant, community, and media organizations. Workshops will two hours long focusing on one specific skill through the use of hands on activities. All skill levels are welcome. All workshops are FREE and open to the general public. —>

[ To All: In case you are not aware of the newly formed Mass Nonprofit Network, here is the link to their website. Sure makes a lot of sense for all PEG Access Centers in MA to become members. – Chuck Sherwood ]

Mass NonProfit Network (MA)
Reaching Out
Sustain Cape Cod Newsletter
August 2007

The one key indicator of the health of any community is the extent to which people are involved and actively working to improve its quality of life. By volunteering, funding, or otherwise assisting locally focused nonprofits, an individual undertakes a most valuable and selfless act. Communities build themselves on these small, individual deeds.

For the past few years, we’ve hosted several gatherings of nonprofits, businesses, and individuals to promote the benefits that each provides and that each offers to become engaged and to participate. Their needs and their areas of interest have no bounds.

In 2006, we videotaped interviews with 38 Cape Codders who actively lead, administer, support, and otherwise encourage the efforts of these organizations. This Day in the Life film highlighted several things. The nonprofits’ overwhelming need for funding is so central to each organization’s well-being that each interviewee simply took it for a given and focused their thoughts more on other aspects of nonprofit management and development that are less obvious.

The people interviewed commented recurringly that Cape organizations need to collaborate and connect. And the point cut across each area of their “fields of mission” from affordable housing to water quality to economic development and career opportunity to workforce training and education. A nine-minute sample of these comments was assembled for us by Amy Davies of the Cape Cod Community Media Center. You can view it below —>

Ever Hear of AWCA-TV?
by Ed
Help Bring Public Access TV Back to Swampscott (MA)

Ever hear of AWCA-TV? Neither had I. It’s Ashburnham Westminster Community Access TV. Like Lynnfield, these towns (combined) have less cable subscribers than Swampscott, yet somehow they were able to set-up a non-profit corporation to run their three channels. I bring this up, of course, in relation to Andrew Maylor’s comment: “Unlike some larger towns, we don’t have a non-profit corporation to provide local origination programming and we struggle with finding ways to broadcast these meetings.”

First, Mr. Maylor made a totally false statement to me in an email: that the possibility of creating a non-profit corporation to run our channels was not “mentioned or discussed” at the ascertainment hearing. Clearly, Mr. Dimento did mention it at the meeting, as I’ve brought up in previous posts. You can watch Mr. DiMento requesting that the town look into forming a non-profit corporation on YouTube!

Now Mr. Maylor makes a misleading statement implying that Swampscott is too small to have formed a non-profit corporation to run our channels. I’ve already found two counter-examples to his statement: Lynnfield and Ashburnham Westminster. And I’m sure there are more.

UPDATE: The town of Bolton, MA also has formed a non-profit corporation to run its one channel, which it uses for public, educational, and government access.

Teaching technology growing in importance
by Ben Fischer
Cincinnati Enquirer (OH)

—> UC’s programs focus on science and engineering. But to learn practical computer applications, Krause and others suggest Media Bridges, a nonprofit group in Over-the-Rhine. It’s officially a community media outlet that provides resources for amateur videographers and filmmakers. But with video production largely digital and now heavily Web-based, students there get a thorough education in how to master a wide range of computer software, said education director Sara Mahle.

The nonprofit teaches free classes for 8- to 12-year-olds and 13- to 18-year-olds in the summer and on Saturdays. Its project-based classes end with a finished result students can reproduce elsewhere, Mahle said.

A class will teach kids how to use a camera, write a script, edit video digitally, burn it onto a DVD, upload it to a Web site and design the Web site, she said. “We get suburban kids, we get kids from as far away as Dayton,” Mahle said. “They don’t have any other way to learn all this.” —>

Boston Globe article: tech-savvy citizen first responders
by W David Stephenson
Stephenson blogs on homeland security 2.0 et al. (MA)

Hiawatha Bray of the Boston Globe (and Monitortan) has been checking in with me on and off since the Virginia Tech massacre about a possible article on my favorite theme: how mobile personal communication devices can empower the public to play a substantive role in emergency communications.

The Minneapolis tragedy finally provided the news peg for Bray’s article on the phenomenon, and I think he gives a pretty good overview of the issue. Here’s the essence of the argument:

“It’s (referring to I-35W) the most recent example of a transformation in the way we think about disasters. The term ‘first-responder’ officially means the police, fire, and rescue workers who come to the aid of victims. But the digital age has given rise to a new kind of first-responder — ordinary citizens with cellphones, computers, and Internet access. These people leap into action without being asked. They shoot snapshots and video of ongoing disasters. And they set up instant social networks that provide vital information to the public, the news media, and even the government.”

Yes! —>

Board of education adopts new dress code for students at McAlester Public Schools
by John Yates
McAlester News-Capital (OK)

—>   Shirts and blouses must not only be buttoned, they cannot expose “the midriff when arms are raised overhead,” according to the new rules. The new dress code takes up three pages of strict rules. MPS also has been running a new dress code fashion show on its public access cable television station. During the program, two school officials comment on proper dress and improper dress as students — both male and female — saunter by.

Surge in Cable Gripes
by Bill Sanderson
New York Post

—> It’s unclear how the complaints would affect talks over the Time Warner and Cablevision franchises, which expire in October 2008. When the franchises were last renewed in 1998, the City Council was mostly worried about making sure the companies kept offering public-access TV channels. A council resolution passed last year says that remains a concern. —>

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

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

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