Community Media: Selected Clippings – 08/30/07

Candidates get free air time
by Colby Frazier
Daily Sound (CA)

Whether a Santa Barbara City Council candidate is flush with cash or not this year, each of the eight hopefuls will have the opportunity to reach the public with a three-minute spot broadcast on public access television in the lead up to the Nov. 6 election. The cost? Free.

It’s all part of the City Council’s effort to reform municipal elections and take the money card out of the deck. “You’re always trying to take the idea of money out of the campaign,” said Councilman Brian Barnwell, who is up for reelection and filmed his three-minute spot on Tuesday. “You don’t want somebody winning just because they have money.”

All of the spots were filmed in The Santa Barbara Channels studio with an American flag and Santa Barbara City flag as a backdrop. With the camera fixed on the candidates from the shoulders up, each one read their message from cue cards, or in the case of Frank Hotchkiss, had it memorized. The format appeared to be simple, crisp and clear. At least that’s the message Hap Freund, executive director of The Santa Barbara Channels hopes to get across. —>

Athens supervisors renew cable station
by Todd Rogers
Daily Review (PA)

ATHENS TOWNSHIP – After hearing from spokesman Dave Waylan, Athens Township Supervisors approved the renewal of Time Warner Cable’s Head End Station at Roundtop Park for now. Waylan said in the public hearing Wednesday night that whatever the outcome of the vote is, the rights to the cable franchise may become extinct. “We expect within two-years there will be a statewide cable franchise for Pennsylvania and that will circumvent all the local franchising.” —>

Board OKs new cable contract
by Patrick Anderson
Daily News (MA)

DEDHAM – Selectmen last night approved a new 10-year cable provider’s license with Comcast, ending a contentious negotiation between the two that began in early 2005. The pact clears the way for the debut of Dedham Public Television, the town’s new independent community programming network. Selectman Marie-Louise Kehoe, who led the town’s negotiating team, said terms of the deal were similar to a contract signed with telecommunications giant Verizon in November, but had required a lot more effort to reach. “I have participated in enough negotiations over the years to learn that two parties can disagree without being disagreeable,” Kehoe said. “Negotiations with Comcast have not been pleasant.”

Kehoe said like Verizon, Comcast had agreed to pay the town 50 cents for each subscriber or no more than 5 percent of the gross annual revenue generated for the company in the town. Comcast has also agreed to pay the town $225,000 to support the Dedham Visionary Access Corp., which runs Dedham Public Television. In Comcast’s previous contract, the company was responsible for running local cable access programming. But after Verizon applied to become the town’s third cable provider last year, Comcast announced it would rather transfer responsibility for programming to the town. —>

Opening Up 2155-2175 for MuniFi?
Daily Wireless

ArsTechnica notes that a pair of last-minute FCC filings from both Google and the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition (PISC) have just weighed in on whether the agency should support M2Z Networks’ plan for nationwide broadband access. < >
The Public Interest Spectrum Coalition filing to the FCC says: —>

Video ‘Competition’ In Ohio Begins To Spark Complaints
by Andy in Media and Democracy
Uncommon Sense

Seems that some towns in Ohio are starting to receive a number of complaints from residents regarding AT&T’s solicitors. Here is a letter from one Ohio resident to their local municipal officials regarding rude and pushy behavior on the part of AT&T employees:

“On Saturday a representative from AT&T came to my door stating they will be doing fiber optic upgrades to certain homes in the area and it will require their service people have access to my home for 6 to 8 hours. For the inconvenience they will give me a month free access to fiber optic TV. She was insistent as to when they can come in to do this work, as if this is mandatory and I have no say in this matter.

“It seems obvious to me this is a sales pitch to use their TV system while under the guise of updating the telephone system. The rep stated only certain homes would be offered this and seemed to be put out by my questions and that I would get back to her. Does the city sanction this action? This is clearly a scheme to be hooked up to their TV networking while making one believe the phone system requires the updating.” —>

AT&T Must Face Justice for Illegal Spying
NSA Surveillance Comes Under Fire Today in Appeals Court Battle
Electronic Frontier Foundation

San Francisco – In a packed San Francisco courtroom today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow AT&T customers to continue to fight against illegal spying on their telephone and Internet communications. EFF is representing the plaintiffs in Hepting v. AT&T, a class-action lawsuit brought by AT&T customers accusing the giant telco of violating their rights by illegally assisting the National Security Agency in domestic surveillance. The U.S. government is fighting to get the class-action lawsuit thrown out of court, contending that the litigation jeopardizes state secrets.

“The courts cannot permit the government to evade responsibility for unconstitutional activities with thin claims of ‘state secrets.’ Without judicial review, there is no way to stop abuses of power,” said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. “The courts are well equipped to protect state secrets while determining whether the spying is illegal and if so, to put a stop to it.” “In trying to shut down this case, the government is hoping to avoid accountability for spying on millions of AT&T customers,” said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. “Our system of checks and balances is supposed to thwart abuses of power. The White House is trying to wiggle out of those checks by taking the courts out of the picture.” —>

Recasting the Web
Information commons to cash cow
by Karen Charman
Fairness and Accuracy in Media

If the Bush administration lets large media conglomerates and local telephone companies have their way, the Internet as we know it—that free-flowing, democratic, uncensored information superhighway—could soon be a thing of the past.

The Internet itself is not going away. Rather, technological advances, changes to the rules governing its use and the continued consolidation of media empires are combining to turn it into a conduit of commerce, booby-trapped with barriers and incentives designed to keep users where dollars can be wrung from them. As a result, a lot of freely accessible information and websites may become difficult or impossible to connect to—hindering the efforts of those posting that information to reach others. —>

A community is only as strong as its ethnic media
by Ray Hanania
Mideast Youth

In the United States, you measure the strength and effectiveness of an ethnic community by the quality and “presence” of its ethnic American newspapers. The more newspapers that exist and the more of them that reflect professional journalism, the stronger the ethnic community. The fewer the newspapers and the more the newspapers reflect divisions and political infighting, the weaker the community.

In the Arab American community, there are about 79 newspapers including 11 magazines. I would say about half are professionally done, created by individuals who have some or extensive experience in professional journalism. Some of the others are “cut-and-paste” products manufactured by business people with no experience in journalism or political activists who file down the essence of journalism principle to advocate their issues. That’s not journalism, but that’s what we often have, folks. Which are the best Arab American newspapers in America? Here are just a few: —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Director of Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media
wiki: http:/

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, election programming, media diversity, municiple wi-fi, net neutrality, spectrum auction, video franchising

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