Community Media: Selected Clippings – 09/05/07

FCC to Address Media Diversity at Chicago Hearing
Sept. 20 Public Forum on Media Ownership To Be Held at Rainbow PUSH Coalition

The Federal Communications Commission will hold its fifth official media ownership hearing on Sept. 20 at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters on Chicago’s South Side. The hearing will offer Chicago residents a rare opportunity to voice concerns to all five FCC commissioners about the nation’s lack of diverse media owners.  “Media ownership should look like America, but instead we have too few, owning too much at the expense of too many,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “It’s time to reverse the poor policy decisions that have shut out the public from our airwaves. We are honored that the FCC chose to hold this hearing at Rainbow PUSH and welcome all of Chicago’s diverse communities to join us in speaking out at this important event.”    —>

DTV-Carriage Item Makes FCC Meeting Agenda
Extension of Program-Access Rules Also on the Docket
by John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable

—> The other media item on the agenda would apply the FCC’s loosening of video-franchise requirements for telcos to incumbent cable operators — something the cable industry has been requesting and commission said it planned to do.

Public Access Asks for Help
edited by Amy Becker
on-air report by Sarah Keeven

COLUMBIA –  Columbia Access Television is asking the City for funding to stay on the air.  Columbia Access Television, or CAT, as it’s known, is turning to the city for help.  The station used to get financial support from local cable provider MediaCom, but in May, MediaCom didn’t make its usual ten-thousand dollar contribution.  More than 30 CAT supporters showed up at the city council meeting Tuesday night. They proudly displayed CAT stickers and spoke to the council, asking for consideration in the 2008 budget.

CAT officials say without the money it is very likely the station will shut down and Columbia will lose it’s public voice.  “It would be a real tragedy if we lost CAT. As some of the speakers mentioned, how can you have a democracy if you don’t have access to media? And this is public access to media which is quite rare and special,” Christine Gardener, President of CAT Board of Directors said.   —>

Whatever Happened to Net Neutrality?
by Roy Mark

Analysis: Once the most controversial tech issue in Washington, net neutrality is now mostly forgotten.  A year ago, network neutrality was roiling Capitol Hill. From Congress to the Federal Communications Commission to the Federal Trade Commission, there wasn’t a hotter—or more controversial—tech issue. Today, net neutrality barely raises a yawn among lawmakers.   —>,1895,2179649,00.asp

Free My TV (and Computer and Phone)
Hooked on cable…sucks for me
by Becca Tucker
New York Press

—>   That’s what’s supposed to happen. Then again, it might not. In Maryland’s Montgomery County, Comcast Corp., the area’s main cable provider, raised its cable rates $2 a month after Verizon came to town. Comcast officials told the Washington Post that the increased costs reflected a greater video selection and improved customer service.

Worse, there may be danger lurking in the loophole that lets Verizon into the TV business through a back door. Usually a franchise comes with a set of social obligations in exchange for using the streets. Verizon hopes to be exempt from those.  “The problem is, if you let Verizon out of those social obligations, then Time Warner immediately comes back and says ‘Hey, this ain’t fair,’ and you get a race to the bottom, and the needs of citizens are not met,” warns [Consumer Union’s Mark] Cooper.

In what may be foreshadowing of things to come, Time Warner is already kvetching. “Verizon should be given the same kind of franchise, with identical terms and conditions and customer standards and reporting that we have to adhere to based on our agreement with the City of New York,” says Giuliani.

Whatever happens right now may not be a reliable indicator of how things will shake out in the long run. In the initial stages of a rivalry, prices almost always drop. Already, ads are popping up in mailboxes, on billboards, subways, even the Staten Island ferry, guaranteeing a slashed cable bill if you sign up now.  “But when there’s only two players, they quickly realize that certain kinds of competition are not in their mutual interest,” says Cooper. “And so once things settle down, fairly quickly, the price competition will go away. They might start to compete on other aspects of service, but this initial period of rivalry will settle down. It just degenerates into a duopoly.”   —>

TV airing called into question
by Catharine Hadley

Some Port Clinton residents and Council members are upset about the programming on the city’s government access cable channel.  A meeting sponsored by a political action committee, “Our Port Clinton,” was broadcast on Channel 99 last week, then was pulled by Time Warner Cable after a Port Clinton City Council member inquired about the legality of airing such programming.

The meeting, Aug. 23 at Magruder Hospital, concerned the Water Works Park development project. Council member Glenn Chapman is the treasurer of the political action committee, and literature promoting the meeting lists e-mail addresses for Chapman and fellow Council member Jeff Morgan.  The pair voted against pursuing a development with the Puller Group to build an indoor water park, hotel and conference center.

Morgan, who declined to comment on the issue, is running as an independent candidate against Republican Debbie Hymore-Tester.  She has been a proponent of the Puller Group plan. At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, she said she told cable company employees she had received complaints about Chapman and Morgan’s program being aired on the government access channel.   —>

Ossining’s GO-TV station needs a new home
by Sean Gorman
Journal News (NY)

The community’s long-struggling local access channel is trying to find a new home.  Greater Ossining Television, a nonprofit station that operates out of rent-free space at Ossining High School, is moving out of the location by the end of the year when its 10-year lease expires.  Station officials still don’t know where they’re going to go, said Mary T. Prenon, a member of cash-strapped GO-TV’s board of directors.  Wherever they end up, station officials expect they’ll have to pay about $24,000 annually in rent and utilities. That would be a major hit for the station, whose operating budget next year is expected to be around $70,000, Prenon said.   —>

Volunteers Needed for the AWJ Survey
Association for Women Journalists-Chicago (IL)

AWJ- Chicago is conducting its first ever survey of Chicago area media and we need your help.  During the next few months, we will take steps to determine where we stand in the industry and how satisfied people are with their jobs. To that end, we’re asking people who work in radio, television, on-line and magazines to take part in a survey which AWJ hopes to conduct every few years—a census of sorts to assess our status. Professors at Bradley University’s Department of Communications will conduct the survey on our behalf. Results will be announced at an AWJ program later this year.   —>

TV station seeks local bands
Daily Record/Sunday News (PA)

York-area bands will get a chance to be featured on White Rose Community Television, WRCT-TV (Ch. 16).  Nick Dorm, a local promoter, said footage of bands playing at area venues will air on the station in the next few months. He said the station wanted four band stories to start the series. Dorm said the segments will include interviews with band members and will follow groups as they prepare for a local show.  “It will be like a public-access version of MTV,” he said.

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

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, FCC, media diversity, media ownership, municipal programming, net neutrality, PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising

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