Community Media: Selected Clippings – 09/10/07


[ photo credit: Mike Byrd – used with permission. Please contact micchiato at gmail dot com for permission to reproduce. ]

AT&T Waves Investment Dollars to Leverage Favorable State Legislation
by S-town Mike
Enclave – Nashville North-by-Northwest (TN)

As a former lobbyist, AT&T Tennessee’s new President must understand the power of money in the General Assembly. Now he seems to be using it to resurrect “video franchise reform” (VFR) which would not just promote competition for the cable industry; it would also centralize the marketing process by establishing state-wide franchising, effectively removing the power of municipalities to broker their own deals.

Conservatives seem to love VFR*, perhaps because they are sensitive to being drummed by others for their blind eyes to or rationalizations of the ills of monopolies. But VFR allows them both to support corporate control of markets (by “The New AT&T,” or “Botoxed Ma Bell”) and to oppose corporate control of markets (by Comcast).

… Conservatives seem to be straying from their principles at this point, both because they claim local autonomy and because the move seems to necessitate regulation of the market at the state level. On the contrary some of us see no contradiction between more competition, local autonomy, and strong regulations.

As AT&T and Comcast continue to flex their muscle with the state government, our elected officials need to keep an eye first on consumer protection, rather than look to the competitive advantage of one giant over another. Let the conservatives choose up sides with the giants. Tennessee should only centralize the video franchising process if it protects us consumers lost in this land of the giants.

Bill Stalls in Wisconsin
Multichannel News

While most state legislatures have concluded action on cable-franchising bills, the one in Wisconsin is stuck, awaiting the outcome of a fight over the state budget. The bill, which will move franchising authority to the state Department of Financial Institutions, was approved by the Assembly on a 66-28 vote in May. It was sent to the Senate, where it will be heard, possibly in the fall, by the Joint Finance Committee. But that apparently won’t happen until the Democrat-ruled Senate and Republican-controlled Assembly can agree on a state budget.

… A consumer coalition has formed also, branding itself TeleTruth Wisconsin. Its members hope to convince the Senate to revise what they state is a “very anti-consumer bill,” said its Cynthia Laitman, executive director. Laitman, a former communications professor, has also served on Madison’s city broadband regulatory board. Nothing in state law prevents AT&T from launching video service today, she said. She noted her municipal panel extended an invitation to the telephone company 18 months ago to service Madison, but said AT&T has refused.

The group, which includes the state’s League of Women Voters, the Wisconsin Association of PEG Channels, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and WISPIRG, question industry assertions that prices will fall due to deregulation. Laitman cites research by Texas communities, noting that prices have not fallen in two years of state regulation there; and comments by AT&T executives that the telco does not intend to compete on price. —>

Youth Advisory Council Promo
by Dfunk
Mid-Peninsula Media Center (CA)

Watch this short video to learn more about the Youth Advisory Council and see them in action! (4 mins)

Seniors, MCTV celebrate completion of public-safety spot
by Gayle Simone
Valley Dispatch (MA)

METHUEN — Accomplishing a goal can be cause for celebration, and when that deed is a successful public-service commerical, it justifies having a party. And that’s just what Methuen Community Television and the TRIAD Council — a partnership between law enforcement and senior citizens through the Essex County Sheriff’s Department — did on Aug. 23 when they held a premiere party at the Methuen Senior Activity Center for the “Is Your Number Up?” commercial, which will air in September on MCTV. —>

Digital Filmmaking Workshops set for November
Film New Hampshire

All-day seminars focusing on Independent Film Production return to the Manchester Community Access Media (MCAM) Studios in Manchester, NH. The Digital Filmmaking Workshops announces its fall schedule of extensive all-day seminars on Independent Film Production, held again at Manchester Community Access Media, 540 Commercial St. in Manchester, N.H. —>

Openings Aplenty on County Volunteer Boards
Kitsap Sun (WA)

—> Bremerton Kitsap Public Access Television Advisory Committee-BKAT: The committee acts as an advisory body to the Bremerton City Council and the Kitsap County Commissioners to promote public access television. The current openings are to represent community at large and youth. The committee meets at least once a month and makes recommendations on general policy relating to services and facilities. The committee also promotes community outreach and provides a forum for citizens regarding the use of facilities, programming and other related issues. —>

Dispersed media ownership serves democratic values
by C. Edwin Baker
Seattle Times

The Federal Communications Commission is considering whether to reduce restrictions on broadcast-station ownership, an action that would permit greater media and press concentration. This is a bad idea. Bad for audiences, for citizens, and for democracy. Dispersed media ownership, ideally local ownership, serves democratic values, while conglomerate ownership and media mergers, which would be the result of reduced ownership restrictions, do the opposite.

Equality — one person one vote — provides the proper standard for the distribution of power and voice in a democracy. Maximum dispersal of media ownership can enable more people to identify a media entity as in some sense speaking for and to them.

Dispersed ownership also reduces the danger of inordinate, potentially demagogic power in the public sphere. As the FCC once recognized, many owners creates more independent decision makers who can devote journalistic resources to investigative reports. Finally, dispersal reduces — without eliminating — potential conflicts of interests between journalism and an owner’s economic interests. —>

[ Maybe you’ve heard of I had not. It’s no surprise that candidates are now seeking every possible forum for meaningful conversations. However, community mediamakers may want to read further about Gather’s “People’s Press Corps” contest. – rm ] Launches Election 2008 Community
Social Media Site Empowers Voters to Get Involved in the Political Discussion, Connect with the Candidates and Participate in a National Search for “The People’s Press Corps”
09/10/07, the leading social media site for adults, today announced that seven presidential candidates have launched groups within its new Election 2008 community, . has a highly educated, engaged, and informed adult membership – a demographic elusive to most social networking sites. This demographic has made an exceptional choice for presidential candidates to facilitate ongoing, interactive conversations with American voters. In addition to live conversations with the community, campaigns will leverage’s article, image, and video-publishing tools. A recent poll of members indicated that 98.8% plan to vote in the 2008 presidential election.

Unlike most social media sites whose memberships consist of a very young demographic of members, gives candidates from both political parties a platform to connect with an older, more life-experienced American voter. Registered member demographics include:

* 46% male, 54% female
* 73% of audience 30-59 years old; median and mean age 42
* 72% college educated or higher (3X national norm)
* 86.3% of audience has $50K+ household income
* 20% of audience has $100K+ household income
* 77% own a home

“In partnering with, the presidential candidates will engage in sophisticated and interactive dialogue with a highly desirable demographic of American voter,” says Tom Gerace (, founder and CEO. “Candidates will harness the power of social media to communicate with adult Americans who vote at the polls and support candidates financially.”

Recently launched presidential campaign groups within the Election 2008 community can be found at the following URLs:;;;;;;

Today, also announced a nationwide search for six bloggers to cover the 2008 presidential election as its People’s Press Corps.

Potential pundits are invited to develop and submit an article and/or video on an election topic of their choice at . Finalists will be selected by the community, with the final six bloggers chosen by the Gather Editorial Team. The winning bloggers (2 Democrats, 2 Independents, 2 Republicans) will report on the 2008 presidential election for throughout the primary season, and will receive exclusive access to candidates, experts, and events. Each blogger will be assigned to cover a particular primary territory for the Gather community. Winners will also receive an all-expenses-paid 3-day trip to report directly from their assigned primary election as Gather’s official media representative.

In order to be considered in the Election 2008 Blogger Search, entrants must join, which is free, and post an article (500 words or less) and/or a video (3 minutes or less) to the Election 2008 group at . Multiple entries will be accepted, but all entries must relate to the 2008 presidential race. Entrants must also be able to cover the election for their party without personal bias toward a particular candidate.
– Submission period: 09/10/07 – 10/10/07
– Community Voting: 09/10/07 – 10/19/07

Gift helps center preserve film, audio recordings
by Frank Davies
San Jose Mercury News

CULPEPER, Va. – The nation’s film and audio treasures, from Thomas Edison’s first moving pictures in 1893 to the latest digital music, will be preserved and restored in a vast, new complex thanks to at least $150 million from David W. Packard’s Humanities Institute – the largest gift ever received by the Library of Congress.

Tucked into a hillside about 70 miles from Washington, D.C., the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center is more than a repository for the fragile reels of “Casablanca,” “Gone With the Wind” and other films, which are stored in renovated vaults once used by the Federal Reserve to stash $3 billion in cash during the Cold War in case of nuclear emergency.

Curators and technicians also are starting to transfer collections that were stored in four states and the capital – hundreds of thousands of items, including highly flammable nitrate-based film – to digital files in a new building, known as the Packard Campus, that Packard’s Los Altos-based foundation donated to the Library of Congress in July. —>

Internet streaming: five U.S. television networks compared
by Daniel Langendorf
The Last 100

The good news: Major U.S. television networks continue to embrace Internet technology and are putting their shows on the Web for online viewing, just like they did last year. The bad news: Their online offerings remain sporadic; their Internet strategies feel like “we have to” rather than “we want to”; and — worst of all — they still haven’t embraced the idea that we are living in a new digital world, with different rules, participants, and expectations all around.

We’ve looked at the online offerings of the five major networks — ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and The CW — and sadly no one is blowing the game wide open, although they’re trying. To their credit, the networks are offering some of their top-rated shows online, viewable on their own websites.

But to their discredit, the networks don’t provide streaming for all of their shows, prime time or not, and streaming schedules vary widely. While video quality continues to improve, many networks have crowded and difficult to use interfaces, which detracts from the fun of watching a favorite TV show. Sometimes it’s just not worth the effort. Here’s our journey through the land of network streaming. —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: archive, archiving, cable vs telco, FCC, Internet TV, media diversity, media ownership, PEG access TV, public access television, social media, streaming, user-generated content, video franchising

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