Community Media: Selected Clippings – 09/18/07

Public-access TV coming to city
by Marcia Gelbart
Philadelphia Inquirer (PA)

A nearly 25-year campaign ended today with an announcement by Mayor Street that public-access TV is coming to Philadelphia. By early next year, area Comcast viewers will be able to watch community-produced programming with channels for youth, interfaith matters, public forums, and arts and culture. “Public access in this city took too long to come, but it’s here,” Street said during a news conference to announce the agreement.

City Managing Director Loree Jones said City Councilman Darrell Clarke would likely introduce two ordinances related to the agreement soon after Council reconvenes Thursday following its summer break. Hearings would follow, and with little anticipated opposition, the deal could become finalized in October or November.

The channels and their programming would be overseen by a 19-member board that would compose the newly formed Philadelphia Public Access Corp. The programs would be taped in a studio to be created at the former site of the Widener Library, which is now vacant, at 25th and Lehigh Streets. The city will lease the library site to Comcast. As part of the deal, Comcast will make an initial grant of $1.8 million and another for $900,000, Jones said.

Philadelphia is the last major U.S. city to have public-access channels. A coalition of more than 80 groups has been pushing for the channels in an effort that began in the early 1980s with then-Mayor W. Wilson Goode. “It’s not about who is watching but about community involvement,” coalition member Gretjen Clausing said.

Phila. Reaches Agreement — At Last — on Cable TV Public Access
by Mike Dunn
KYW 1060 (PA)

Nearly a quarter century after cable TV came to Philadelphia, the city finally has a plan for public access channels. (Voice of Mayor Street:) “How long has it been since we first talked about this? Twenty-five years.”

Mayor Street proclaimed the end of a controversy that began back in 1983, when the city first awarded cable TV franchises: how to give the public access. Street announced agreement on Tuesday with Comcast for a five-channel public access system to be launched by year’s end.

Among those who battled for this for years is Jonathan Stein of Community Legal Services: “Every civic group, nonprofit group, (and) cultural group could be creating programming to open its walls to local communities throughout the city.”

Comcast is footing most of the bill, with a studio to be constructed at 25th St. and Lehigh Ave. Officials hope to have the first two channels up and running by year’s end.

AT&T Internet TV: If It Walks Like a Duck…
by Felicia Hunter (CT)

Just as a new state law that seeks to expand the pool of cable TV providers is poised to take effect, state agencies are embroiled in a battle with a telecommunications giant that wants to establish Internet-based TV here – without obtaining a cable license. Both developments were undertaken to benefit Connecticut consumers, say supporters of each. —>

Comcast Gets Static From Videographer
Norwich City Council cameraman won’t sign public-access agreement
by Claire Bessette
The Day (CT)

Norwich — If you missed Monday night’s City Council meeting and hoped to catch the rebroadcast on Public Access Channel 14 later this week, don’t count on it. Comcast cable television company, which recently purchased the former Adelphia cable systems, is bringing its company rules to the Norwich franchise, requiring producers and hosts of public access programs to sign a “user agreement” accepting responsibility for the content of the program.

Richard Caron, who has operated the live camera at City Council meetings and other city functions for the past few years, says he won’t sign the agreement. Caron said he would not accept liability for comments made at the meetings, either by aldermen, city officials or the public. —>

Opening of Uno Promoted on Swampscott’s Channel 16, But Not Election for Selectman
Help Bring Public Access TV Back to Swampscott (MA)

Who says Swampscott’s not “Business friendly”? There’s a page cycling through the Community Announcements on Swampscott Government Channel 16 about the impending opening of Uno Restaurant, but there’s no mention of the election for Selectman October 2. I guess that indicates that Swampscott is “business friendly”. But is Swampscott “resident friendly” or “citizen friendly”? I’m not so sure.

Men Of Action to sponsor community directed candidate forum
Frost Illustrated (IN)

FORT WAYNE – Average citizens who have given up on the political process, feeling their voices can’t be heard, that they’re locked out of political debates and that they don’t have access to decision makers can change all that. At 6 p.m., Oct. 4 in Room A of the new Main Branch of the Allen County Public Library, folks will have a chance to put their own questions to the city’s two mayoral candidates-Matt Kelty and Tom Henry-and City Council At-Large candidate Thomas D. Essex Jr. The unique forum is being organized by Men Of Action, a local group of community advocates whose stated mission is to “enhance the awareness of political, education, social and economic equalities. The primary goal is to build and develop opportunities within the communities, so that they become more productive and self sufficient; to keep the public aware of the injustice and adverse effects of… discrimination.”

… The upcoming political forum isn’t the Men Of Action’s first foray into community activism. More than a year ago, members of the group began volunteering their time to answer telephones for the Fort Wayne Branch of the NAACP, which had been having problems securing staff. Russell said their experiences working at the office told them there was work to be done in other areas in the community- work that needed to be done outside the auspices of the NAACP.

“We saw there was a need for a separate entity,” he explained. The result was Men Of Action. Russell said the group is working in a number of areas including politics, the school system and community in general. “We are an organization within the community working on all kinds of projects,” he said. “We’re trying to make the community aware of what’s going on.”

To that end, Men Of Action has been producing a public affairs show that is aired on the local public access television station. In keeping with one of their areas of focus-working to improve the state of young black males-Russell said the group uses youth to do the camera work and other production duties on the show. The group also plans to use youth volunteers as street reporters, filming their own segments about community issues to air on the show. —>

Remembering Squirt TV
by contrabandwidth

Needless to say when I was introduced to “Squirt TV” by MTV , it was after it had already existed as a NYC phenomena, gracing Manhattan’s Public Access Television. Jake Fogelnest was 14 years old when he hosted Squirt TV from his bedroom, where he would interview rock luminaries such as The Beastie Boys, Weezer, Joey Ramone, Wesley Willis from his bedroom. I even remember The Wu-Tang Clans Genius/GZA performing right there in his bedroom (but couldn’t find it on YouTube – didn’t really bother either). —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, government access, municipal programming, PEG access TV, public access television, U-Verse

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