Community Media: Selected Clippings – 09/20/07

Chicago’s Local Broadcasters Speak Up

Local and independent broadcasters around Chicago are speaking up as the date of the fifth FCC hearing on media ownership draws near. The Sept. 20 public hearing will be an important chance for local media outlets to raise their voice about the vital role they play in their communities. They are eager to highlight the ways in which independent radio, TV and newspapers consistently serve the public interest, while Big Media turns its back on local communities.

WVON: ‘Level the Laying Field’   —>
Radio Arte: Minorities Usurped by Big Media   —>
IBEW: Consolidation = Lay Offs   —>
Chicago Independent Radio: Let’s Foster Alternatives   —>
89.5 FM: ‘Flattened’ by Consolidation   —>

A broad and diverse range of local and national groups is urging its members to attend the hearing and testify about the impacts of media consolidation. They include —>

UCO holds city council meeting
by Michael Buckmaster
Daily Advocate (OH)

—>   Arndt also reported he had met with Mike Gray of Time Warner Cable regarding the status of live broadcasts of council meeting on KISS-TV.  Outdated equipment and other problems have resulted in council meetings not being televised for the past several months.   Arndt said any costs associated with replacing the equipment, repairs and other expenses will have to be paid by local entities.

“It’s kind of what I expected,” he said. “Time Warner is going to want some money to broadcast the meetings. We have to purchase the equipment and pay a monthly service charge for the feed.”  He said the change came about when the state took control of cable television franchising, resulting in the loss of local franchise fee revenue for the village and input in the forging of an agreement. However, the village will still receive a percentage of the revenue from the state for the franchising fee.

“We can use the money from the percentage of the franchise fees to fund the infrastructure,” he added. Arndt said he hopes to be contacted by a Time Warner business representative regarding the cost the get to council meetings back on the air.

Video-service franchise law takes effect
Port Clinton News Herald (OH)

Companies that provide video service over cables or wires in Ohio will be able to apply for a 10-year, statewide franchise under a new law that goes into effect Monday.   —>

Crist teams up with AT&T to announce new cable plan
by Jim Ash
Tallahassee Democrat (FL)

Gov. Charlie Crist launches Florida into the new and controversial world of deregulated cable TV today, touting a new statewide franchise with AT&T.  Crist and AT&T Florida President Marshall Criser III are scheduled to announce the deal at a 1:30 p.m. press conference at the Capitol.   —>

Cable customers prepare for channel changes
by Michael D. Bates
Hernando Today (FL)

Effective Dec. 11, Bright House Networks cable customers will have to consult their TV guides to find some of their favorite channels.  To provide more programming and to create uniformity across its service area, Bright House will realign its channels and move all public, educational and government access channels to the lowest tier of digital service.

But the channel realignment comes with a cost.  Cable customers whose televisions aren’t equipped with digital capability will have to pay $1 per month for a digital converter box.  Ray Graber, director of government and public relations for Bright House, told county commissioners at their Tuesday meeting that the roughly 3-cents-a-day cost should not be a cost drain for the limited number of customers that currently don’t have digital tuners on their TVs.

County Commissioner Diane Rowden objected and said if the number was so low, then Bright House should cough up the $1 a month as part of its community service.   —>

Officials weigh cable’s future
by Christian Schiavone
The Beacon (MA)

Acton – Town officials have less than three years to decide the future of local public access cable television in town, a deadline some say is closer than it seems.  With the town’s contract with Comcast set to expire in 2010, members of the Cable Advisory Committee warned the selectmen during their Sept. 17 meeting that the new contract will likely not be as generous as the one the present one the committee helped negotiate. One of the items that Comcast is unlikely to include this time around is offering continued operation of the public access television station located at the high school.

“Comcast probably won’t keep doing the station at the high school,” said John Covert, a committee member who helped negotiate the present contract.  Covert also urged the town to move quickly as possible to have as much time for contract negotiations as possible.  “We’re a year behind where we should be on changing the model of cable access in town,” he said. “We need to get started soon.”  Board Chairman Doré Hunter agreed that the deadline is closer than it seems.  “A couple of years seems like an awful long time and then all of a sudden you have a month,” he said.

Currently, there are three channels — 8, 9 and 10 — that operate out of the high school station, which is staffed by Comcast employees. The three channels, available to Comcast subscribers only, offer programs including televised town board and committee meetings as well as high school sports events.

The town has three options regarding public access television: end the program if Comcast does not agree to continue operating the station; take direct control of the station’s operation and staff it with town employees; or set up an independent nonprofit corporation to operate the station.  Hunter said that the town plans to continue offering the public access channels by choosing one of the two latter options or a hybrid of both.

Several board members were unhappy to learn that the town is in a difficult bargaining position because it is required by law to grant Comcast a new license agreement.  “It’s difficult to be in a strong bargaining position … when we must come to an agreement,” said Selectman Paulina Knibbe.   —>

Candidate interviews on The People’s Channel
by Chad Johnston (NC)

I wanted to let you all know that The Peoples Channel has invited everyone in Orange County currently running for office to appear on our weekly flagship program, “TPC Weekly” hosted by myself.  Each candidate is allotted 15 minutes to introduce themselves, talk about why they are interested in running and what they think the major issues are that OC community members face.  This is a great opportunity for the community to get to know the candidate outside of a forum or debate. The program airs 6 times over the weekend (see schedule) and is also posted to our web site at    —>

Parking, lighting meetings to be shown via video
Salinas Journal (KS)

A video of the community meeting where consultants unveiled recommendations for downtown parking and lighting changes will be shown several times on Community Access Television, channel 20.  The video will begin with the lighting report, which will be followed 30 minutes later by the parking report. The show times are 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, noon Sunday, 8 p.m. Monday, 6 p.m. Tuesday, 8 p.m. Wednesday, 7 and 10 p.m. Thursday, and noon on Sept. 28.  The videos also are available on the Community Access Web site

from a name to a number
Portland Community Media (OR)

From a name to a number is a class project created through Portland Community Media’s PBL-Studio Class. This project features a holocaust survivor teaching a group of youth the lessons he has learned through his life and the story of his survival. Students jointly determine their production topic, plan, shoot, and complete an entire “live-to-tape” studio show throughout the duration this class. Upon completion of the PBL class, students go on to produce their own programming though the facilities of Portland Community Media

Public-Access TV
Past its scheduled time, but here
Editorial: Philadelphia Inquirer (PA)

Philadelphia is about to lose its dubious distinction as the largest American city without a public-access cable television outlet for amateur programming.  Heard that before, right?  Well, this time it’s for real.  More than four years after Mayor Street endorsed moving ahead with a long-delayed citizen-run TV station, a deal finally is in place.

As announced Tuesday, the city’s Comcast viewers will receive up to five channels airing programs created by fledgling producers, filmmakers and others. Look for shows on arts and culture, youth, faith, and issue forums.  That’s been the decade-long dream of 80 groups allied as the Philadelphia Community Access Coalition. Credit their advocacy and hard work in hashing out the details with getting this deal done.   —>

Public Access TV in Philadelphia is Finally Here
Philly IMC (PA)

The Philadelphia Community Access Coalition today is delighted to join Mayor John Street and Comcast in announcing the establishment of Philadelphia’s Public Access Cable TV system. It has been a long road since PCAC first was formed to advocate for public access TV in Philadelphia.

The fight for access has been frustrating, sometimes contentious and now very rewarding. It is our hope that Public Access TV will strengthen the civic engagement and cultural expression among residents and neighborhoods by using media to build and empower community—especially for those who have been left out or marginalized by mainstream media.

About ten years ago PCAC started with a small group of citizens concerned that Public Access TV was being left out of the City’s refranchising of its cable companies. The Coalition quickly blossomed to include over a hundred organizations and countless individuals. The members include religious groups, civic activists, arts and cultural groups, disability advocates, media professionals, educators, civic organizations, labor unions, and consumer groups.   —>

Program Alert – In case you missed these on 91FM
by Dan
The Next Mayor Blog (PA)

—>   After 24 years of delays, lawsuits and activism, public access television is finally coming to Philadelphia. Mayor John Street announced on Wednesday a deal with Comcast cable company to fund five separate stations that will broadcast from a city-owned building in North Philadelphia. WHYY’s Susan Phillips has Street’s announcement and some samplings of public access shows and reactions from public access advocates. (2 separate stories)

Local cable board begins work
by Lucy R. Sprague Frederiksen
Hamilton Wenham Chronicle (MA)

Local access television in Hamilton and Wenham is on its way to becoming a reality as the community takes over the operation reins from the cable companies.  The first annual meeting of the Hamilton-Wenham Community Access and Media, Inc. met with the both town Boards of Selectmen last week. The organization, more familiarly known as CATV or the Cable Board locally, has been establishing itself as a non-profit since its incorporation last year and setting up cable studios with seed money from Verizon and Comcast, which are no longer providing local access programming services.

Board President Bob Popadic presented the report of the board for this first year of operation, which described predominantly transitional and administrative activities in support of setting up studios, planning for programming, developing financial plans and projections, and writing and implementing policy documents.

Of interest to the community, the board approved installation of a fiber optics network to support the needs of the corporation and the towns, adding robotic cameras at the two town halls and the Buker School (the set for the Wenham Town Hall will be installed when the building is ready for the installation), and started broadcasting on Comcast Channel 22 as well as Channel 10. Other network installations are planned for the Hamilton-Wenham Library, the Cutler and Winthrop Schools, and the Regional High School.    —>

For ‘Sweet Cynthia,’ the question is TV or not TV
by John Sonderegger
St. Louis Post Dispatch (MO)

Cynthia Davis, a former O’Fallon alderman and now a state representative, says she is not giving up on getting her half-hour television program on O’Fallon’s cable station.  “I represent more residents of O’Fallon than anyone in Jefferson City,” said Davis, “and my Capitol report deals with state government and how it affects local issues.”

“Sweet Cynthia” has tried since January to get O’Fallon to pick up her show, called “State Talk with Representative Cynthia Davis.” It is produced and edited at Lindenwood University for free as a public service.  St. Peters regularly runs her show, but so far O’Fallon has not. The issue was raised at last week’s O’Fallon City Council work session.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

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

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