Community Media: Selected Clippings – 09/26/07

Support for community radio
Letter to the Editor: The Guardian (UK)

London Metropolitan University’s Finding and Funding Voices colloquium last week heard evidence from across Europe of the contribution community media is making to social inclusion, community engagement and regeneration. Our own experience confirms that, especially among disaffected young people – from both native and minority communities – involvement in programme-making brings important gains in self- and peer-esteem, as well as highly transferable digital and communication skills. Many other benefits to the community are well documented, as in for example Professor Anthony Everitt’s report on Access Radio ( and the Department for Culture report The Community Radio Sector: Looking to the Future (

Yet the UK’s community-radio sector is running on empty, because there is not the understanding at the highest levels of what this local form of public-service broadcasting involves, nor the political will to place it within agendas dealing with housing, health, crime prevention, employment, education, regeneration and community development – the very areas in which community media have a proven record. 144 community radio licensees are having to make do with a start-up fund originally designed to support 15, and London is in a particularly bad situation, with many communities unserved and many listeners turning to pirate radio to hear what legal stations are not providing.

The prime minister and the mayor of London should adopt an interdepartmental approach that can find and fund the voices that we all need to hear in a multicultural society.

[signed by] Peter Lewis, London Metropolitan University; Jaqui Devereux, Community Media Association; Steve Buckley, Amarc (World Association of Community Broadcasters; and 17 others —>,,2177235,00.html

Adrian, Michigan Files Complaint Against Comcast
by Jon Kreucher
Blogging Broadband (MI)

It’s been almost nine months since Michigan’s “Uniform Video Services Local Franchise Act” became effective. The third complaint under that new law was filed by the City of Adrian, Michigan late last week.

Although anxiety has been building for some time over the positions being taken by Comcast, Adrian’s complaint was the first to be filed under the new law against the nation’s dominant cable company. According to the pleading, Comcast’s actions violated at least two sections of the new statute. First, Comcast allegedly represented to the Michigan Public Service Commission that the City had taken no action on the company’s Uniform Franchise application in the first 30 days, and, therefore, that the Uniform Franchise had been approved by operation of law. According to the City, however, a finding had been made that Comcast’s application was incomplete — Comcast simply ignored the conclusion and represented the matter differently to the MPSC.

Second, Adrian’s lawsuit contends that Comcast should pay some portion of its gross revenues (above the 5% franchise fee) in support of public, education and government access programming. While the new law appears to be clear on the matter (at least as clear as any other section . . .), Comcast has nevertheless taken the position that no support of PEG programming is necessary. The City has requested that “[a]n Order be entered requiring Comcast to pay an appropriate PEG fee as may be determined by the Public Service Commission.” —>

Now is the time to SUPPORT PEG access in Fresno.
When Will Public Access TV Come to Fresno?
by Mike Rhodes – Central Valley (CA)

Efforts to establish Public, Education, and Government (PEG) programing on the cable network in Fresno have been underway for over six years now. What happens in the next month or two will determine whether or not individuals and community groups will have an opportunity to produce and broadcast programs on Comcast cable.

With a new statewide franchise agreement about to take affect on January 1, 2007, all the City of Fresno would have to do is adopt an ordinance to accept the money from Comcast and PEG access would be guaranteed. With the money from the franchise agreement we could establish a Community Media Center where there would be equipment and studios available for producing Public Access programs. These programs could be about the activities of a community group, a cultural presentation by one of this areas many ethnic groups, a talk show about local politics, or just about anything else you could imagine.

The funding from the state franchise agreement would also pay for a government channel which would broadcast the Fresno City Council meetings. Other possible programs include an interview with the City Manager, an inside look at the planning commission, exploring the exciting world of budget hearings, and anything else that has to do with local government. The government channel will be our spotlight on local government.

The education channel can provide distant learning opportunities, homework help, or a live broadcast from a school sports, music, or cultural event.

Unfortunately, there are forces that do not want the public to have a voice on a public access channel. Jerry Duncan supports the government and the education channels but he is opposed to the public access channel because he believes that if the public wants air time, they should pay for it. Duncan sees no problem with Big Government exercising their free speech rights on the cable network to get their message out but he does not want community groups and individuals to have the same opportunity. —>

Mattapoisett to Press Comcast to ‘Light Up’ Education Channel
by Ken Souza
The Wanderer (MA)

—> Selectman Andrews also noted that the Tri-Town Public, Education and Government (PEG) Access corporation, ORCTV, has been having trouble getting Comcast to adhere to their contractual obligation to “light up” the tri-town education channel (Channel 18 ED-TV). According to the terms of Comcast’s contract with Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester, the channel was supposed to be activated on September 1, 2007.

“It may be time for the three Town Administrators to confer with (ORCTV) Executive Director Kim Miot and our attorney, Bill Solomon, who drafted the contract,” Selectman Andrews said. “The only thing holding up Channel 18 from going live is Comcast. The schools are ready to have content go out on Channel 18.”

According to Selectman Andrews, Comcast has alleged that they need to purchase additional equipment to broadcast the channel from either ORR High School or the ORCTV facility in Marion, but they knew for some time they were obligated to activate Channel 18 on September 1. —>

Cobb school board to make TV debut
by Diane R. Stepp
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)

Cobb County school board member Johnny Johnson ran his hand across his balding head, wondering perhaps if a little powder might take the shine off for the board’s live television debut Thursday night on Channel 24. He joshed with Superintendent Fred Sanderson. He indicated that Sanderson, too, might want to glam up his own receding hairline for the debut. Twenty six high-powered lights already installed in the ceiling had board chairman Lindsey Tippins cranking up the air conditioning.

No doubt, board members are up for Thursday night’s live entrance into dens and living rooms across Cobb County. No white shirts or excessive jewelry, district public information officer Jay Dillon reminded board members in an e-mail this week. There’ll even be a pre-board dress rehearsal to go over the new gadgets on the microphones.

Part of the $181,000 boardroom communications upgrade includes some cosmetic tweaking. The dais has been pulled forward a couple of feet to make room for a deep blue velvet curtain backdrop, lending a more upscale look to the setting. It replaces two framed National School of Excellence awards that caused “an awful reflection,” Dillon said.

Four new robotic cameras will catch the action. Gone will be the grainy images and, at times, unintelligible audio on rebroadcast that brought home viewers into the boardroom four days after the board’s monthly meetings were over. Two technicians will be working monitors behind the scenes and a floor manager will make sure microphones get to speakers in the audience. —>

Pre-election telecast of accountability team’s meeting faulted
Council foes claim Brown misused cable TV channel
by Brian Meyer
The Buffalo News (NY)

Some Common Council members have long referred to cable Channel 22 as “all Brown, all the time.” A large amount of time, they say, is devoted to programs that showcase Mayor Byron W. Brown. But the criticism escalated Tuesday when some lawmakers accused the mayor’s office of using the channel to malign Council foes.

They specifically point to the meeting of the mayor’s accountability team telecast a week before the primary. It showed the Sept. 7 meeting of Brown and several Cabinet members discussing a Council vote earlier in the year in which three lawmakers voted against releasing $10 million in state efficiency grants, including more than $300,000 for Fire Department safety equipment.

“Wait a second,” Brown said. “Are you saying that three Council members actually voted against safety equipment for our firefighters?” First Deputy Mayor Steven M. Casey then proceeded to name them: South Council Member Michael P. Kearns, Lovejoy Council Member Richard A. Fontana and Delaware Council Member Michael J. LoCurto. The Cabinet members discussed the issue for a few minutes, criticizing those who voted against the grants.

LoCurto was facing a spirited primary challenge from Jessica Maglietto, a mayoral aide who coordinates the accountability panel. Around the time the meeting was aired, LoCurto complained, Maglietto’s campaign mailed a flier that hit on the theme raised at the meeting. —>

AT&T’s U-verse IPTV: Getting the Basics Right First
by Anne B. McDonald
PC World

Today I’m attending the IPTV World conference near San Francisco. A good many in the growing IPTV industry are gathered here to talk about ways to improve the IPTV experience for viewers. AT&T’s VP of programming, Amy Friedlander is here to talk about the state of her company’s IPTV product, U-verse TV. Along with Verizon’s FiOS TV, U-verse is the IPTV service you’ve most likely heard about or considered buying.

It was interesting talking to AT&T after I gave U-verse fairly low marks in a review of the service for PC In the review I complained that U-verse looked and acted like just another cable service. IPTV, we are promised, should be able to do much more in the way of giving us choice and control over our TV watching time. There should also be much more integration of the TV service and all the content that’s available on the public Internet, I argued. —>

Community Technology and Public Access TV
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition (MA)

Back in March, I spoke with Felicia M. Sullivan, Executive Director of Organizers’ Collaborative and former Director of Community Programming at Lowell Telecommunications Corporation about a number of issues related to PEG access TV and the Internet. This short video features an excerpt from our conversation about the early use of networked technology in public access Television.

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

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

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