Community Media: Selected Clippings – 10/03/07

Support Community TV in Western Canada
by Steve Anderson
Canadians for Democratic Media

Please take a moment to support an independent, community-based channel for Western Canada. With private media in Canada held in so few hands, independent, community-based media is as important as ever to increase media diversity and give communities a voice.

The CRTC is about to review an application by the non-profit Community Media Education Society (CMES) to provide a community channel for Telus TV subscribers in British Columbia and Alberta. This is the perfect opportunity to express your support for independent community media. Please help CMES set a powerful precedent. We only have until October
to let the CRTC know that Canadians want community media. Take Action Now.

For more information about this campaign and other work of Canadians For Democratic Media visit:

CableWorld’s 2007 Most Powerful Women in Cable
Nomination Form

Who are cable’s most powerful women executives? Help us decide by nominating the executives you think should included in our list of the Most Powerful Women in Cable. We will rank the top 50 most powerful women, and run a list of the second 50, in the Nov. 12, 2007, issue of CableWorld. Nominations are open to all cable operators, programmers, vendors and trade associations. Deadline for nominations: Monday, Oct. 1, 2007 [seemingly extended to Friday, Oct. 5] PLEASE COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING AND CLICK “SUBMIT”: —>

Public access channel denied immediate funding relief (FL)

U.S. District Judge James S. Moody today denied an emergency motion by Speak Up Tampa Bay to force the county to continue paying for the public access cable channel while it fights for funding to be permanently restored. The station has sued the county, claiming its recent decision to cut funding was an attempt by commissioners to censor programming content.

Speak Up Tampa Bay successfully won a similar argument five years ago. But Moody, who ruled in favor of the station in that case, said censorship evidence wasn’t as strong this time around. “I don’t sense that same level of proof in this case before me now,” the judge said. Speak Up Tampa Bay is considering whether to appeal the judge’s decision.

The Hillsborough public access lawsuit
by Howard Troxler (FL)

Here’s a [pdf] copy of the lawsuit filed by Speak Up Tampa Bay Inc., the operator of the public-access cable channels in Hillsborough County, against the Hillsborough County Commission for cutting off the station’s funding. The lawsuit says that Hillsborough’s decision “completely censors all unincorporated Hillsborough County residents’ abilty to produce, transmit and view television programming carried over public access channel capacity…”

At first blush, this seems like a difficult case to win. Do citizens have the “right” to force the government to give them a soapbox? If that were the only issue, the answer might be no. But if the government is deliberately shutting down public-access BECAUSE of its content, and giving favor to other speech instead… then maybe there’s a case. —>

Federal Judge Stands By Conn. IPTV Ruling
Bond Artherton Maintains That State DPUC Erred In Ruling AT&T Video Products Aren’t Cable Services (CT)
by Linda Haugsted
Multichannel News

A federal court judge will stand by her ruling that the board of the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control erred when it ruled that Internet protocol-delivered video products are not cable services and can’t be regulated like them. Judge Janet Bond Arterton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut on Oct. 2 issued the ruling, rejecting a motion for reconsideration by AT&T Connecticut Inc. —>

AT&T’s TV service suffers a setback in federal court
by Brian Lockhart
Stamford Advocate (CT)

AT&T lost some ground yesterday in its ongoing battle with cable and satellite television. The telecommunications giant’s efforts to compete through its fiber-optic U-verse, available in several Fairfield County communities, were dealt a setback by a federal judge in New Haven.

According to the state attorney general, U.S. District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton issued a final judgment that the U-verse television service must be regulated by the state like cable. Her decision overturns a state Department of Public Utility Control decision from June 2006. “AT&T has been operating a cable service illegally without a franchise for almost a year,” Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said yesterday. “It must immediately get a lawfully required franchise to comply with federal and state law.” —>,0,907128.story?coll=stam-news-local-headlines
Your Union. Delivered.
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Big Money Blog

Back in May, we posted an item about state Democratic Party chairman Joe Wineke signing on as a lobbyist for AT&T to push for a cable TV franchising bill the company desires. The firestorm that Wineke’s dual roles created eventually forced him to put an end to his lobbying work for the telecommunications giant.

Now we learn that AT&T’s stable of lobbyists includes none other than Communications Workers of America Local 4611 President Michael Goebel. Questions abound. . . . Would Goebel know a conflict of interest if it bit him on the backside? Would he care? How many rank and file members of CWA Local 4611 know that their union president is paid to shill for AT&T? How many will stand for Goebel’s divided loyalties when all this becomes widely known?
Honolulu Community-Media Council Condemns Violent Suppression of Human Rights in Burma
by Chris Conybeare
Hawaii Reporter

The Honolulu Community-Media Council (HCMC) joins with the Burma Media Association and other international organizations in expressing outrage at the violent suppression of human rights by Burma’s military regime. At least 1,000 people have been jailed and an untold number killed by military forces bent on silencing freedom of expression in Burma. A special target of these attacks appears to be journalists. —>

Verizon cable TV deal worth too much to be done in secret
by Juan Gonzalez
New York Daily News

In the next few weeks, the city is expected to conclude talks with Verizon over a new 15-year franchise that would let the telephone giant offer cable TV service throughout the city. For New Yorkers fed up with price gouging and poor service from Time Warner and Cablevision, the two goliaths that monopolize land cable service in the five boroughs, this should be welcome news. Well, think again.

The Verizon talks will likely set the pattern for City Hall’s renewal of the Time Warner and Cablevision franchises, both of which expire next year. No one has any idea if that will be better for the public or for the shareholders of Verizon and the cable companies. Mayor Bloomberg’s aides have conducted all the Verizon talks in virtual secrecy. They refuse to share their strategy with the City Council, which authorized the franchise talks in a resolution last year. —>

Prostitute, patron photos may go on TV
by William C. Singleton III
Birmingham News (AL)

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved launching a campaign to shame prostitutes and their clients by placing their pictures on a public access cable channel upon conviction… City Attorney Tamara Harris Johnson said criminal convictions are a matter of public record, and the dissemination of that information wouldn’t be illegal. She declined to comment on the proposal itself.

Mayor Bernard Kincaid called the proposal “Orwellian.” “It’s `1984′-ish. It smacks of that,” he said. “It just seems to me there are other ways” to address prostitution. But Kincaid didn’t say he would refuse to sign the ordinance, which he said he hadn’t seen. The mayor can veto a council action, which the council can then override. “We’re dealing with something that the governing body of the city feels comfortable passing,” he said. —>

Local channel gives candidates exposure
by Brock Letchworth
The Daily Reflector (NC)

Voters can get a closer look at some of the candidates running for city offices as forums and more than a dozen profiles air on cable public access.. Greenville-Pitt Public Access Television Corporation is airing the forums and profiles to allow people to get a better idea of who they can cast their ballot for in the Nov. 6 election without any government role, channel operator Jake Postma said.

“Having a candidate forum is not unique, but in most cases government has had something to do with the forum,” Postma said. “What is unique about the public access channel is there are no government entity and no staff members or politicians judging or having anything to say about how we do it or how often we run it.” The Greenville-Pitt Public Access channel is only available to Suddenlink customers on channel 23. —>

More Government Meetings Could Be Televised on CATV
by Kevin Gribble

[ Video ]

There are dozens of government meetings each month in Burleigh and Morton Counties. If you can`t make it to all of them, there are other more convenient options. Those options could soon be expanding. They`re not in high-definition and stereo isn`t available, but just about every local public government meeting in Bismarck and Burleigh County can be watched live and then rewatched again on cable on the Community Access Television channel.

“It isn`t always pretty. It isn`t always exciting, but this is our government in action, and local government is where a lot of decisions are made about what happens in our community,” says Community Access Television executive director Mary Van Sickle.

Recently, residents living on the western side of the river finally got to see some of their meetings, too. But unlike the relatively high-tech, multiple camera set-up in Bismarck, Mandan and Morton commission meetings had to be recorded by the public the old-fashioned way, and then brought down to community access television. Now, the city of Mandan is thinking it wants its residents to have something better. —>

The Top Five Misconceptions About the Success of Municipal Wireless Networks
by Mike Perkowski
Broadband Wireless Exchange Magazine
10/03/07 (?)

What do you call a market that?:

* Has grown from zero to nearly $400 million in just four years (in the U.S. alone);
* Is poised to grow by more than 35 percent in each of the next four years;
* Has created new, incremental revenue opportunities for wireless Internet Service Providers, applications developers and IT solutions providers, and;
* Has helped local governments save tens of millions of dollars – or more – in expenses and improved operating efficiencies.

Normally, companies would be giddy about participating in a market with that much going for it. And yet despite all those attributes, municipal wireless broadband is beset by negative press coverage and mounting questions about the market’s viability. Why this dramatic disconnect?

First things first. Most importantly, everyone should take all the breathless, front-page coverage of this market’s death knell with a very healthy grain of salt. The present angst about this market reminds us of Mark Twain’s pithy commentary: “Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.” As journalists ourselves, we understand how stories about market turmoil and uncertainty generate interest and readership. We also know that these stories, especially when printed without market context and fact-based analysis, can easily create the misimpression that successful municipal wireless deployments don’t exist; that the technology doesn’t work, and that billions of public monies are being sent down a sinkhole. That simply isn’t reality. But successful projects don’t make the front page of the USA Today, and they don’t get local politicians all riled up just in time for the next news cycle. —>

IPTV, Next-Gen Television: The Operators
by Mitch Berman

Previous Post: IPTV: Next-Gen Television?

There are 3 flavors of IPTV. This blog deals with the first and most prevalent definition… telco operators. AT&T U-Verse. Verizon FiOS. Second and third tier telcos like Surewest. We will not discuss “technology.” Technology to do video over IP is prevalent, growing and indisputable, although many different forms exist. Blogs authored in Silicon Valley tend to fixate on the enabling technology behind the delivery of IP video — whether it’s downloading, P2P or streaming. So-called IPTV companies using these various forms of video delivery rarely give any credence to competitive endeavors. Typically, they see only their own initiative as the lone winner. We’ll leave tech-talk to the engineers. Instead, we will focus on 3 important legs of the chair: Business Model, Content and Consumer Experience.

Although Europe and Asia tend to lead successful IPTV deployments, particularly in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea, we will just be talking about the major IPTV leaders in the United States.

First, a couple of statistics: After more than 2 years since initial IPTV service launch, AT&T U-Verse recently reported approximately 40 thousand subscribers in parts of 5 states for its efforts. Verizon FiOS reported approximately 500 thousand subscribers in parts of 11 states. What do these numbers mean? Is the cable and satellite subscriber base at Comcast, DirecTV and Dish Network too hard to crack? Is the political and bureaucratic city by city franchising process an impediment to IPTV subscriber growth? Or, is the business model driven by content and consumer experience just not compelling enough to spur consumer adoption? The answer is probably a combination of all of the above. —>

Miss the NASCAR Race? Tune to City Schools TV
by Chris Dovi
Style Weekly – Virginian Pilot (VA)

NASCAR and Richmond Public Schools may seem like an unlikely pairing, but a recent combination of the two has left city schools’ pockets $25,000 heavier. A short-term lease agreement — actually between Sprint/Nextel, not NASCAR, and Richmond Schools — provided the telecommunications company with temporary access to a schools-owned television frequency.

The frequency was used to rebroadcast the Sept. 7 and 8 races at Richmond International Raceway using new mobile technology being rolled out during the race, Richmond schools spokeswoman Felicia Cosby says. “I believe Sprint and Nextel contacted us,” Cosby says. “We’re the only school district … the only ones that have the frequency that they needed.” The frequency used was not Channel 99, the schools’ government access cable channel. Cosby says it was one of a handful of frequencies owned by the school system.

The $25,000 pocketed by Richmond Public Schools will go into an account to pay for Americans with Disabilities Act improvements and upgrades to schools facilities as required by a settlement agreement signed between schools officials and a group of parents who had sued the school system. —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, community media, educational access, election programming, government access, human rights, Internet TV, IPTV, municipal broadband, municipal programming, municiple wi-fi, PEG access TV, public access television, U-Verse, video franchising

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