Community Media: Selected Clippings – 10/08/07

City OKs Deal to Expand SCVTV
by Katherine Geyer
The Signal (CA)

A local broadcasting company is expanding its programming on the city’s public access television station after the City Council approved a contract last week to implement a six-month trial period. Although Lauren Broadcasting Corp. had been showing its SCVTV programs on the Public, Education and Government Channel – Channel 20 – the memorandum of understanding that went into effect Monday allows the for-profit company to provide up to 24 hours per week of programming that includes local news, community features and high school sporting events. LBC will fund the cost of that programming by running 30-second sponsorships within their programs. —>
The Great Radio Hope
Tribal Stations Could Solve Indian Country’s Communications Gap
by Neelanjana Banerjee
New America Media

Editor’s Note: Native radio stations could be the answer to Indian Country’s communications lag — connecting tribes on reservations that still don’t have phone lines, cell phone or Internet service, writes New America Media editor Neelanjana Banerjee.

When “Native America Calling” – a live, daily call-in radio program based in Albuquerque, N.M. – started more than 12 years ago, they had a hard time gaining people’s trust. “The phones barely rang,” says host and producer Harlan McKosato. “The native communities weren’t just going to call in right away because of their distrust of media for painting them as ‘savages’ and ‘redskins.’”

Today, the show airs in 15 states and two countries on 52 stations, attracting some 500,000 listeners with topics ranging from the light-hearted (“Rezzed Out Weddings”) to serious community issues like meth babies. “Our job is really to be in tune with Native America, and then being able to articulate that over the air waves,” says McKosato. “Now that they trust us, it’s just a matter of pushing the button to get people to talk.”

But Native America Calling’s national success in connecting tribal communities doesn’t solve the lack of telecommunications infrastructure that plagues Indian Country. The communications landscape hasn’t changed for Native Americans in the last decade, according to Loris Ann Taylor, executive director of Native Public Media, an organization dedicated to strengthening Native American media capacity. “On some Navajo land, they still don’t have telephone lines and sometimes people can’t afford cell phones – and even if they can, reservations are often black holes for cell phone service. A lot of reservations are nowhere near connecting to the Internet,” Taylor says. “In this landscape, the radio is their information highway.”

That’s why Taylor – dubbed the “Gospel Woman of Radio” – has been working to ensure that there is a radio station in each tribal community. She says that mainstream America is unaware of how important locally produced radio is to the health and safety of Native communities. —>
COVER STORY: Local TV Tackles High School Football
by Michael Malone
Broadcasting & Cable

It’s a late-September Friday afternoon in Hartford, Conn. WFSB anchors Joe Zone and John Holt are planning the day’s newscasts. The Yankees and Red Sox — Hartford is precisely where Yankee Country hits Red Sox Nation — are locked in their annual slugfest toward the American League East title. The National Football League’s New England Patriots are riding out a spying scandal and focusing on staying undefeated.

Closer to home, UConn faces Pittsburgh in their Big East football opener Saturday. Closest of all, Connecticut’s No. 6 high school football team, Southington, is playing 10th-ranked Bloomfield Friday night. Xavier is butting heads with Hillhouse, North Branford is playing Tolland and beloved Maloney coach Rob Szymaszek has just passed away.

High school football rules the sports segments on Meredith’s CBS affiliate. WFSB will have photographers at one-dozen high school games on any given Friday, their reportage providing the bulk of the footage for the weekly Friday Night Football program at 11:15. “It’s what’s important to people in the community,” said news director Dana Neves. “When I was in school, everyone went to the high school game. TV has finally caught up to reality.”

Once a bastion of the Texas plains and the Rust Belt, station executives agreed that there’s been a nationwide flurry of interest in Friday-night schoolboy football like never before, with stations increasingly giving the kids the kind of attention typically reserved for professional athletes. That includes WNYW New York showing game-of-the-week highlights on its 10 p.m. news, WMC Memphis’ new Internet Game of the Week and KUTV Salt Lake City’s High School Touchdown Report.

Station groups are in on the game, too, as well-funded new Web initiatives from Hearst-Argyle Television, Fox, Raycom and Belo are live. As much as any content, the gridiron glory nails critical industry values like “hyper-local,” “user-generated” and “interactive,” while also giving advertisers a means for reaching the $179 billion spent yearly by U.S. teens, according to youth research firm TRU. While most of those behind the new football programming say it’s too early to gauge its success, many believe the end zone is most certainly within sight…

Going Hyper-Local

A significant part of stations’ interest in high school football is their mandate to out-local the competition, and nothing is more local than the high school down the street. Toward that end, WTVO Rockford (Ill.) expanded the weekly Friday Football Blitz by several minutes this season, and KLRT Little Rock, Ark., debuted Friday Night Tailgate. Cable is in on it, too, as Comcast announced that its High School Game of the Week will be available on-demand in select markets. “In these mom-and-pop communities, if they’re not at the game, they’re wondering what the score is,” said KLRT VP/GM Chuck Spohn. “Either you’re an alum or you have a relative or friend playing.”

Viewers seem to appreciate the stations’ local efforts. KPTV Portland (Ore.) introduced the school football-focused 17-minute Friday Night Lights program last September, and saw a 28% ratings increase year over year. “We’re getting a 5 household rating in that quarter-hour,” said VP/GM Kieran Clarke…

Raised on YouTube

Vital to high school football’s rise in popularity is the fact that technology has finally reached a point where the typical teen, raised on YouTube, can easily upload video and share highlights from that night’s game. Station managers say the interactive nature of new media — whether it’s user-generated video, scores or trash-talking — is a critical component of their school content.

Hearst-Argyle has taken the interactive concept a step further, training students in seven markets to be “sideline reporters” for its social-networking platform High School Playbook. A total of 60 students shoot high-def cameras, edit and post their work on the Web site. KDFW Dallas has done the same with “minicamps” for area students, trained by station staff to produce video for the new “The kids love it,” said VP/GM Kathy Saunders. “We want them to be an extension of our sports department.”

To be sure, stations may never get rich from airing local football content. User-generated video is often grainy and poorly produced, and giving the public access to a station Web page means staff has to be on the alert for erroneous information or racy material. Still, many station managers seek to follow the lead of MyFoxHiLites and High School Playbook, and expand their high school coverage beyond football. Toellner says the only negative he’s heard about WGRZ’s Web platform is that it only covers football.
Open Mic: Live TV call-in show to feature Collier school superintendent
Naples Daily News (FL)

Collier County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dennis Thompson will be the guest next week on a 30-minute live TV call-in show on The Education Channel, cable 20, according to a school district news release. The “Open Mic” show, scheduled to premiere at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, is a public forum intended to give parents and community members direct access to the school district’s top decision maker, the superintendent.

The show, a production of the school district’s Communication & Information Office, will be hosted by Naples Daily News Editorial Page Editor Jeff Lytle, who will not be paid by the school district. The questions Lytle asks as host will be his own. Viewers with a question to ask or an opinion to voice should call during the live telecast between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Monday. Call 377-1020 from anywhere in the Naples area, or 658-7020 from Immokalee.
Are Broadcast Regulators in the Pockets of the Broadcasters?
by Tony Carson
Carson’s Post

The theory is easy enough to understand: the airwaves are owned by the people, therefore broadcasters, who are given access to the frequencies, have a responsibility to provide, in addition to their commercial programming, a public service, aka News. This balanced has worked well for years … until the broadcasters started making all their component pieces ‘profit centres,’ meaning that each component (news, sports, entertainment, documentaries, etc) is responsible for its own profitability.

That’s a problem for News, because news-gathering is expensive: it’s labour intensive, geographically expansive and time consuming. But News has always been the public service that gives the broadcasters the rights to access the frequency, a right that has always been a ‘license to print money.’ By decoupling the responsibility from the right, broadcasters are seeking to have it both ways: they are seeking a right without the responsibility of providing what was once a required service, the very reason they received their license.

And they are getting away with it. In the US, canned stations are common, as we reported in The Brazen Kidnapping of the Airwaves : “There are four radio stations servicing Blacksburg, Virginia. Apparently, only one of them had the ability to report live the massacre that was unfolding in April. Why? Because the other three were automated: canned in one central location and ‘localized’ for advertising in another. It is the way of radio.”

And it’s happening in Canada. As this Globe and Mail article Will CRTC ignore decline of local TV news? points out, “Deep cuts to the news operations of two major television networks in the past year – which have seen jobs and local newscasts slashed amid tightening margins – have cast light on a growing struggle between the TV industry and its regulators.” —>
Donate to the Columbus and Central Ohio Community Radio Project
by The Neighborhood Network
The Free Press

Any way you look at it, there ís simply not enough variety in our local broadcast spectrum. Radio in Central Ohio is dominated by right wing propagandists and commercial mediocrity. Columbus needs broadcast outlets that provide uncensored news/analysis and grassroots multicultural programming.

The Neighborhood Network is applying for a full-power radio license to increase our broadcast opportunities. The FCC has opened a small window for nonprofit groups to apply for full-power radio licenses until October 19! We need to raise $5000 to complete the filing requirements: attorney fees, engineer fees and filing fees. The Neighborhood Network, a non-profit, 501c3, media organization currently supplies programming for the Low Power FM Community Radio Station and is a Pacifica Radio Network affiliate. Please support our efforts to build the community media infrastructure in Central Ohio. Your donation of $25, $50, $100 or more is appreciated!
Justice Thomas and the electronic media
by Mary-Rose Papandrea
Special to the First Amendment Center Online

This article is part of an online symposium on the First Amendment Center Online concerning Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s First Amendment jurisprudence.

Since Justice Clarence Thomas joined the Court, he has taken part in several decisions involving electronic media, including cable, telephone and Internet cases. Regardless of the medium, one theme has remained constant throughout his jurisprudence in this area: he is committed to applying established First Amendment doctrine to electronic and other new and developing media regardless of their technological and economic complications. While this approach has at times led Thomas to provide the critical fifth vote in striking down speech restrictions, at other times it has simply made Thomas appear out of touch with reality.

Additionally, while some members of the Court are sympathetic to the government’s attempts to promote viewpoint diversity and localism in the electronic media through structural regulation, Justice Thomas views such efforts with the same deep suspicion he views content-based restrictions on traditional media. With the expressive rights of electronic media owners as his paramount focus, Thomas tends to discount the other expressive interests of speakers seeking access to electronic media as well as the rights of listeners to receive multiple viewpoints. —>
Nigeria: Country Not Yet Visible in Community Broadcasting – Unicef

The Nigerian country office of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has scored Nigeria low in its introduction of community broadcasting. This was disclosed by the fund’s chief communications and media relations officer, Christine Jaulmes during her recent courtesy visit to the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) headquarters in Abuja. According to Jaulmes, UNICEF has been actively involved in the aspect of community broadcasting in different coutries but was quick to note that “Nigeria is yet to be visible in that aspect of broadcasting.”

She pointed out that UNICEF was interested in the accurate number of broadcast stations in the country, as well as an analysis on broadcasting in relation to child health, education as well as information dissemination to the public. Christine Jaulmes also called on the NBC to ensure that a positive change was made in that direction to ensure that community broadcasting takes priority in Nigeria.
compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: community radio, educational access, full power FM, high school television, hyperlocal, media diversity, PEG access TV, public access television, youth media

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