Community Media: Selected Clippings – 10/18/07

FCC To Soon Extend Franchise Relief To Cable Companies
by Corey Boles

The Federal Communications Commission will shortly extend the same regulatory relief to the cable industry that it granted to telephone companies earlier this year, two agency officials said Thursday.  FCC Chairman Kevin Martin told the other four commission members to be ready to vote on the matter at the agency’s meeting Oct. 31. There is a chance a majority of the commissioners could vote in favor of the item before the meeting, said one of the two agency officials, both of whom requested anonymity.   —>

AT&T says ‘no’ to Conn. cable franchise (CT)
by Carol Wilson
Telephony Online

AT&T is fully prepared to cut off service to more than 7000 U-verse customers in Connecticut and stop all video service in that state rather than file for a statewide cable license. The company, known for tough stands on the franchise issue, is taking its toughest stand to date, staring down consumer groups and a state attorney general determined to make AT&T accept tougher terms for the right to offer video service…  AT&T won’t file for a statewide cable franchise, he said, because conditions such as buildout requirements would make a video business unprofitable.   —>

Media access
by Tom Brown
South Bend Tribune (IN)

By December, possibly sooner, public access television will go dark in Michiana. Comcast has quietly begun closing public access studios in Indiana.   —>

Editorial: Best of the county
Daily Journal (IL)

As late as 30 years ago, television was a fairly limited thing.  You had ABC, CBS and NBC. In larger markets, there would be a PBS station or two, and an independent. Television stations actually signed off late at night, about 2 a.m., usually with flags waving or the nation’s missile defense system firing a rocket or two.

Now that’s all changed. Competition between cable and satellite has brought you zillions of choices 24 hours a day. A home decorating network, a pet network, a golf network, shopping networks. Who would have thought about it?  At base, that is the argument going on in local government and television today. Will you get more local choice? More than you have now? Or does the status quo suit you? Are you willing to limit your choice because you might not know where the choice would take you?

Kankakee County government is now debating the merits of public access television. Under public access, residents could produce video and bring it in to their local cable provider, Comcast, and get it put on the air. Manteno has had such a system for years.  In fact, public access was already tried here, on an informal basis, with little problem. Kankakee Valley Prime Time, the YMCA Living and Learning series, a local Labor Day telethon, and Herscher sports, all aired without complaint. Then Comcast changed its procedures, and most of that programming disappeared.

Yet, instead of renewing that mode, some officials favor televising only official government meetings. Such a plan falls far short of the richness of life in the Kankakee Valley. We believe a wide range of programs would best suit the community. Why not tape local parades? Political debates? Musicfest at the depot? We can show a community that’s vibrant, diverse and fun.

And money ought not to be a real issue. Some, again, are concerned about a 50 cent charge lopped on top of a $50 cable bill. In truth, the county has collected $824,348.02 in cable franchise fees since 2001. It is time enough to spend some of that on equipment and training to bring the best of Kankakee County to the small screen

Martin Proposes Mid-December Wrap-Up of Media-Ownership Review
Unhappy Senate Democrats, Led by Dorgan, Demand Hearing
by John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable

Federal Communications Commission member Jonathan Adelstein confirmed Wednesday that FCC chairman Kevin Martin has proposed a timetable for completing the years-long media-ownership rule review by mid-December, but unhappy top Senate Democrats vowed to hold a hearing quickly on that move.

At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the digital-TV transition Wednesday, Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), one of the most vocal critics of media consolidation, said he had just been informed that commissioner Robert McDowell, at another event, had said that the chairman was planning to wrap up media ownership by Dec. 18. Adelstein said that since he was addressing Congress, he could confirm that was the chairman’s plan, adding that there was an effort to wrap the proceeding up by December, but that he didn’t know why that particular date.

If that is true, “there is going to be a firestorm of protest, and I will be carrying the wood,” Dorgan said, adding that the FCC could not possibly review all of the relevant information by then and come up with fair rule changes.

Dorgan asked Committee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) to call a hearing, and Inouye was quick to agree, saying that he knew all about Britney Spears’ and Paris Hilton’s tattoos, but not much about real news, and that the situation wasn’t getting better with concentration. “I am with him and we will have a hearing,” he added.   —>

FCC to announce final media ownership hearing in Seattle
by jonathan
Reclaim the Media (WA)

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin plans to hold the last of six official public hearings on media ownership rules in Seattle, before rushing the agency’s 18-month long consideration of the rules to a fast-tracked conclusion by mid-December. The hearing will be the only chance for Northwest residents to weigh in on proposals that would allow giant media companies to grow even more concentrated. While Martin has apparently proposed holding a Seattle hearing on Nov. 2–barely two weeks away!–no date has been officially announced.

Beginning next Wednesday, Reclaim the Media will provide testimony workshops for anyone who wants to have their say at the Seattle FCC hearing, or to learn more about the issues. Read on for more information, a summary of the rules at stake, and addtional resources.   —>

Hip Hop community speaks out at Chicago FCC hearing
by Katie Yocum,
Reclaim the Media

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) came to Chicago, and the Chicago Hip Hop community turned out in full force.

On September 20th, the FCC hosted an historic public hearing on media ownership at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition National Headquarters, featuring two panel presentations and five hours of open mic for public comment. The panel section opened with testimony from legendary Hip Hop artist and author, KRS-ONE, and closed with testimony from Cashus D, of the Universal Zulu Nation and a leader of the Bring Back the Balance campaign. Nearly 800 Chicagoans came out to the hearing, and over 200 citizens signed up to get their 2 minutes at the mic to tell the FCC whether they feel that their communities are being adequately served by local media. The answer was a resounding “no!”    —>

CKUT-Radio kicks off “Redefining Media” events
CKUT brings in Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! to highlight importance of corporate-free media
by Olga Redko
McGill Daily (CAN)

“The media are the most powerful institutions on earth.”  So says Amy Goodman, keynote speaker at this weekend’s “Redefining Media: Media Democracy and Community Radio” conference, a free public event organized by CKUT-Radio for its 20th anniversary.  The conference will feature workshops about elements of the media with speakers from McGill and Concordia, as well as journalists and activists from independent media organizations like Free103point9 FM and the Prometheus Radio Project.

Gretchen King, CKUT community news coordinator, said that the event will help commemorate Media Democracy Day and help define the work of community radio – its history, the roles of the people in it, and its contribution to shaping democracy.  “[The conference] will take work that CKUT does every day and put it into a very public environment,” King said.   —>

Independent media mobilization in Montreal
Indie media unite
by Stefan Christoff
Hour (CAN)

CKUT Radio, Montreal’s pre-eminent anglo campus-community radio station, is celebrating 20 years of broadcasting. To mark this important anniversary, CKUT is hosting Redefining Media: Media Democracy and Community Radio, a major independent media conference featuring multiple workshops from alternative broadcasters, filmmakers, journalists and media activists who will be converging on Montreal from across North America.

Amy Goodman, the New York City-based host of Democracy Now!, will speak in Montreal to kick off the conference at McGill University on Friday, Oct. 19.  “In a time of war, independent media institutions are essential, as independent media can hold power accountable through providing alternative information,” explains Goodman from New York. “A 20th anniversary is very exciting,” she says concerning CKUT’s birthday, “an excellent opportunity to celebrate the power and potential of independent media.”   —>

Towns say cable company skimps on local programming funds
by Victor Tine
Daily News of Newburyport (MA)

Town officials in Newbury and Rowley say their communities are being shortchanged by cable television giant Comcast.  Rowley Cable Television Advisory Committee Chairman Warren Appell said Comcast is violating its contract with the town because the company is not giving the community an outlet to provide local programs such as town meetings or Triton Regional School Committee sessions.

Appell’s counterpart in Newbury, Paul Daubitz, said the cable company is offering inadequate funding for the town to be able to produce its own local programs.  Rowley’s cable committee and the Board of Selectmen have scheduled an Oct. 25 hearing with Comcast in hopes of resolving the dispute.   —>

Find a Way to Use ‘White Space’ Spectrum
by Frank Beacham
TV Technology

Spectrum “white space” is an incredibly valuable public resource that could provide wireless broadband access for as little as $10 a month. For that reason alone we must find a way to work out any technical flaws that might block its quick deployment for unlicensed use.  The overheated white space slugfest between broadcasters and high-tech computing companies is a diversion. Any technical problems can be fixed. The real issue is whether the white space will be freed for use by its rightful owners.   —>

Grand Rapids/Clearwire MuniNet Delayed (MI)
by SamC

Clearwire hoped to have a local network up and running in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by the end of 2007. But Sally Wesorick, wireless project manager for the city, now says they expect Clearwire to begin offering service sometime in the first half of 2008.  “The dream of a citywide broadband wireless network is not dead, it’s just behind schedule“, she said Monday, in the Grand Rapids Press.

Clearwire will blanket the city’s 45 square miles with WiMax, rather than WiFi.  Although Clearwire uses pre-WiMax technology in more than 30 markets, and has a PC card for portable access, Grand Rapids will be the first city to offer citywide Mobile WiMAX, according to Roberta Wiggins, a marketing consultant with Yankee Group.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, community radio, FCC, IPTV, media diversity, media ownership, municipal broadband, municipal WiMax, municiple wi-fi, PEG access TV, public access television, redlining, U-Verse, video franchising, white space

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