Community Media: Selected Clippings – 10/31/07

Jackson Accuses FCC’s Martin of Promoting ‘Anti-Diversity Agenda’
by Ira Teinowitz
TV Week

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is going on the offensive to blast Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin, accusing him of pushing an “anti-diversity agenda..”  On the eve of an FCC local-ownership hearing on Wednesday where the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition founder and president is due to testify, Rev. Jackson, in a letter to Mr. Martin, suggested such an agenda is the only conclusion to be drawn from the chairman’s recent moves. Mr. Martin has been pushing to revise media ownership rules before fully addressing how the changes might reduce minority ownership of stations while also promoting the option of a la carte cable, which could reduce minority channels.   —>

FCC Gets Earful on Media Ownership
Testimony from Across the Industry Urges Federal Communications Commission Action vs. Consolidation
by John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable

The Federal Communications Commission got an earful on the effects of media consolidation on broadcast localism at a public hearing Wednesday, including from its two Democratic commissioners.   —>

[ Lies, damned, lies, and statistics.  Here’s an excellent examination of one ‘astroturf’ poll – worth reading in its entirety. – rm ]

AT&T’s Wisconsin Network Finds Broad Support for Video “Choice”
by Diane Farsetta

—>   Perhaps more concerning is how the WMF / Mellman poll characterizes opposition to AB 207 / SB 107. This section presents those polled with two statements, one describing why people support the bill and one describing why people oppose the bill. Participants were then asked which of the two statements they agree with.

While the “supporters” statement echoes supporters’ actual arguments, including increased competition and lower costs for consumers, the “opponents” statement is deemed misleading by actual opponents. Mary Cardona, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Association of PEG Channels, challenged the poll’s “opponents” statement with regard to PEG (short for public, educational and governmental) station funding.

For example, the poll states: “Opponents of this law say that the state legislature should not pass the bill … because community access stations would be required to spend up to $1 million dollars [sic] to upgrade their equipment.” Cardona told PR Watch that this is not what AB 207 / SB 107 would require. Instead, she said, “this bill passes on AT&T costs to PEG stations. In the past, the cable operator has always provided all of the interconnections from our stations to their end. AT&T wants to pass off the price of conversion equipment, which they need to have our normal broadcast signal stream on their systems. … They want us to do that, which is going to be very cost prohibitive, especially for our smaller stations.” Cardona couldn’t say how Mellman might have come up with the $1 million figure used in the poll.

Cardona also listed several major reasons why her group and others oppose AB 207 / SB 107 that are not mentioned in the poll. “We can not add [new PEG] channels. … Local communities will never be able to get a dedicated channel ever again. We can not advertise or do underwriting on PEG channels under AB 207, which means we can’t help ourselves with funding,” she stated. “There’s no enforcement for build-out provisions,” which require video services to be expanded to cover currently unserved, mostly rural communities. “There’s no enforcement for consumer protection that’s at all effective.” Lastly, Cardona said, the bill would establish statewide video “franchises in perpetuity.”

Would most Wisconsin residents support AB 207 / SB 107, after hearing those concerns? It’s impossible to know, just as it’s unclear whether the people who designed the WMF / Mellman Group poll consciously tried to skew its results.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: a la carte, astroturf, FCC, localism, media diversity, media ownership, PEG access TV, public access television

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