Community Media: Selected Clippings – 11/03/07

New TV show brings Douglas County — and one man’s dream — to life
by Jill Lufrano
Douglas Times (NV)

Living in this community, I am often struck by how kind most people are around here. It’s like no other place I’ve lived.  Michael Smith of Douglas County is one of those people who makes the world a better place with the many things he does every day.  I was fortunate to talk with him this week and learn about his newest project — a public television show that he hopes will encourage disabled people like himself to get out and do something.

The program, called “WHAT” airs Fridays through Sundays at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. in the Carson Valley on cable channel 16, and in Douglas County at Lake Tahoe on channel 19 at various times throughout the week. Smith co-produces it with friend and underwriter Mardi Lester, president of Dancing Heart Productions.  Topics featured on the one-hour show include organic gardening, the local play “Steel Magnolias,” a diabetes workshop, nature, Nevada history, health topics, the Genoa Candy Dance and a Civil War re-enactment.

“We’re very proud of it,” Smith said.  Smith is disabled, having survived a traumatic brain injury, and was once confined to his home. He knows what it’s like to be homebound, he said. The program brings events and information to those people who can’t get around. Now that he is able to get out and work in the community, he also wants to encourage others who may be reluctant to get out.  “We want people who are disabled to get out,” Smith said. “It makes you appreciate the little things. Now that I’m not a shut-in anymore, I want to take advantage of it.”   —>

LUS to sign franchise agreement
by Kevin Blanchard
The Advocate (LA)

The Lafayette Utilities System telecommunication business is taking a couple more procedural steps toward fruition.  The City-Parish Council is scheduled Tuesday to introduce two ordinances dealing with the project — a franchise agreement and a pole attachment deal.  While private companies sign similar deals with governments all the time, LUS’ situation is a bit unusual because it will be signing a deal with itself.  LUS Director Terry Huval said the agreements are part of the requirements of the state law called the Local Government Fair Competition Act.   —>

Voice your views to the FCC next week
Seattle stop’s late notice criticized
by Bill Virgin
Seattle Post Intelligencer (WA)

The Federal Communications Commission says it plans to hold a hearing on media ownership next Friday in Seattle, but the late notice of the meeting drew immediate criticism from two FCC members.  The hearing, the sixth in a series that began last year, will run from 4 to 11 p.m. at Town Hall.  Details of the hearing’s agenda were sketchy Friday; the public will get a chance to make comments, although it’s not known yet when that will occur. A similar FCC hearing in Chicago in September included testimony from two panels of broadcast, labor union, academic and community organizations. An FCC spokesman said he didn’t know if the Seattle hearing will be set up the same way.   —>

City revamping government access channel in bid to expand content
by Matthew Lane
Kingsport Times News (NY)

Kingsport’s government access channel is becoming more than just a home for public service announcements and replays of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meetings. City officials are experimenting with the channel, offering new, “quirky” shows and more information about what’s going on in the Model City.  Kingsport’s government access channel is Channel 16, and the city receives the channel free of charge as part of the franchise agreement with Charter Communications. The franchise agreement calls for Charter to pay Kingsport 3 percent of its gross revenue annually for the right to operate within the city.

Many people think of Channel 16 as being home to public service announcements for city departments and where the BMA meetings are aired live and rebroadcast throughout the week. In the past year or so, BMA members have periodically mentioned the need to improve Channel 16.  In response, city officials have placed more emphasis on the channel and have been working to improve its content.   —>

Town’s cable TV wants to expand
by Neil Vigdor
Greenwich Time (CT)

Greenwich Community Television, the town’s government-access cable channel, wants to hire its first paid employee to help volunteers “jump-start” the station’s expansion plans and a fundraising appeal to support programming.  The station is seeking a $35,000 interim appropriation from the Representative Town Meeting to pay a part-time program director, who would work 20 hours a week for the entire year.  “When you rely on volunteers solely, there’s a limit to what you can do,” said Paul Curtis, a volunteer who helped get the station up and running and serves as its operations director.

Live coverage of Board of Selectmen and RTM meetings is currently available, as well as rebroadcasts, on GCTV, Channel 79 for Cablevision customers. The station, started about three years ago, also tapes meetings of the Board of Estimate and Taxation for later broadcast and is looking to do the same with Board of Education meetings.  In addition to showing public meetings, the station produces original programs such as “The Word in Greenwich,” a commentary show on issues facing the town. The two candidates for first selectman and two candidates for selectman appeared in separate 40-minute episodes of the show during the campaign.  A pair of debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Greenwich for the selectmen and BET candidates also aired on GCTV.

“It’s hard to cover as much of the town government as we would like to,” said Curtis, a software engineer and RTM member from Pemberwick. “Seeking volunteers in the community is difficult, too. It really comes down to trying to get some more people involved in the channel.”…

In addition to expanding its meeting coverage, Curtis said the station’s goal is to provide an outlet for more community organizations to get their messages out to residents.  GCTV viewers will get a glimpse of the station’s new offerings Monday at 7 p.m., when it airs the first episode of a series of documentaries on 32 local World War II veterans produced by Greenwich High School students. The documentaries will air at 7 p.m. each night for the rest of the week, with the station showing a marathon of them on Nov. 11, Veterans Day.,0,7752986.story?coll=green-news-local-headlines

E. Haven mayor takes comments to new channel
by Mark Zaretsky
New Haven Register (CT)

Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr.’s administration, at the urging of a regional cable TV agency, agreed to pull the mayor’s cable TV show from Comcast cable’s local government Channel 20. The move comes after Democratic Town Chairman Gene Ruocco complained that the program “makes several direct and derogatory statements about Democratic mayoral candidate April Capone Almon.”

But Maturo, a Republican, put the show right back up on ETV, Comcast’s local access Channel 18, on Friday after consulting with Susan Huizenga, chairwoman of the Cable Advisory Council South Central Connecticut.  Channel 18 is made for citizens to express their opinions about any topic, and it’s OK for the show to run on it because Capone Almon has the ability to rebut there, Huizenga said Friday.  Ruocco said Capone Almon, D-3, the only Democrat on the 15-member Town Council, will film a show today, which he said will be “positive,” outlining the positive things she would do if elected, rather than directly responding to Maturo’s show.   —>

Kids Video Club
Boston Globe (MA)

Children ages 9 to 13 can have fun while learning how to produce, write, direct, film, and act in their own television productions. Wakefield Community Access Television is offering a Kids Video Club after-school program this fall. The program will run from 2:45 to 4:45 p.m. Fridays, starting this week and running to Dec. 14. During those meetings, participants will get an overview of the equipment used for television production at WCAT, the station that runs two of the town’s cable-access channels. They will then work as a team to produce public-service announcements. At the end of the session, the children will get copies of the pieces. In a second, advanced session next spring, participants will review what they have learned and create a half-hour program. A $175 fee covers the cost of both sessions, as well as a one-year family membership in WCAT.    —>

AMARC Conference to Assess Impact of Community Radio
Media for Freedom

Hundreds of community broadcasters from around the world will be gathering in Amman, Jordan from 11 to 17 November 2006 to discuss the challenges facing community radio as part of the 9th World Conference and General Assembly of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).  AmmanNet, the Jordanian FM broadcaster, is hosting the conference in partnership with media and journalists groups from Jordan and Palestine.

Members of AMARC will be meeting to discuss and analyse the state of community radio around the world and its impact on poverty reduction, and AMARC’s effectiveness in relation to its mission and goals.  Members will also meet to elect a new International Board, adopt a strategic plan for 2006-2010, and issue joint declarations and resolutions on challenges facing the community radio movement.  For more information, visit:

A civic media success story: examining the BBC Action Network
MIT Center for Future Civic Media

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has a long history of innovation in civic media. One of the more intriguing instances of this tradition is the BBC Action Network, a grassroots online civic engagement initiative. It launched in 2003 under the name iCan, and quickly succeeded as a medium of choice for local community activism groups. The Action Network provides a space for the creation and organization of local action groups, incorporating a set of tools into the site that facilitates the operation of these groups.

While the initiative is nominally under the BBC’s purview, most of the content is user-generated, and the only section that includes a major editorial contribution from the BBC is in the Guides component. This includes a comprehensive library of civic media how-to articles–ranging from pieces on the exact procedure to lodge a complaint against the police to how to protect or change a public footpath. The section also contains more general advice directed toward the civic-minded citizens that frequent the site, including useful tips on how to recruit celebrities for community efforts and designing campaign logos.

The heart of the site is the campaign section. A concerned citizen forms the seed of the initiative by outlining a topic that concerns the local community. This may be anything from a pothole that requires repair to a move to block the destruction of a park. Every campaign-starter is organized and tagged both geographically and by issue (for example, “crime prevention” or “local policy”). That way, people browsing the website without a concrete movement to get behind can find a campaign associated with their location, or with an issue that concerns them. Once the initial post goes up, campaigns quickly build up steam as others join the effort and use the website to coordinate meetings, marches, petitions or whatever additional actions are required to advance the cause. Some people contribute advice; many offer their idle hours for volunteer activities and others donate money.   —>

ELECTION 2007: Meet the mayoral candidates
Center of the City (San Francisco, CA)

—> Josh Wolf  —  “San Francisco is faced with many pressing issues that need real solutions. In a true democracy, such solutions properly arise from the people themselves. I’m running to help create such a democracy.”  Wolf, a freelance journalist, was jailed last year for refusing to give authorities footage he’d shot of a 2005 demonstration in San Francisco. Wolf now works at the Peralta Colleges television station, a public access, student-run organization.

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: citizen journalism, citizen media, community radio, FCC, government access, media ownership, municipal broadband, municipal programming, PEG access TV, public access television, user-generated content, video franchising, youth media

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