Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/05/07


[ I took a pass on that ‘hammer’ story a few weeks back. To borrow from James Goldman’s Alais in “Lion in Winter”, there’s no sport in slamming Comcast; it’s so easy. This, though, if true, deserves shaming attention. – rm ]

Comcast Owes Leesburg $200 (and counting)
Leesburg Tomorrow (VA)

One of the arcanities of local government is the fact that the companies that provide Cable TV service to residents (Verizon and Comcast) are required to enter into “franchise agreements” with localities to have the right to offer that service. The state limits what Towns and Counties are and are not allowed to include in their franchise agreements, and as a result the companies have fairly expansive rights when it comes to the actions they can take to provide service.

But localities like the Town of Leesburg do have some recourses when cable providers are in gross violation of the Franchise agreement. For example, if a cable in town were to remain unburied sixty days after Comcast was notified of it, Comcast would owe the Town $200 for each unburied day that follows.

The cable pictured above has been unburied for more than 60 days, and its unburied condition was reported to Comcast on October 3, 2007. This note was forwarded to Comcast, with details, on that day.

From: [Leesburg Resident]
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2007 10:33 AM
To: [Cable TV Commissioner]
Importance: High

In my neighborhood there is roughly a 15foot expanse of cable exposed which occurred after the town of Leesburg re-surfaced the handicap accessible street corners. The cross roads are Country Club Drive and Foster Place SW on the south side.

There are children in my neighborhood and I am concerned that childhood curiosity could lead to a bigger problem of children playing with unknown cables.

As such, today, Comcast owes Leesburg $200 for non-compliance with the franchise agreement with the Town. That bill increases by $200 each day. By the end of December, Comcast could owe Leesburg $5,600 in penalties if the cable is still unburied.

While I am certain the Town and its taxpayers will be happy to collect this money from Comcast to help the budget in a time of revenue tightening for the Town, Leesburg’s citizens would be much better served by having this cable buried as soon as possible. —>

Community media center on wheels
by rachelpultusker
Community Information Corp (MI)

—> In communities that lack the funding to maintain school media centers in the traditional sense, rooms that were once thriving school libraries are now often auxiliary, empty rooms that no longer serve their purpose. Therefore, instead of attempting to revive the old model of a school media center in a school, let’s think of a new model that can serve more than one group within a community (not just school-age students), more than one community, and exponentially more people.

The other idea at work here is that communities need community centers – for recreational sports, for social events, for classes, for meetings, etc. – and too often, existing community centers (for a myriad of reasons) are not serving the communities that need them most to their fullest capacity.

Combining these two ideas, we’ve come up with a community media center on wheels that would potentially serve all members of as many different communities as possible. Our goal would not be to replace school media centers or existing community centers. However, our goal would be to bring people back to their school media centers and community centers through the possibilities created by the school media center bus. In other words, we want to get people excitied about existing media/community centers and think about those places in a fundamentally new, exciting way. —>

Funny How That Works
by A.C. Kleinheider (TN)

Blake Farmer reports that AT&T is having the toughest time trying to air ads on cable stations arguing they should be able to bypass the current local franchise system and get a statewide franchise authority: AT&T’s Tennessee president Gregg Morton says the company has been trying to air informative ads about its desire to ink a statewide franchise agreement to provide cable TV services. That would take a change in current state law that now requires cable companies to negotiate individual contracts with cities and counties.

Morton told business leaders at Lipscomb University (this morning/yesterday) that so far, cable companies haven’t agreed to air any of AT&T’s ads. “I’m not sure what we can do about that. When we advertise on network television, it’s much more expensive so it limits our reach. But that right now is our only option.” Spokespeople for local cable companies have not returned phone calls seeking comment.

Be on Portland Community Television and Dance – Watch This AWESOME Clip
by Julian Chadwick
PDX Pipeline (OR)

Ok, well I watched the trailer and I don’t know where to begin. I’m still a bit in shock actually, and I took a bunch of screenshots that you can see on flickr. Watch the teaser trailer for Episode 2

From Nickey at

Saturday, December 8, 2007; 5:30 PM; Portland Community Media; 2766 NE MLK Boulevard

Description: The Politics of Dancing is a cable-access dance show with a conscience. Produced by Nickey Robo and directed by Dave Slay, TPOD aims to educate the audience about radical politics while a cast of local youth cut a rug on the dance floor. The show airs on various Portland Metro cable access channels.

In light of the recent string of bike/car collisions and cyclist fatalities in the Portland area, this episode of TPOD will be “The Bike Show.” Featured performers and guests will include:

The Online Romance
The Sprockettes
BMX tricks by Blake and Lee
Bikes to Rwanda
The Bike Farm

This event is free to attend and is open to all ages. Though dancing is not absolutely mandatory, it is highly encouraged, and everyone is made welcome. (Be prepared for your friends to ask you, “Was that you I saw grooving on cable access?” for months afterward.) Taping begins promptly at 5:30 PM and will continue for a few hours, so please show up on time!

Encourage young girls to be savvy media critics
by Andrea Otanez
Seattle Times

This is not, I promise, a column about how one generation’s Soulja Boy is another generation’s Eminem, another’s AC/DC or another’s Elvis. This is a question in search of a simple answer: Do you let the young people in your lives “Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)”?

The song hit teen mainstream in August and now airs about every 15 minutes in clean and not-so-clean versions. The performer, Soulja Boy Tell Em, aka DeAndre Way, 17, first recorded the song on his PC, made up a dance to it and posted both online. They went viral and he ended up with a record deal and on the radio in your kid’s bedroom.

The tune is repetitive, punctuated with a tin-drum plink, and the dance is just complicated enough that front-room performers have to listen and watch it multiple times to get all the moves.

And the lyrics? The word “ho” (sometimes spelled “hoe” on the Internet) appears at least 31 times in the unclean version. “Ho,” of course, is another word for prostitute, which often is another word for woman, which, given the target audience of this song, is another word for girl. And in “Crank Dat,” the word is often accompanied by descriptions of various things done to that “ho.”

If you are a woman or a girl, or if you are related to a woman or a girl, the insipid words should make your lip curl and your temper flare. More to the point, the song’s target audience seems to be 12- to 17-year-old kids; at least that’s who is on YouTube dancing the Soulja Boy in their front rooms. The dance seems to have made the lyrics a second thought, if even a thought, for all those parents who record the under-10 set and proudly post the performances on the Web.

The disciplinarian in me has one thought: Pull the plug and climb the pulpit to rail against degrading lyrics. But unless I want to be in my kids’ lives every second, which is impractical and unhealthy, any bans I declare are unenforceable and perhaps encouragement to “Crank Dat” right along with everyone else.

Plus, a scroll through my own playlists makes me wonder if I’d be protesting too much: Lucinda Williams, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Johnny Cash, the Rolling Stones and, for a while there, Shakira.

Now, if I kept my music to myself, all would be fine; after all, I am an adult. But, we are a family of road-trippers, a crew that turns up the music whether we are traveling to the swimming pool or grandmother’s house two states away. I’m the DJ because my hands are on the wheel, and sometimes the lyrics in my music are not always kid fare. Let’s just say I’m quick on the skip button. Usually.

“Crank Dat” and some of my music have one thing in common: They can encourage (ignite?) healthy conversations between adult and kid. Those conversations can then add up to media literacy.

When figuring out how to talk to my kids about lyrics — and trying to decide for myself whether any harm can come from them — I came across an interesting Web site called, which was created by researchers and media professionals at the Media Education Lab at Temple University.

The creators encourage young girls to critically evaluate media messages. In particular, “My Pop Studio is a creative play experience that strengthens critical thinking skills about television, music, magazines and online media directed at girls,” they say. —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, community media, media literacy, PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising

One Comment on “Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/05/07”

  1. […] at the The University of Michigan School of Information’s CIC blog (via Clippings for PEG Access Television), there’s an idea posted about how to revitalize school media centers that have been shut […]

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