Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/19/07

Council to fight cable switch
State help sought on CTN channels
by Tom Gantert
The Ann Arbor News (MI)

The Ann Arbor City Council is taking its feud with Comcast to the state level, where it hopes the people it blames for allowing cable providers to move community access TV to undesirable channels in the 900s will fix the problem.  Council Member Marcia Higgins, D-4th Ward, sponsored a resolution that calls on the Legislature to amend the state law to require cable providers to keep offering its public access and government channels in their customary channel slots.

Kirk Profit, a lobbyist retained by the city of Ann Arbor, said state lawmakers are just starting to take notice of the complaints and interest “is just starting to develop.”  Profit told council members on Monday he would take their concerns to state lawmakers in January but said, “I don’t have an answer for you, yet.”  Ann Arbor offers Community Television Network, which has four channels and offers 19,000 hours of programming a year with much of it government related.   —>

GRTV & LiveWire being “booted” to the digital tier on cable
by Laurie Cirivello
Grand Rapids Community Media Center (MI)

I am sad to note that as of January 15th, GRTV (channel 25) and LiveWire (channel 24) will no longer be seen on basic cable TV but instead on channels 917 & 916. Invoking their new options made possible by the State Uniform Video Franchise Act, Comcast has decided to put all community cabel access channels in the State of Michigan in the 900 tier of their digital cable service.

This change was announced with little advance notice to, and no consultation with, public, education or government access stations. It is estimated that nearly half of local cable subscribers do not subscribe to the more expensive digital cable and will need converter boxes to access the local content on GRTV and LiveWire. This is a sad development.   —>

Starting tonight, Mooresville enters the cable business
by Megan Pillow
Mooresville Tribune (NC)

Come 6 p.m. tonight, many area cable customers will see the name of their service provider change, but hopefully, no change to their service.  Tonight, Mooresville and Davidson’s new $80 million cable and Internet system, MI-Connection (pronounced “My Connection”) will take the reins of 13,200 subscribers from its caretaker, Time Warner Cable.  The transition, which has been two years in coming, will provide the two towns with local control of programming and operational decisions for the former Adelphia system, and in time, potentially an additional revenue stream.   —>

JoCo neutralizes reporter’s secret weapon
Kasas City Star (MO)

Johnson County commissioners just spent $650,000 on a new broadcast-ready, third-floor public hearing room in the County Administration Building in downtown Olathe.  That effectively wipes out a reporter’s secret weapon: The old commission chamber’s parabolic, domed ceiling was notorious for amplifying private conversations. But we’ll get to that later.

After equipment testing is completed — planners are shooting for Jan. 7 — the signal carrying the Thursday commission sessions will be streamed on the county’s Web site, Once there, you’ll be able to view the meetings live. Archived footage will show up a day or two after each meeting, and users will be able to click on segments of individual agenda items.  Next, the county will focus on broadcasting the meetings on public-access cable TV channels —Time Warner, Channel 2; and Comcast, Channel 7.   —>

Gilford selectmen make TV debut
The Citizen of Laconia (NH)

The town’s Board of Selectmen premieres on public access television with its meeting taking place today.  For the past few months the Town of Gilford has been working toward getting the Selectmen’s meetings aired on television, and with the equipment in place the goal will finally be reached.  The 3 p.m. meeting will be recorded and the tape forwarded to Lakes Region Public Access for broadcast.  Lakes Region Public Access airs on MetroCast channels 24, 25, 26.   —>

Residents willing to pay for paving of 410th Street
by MaryHelen Swanson
East Central Minnesota Post Review

—>   The council also discussion possible cable usage by the public including city video equipment.They also ideas discussed options or using cable franchise funds for communication improvements.  Suggestions included upgrading the sound system in the council chambers, replacing the community billboard at the intersection of Main Street and Forest Blvd., replacing the banner behind the council table to say North Branch so cable viewers would know right away what they were watching, installing a projector screen in the chambers, purchasing a document camera, and providing each councilor with a laptop computer.

The cost of these items would be around $19,000 and would be paid from cable franchise fees. There is currently over $41,500 in the fund, with 2008 projected revenue of $27,000.

Bismarck, Midcontinent reach agreement
by Grordon Weixel
Bismarck Tribune (ND)

Midcontinent Communications will continue to provide Bismarck cable television services for the next 10 years with the city commission’s approval of its franchise.  Tom Simmons, Midcontinent vice president, visited with commissioners during the hearing held as part of Tuesday’s city commission meeting….

Commissioner Sandi Tabor, who is the commission’s liaison for Community Access Television, asked questions related to the availability of Video On Demand for CATV  and the number of channels available.  Simmons explained that VOD wasn’t available for CATV since more than 150 communities share the same computer server. CATV had requested 20 to 25 hours of VOD time and that amount of space on the server wasn’t available. Simmons added that up to four channels are available for Bismarck pubic access, but only two on the basic analog tier, the other two are on the digital tier.   —>

St. Tammany government access channel wins National Association of Telecommunications award
by Suzanne Parsons Stymiest (LA)

Access St. Tammany, Cable Channel 10, was awarded an honorable mention from the National Association of Telecommunications for “Katrina Remembrance,” a one-hour special documenting St. Tammany’s response and recovery one-year post storm. A special encore presentation of “Katrina Remembrance” will be shown on Channel 10 on Wednesday, December 19 at 8pm in honor of the program’s recent award.   —>

Arizona City Helps Get Military News to State
by Samantha L. Quigley
Blackanthem Military News

PEORIA, Ariz. – Arizona cable subscribers will soon have access to the latest military news from the comfort of their living rooms, thanks to an agreement between an Arizona city and a national cable provider.   The Peoria City Council amended its cable franchise agreement with Cox Communications during a city council meeting last night. The change will allow the cable provider to share the city’s Pentagon Channel broadcast with Cox digital customers in the state.

Peoria was the first city in the state to offer the Pentagon Channel 24 hours a day to Cox cable customers, Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett said.  “We’re not aware of … (another) exchange of a PEG channel, a public education and government channel, for a systemwide broadcast of the Pentagon Channel,” said John Schell, director of intergovernmental affairs, who was instrumental in bring about the agreement between Peoria and Cox. “From that respect, it’s certainly historic for the city of Peoria and the state of Arizona, and it probably is for the rest of the country.”   —>

Let’s See If the FCC Is Serious About Stopping the Next Media Consolidation
by Art Brodsky
Public Knowledge

Public Knowledge wasn’t involved in the hellacious fight at the Federal Communications Commission over media ownership. Our friends in Free Press and Media Access Project, among other groups, put forth heroic efforts and spent uncounted hours at all times of the day and night to make sure that what would turn out to be a bad decision could be less bad than had they not made their presence felt.

While the dust is still flying, however, we do want to call attention to certain comments of FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate and Commissioner Robert McDowell…

We quote them at length because we want these words to be remembered as the chairman and the commissioners contemplate whether they want to allow a second wave of media consolidation to take place – on the Internet.   —>

Action Alert – Stop Big Media
by Robert McChesney
Community Bridge Commentaries

On Tuesday 18 December, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and his two fellow GOP commissioners approved new rules that will unleash a flood of media consolidation across America. The rules will further consolidate local media markets — taking away independent voices in cities already woefully short on local news and investigative journalism.  In 2003, the FCC tried to do the same thing, but millions of people demanded that Congress reject the FCC’s rules. And they did. It’s time to do it again.

We need 100,000 people to get Congress to reverse the FCC’s rules right now.  Sign Our Open Letter to Congress.  Then get three of your friends to do the same.   —>

FCC caps Comcast’s growth
It limited the company to 30% of the pay-TV market. The issue is expected to end up in court.
by Bob Fernandez
Philadelphia Inquirer (PA)

In the face of criticism from members of his own Republican Party and regulatory experts, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin secured a limit on Comcast Corp.’s growth yesterday in a 3-2 vote.  The new regulation will limit Comcast to 30 percent of the pay-TV market in the United States, halting the billion-dollar acquisitions that have made it the largest cable company in the nation and one of the largest companies in Pennsylvania.   —>

Santa Gets a Facelift for International Public Access TV Event
“SANTA AND SONS & daughter!” movie updated for 3rd Anniversary Access Awareness showing.
Florida Emerald Coast

Now in its third year, “SANTA AND SONS & daughter!” the family musical movie is showing throughout December in 26 states – more than 150 cities in the U.S. and internationally in Austria and United Kingdom; plus countrywide in New Zealand and Ireland.  We’re showing in Vienna, Virginia and Vienna, Austria.” adds Producer/Director, Robert Battaile. “I’d love to take a jet and watch the program all over the globe. Hmm, maybe there’s a documentary there.”   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable cap, cable franchising, channel slamming, cross-ownership, FCC, government access, media ownership, municipal ownership, municipal programming, net neutrality, PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising, VOD

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