Archive for January 2008

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/29/08

January 31, 2008

Public access TV channel may vanish without funding
by Greg Chandler
The Grand Rapids Press (MI)
01/29/08

HOLLAND — Viewers of the public-access channel MacTV outside the Holland city limits could lose coverage later this year unless their local governments step in to assist with funding.  City officials may pull the plug on an interconnect agreement with neighboring municipalities if they are unwilling to contribute to funding for MacTV.  That could take effect July 1, when the new fiscal year starts, officials said Monday.   —>
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/base/news-40/120161801957410.xml&coll=6
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Cherry Hill public meetings long overdue for T.V. debut
Courier Post (NJ)
01/29/08

Cherry Hill school and municipal officials should wrap up negotiations to share cable channel.  Cherry Hill municipal officials have finally caught up with the 21st century, where residents expect the kind of transparency in government that can be delivered by the unblinking eye of a video camera.  Perhaps coming soon to Cherry Hill’s cable access Channel 19 will be live airings of township meetings — if the township can work out the financial details with the school district.

Although the township has had a cable-access channel for 26 years, it turned over operations to the school district. The district has run the channel with no financial assistance from the township. School board officials appear willing to share the channel, but only if the township also shares the costs. It sounds like a reasonable proposal. We urge township and district officials to move quickly to work out an agreement.

After 163 years, it is time for the township to try new forums for its meetings — something many residents have long requested. It appears Cherry Hill Mayor Bernie Platt and other township officials finally got the message.  Said Platt: “I believe people who work late or cannot make it to town hall for public meetings should not be blacked out of the process.”   —>
http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080129/OPINION/801290302/1047
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Verizon called before board
by Patrick Anderson
Daily News Transcript (MA)
01/29/08

DEDHAM –  Frustrated that as many as half of the town’s cable subscribers do not receive public access programming, selectmen are searching for ways to put pressure on telecommunications giant Verizon to connect to Dedham Public Television.  Last May the town took responsibility for providing cable access programming away from cable company Comcast and handed it over to the independent, non-profit group that created Dedham Public Television.  The new station, which broadcasts three local channels, began programming in September, when its new Eastern Avenue studio was connected to Comcast’s system.

At the time, town officials expected Verizon and the town’s third cable provider, RCN, to follow suit and hook up their subscribers to Dedham Public Television. Each company’s license agreement requires it to provide community programming.  But over four months later Comcast customers are still the only ones in the town who can access all three community cable channels.

Selectman Marie-Louise Kehoe, who has spearheaded negotiations with all three cable companies for the town, yesterday said she has convinced Verizon executives to appear before the board in February to explain the cause of the connection delay.  She said in addition to demanding a firm time commitment from Verizon for connecting to Dedham Public Television, she would ask the company to reimburse local subscribers for the time they have been without the local channels.   —>
http://www.dailynewstranscript.com/news/x167540269
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More TV Choice and Competition Near for Residents of Norfolk, Mass.
Town Approves Video License for Verizon; 2,700 More Households Soon Can Get FiOS TV
PR Newswire
01/29/08

Residents of Norfolk are a major step closer to having another choice for their cable television services, thanks to a newly approved agreement authorizing Verizon to offer its FiOS TV service via the most advanced all-digital, fiber-optic network straight to customers’ homes.  The Board of Selectmen in Norfolk granted a cable franchise to Verizon Monday (Jan. 28), paving the way for video choice for approximately 2,700 more Massachusetts households…

…The Norfolk franchise agreement contains provisions for the network’s future growth; financial support and capacity for educational and government access channels; cable service to government buildings; and other important benefits to the town, including insurance, indemnification and enforcement protections.   —>
http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/prnewswire/NYTU08129012008-1.htm
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Council discusses appropriations
by Ed Gebert
Times Bulletin (OH)
01/29/08

… Corcoran related to council that he and Ehmer had met earlier in the day with Pat McCauley of Time Warner Cable to discuss the current situation with the city’s cable franchise agreement which runs through 2011. “We discussed three areas of concern,” noted Corcoran. “I think we agreed in principal on all three. We disagreed on the specifics of a couple of them. As we left the meeting, it boiled down to time will tell.”

McCauley stressed to Corcoran and Ehmer that the city will continue to receive the current five percent franchise fee through 2011, although no promise could be made about the fee beyond that time.  According to Corcoran, McCauley was a big help in dealing with the issue of video providers using the city right-of-way, and gave an assurance that the public access channel (VWPATI Channel 6) would continue to be a part of the cable system in Van Wert as long as Time Warner is the city’s video provider.   —>
http://timesbulletin.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=4&ArticleID=145468&TM=1462.053
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Cable Competition in Michigan Moving Slowly, Study Says
Only One in 20 Households Receiving Benefit Of Cable Law
by Linda Haugsted
Multichannel News
1/29/08

One year after the passage of a law designed to ease the entry into the cable market of competitive providers in Michigan, only 110 of 2,000 communities in the state have a choice of cable providers, according to a study by the law firm Howard & Howard, which counsels municipal governments.  That translates to about one in 20 households receiving the benefit of Public Law 480, which replaced community-by-community cable regulation with a single state point-of-contact. The law was passed at the urging of AT&T Inc., which said the traditional franchising scheme was a barrier to quick entry to the market.   —>

http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6526732.html
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Cable Competition Index Rates Michigan Situation “Very Poor”
by Jon Kreucher
Blogging Broadband (MI)
01/29/08

Today, the law firm of Howard & Howard Attorneys, P.C. issued its inaugural “Cable Competition Index” for the State of Michigan.  Howard & Howard’s Cable Competition Index considers the status of wireline video competition in the state, the level of customer service provided by cable operators, and the relative pace of cable price increases.

“Our firm has practiced in the area of cable and communications law for nearly three decades,” attorney Jon Kreucher said.  “We knew this was a good time to take a snapshot of cable competition because it’s been a year since our state legislature passed a new cable franchising law.”  That law, regularly referred to as “Public Act 480,” eliminated most regulation of cable systems at the local level of government.  When the statute was passed, many state legislators believed that such deregulation would mean a rapid increase in cable competition, better customer service and lower cable prices for Michigan’s residents.

However, Howard & Howard’s 200+ hour analysis reveals that the anticipated benefits of the new law haven’t yet materialized.  “By our estimate, wireline cable competition exists in fewer than 110 of Michigan’s 2,000 communities.”  When considering Michigan’s households, the numbers get no better:  Just a little more than one out of every twenty Michigan homes appears to have a choice in wireline cable providers.  “AT&T has received video franchises in some of the larger communities in our state,” Kreucher commented, “but in many of those communities, the pace of AT&T’s buildout appears to be moving rather slowly.  That means that the vast majority of our state’s residents will probably be waiting for cable competition for a very long time.”   —>
http://www.bloggingbroadband.com/?p=119
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Congressional Hearing Hears Testimony that Public Access Channels are Under Threat by Cable Firms and AT&T
SaveAccess.org
01/29/08

Today’s Commerce Telecommunications Subcommittee Hearing, “Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) services in the Digital TV Age”, was called by Rep. John Dingell (MI) in response to Comcast’s actions in Michigan.

Comcast had unilaterally announced that PEG channels in many municipalities would be bumped from analog cable carriage to obscure digital channels in the 900 range. The move would mean that ‘basic’ cable subscribers would no longer have access to the local PEG channels, in fact they would need to subscribe to more a expensive digital cable service tier and pay for an additional charge for a digital cable set-top box.

There’s much more involved than simply channel slamming of course, but first a little history. It was just two years ago that this very same Congressional Subcommittee laid the tracks for the current the State Cable Franchise train wreck. At that time the Republican Party was in the majority and Chairman Rep. Joe Barton of the AT&T state of Texas introduced legislation that later began known as the COPE ACT. This was actually a bi-partisan Bill, Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois co-sponsored the bill after AT&T threw a million dollars to his personal foundation (headed by his son). But the telco money flowed liberally in all directions, and the well greased bill passed through committee and slipped through the House as well. It wasn’t until COPE hit the Senate where Senator Stevens got tangled up in tube talk and net neutrality that the federal franchise train derailed for good.

COPE failed, but a legislative template had been put in place, after all the bill was largely written by telephone company interests and they weren’t about to give in. Having failed at the Federal level, the telcos quickly shifted gears aiming their lobby dollars at State Houses around the country. Only 18 months later, a total of 19 State Cable Franchise Bills have been passed (with more in play). Not all are alike, but many simply contain the boilerplate legislative language that AT&T and Verizon previously fashioned for the COPE Act. And that leads to Michigan and the need for Congress to revisit what they helped launch in the first place.

The “uniform video services local franchise act” passed in Michigan in Dec 2006 and quickly went into effect Jan 1st 2007. A new study by Howard and Howard Attorneys revealed that “anticipated benefits of the new law haven’t yet materialized” and it rated cable competition, prices and service as ‘very poor’. While AT&T has been slow to ‘build-out’ new services under the state franchise, the cable companies, in particular Comcast, have been quick to take advantage of the relaxed regulation. This pattern has been repeated around the country as the cable and telephone companies reposition for duopoly control, at the expense of local municipalities and in particular PEG channels and services.

The Alliance for Community Media has documented the impact in detail. The chart below gives an indication of how the state cable franchises have departed from the Federal protections previously in place. This list will grow as more state cable franchises go into effect and new changes become apparent.   —>
http://saveaccess.org/node/2109
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Comcast to strike conciliatory tone in congressional hearing
by Ken Thomas (1 comment)
The Associated Press
MLive.com
01/29/08

A Comcast executive is apologizing for the way the cable company handled a proposed shift of community access programming higher up the dial in Michigan.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was summoning Comcast and others before a House subcommittee to answer questions about the company’s interest in moving public, educational and governmental access programming into the 900-level digital channel range in Michigan.  The shift would require subscribers with analog televisions to buy digital, cable-ready TVs or rent or buy a digital converter box for each set. Dingell has raised concerns that it would force consumers to pay additional fees for programming currently guaranteed with basic cable services.

David L. Cohen, Comcast Corp.’s executive vice president, planned to tell the panel that “in retrospect, we failed to communicate adequately our goals and to work cooperatively with our local partners to produce a ‘win’ for everyone.”  “That is not the way we want to do business — in Michigan or in the rest of the country — and I want to apologize for that,” he said in testimony prepared for delivery.

Cohen said Comcast was “now engaged in friendly, and what I am sure ultimately will be fruitful, discussions” with Michigan officials, including Dearborn Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr., who also was to testify before the committee’s Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.   —>
http://blog.mlive.com/annarbornews/2008/01/comcast_to_strike_conciliatory.html
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TV time for county commissioners?
Barnstable Patriot (MA)
01/29/08

Steve Baty of All Media Productions, who already videotapes some county meetings for showings on cable TV, has proposed taping the county commissioners’ sessions.  “I know that introducing a TV camera will forever change the ‘feel’ of the meeting but I believe that the public’s need to know might now overshadow the comfort of the status quo,” Baty wrote in a proposal circulating among county officials.

Baty said he’s been assured time would be available on public access channel 17 to show the taped meetings, which would be recorded on a single camera. They could also be uploaded for access via the Internet.

There would be a cost involved, but Baty argued that video of the commissioners’ meetings “would help in the designation of a Cape wide County Cable Channel. A 24/7 cable channel with its ability to have a looping message board system as well as meetings and department service updates would provide the county with an invaluable public information resource.”
http://www.barnstablepatriot.com/tv_time_for_county_commissioners_news_84_14172.html
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TV segment on community channel worth the angst
by Cherie Speller
The Daily Reflector (NC)
01/28/08

Click-2-Listen

I’ve seen several interviews replayed on television with Heath Ledger, the actor who was found dead last week in his home in New York. While listening to Ledger and lamenting the loss of someone so young and talented, one of his comments struck a nerve. When one interviewer asked Ledger how he felt about watching himself perform, he said it made him uncomfortable, almost to the point of wanting to vomit.

I could identify with that reaction after taping a segment of “City Scene,” a show hosted by Greenville public information officer Steve Hawley on GTV-9, the government access channel on the Suddenlink Communications cable system.  Even though the topic, the Greenville-Pitt Public Access Television Corporation (GPAT), is worthy of such a program, I was dreading watching my performance and had pretty much decided to ignore the popular city program for the week.

“I saw you on TV!” a friend said in a phone call the very first night it was on. “You did a good job … you talked all over yourself.”  “Thanks,” I said. “That’s just what I was afraid of!”  Then my friend went into a series of questions about GPAT and how the channel works, convincing me that my moment in front of the camera was worth the apprehension.   —>
http://www.reflector.com/local/content/news/stories/2008/01/28/cheriecolumn.html
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Exploring The Perceptions of Public Access Television
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition (MA)
01/29/08

In beginning my thesis this semester to investigate the role of Public Access Television in the Age of YouTube, I’m beginning to shift my approach, once again. Previously, I explored the role of the community media center in the process of public access television. I realized that this is just one of the many roles that community television can play in providing a counter-claim to those who believe that public access television is no longer necessary in a YouTube age.

More recently, as I have noted several times before, I realized that the YouTube v. Public Access TV debate is one of the most profound and consistent themes of my research here to date. A Google search for Public Access Television + YouTube yields quite a range of results, discussions and debates around both media. Therefore, I’ve decided to move this research towards an approach that seeks to better understand mass perceptions of public access television and how both the mainstream media and individuals online frame “the need” for community television in, what has been called, the YouTube age.
http://cmediachange.net/blog/2008/01/29/exploring-the-perceptions-of-public-access-television/
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

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Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/28/08

January 28, 2008

Editorial: How will AT&T’s Legislation affect Channel 9?
by Mark Madison
WBHS9 (TN)

Dear Editor:
Your recent article regarding AT&T’s proposed legislation stirred a response from Paul Stinson, Manager of Regulatory and External Affairs for AT&T. On January 7th, a meeting was held with Mr. Stinson, Mr. Keidel, a concerned parent and me. After the meeting I sat down and composed a list comparing the status quo with what AT&T has proposed for Access channels like WBHS9.    —>
http://www.wcs.edu/bhs/WBHS9/WBHS-9/editorial.htm
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Carney, Markell, meet for debate on public access show
Associated Press ( 3 comments)
Delaware Online
01/28/08

WILMINGTON – The two prominent Democrats vying for the party’s nomination for governor met face-to-face Sunday for their first debate of the campaign.  Lt. Gov. John Carney and state Treasurer Jack Markell appeared on a public access television program hosted by Wilmington City Councilman Charles Potter.   —>
http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080128/NEWS/80128008
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Symington vies with Douglas for public access viewers
by Terri Hallenbeck (8 comments)
Burlington Free Press (VT)
01/28/08

MONTPELIER — Vermonters who click their way to public access television thinking they might catch a glimpse of the governor’s news conferences, as they did in the past, are finding a different Statehouse show.  Gov. Jim Douglas’ news conferences have not been aired on public access television stations since July, when the last production company’s contract ended. Those tapings will resume this week, Douglas spokesman Jason Gibbs said, with the governor’s staff doing the camera work.

Starting last week, House Speaker Gaye Symington launched her own “In Your Statehouse” show. The half-hour program focuses on a different topic each week.  “It’s an effort to help Vermonters understand our work,” she said.  Symington said her political action committee, the Speaker’s Circle, is paying the cost of production — about $74-$80 a week. The tapes are sent to public access television stations around the state…

… Lauren-Glenn Davitian, executive director of CCTV, said Vermont politicians have long seen the advantage of reaching constituents directly. Former Gov. Howard Dean did it when he was lieutenant governor. Douglas did it when he was treasurer and secretary of state, she said.
http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080128/NEWS02/80128006/1007
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AT&T will start offering TV service
Video option begins Monday in suburbs
by Jon Van
Chicago Tribune (IL)
01/28/08

After a few false starts and missed deadlines, AT&T Inc. launches video service for residents in most Chicago suburbs Monday.  AT&T’s TV service, called U-verse, will become available in parts of 175 suburbs. The rollout will be low-key to guard against unrealistic consumer expectations, AT&T executives said, but it does mark the phone giant’s largest foray into television.   —>
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-mon_att_0128jan28,1,6554781.story?ctrack=1&cset=true
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U-verse TV Pitched to Chicago Suburbs
AT&T Launches in 175-Plus Northeast Illinois Communities
by Todd Spangler
Multichannel News
01/28/08

AT&T is blowing U-verse TV into more than 175 communities surrounding the Windy City, in what the telco claimed is the largest initial rollout to date for the Internet Protocol TV service.   The launch in northeastern Illinois — where the telco primarily will challenge Comcast — is the largest for U-verse in terms of how widely the service is available on Day One, AT&T spokeswoman Jenny Parker said, without providing specific numbers.

AT&T last week announced it had racked up 231,000 U-verse TV subscribers at the end of 2007, up 83% from 126,000 three months earlier, and claimed it’s on track to reach 1 million subscribers by the close of this year.  U-verse services are available in parts of more than 175 Chicago-area communities, including Bellwood, Buffalo Grove, Crystal Lake, Dolton, Elmhurst, Harvey, Hoffman Estates, Melrose Park, Oak Lawn, Orland Park, River Grove, St. Charles and Waukegan.   —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6526176.html?desc=topstory
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Media consolidation concerns Adelstein
by Faith Bremner
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
01/28/08

WASHINGTON – Being a member of the Federal Communications Commission is a high-tech, high-stress job, but Jonathan Adelstein seems to thrive on it.  President Bush last month nominated the 45-year-old South Dakota native for a second five-year term to help lead the agency that regulates radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The Senate is expected to approve his nomination. Before joining the FCC, Adelstein was a senior legislative aide to former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D.

Adelstein, one of two Democrats on the five-member commission, has publicly clashed with his Republican counterparts, most recently over a December decision to allow large media companies to own television stations and newspapers in the top 20 media markets.  Adelstein spoke recently about some of the big issues that have gone before the FCC.   —>
http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080128/NEWS/801280301/1001
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Youth radio earns its full street cred
by Sally Jones
Worcester News (UK)
01/28/08

An internet radio station for young people in Worcestershire has begun broadcasting on FM after being awarded a community radio licence.  Youthcomm Radio, Worcester’s first and only youth community radio station, was established several years ago by Worcestershire County Council’s youth support service.  Since then, it has only been able to broadcast over the internet, but now anyone with a radio will be able to tune in to listen at 106.7FM.

Youthcomm radio co-ordinator Chris Fox said: “The station is a unique opportunity for Worcestershire’s young people to get involved in radio and media.  “They can be involved in producing and presenting the station’s content both on air and behind the scenes.”

The county council’s youth support staff, who help the youngsters to prepare and present the station’s programmes, are working in partnership with Youth Community Media, and Worcester College of Technology and the University of Worcester.   —>
http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/display.var.1999780.0.youth_radio_earns_its_full_street_cred.php
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“Directions and Implications of Advanced Computing Symposium”
Conference on Online Deliberation (DIAC-2008/OD2008)
Sponsored by Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility and UC Berkeley School of Information
June 26 – 29, 2008
Tools of Participation (CA)
01/27/08

At the dawn of the 21st century humankind faces challenges of profound proportions. The ability of people around the world to discuss, work, make decisions, and take action collaboratively is one of the most important capabilities for addressing these challenges.

Researchers, scholars, activists, advocates, artists, educators, technologists, designers, students, policy-makers, entrepreneurs, journalists and citizens are rising to these challenges in many ways,including, devising new communication technologies that build on the opportunities afforded by the Internet and other new (as well as old) media. The interactions between technological and social systems are of special and central importance in this area.

DIAC-08 combines CPSR’s 11th DIAC symposium with the third Conference on Online Deliberation. The joint conference is intended to provide a platform and a forum for highlighting socio-technological opportunities, challenges, and pitfalls in the area of community and civic action. Technology enhanced community action ranges from informal communities of practice to democratic governance of formal organizations to large
social movements.   —>
http://penplusbytes.blogspot.com/2008/01/directions-and-implications-of-advanced.html
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National League of Cities Television Partners with BIA Information Network to Offer ActiveAccess Desktop Application to Its Members
Business Wire
Ad-hoc-news.de
01/28/08

BIA Information Network, a leading provider of private-label desktop applications, announced today that it has partnered with the National League of Cities Television (NLC TV) to support efforts to inform its 19,000 members in real-time about events, news alerts, and updated video content on best practices in city management.

‘As a service to our members we wanted to identify a method that would provide them valuable information and updates on our web content in an efficient manner,’ said David Gardy, chairman and CEO of TV Worldwide, producers of NLC TV. ‘With ActiveAccess, NLC TV has found an efficient and proven method of keeping them abreast of what’s happening in city government by using a cutting-edge technology that everyone can easily access and use.’

Through the NLC TV website members from municipalities across the country can download the free ActiveAccess desktop application, a light-weight, non-intrusive program. Once installed users will be alerted automatically when new content is posted, or they can access events, materials, and webcasts directly through the application. For example, videos can be accessed and viewed through the computer desktop without having to open or activate a web browser, making it much easier for members to access desired content.

Because NLC TV can continuously change the content on the ActiveAccess-driven portal page with important information for its members, Gardy sees the new tool as a competitive advantage for NLC TV to create a community within the nation’s cities.   —>
http://www.ad-hoc-news.de/Aktie/12717381/News/15209585/ADVA.html
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Kaltura and Intelligent Television Partner to Enhance Cultural and Educational Projects With Rich-Media Collaboration
Marketwire.com
01/28/08

Kaltura, Inc., a pioneer in Collaborative Media, and Intelligent Television, a new nonfiction media company, announced today that the organizations will work together on several joint experiments revolving around culture and education using rich-media in the community.

“Intelligent Television is all about educational productions, public media, and community projects, so Kaltura’s concept of group collaboration in rich-media fits our business philosophy like a glove,” said Peter B. Kaufman from Intelligent Television. “Featuring the Kaltura platform in our new productions and in our research projects with moving image archives is very exciting.”

The companies invite the community to join and contribute time, skills and ideas, as well as suggestions of relevant projects.  “It’s great to work with Intelligent Television, a producer with the same values and visions of community and joint creation as Kaltura,” said Ron Yekutiel, Chairman and CEO of Kaltura. “This relationship is an important addition to the Kaltura Global Network, en route of making Kaltura the standard of online rich-media editing and collaboration.”

Kaltura and Intelligent Television will work on a variety of joint projects including a new documentary history of the Korean War with Jigsaw Productions and Intelligent Television’s multiyear Memory Project.  “The Longest Winter” tells the story of America in the Korean War based on the book “The Longest Winter” from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam. “The Longest Winter” film is centered on eyewitness accounts and archival media, including rare color film shot during the conflict. Producers Intelligent Television and Jigsaw Productions combine traditional narration, contemporary voices from soldiers and others caught in the events, interviews with veterans, and Halberstam’s words and voice to bring a new sensory experience to the telling of wartime history — and a fresh sense of relevance for the television viewer of today. Using Kaltura’s platform, the archive of material from the film and many of the interviews that are being conducted will be made available to the public to annotate and mix online — see more at http://www.kaltura.com/index.php/browse?kshow_id=99428.   —>
http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=814836
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/27/08

January 28, 2008

Telling your story
by Garren Stauffer
Laramie Boomerang (WY)
01/27/08

If you had tuned in to Laramie’s KOCA 93.5 FM community radio station on Saturday morning, you would have heard traditional and contemporary mariachi music. You would also have heard John Coltrane’s amazing take on “My Favorite Things” surrounded by tracks from Bob Marley and AC/DC, as well as contemporary music from India and a track by the 70s supergroup Journey. Among other things.

If you had been down at the station’s headquarters, you would have been able to jump on the air and spin some tracks yourself, or share a poem with the community or talk about issues that the Laramie community faces.

More than any other form of media, community radio can be virtually anything that the listeners want it to be. The dedicated group of people that keep community radio going in Laramie gathered, on Saturday, to celebrate five years of that kind of diverse broadcasting, from the Lincoln Center on the west side of Laramie.   —>
http://www.laramieboomerang.com/news/more.asp?StoryID=107615
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Videoconference series highlights First Nation women, Community Networks and Native Language
by Brian Beaton
KNET Media
01/27/08

The last week in January promises to be a busy time as three video conferences are being hosted from the northern First Nations of Keewaywin and Muskrat Dam. All three workshops will be webstreamed for everyone to see online and will be archived for future reference.

The first videoconference, First Nations Women in Leadership, on Monday, January 28 starting at 9 am  is an all day event celebrates the important role that First Nation women play in all aspects of the families and the communities…

The second videoconference, First Nation Community Broadband Networks is being held on Tuesday, January 29 starting at 9:30 am to 12:00 pm. Keewaywin First Nation, in partnership with Keewaytinook Okimakanak and Community Wireless Infrastructure Research Project (CWIRP) is hosting a workshop discussing First Nation Community Networks…

The third videoconference, Anihshininiimowin: Our Language Of The Past, Now And Tomorrow is being held on Thursday, January 31 starting at 1 pm and is scheduled for 1.5 hours.   —>
http://media.knet.ca/node/3370
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The Local AND Global in Public Access Media
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition (MA)
01/26/08

A few of my co-workers and I had an interesting discussion this week about how best to use our external online presence, on sites such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and blip.tv. We talked about sharing local information relevant to the community we serve on a platform available to the world for those with access to the tools, skills, and knowledge. A simple question we had was “Why would people globally be interested in what we are doing locally?”   —>
http://cmediachange.net/blog/2008/01/26/the-local-and-global-in-public-access-media/
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Raging fever
by Sally Ann Shurmur
Jackson Hole Star-Tribune (WY)
01/27/08

—>  I bought pink tulips the other day — five stems for $4 — and folks in the office were delighted by their beauty.  Sometimes, it just takes a little something.  One evening last week, I mourned the end of my football season by not turning the television on at all. That is so completely out of character for me, but I’m amazed at how much I accomplished.  Unlike those who turn the television on for noise, I enjoy the silence.

One evening I was at a dinner theatre in Glenrock, one night I turned the Cowboys on just before halftime and then watched in horror as they lost the lead, the momentum and the game, and one night while I was cleaning, I watched two hours of the planning and zoning hearing on community access television.  Actually, that’s a great thing to have on while you clean, because you can sort of listen while you sort, then take a break every so often to exclaim, “what the h—?” when no one but the dog can hear you.

After living here for almost 30 consecutive years (June 5 is the big day), there is still so much I am learning about our town.  This new revitalization plan excites me, just as the new big box across the street from my house 18 months ago thrilled me.  I am all about knowing my town, and public access provides exactly that opportunity.   —>
http://www.jacksonholestartrib.com/articles/2008/01/27/news/casper/bfe2794cda097b51872573dd0005abf8.txt
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A new old fashioned way to do business
by Scott Howard
Collective Wisdom (IN)
01/27/08

Other titles to this post could have been, How to join a “Good Ole Boys” network, even if you’re not a old (ole), or a boy. Or, How to cut the 6 degrees of separation down to 3.  The old fashioned Good Ole Boys would do business with each due to the trusted relationships and it was hard for outsiders to penetrate this network.  Over the years the concept of business networking has grown and ranges from informal groups to very structured international organizations. And they work, if you know how to get involved.

Recently John Dickmeyer of the Allen County Public Library interviewed three local business networking team captains, for a Public Access T.V. Show. This weekend I got a copy and loaded it onto YouTube, in three parts. Here’s the TV Show on Business Networking featuring Andrew Zelt, Bob Norris and Paul Hawkins. Total length is 30 minutes.  Here’s part 1:   —>
http://sclohonet.blogspot.com/2008/01/new-old-fashioned-way-to-do-business.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/26/08

January 27, 2008

Live Blogging during PEG Congressional Hearing
Free Press Action Network
01/25/08

On Tuesday, Jan. 29 [at 1:00 PM], the Free Press Action Network will hold a live-blogging session during the congressional hearing, “Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) Services in the Digital TV Age”.

Activists and community leaders will be discussing the hearing as it unfolds.  Listen to the Audio Webcast and add your comments below.   —>
http://www.freepress.net/actionnetwork/node/401
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City to ask Legislature to revisit Sunday alcohol sales, annexation expansion
by Robert DeWitt
Tuscaloosa News (AL)
01/26/08

Issues ranging from Sunday alcohol sales to extra-territorial zoning will be topics for discussion Monday when the Tuscaloosa City Council meets with members of the Tuscaloosa County legislative delegation.  City Council members will sit down with 10 legislators who represent portions of Tuscaloosa County to discuss its legislative agenda over breakfast at the Jemison Mansion. The city will ask legislators to tackle issues it lacks the power to address…

…The city opposes any blanket statewide franchising for video delivery systems. The law currently requires cable television companies to obtain franchises from cities. Now telephone companies and others are developing alternative delivery systems.  City officials want these companies subject to the same franchising regulations, Maddox said.  “If the telephone companies can provide cable service, they should have to enter into a franchise agreement like the cable companies,” he said.   —>
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20080126/LATEST/690624097/-1/NEWS03
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If you value public access TV, speak up
Bainbridge Island Review (WA)
01/26/08

Do you watch Bainbridge Island Television?  More precisely, do you watch it for programming besides the City Council meetings?  It’s neither a flippant question nor an idle one. BITV’s  regular viewership is surely amongst the questions in play as the station management and the city wrangle over revenue from a cable franchise agreement and other sources.

As reported Wednesday, station manager Scott Schmidt wants BITV to get a bigger slice – actually, the whole pie – of the approximately $190,000 in franchise fees paid by Comcast to the city for the right to do business on Bainbridge Island. BITV presently gets about $120,000 of that revenue, and half of the $54,000 generated by a dollar-per-month surcharge to subscribers to support public access programming. The balance disappears into the city’s general fund, although some of the money is earmarked for better lighting, cameras and other improvements to the chambers from which public meetings are broadcast.

Schmidt says the station needs more money to pay for services either requested by the city itself (adding a second channel; providing online “streaming” of council meetings) or the community at large. Some of the planned programming is Schmidt’s own inspiration, like the weekly news program BITV hopes to roll out in April. While it’s ambitious, it’s not unprecedented; back in the early 1990s when Texas-based Northland Cable still held the island franchise, news was actually integral to the programming. At one point the station boasted a three-person news team and showed footage from local events almost daily. The presentation could be somewhat clunky; we remember a rash of broadcasts in which colors swirled around like a light show at Bill Graham’s Fillmore. But despite the technical limitations, “Northland Cable News” showed the possibilities of local access television and laid the groundwork for today’s programming. Schmidt believes a new, more professional news show would attract both viewers and – at least as important – underwriting dollars from local businesses.

Thinking back 15 years, it is remarkable how far what was then known as “Bainbridge Island Broadcasting” has come. Modern equipment and a dedicated studio on High School Road mean new opportunities to learn videography. Volunteers contribute countless hours to support daylong programming. City Council coverage has grown into the station’s bread and butter, the point at which the interests of station, city and community most clearly intersect.

Yet in some ways, its profile is unchanged. Schmidt says some people still come into the office thinking they can pay their cable bill. (You can’t; BITV and Comcast are separate entities.) It’s also no easier to gauge what the viewership really is. Schmidt approached the Nielsen folks about tracking the ratings but found costs were prohibitive. With no way to precisely measure just who’s watching, and how often, now’s the time for Bainbridge Island Television viewers to speak up on behalf of the station.

Do you like what you see on our local access station? Do you even watch? What’s the value to you? We’d like to hear from viewers on that point. As their contract negotiations roll on, we suspect BITV and the city would, too.
http://www.bainbridgereview.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=96&cat=48&id=1145744&more=0
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The Winds of Change
Potential Reform of FCC Could Go in Many Directions
by Ted Hearn
Multichannel News
01/28/08

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is shining a spotlight on FCC chairman Kevin Martin’s management of the agency. (See “Watching the Martin Watch,” page 18, Jan. 21, 2008).  But it hasn’t been made clear to him precisely why.

The basis of the investigation has been stated only in vague terms. And there could be something of a public payback involved: Committee chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) is evidently upset that Martin gave the public just 28 days to review the FCC plan to relax the newspaper-TV station cross-ownership ban.

But there is always more than meets the public eye when the winds of change blow in. Privately, Dingell has heard repeatedly from regulated industries — including cable operators and programmers — that Martin has failed to state proposed rules in clear terms, producing a process that lacks transparency and due process.

“I think time is overdue for a serious look at the reform of how the FCC conducts itself,” National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow told reporters in December. “I think everybody recognizes that there is something different about how the [Martin] FCC conducts its business.”

In 2007, an annus horribilis for cable at the FCC, Martin at least twice demonstrated his fondness for hide-the-ball tactics. He gave no indication in June that he planned to slash rates that programmers pay cable operators to lease time, and he gave no indication that he supported allowing the NFL Network and other independent programmers to haul cable operators before an FCC-authorized arbitrator to settle their disputes without even a finding of discrimination by cable operators.

Now, Martin is trying to impose wholesale a la carte regulations on cable programmers, forcing The Walt Disney Co. and Viacom to sell their channels at individual prices. That could mean price regulation by the FCC, if Heritage Foundation analyst James Gattuso is right that wholesale a la carte mandates can’t work without government price controls. Since that’s the case, programmers are wondering if Martin plans to regulate wholesale a la carte prices but, as he’s done in the past, hasn’t told anybody.

Cable’s frustration with Martin has made an issue of how the agency is run. From Dingell to Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller (W.Va.) on the Democratic side to Rep. Joe Barton of Texas on the Republican side, attention is now focused on how much power does and should accrue to an FCC chairman, an unelected bureaucrat with the ability to inflict pain on selected opponents, almost with impunity.

NCTA’s McSlarrow goes so far as to call for the FCC to be turned into a forum that adjudicates complaints, with its rulemaking authority taken away in five years.  Rockefeller has indicated support for structural reform, perhaps reducing the five-year terms of commissioners and refocusing its mission toward consumer protection.  But, as the following examples illustrate, reforming the FCC is not a simple task.   —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6525874.html
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The Other India and Media
Mainstream Weekly
by Suhas Borker
01/26/08

—>   We know about BPL—Below Poverty Line—but let us also know about Below Media Line—BML. The poor, oppressed, marginalised millions in this country are Below Media Line. If the media does not look at 840 million Indians who do not have more than Rs 20 a day or is not concerned about their future, it is abetting a “Second Partition”,4 which will burst forth like a tsunami of agony and pain, engulfing the whole country. It will be more dehumanising than the one 60 years ago.

Many see it as a wake-up call to the so-called present National Media to connect with the voiceless. To rise above the glitz and razzmatazz of film stars, fashion shows and elitist gizmos that unwrap on advertising which mocks the poor for their poverty, is a choice now. The people’s movements and grassroots organisations which represent the Other India are anyway going to move on regardless. And with them will be a new emerging media—an inclusive media empowered by new technologies encompassing community press, radio, TV and web. It may take some time to link up. Mainstream media or alternative media? It will be the media of the Other India of 840 million Indians.   —>
http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article518.html
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Decision to Shut Down AZN Television a Huge Loss to Asian American Community
PRNewswire
01/26/08

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) today expressed disappointment at the decision by Comcast to shut down AZN Television in April this year, calling it a big loss of yet another important venue through which the American public can learn more about Asians and Pacific Islanders through community-specific news and entertainment.

While understanding that this was primarily a business decision, AAJA lamented the fact that the demise of AZN is the second big blow to the AAPI community in less than six months. In October last year, KQED in San Francisco discontinued its nationally syndicated public radio program, “Pacific Time,” developed to provide news about Asia, Asian American communities and connections across the Pacific Ocean. Like “Pacific Time,” AZN offered broad education through broadcast and online media.

In many ways, “AZN is to the Asian American community just like Univision is to the Latino and BET is to the African American communities, respectively,” said Rene Astudillo, AAJA executive director. He added that AAJA “has partnered with AZN in many ways to ensure that more Asian Americans are given the opportunity to use their journalism and new media skills to enhance the delivery of news and information to the American public.” AAJA’s most recent partnership with AZN involved internship opportunities for students to post journalism-style news and editorial commentary on the network’s Web site.  Astudillo said that AAJA is happy and ready to offer its resources to Comcast and other broadcast networks to develop major programming specifically addressing issues and stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.    —>
http://sev.prnewswire.com/publishing-information-services/20080126/CLSA01026012008-1.html
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University of Miami: February 26-68
We Media Forum to Explore and Celebrate Innovation in a Connected Society
PR-USA.net

More than two hundred thought leaders, social entrepreneurs and media pioneers are expected to gather next month in Miami, Fla., for the fourth-annual We Media Forum and Festival from February 26 to 28. The two-day event, organized and produced by iFOCOS, the Reston, Va.-based media think tank, will bring together leaders from across industry sectors to jumpstart innovative thinking and new media ventures.  For more details and to register, go to: www.wemediamiami.org.

“We Media is not just an industry conference. It’s a knowledge-sharing network. It’s about being inspired,” says Dale Peskin, co-founder of iFOCOS, which also organizes the We Media Community, an online network of companies and individuals.

The University of Miami School of Communication is co-hosting the conference, which kicks off with a reception on Tuesday night. The Associated Press, an iFOCOS global partner, is sponsoring the conference, along with Washington.Post.Newsweek.Interactive, Reuters, NewsGator, Topix, Humana and AARP. Additional media sponsors include BlogHer, the Association for Alternative Newsweeklies, Daily Me, the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet, LatinVision Media, PaidContent.org, SourceForge, and the Innovators Network.   —>
http://www.pr-usa.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=61176&Itemid=9
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French Media Reforms
by Rizwan Ghani
American Chronicle
01/26/08

Reportedly, President Nicolas Sarkozy has decided to reform French media. The media shakeup details include scrapping up of Arabic and English languages services of Channel 24 and restricting the Channel to French language, only. The reports show that French National TV will be disallowed annual advertisements worth 800 million Euros.

Keeping French as the only language on Channel 24 in presence of Arab and handful of other minorities in France will add another item to the minorities discontentment list. In wake of 2007 standoff with minorities Paris could used state media to develop better relations with minorities instead of doing away with programs in other languages on Channel 24.

The independent observers are waiting for details of planned shakeup but there is a consensus that the direction of changes does not bode well for the media independence. It is believed that French media´s coverage of Sarkozy´s Egypt tour may have precipitated the reform plan. Otherwise, also there is a growing perception that it is the start of love-hate relationship between Sarkozy and French media.   —>
http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/50291
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-3650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/25/08

January 26, 2008

Comcast fight joins federal case (MI)
by Deanna Rose
Source
01/27/08

A Macomb County court case against Comcast has been combined with a federal lawsuit, with several communities attempting to permanently halt the cable company’s movement of local access channels to higher-numbered digital channels.  Macomb County Circuit Judge David Viviano, in response to a lawsuit filed by the city of Warren, granted a motion for a temporary restraining order Jan. 14 that prohibited Comcast from relocating public, educational and government, or PEG, channels. The move, slated to occur Jan. 15, was to place PEG programming on digital channels in the 900s.

A hearing for a preliminary injunction on whether or not to make Viviano’s decision permanent was scheduled to take place Jan. 22, but the case has since been moved to the U.S. District Court in Detroit and combined with another case citing similar issues.

U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts, of the Eastern District of Michigan, issued the same action Jan. 14 as Viviano did. The federal decision was made on behalf of a motion filed Jan. 11 by Meridian Township and Dearborn against Comcast, which stated the move would no longer keep PEG channels on the lowest service plan, limiting access to senior citizens and low-income subscribers. With the channel switch, non-digital customers would have to purchase a converter box to watch PEG programming after Comcast’s promotional offer of a free converter box expired after one year.   —>
http://www.sourcenewspapers.com/stories/012708/loc_story3001.shtml
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Court won’t block bids for cable TV PEG contract
Maui News (HI)
01/25/08

WAILUKU – Second Circuit Judge Joel August said Thursday that the state could continue with a competitive procurement process for public-access television services.  Akaku: Maui Community Television, which holds the Maui contract for public-access TV, had asked August to stop the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs from using a competitive bidding process, saying it was illegal and inappropriate given the station’s role in protecting free speech.

But August said that while he wasn’t sure the state is required to use competitive procurement, it has “wide discretion” in awarding the contracts. “They’re free to use any reasonable form of designation they wish to,” he said.

State law requires cable TV companies to provide money and channels for public, education and government access on cable. The DCCA has contracted with nonprofit organizations like Akaku to manage the public-access services.  After years of awarding no-bid contracts to Akaku and three sister operations in other counties, the DCCA was told by procurement officials the contracts had to be awarded in a competitive process.

The agency issued requests for proposals in 2006. But the procurement notice has been on hold while the state addresses protests filed by Akaku and the Oahu operator, Olelo, and while the DCCA writes rules for the procurement process.  The department is currently seeking approval to hold a public hearing on the draft rules.  The state Procurement Office last month granted an extension of the current contracts to July 15 while the DCCA completes the rules and renews its request-for-proposals.

August said Thursday he was “rather pleased” the state had listened to his recommendation that it create procurement rules.  He suggested that in addition to other factors, the DCCA make a “commitment in writing” to looking at preservation of free speech as one of its selection criteria for the contracts.   —>
http://www.mauinews.com/news/2008/1/25/05couw0125.html
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Raymond’s RCTV paves the way for public access excellence
by Sean Bourbeau
Rockingham News (NH)
01/25/08

People that were trapped in their homes during the floods last year had power and cable TV, but they didn’t have land-line phone service and cell phone service was spotty at best.  Sure, there were images on the floods on Channel 7 and Channel 9, but they weren’t able to give people the type of information they needed if they wanted to venture out of their house.

That’s where Channel 22 stepped in, also known as Raymond Community Television (RCTV), providing roads that were open and closed throughout Raymond.  Marc Vadeboncoeur, member of the cable committee, went out to various roads and checked with the police and fire chiefs to find out information regarding road closings, safety measures, and other flood related coverage.

They were then able to post this information on Channel 22, giving people who had little or no information a wealth of it.  Their flood coverage is one example of how far RCTV has come in a decade since it started.  Vadeboncoeur said this coverage made the channel relevant.  “That was probably one of the best uses of local access,” he said. “The town (viewed) Channel 22 as a viable resource for them to get information out when needed.”   —>
http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080125/NEWS/801250382
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Letter: City public TV channel needs some attention
by Bernie del Llano (4 comments)
Nashua Telegraph (NH)
01/25/08

As I began typing this letter, it has become more to create awareness and relay concerns about our public, education and government channels here in Nashua.  Well, first of all, we do not have a public channel. We live in one of the biggest cities in New Hampshire, and we do not have a public channel. We are too big of a city not to have one.

I have done many “public” shows for Lowell, Revere and Malden, Mass., as well as in our own state. I co-hosted a flood-relief telethon for Merrimack, and now every Monday morning I co-host a live talk show in Manchester for MCAM on Channel 23.  But as a resident of Nashua, I cannot have a public access show in my “hometown” because there isn’t a public access channel to begin with.  Cable television advisory board, what is the status of the public channel? Do you need help with this? —>    http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080125/OPINION02/462238622
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City’s special session to focus on Suddenlink franchise agreement
Enid News (OK)
01/25/08

Enid City Commission will meet in special session 6:30 p.m. Tuesday for a public hearing on Suddenlink Communications and extension of its franchise agreement with the city.  During the hearing, commissioners will review Suddenlink’s compliance with its existing license, review results of a satisfaction survey and identify future cable-related community needs and interests.   —>
http://www.enidnews.com/localnews/local_story_025004752.html
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‘Humble Farmer’ makes TV return
by Ray Routhier (1 comment)
Kennebec Journal (ME)
01/25/08

Seven months after he lost his public radio show because he wouldn’t agree to restrictions on what he could say on the air, the man known as “The Humble Farmer” is bringing his humor and commentary back to Mainers via public access television.  Robert Skoglund sent new versions of “The Humble Farmer” on DVD to public and community access TV stations around the state this month, hoping to get them on. In an e-mail to fans, Skoglund wrote that 28 stations have agreed to show the program or consider it. Skoglund declined to comment on his TV efforts for this story.

Stations that have scheduled “The Humble Farmer” include Harpswell Community Television, South Portland Community Television and Saco River Community Television, which appears in Buxton, Hollis, Limerick, Limington, Standish and Waterboro.

Skoglund had done his weekly show on the radio stations of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for 28 years before he was dismissed in June. MPBN officials said Skoglund had refused to sign a letter indicating he would follow commentary guidelines that apply to the network’s non-news staff.   —>
http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/news/local/4692958.html
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Bismarck public art policy discussed
by Gordon Weixel (7 comments)
Bismarck Tribune (ND)
01/25/08

Questions from the community were as wide-ranging and diverse as the subject matter itself during the course of Thursday evening’s Public Arts Forum sponsored by the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District.  Originally intended as a four-person panel with a moderator, an unexpected fifth panelist appeared in the form of park district director Steve Neu, who found many of the questions directed his way. Other panelists included Bismarck State College instructor and artist Michelle Lindblom; local art dealer Ondine Baird; public art consultant Jack Becker; and Doug Kane, who started the process by questioning the park district’s policy on public art display…

…Neu said there will be further discussion with the community and that the information will be brought to the park board for their consideration. The forum was broadcast live on Community Access Television and will be repeated several times.   —>
http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2008/01/25/news/topnews/147344.txt
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FAQ: Inside the High-Stakes 700-MHz Spectrum Auction
by Bryan Gardiner
Wired
01/24/08

The FCC’s 700-MHz-spectrum auction officially began on January 24 and stands to be one of the most significant airwave auctions in U.S. history, potentially affecting everything from the cost of your wireless service to the competitive landscape among U.S. mobile providers for years to come.  With 214 qualified bidders expected to compete for various 700-MHz band licenses — including Verizon, AT&T and Google — some industry insiders say the government could rake in as much $30 billion in the auction. That money will be used to help transition to all digital TV signals by 2009.

Although bidding gets underway on Jan. 24, 2008, the public won’t know who the winners and losers are until the auction officially concludes. Per FCC rules, the entire bidding process for Auction 73 will be anonymous, and the government agency has warned participants not to disclose anything about the auction (or their bids) until after it’s over. That said, interested parties can track the auction’s progress by visiting the FCC’s auction homepage.

Over the next week, industry insiders will be watching Google in particular. If the company does win the highly coveted “C Block” of spectrum, the portion that has been deemed “open to any devices and services,” the resulting network could usher in much-needed innovation, improve services, and even a “third broadband pipe” (after DSL and cable) into the home — one that wouldn’t be controlled by any one company.

The “C Block” carriers a minimum bidding price of $4.6 billion, and the general consensus is that if Google does win this portion of spectrum, the company will have someone else build the network. Total build-out costs could be as high as $15 billion, according to industry analysts.  Of course, there are already enough loopholes attached to the “C Block” to render all of the open access stipulations obsolete if the FCC doesn’t get its asking price for the spectrum. Unquestionably, there’s a lot at stake.  Here’s a FAQ on how the FCC’s 700-MHz auction will work — and why you should be interested in its outcome.   —>
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/news/2008/01/auction_faq?currentPage=all
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[  In the last few months I’ve been keeping an eye out for the term ‘ communitarian.’   That word comes freighted with tons of baggage, but yesterday this interesting reflection turned up – not unrelated to access television’s practices and effects.  – rm ]

The new commonwealth
by Deric Bownds (4 comments)
Deric Bownds’ Mindblog (WI)
01/25/08

Some interesting comments by Kevin Kelly on possible political consequences of the Wikipedia phenomenon, excerpted from his brief essay. He changed his initial assumption that an encyclopedia editable by anyone would be an impossibility. This commentary has a rather different spirit than yesterday’s post on the internet phenomenon.

“It has always been clear that collectives amplify power — that is what cities and civilizations are — but what’s been the big surprise for me is how minimal the tools and oversight are needed. The bureaucracy of Wikipedia is relatively so small as to be invisible. It’s the Wiki’s embedded code-based governance, versus manager-based governance that is the real news. Yet the greatest surprise brought by the Wikipedia is that we still don’t know how far this power can go. We haven’t seen the limits of wiki-ized intelligence. Can it make textbooks, music and movies? What about law and political governance?

“The reality of a working Wikipedia has made a type of communitarian socialism not only thinkable, but desirable. Along with other tools such as open-source software and open-source everything, this communtarian bias runs deep in the online world…In other words it runs deep in this young next generation. It may take several decades for this shifting world perspective to show its full colors. When you grow up knowing rather than admitting that such a thing as the Wikipedia works; when it is obvious to you that open source software is better; when you are certain that sharing your photos and other data yields more than safeguarding them — then these assumptions will become a platform for a yet more radical embrace of the commonwealth. I hate to say it but there is a new type of communism or socialism loose in the world, although neither of these outdated and tinged terms can accurately capture what is new about it.

“The Wikipedia has changed my mind, a fairly steady individualist, and lead me toward this new social sphere. I am now much more interested in both the new power of the collective, and the new obligations stemming from individuals toward the collective. In addition to expanding civil rights, I want to expand civil duties. I am convinced that the full impact of the Wikipedia is still subterranean, and that its mind-changing power is working subconsciously on the global millennial generation, providing them with an existence proof of a beneficial hive mind, and an appreciation for believing in the impossible.”

[ Kevin Kelly is Editor-At-Large for Wired, and author of “New Rules for the New Economy.”  There’s more of his essay at Edge’s World Question Center website.  Interesting place – the question for 2008 is “What Have You Changed Your Mind About?” – rm ]
http://mindblog.dericbownds.net/2008/01/new-commonwealth.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannls.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannls.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/24/08

January 25, 2008

Comcast’s Cohen To Testify On PEG Policy
Broadcast Newsroom
01/24/08

Comcast executive vice president David Cohen is scheduled to testify Jan. 29 before a House subcommittee on the cable company’s decision to require thousands of analog-only customers in Michigan to acquire digital set-top boxes to continue viewing public, educational and governmental channels.

Cohen  is expected to testify before the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet along with John O’Reilly, mayor of Dearborn, Mich.; Gail Torreano, president of AT&T Michigan; and Annie Folger, executive director of Midpeninsula Community Media Center, Palo Alto, Calif.

PEG channels, carried on cable systems pursuant to commitments made in local franchise agreements, feature all sorts of local content, including parades, high schools sports, and city council sessions.

Comcast’s plan called for giving affected customers one digital box for one year, but charging for additional set-tops immediately. House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.), upset with Comcast’s plan, asked the company to reconsider in a letter late last year to chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.

On Jan. 14, U.S. Judge Victoria Roberts , of the U.S. District Court for Michigan’s Eastern District, issued a temporary restraining order, barring Comcast from moving the PEG channels from their current location or converting them to digital without the court’s permission. Dearborn and Meridian Township went to court to stop Comcast.
http://dtv.broadcastnewsroom.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=288983
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PEG channels won’t change due to court rulings
by Chris Gray
Romeo Observer (MI)
01/24/08

Small-town cable stations like WBRW Channel 6 did not have to switch channels Jan. 15 due to court injunctions.  On Jan. 14, a state judge and a federal judge ruled that Comcast could not move public, education and government (PEG) channels to higher channels, which would have resulted in many people unable to view them.  U.S. Representative John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is calling for a meeting on Jan. 29 to hear testimony from such channels about the movement.

WBRW Station Manager Richard Cory said Channel 6, for the moment, will not be moving to channel 902.  “We’re happy that we’re not going to move right now,” he said. “We want to thank all the people who sent e-mails and letters and calls to state representatives in Lansing voicing objection to the move.”  The move, he said, would most likely have shut down Channel 6 for lack of viewers.  “This would’ve been the bottom line, viewership would’ve gone in the dumper,” he said. “Comcast doesn’t realize that people love these stations.”   —>
http://www.romeoobserver.com/story.asp?storyid=11242
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Ojai’s Public Access May Be Closed
If Time Warner inks deal with state, it will likely be curtains for local television shows
by Nao Braverman
Ojai Valley News (CA)
01/24/08

Public access television stations, known to feature quirky television shows with all the amateur charm of low-budget production and editing, may be heading for demise in California, and even sooner in Ojai.   —>
http://ojaivalleynews.blogspot.com/2008/01/ojais-public-access-may-be-closed.html
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Akaku CEO/Pres: Court Adoped a “Wait & See” to Confusing RFP Process
by Cynthia Thomet
Akaku: Maui Community Television
01/24/08

Statement from AKAKU:  Maui Community Television CEO/President Jay April Responds to Court Hearing in Akaku vs. DCCA & State of Hawaii:

“We are encouraged that Judge Joel August indicated support for free speech and an interest in seeing that Hawaii’s publics are ensured access to the ‘marketplace of ideas’; however, we are disappointed with the court’s decision today to continue our motion for summary judgment and not give finality to the outstanding problems with PEG access and the RFP process.

“Akaku asked the court to rule that the designation of Public, Education and Government (PEG) access channels require a rule pursuant to HRS 91. Such a rule-making process would allow tremendous public input in the process and require an agency to base its rules on the evidence and testimony presented.

“Ironically, the court elected to adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach to a confusing, ongoing RFP process that will restrict PEG access entities from delivering the very ‘free speech’ services the court has stated it wishes to protect.  The lawsuit and most problems with PEG organizations statewide is the consequence of 15 years of standardless discretion exercised by the state, contrary to the law.Unfortunately, those problems weren’t resolved today.”   —>
http://www.akaku.org/?p=34
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Shouting to be Heard (2): Public Service Advertising in a Changing Television World
Kaiser Family Foundation
01/24/08

Broadcast and cable stations donated an average of 17 seconds an hour to PSAs, totaling one-half of one percent of all TV airtime, according to the study, Shouting to be Heard (2): Public Service Advertising in a Changing Television World, released by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The most frequent time period for PSAs to air was between midnight and 6 a.m., accounting for 46% of donated PSAs across all stations in the study; looking only at broadcast stations, 60% of donated PSAs ran overnight. The time period with the fewest donated PSAs was during prime time (8-11 p.m.), with 13% of all donated PSAs.

The report was released on Thursday, January 24, 2008, at a forum that featured Federal Communications Commission Members Michael Copps, Jonathan Adelstein, and Deborah Taylor Tate along with representatives from News Corporation, CBS, Time Warner, Univision, the Ad Council and the American Legacy Foundation. Report – pdf
http://kff.org/entmedia/7715.cfm
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Voters have chance to see District 14 candidates on Eye on Oshkosh
by Cheryl Hentz
Eye on Oshkosh (WI)
01/24/08

—>   “The Oshkosh Area League of Women Voters will hold two separate candidates’ forums before the February 19th primary election.  A forum for the six Oshkosh Area School Board candidates is set for Thursday, February 7, 6:30 to 7:30 in the Oshkosh City Council Chambers, 4th floor City Hall.

“The six candidates are incumbents Tom McDermott and Ben Schneider II. The challengers are John Daggett, Kevin Jahnke, John Lemberger and Michele Monte. Panel members are Jim Fitzhenry, managing editor of the Oshkosh Northwestern and Frankie Mengeling, vice-president Oshkosh Area LWV. This forum will be broadcast on Oshkosh Community Access Television CitiCable 10 and simulcast by WOCT 101.9 FM, Oshkosh Community Radio.   —>
http://eyeonoshkosh.blogspot.com/2008/01/voters-have-chance-to-see-district-14.html
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Lobbyist Requirements Making Lobbyists Who Claim Not to Be?
by Adam Groves
Tennessee Politics Blog
01/24/08

Dave Cooley, former deputy governor, and Robert Gowan, former senior adviser to Bredesen, are both getting their feet wet in the debate over AT&T’s request for a statewide cable franchise. Both men, who are disqualified from being lobbyists under new state laws have said they aren’t lobbying. However, Cooley admits to meeting with several mayors in the area, including Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beeham, who is expected to be the next President of the TN Municipal League, which strongly opposed AT&T’s bid for a statewide franchise last year. Beeham says Cooley just wanted to know his position on the bill – and didn’t try to convince him to change it, but watchdog groups say Cooley’s action may be “indirect communication.”
http://www.tnpoliticsblog.com/2008/01/abortion_debate_heating_up.php
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Ex-officials take sides in cable fight
Roles of former Bredesen adviser, deputy gov. questioned
by Tom Humphrey (3 comments)
Knoxville News Sentinel (TN)
01/24/08

Former top-level officials of Gov. Phil Bredesen’s administration are working for opposing sides in the legislative war between AT&T and the cable television industry, both men declaring that they are not lobbyists.  But the executive director and a lawyer for the Tennessee Ethics Commission say the activities of Dave Cooley, former deputy governor, and Robert Gowan, former senior adviser to Bredesen, raise a question of whether they cross the lobbying line.

Neither Cooley, who is a consultant for AT&T, nor Gowan, a consultant for Comcast Cable, are registered as lobbyists. Both would be covered by a provision of state law that says high-ranking state officials, until one year after they leave their position, are prohibited from lobbying.  Cooley stepped down as deputy governor in December 2006. Gowan left his senior adviser position with the administration on Nov. 16, 2007.   —>
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/jan/24/ex-officials-take-sides-cable-fight/
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Watson seeks citizens’ input on video measure
by David Davis
Cleveland Daily Banner (TN)
01/24/08

A local state representative is asking for citizen input on a bill authorizing statewide franchises to companies providing video services.  The General Assembly is again this year considering legislation promoting consumer choice, competition, and better pricing for cable television. The Competitive Cable and Video Services Act would allow companies providing video services to obtain a statewide franchise.

District 22 Rep. Eric Watson said Wednesday he wants more citizen input before he makes a final decision on the Competitive Cable and Video Services Act.  After appearances on local radio, Watson said he received 56 e-mails between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. from constituents.

“All but one was in favor of the bill,” he said. “Some of them had some concerns. I still have a couple of concerns that I believe will be worked out.”  He said this morning the number of e-mails had risen to more than 100 overnight. Only about 20 percent have expressed opposition.   —>
http://www.clevelandbanner.com/NF/omf/daily_banner/news_story.html?rkey=0070510+cr=gdn
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Public-access cable to expand
Fresno, Clovis to have three different channels.
by Denny Boyles
The Fresno Bee (CA)
01/23/08 

True public-access television is about to enter the Fresno and Clovis markets, expanding a single channel that now shows city council and school board meetings into a three-channel system that will give residents a chance to create their own programs.  “Right now public television in Fresno is Channel 96,” said Randy Reed, chairman of the Community Media Access Collaboration, a Fresno nonprofit that advocates for public-access television. “It has government meetings and some offerings from the Fresno County Office of Education, but no other local content.”

Reed said that in April a new state law will provide funding to allow expanded programming on three channels known as Public-Education-Government channels. The channels could be operating by April 2009.  “We will have community-generated content, all based on the public’s interest,” Reed said. “The decisions about that programming will be made here, not in a network headquarters.”

The Fresno and Clovis city councils could approve plans as early as April for CMAC to manage the three channels and distribute the content to cable and video providers such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T.  City officials have already begun to gauge public interest in the channels and have thought about what type of programming might be available on the channel dedicated to government.  Similar efforts are already under way in Monterey, Hollister and Gilroy. Monterey’s program, known as AMP, offers three channels of programming, including a 24-hour public access channel that offers programs ranging from church services, art and science programs to a show titled “Art’s Poker Party.”   —>
http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/345298.html
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Local TV Access
by dbatch
hot springs, sd horizon (SD)
01/24/08

I think it would be a good idea, with the advent of a new cable system being implemented in town, to provide a public access channel for civic events such as City Council meetings, HSHS sporting events etc.
This would also provide an opportunity for the high school to offer classes or extra curricular activities to students who could produce the shows thus learing the industry. It is my understanding the Custer has already implemented this.
http://hotsprings.communityblogs.us/2008/01/24/local-tv-access/
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Recognizing Community Service
by Jonah Tebbets
The Inconoclast (AR)
01/23/08

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has announced the winners of its Community Service Awards for 2007. Alderman Lioneld Jordan, community service committee chairman, said the awards recognize citizens “who significantly contribute to improving the lives of working families in the local community.”

Among the winners were two local bloggers. Richard Drake, who has a show on Community Access Television and maintains a blog called Street Jazz, received recognition in the category of Electronic Media, and Aubrey Shepherd, who maintains several outstanding blogs, received the Neighborhood Advocate for his work on behalf of the Town Branch neighborhood in Fayetteville.
http://jonah-tebbetts.blogspot.com/2008/01/recognizing-community-service.html
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Live broadcast ban to continue, says govt
by Samwel Kumba
Kenya Today
01/24/08

The government has said the ban on live media coverage will continue until calm returns to clash hit areas.  Information and Communications minister Samuel Poghisio spoke hours before the ultimatum given by the Kenya Editors Guild to the government over the ban ends.

Mr Poghisio reiterated the government’s commitment to lift the ban,  insisting that it has to be done when normalcy returns to clash hit areas.  “This ban is a temporary measure and, as I have explained in different fora, it will be lifted when normalcy is restored in areas hit by post election violence.”

The minister added that his ministry was consulting with all stakeholders with a view to an amicable decision on the matter.   The minister interpreted the ultimatum from the Editors Guild as a threat to the government, saying this was not the best way to go. He appealed for dialogue, a move that seemed to soften the government’s stand.  “I am very much aware that the Kenya Editors Guild has threatened to go to court among other options if nothing is done about the ban by today”. He added that he had personally gone to various media houses to discuss the way forward.

The minister explained that the decision to invoke Section 88 of the Communications Act 1998 was arrived at after it became clear that, “the media had, and were indeed likely to, inflame passions.”   “Then, emotions were high and lives were at stake and as someone rightly said desperate times call for desperate measures. Materials that were broadcast before the ban was imposed, especially on a few vernacular FM stations, were actually incitement to murder and mayhem,” he said.

“If we allow cameras filming people hacking others to death to broadcast the material live, what does that do to the community of those affected? Any freedom comes with responsibility. If you (Media) are ready to take the responsibility then they should bear the brunt,” he said.

“So my appeal to the Editors Guild is that let us open dialogue and not issue threats. Whereas threats cannot take them far, dialogue can sort the issue amicably. I am still open for dialogue,” he said.
http://politics.nationmedia.com/inner.asp?sid=1334
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/23/08

January 24, 2008

Community Video Units are making a strong impact in India
by media for freedom
01/23/08

Based in New York and Ahmedabad, India, Video Volunteers and their partners have developed a community media initiative in India that is using video to empower communities to take action around critical issues relevant to development.  In the last 16 months they have produced 45 video magazines reaching 130,000 people living in 200 slums and villages.  What is a Community Video Unit?   —>
http://www.mediaforfreedom.com/ReadArticle.asp?ArticleID=9149
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Working group focuses on communications policy for new administration
Penn State Live (PA)
01/22/08

While the presidential election moves through its primary stages, a group of Penn State faculty members and colleagues from across the country has its sights set beyond the outcome of the general election in November. They’re not focusing on a specific candidate, either.

Instead, the faculty members anticipate January 2009, the next president’s inauguration and the corresponding change in the federal government as the time to present an outline — as well as the practical steps necessary for implementation — of a new U.S. communications policy.

The Future of American Communications Working Group, supported by a $75,000 grant from the Media Democracy Fund, a project of the Proteus Fund, plans to produce a volume outlining a comprehensive telecommunications policy agenda for the federal administration to be entering office in January 2009. That agenda will emphasize the potential of information technologies for improving democratic discourse, social responsibility and the quality of life. It will specify the means by which those technologies can be made available to all Americans.

“The unique concentration of such a large group of leading communication policy scholars in the College of Communications has made Penn State the natural place to serve as the center for such an ambitious project,” said Amit Schejter, an assistant professor in the Department of Telecommunications and director of the working group.   —>
http://live.psu.edu/story/28221?rss=30
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Broadband Speeds Need to be Gigabit – Now
Municipal Broadband
by James Carlini
01/23/08

Depending on your current definition of broadband network connectivity, you might want to update your frame of reference.

Did you know at the beginning of 2008 that Japan announced its objective for broadband connectivity is 10 gigabits by 2010? In some recent discussions I have had, some industry pundits think 1 gigabit is too high to achieve.

A couple megabits or even 30 Mbps to 40 Mbps to the premise as a design goal is an obsolete objective unless you are aiming us into a third-rate infrastructure for the future.

I have been saying within my columns for years and at national conferences and regional seminars (like the recent one with SimpleTel in Madison, Wis. featuring Dantel, Connect802 and Matisse Networks) that broadband connectivity today means providing gigabit speeds. Period.

The only people who don’t want to hear this are those tied to products and network services that have sub-gigabit maximums. These people don’t want to hear that what they’re supporting is obsolete and not globally competitive. Why is this such a hard thing for some industry executives and supposed network infrastructure vendors and designers to accept?   —>
http://www.carliniscomments.com/archives/156-BROADBAND-SPEEDS-NEED-TO-BE-GIGABIT-NOW.html#extended
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Akaku goes to court tomorrow over bidding process
by Larry Geller
Disappeared News (HI)
01/23/08

The Maui News report that Akaku Maui Community Television will go before Judge Joel August tomorrow in its quest to have the public bidding process for Hawaii’s public access television services set aside.  Read the article here.

I was one of hundreds of people who turned out to testify against putting the contracts out to bid. After a two hour 12 minute secret session held without required notice, the Procurement Policy Board voted that the contracts should go out to bid. My request for minutes of that 2006 meeting is still pending at the Office of Information Practices. —>
http://disappearednews.com/2008/01/akaku-goes-to-court-tomorrow-over.html
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Upgrades expected at TV studio thanks to new contract
by Brian Messenger
Andover Townsman (MA)
01/23/08

A newly formed nonprofit corporation will run Andover’s local television studio for the next five years, after selectmen unanimously approved a contract with Andover Community Access & Media Inc. last month.

Equipment upgrades and better programs will likely be the result of the new pact, according to David Pierre, an Andover resident and president of the nonprofit’s five-member board of overseers.  “We’re going to be able to produce much more sophisticated shows, much more technologically-advanced shows,” said Pierre.

“I think one of the biggest things the viewers will notice is we’ll be able to broadcast all of the town government’s meetings live on the Web,” he said. “Anybody, no matter where they are in the world, will be able to watch town meetings.”   —>
http://www.andovertownsman.com/arts/local_story_023134527.html?keyword=topstory
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Submission sought for Five Minute Film Festival
Cape Ann Beacon (MA)
01/23/08

CinemaSalem, in cooperation with Film North, is presenting a “Five Minute Festival,” to be held at CinemaSalem on May 1. The festival competition is free and is open to college and high school students living in Essex County.

The rules are simple: make a video of five minutes or less. It can be on any genre – such as animation, music video, documentary, comedy or drama – and it can be on any subject. Projects will be judged on a number of criteria, but what will count the most is how creative the filmmakers are with the tools they have available. Individuals or teams can enter…  For more information and entry forms, e-mail mleibov [at] filmnorth [dot] org and visit www.filmnorth.org.
http://www.wickedlocal.com/essex/fun/entertainment/entertainment_calendar/x1151551938
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25 Year Anniversary Kick-Off at Annual Meeting
Foxboro Cable Access (MA)
01/23/08

At their 2007 Annual Meeting this Saturday evening, January 26th, Foxboro Cable Access will officially begin its three-year 25th Anniversary Awareness Campaign. The organization was incorporated in 1982 to implement the terms of the town’s first cable television franchise agreement. Other milestones for Training and Studio Dedication quickly followed in the next two years, and since then, as they say, the rest is history.   —>
http://fcatv.org/node/276
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Volunteers Wanted for Public Access TV in Lower Connecticut River Valley
Free Training Available for Residents in Nine Towns
by Corey Sipe
Associated Content
01/23/08

Residents and teachers in the nine-town region are being asked to step up to the plate and help increase the amount of public, educational, and governmental programming shown on cable television.  Robert Mathis, Chairman of the Comcast Cable Television Advisory Board and Westbrook resident, said the medium provides a great opportunity to connect residents with their town governments, schools, and communities.

In the lower Connecticut River Valley, Comcast provides cable service to the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Durham, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.  From their cable bill, the estimated 23,000 subscribers pay approximately $6.30 a year that goes toward public access…

…Mathis recently attended the Jan. 10 Westbrook Leadership meeting and recommended that more town meetings should be videotaped and broadcast to help convey a positive image for this shoreline town whose image was tarnished after the former First Selectman was arrested twice.  In order to do this, Mathis is encouraging residents to form a group of volunteers that would take free training courses at the public access studio at 21 East Main Street in Clinton.   —>
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/558455/volunteers_wanted_for_public_access.html
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Mayor Joe to serve second term leading Mass Municipal Association
Somerville Journal (MA)
01/23/08

—>   I am particularly honored to continue serving as president of the MMaA, and to join my colleagues in working on a wide rage of issues, including the restoration of local aid, support for the Governor Patrick’s Municipal Partnership Act, protection of local control of cable franchising and much more.”
http://www.wickedlocal.com/somerville/homepage/x603845190
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org