Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/05/08

Cable franchising
by Paul Gardner
Paul Gardner, State Representative (MN)

A bill in the legislature would create a statewide cable franchising system to theoretically create more competition (and possibly lower prices) for cable services. For example, Qwest would be able to have the right to enter the cable market to compete with Comcast in our area without having to negotiate individual franchise arrangements with local cable access commissions (like CTV 15 and North Metro 15). Local cable commissions are concerned that, as written, the bill will drastically cut the “PEG fees” that support local cable programming. They are also concerned that they will lose control over the franchising process but only wealthier communities with lots of cable consumers will get the benefits.

Fight for fiber
by Dave Flessner
Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)

The new year should bring new options for Chattanooga consumers who want high-speed Internet, telephone and cable TV services. But as the local cable provider, electricity supplier and phone company try to invade one another’s traditional turfs in 2008, battles loom in the General Assembly, the courts and ultimately the marketplace among Comcast, AT&T and EPB…

While AT&T battles against Comcast and other cable TV providers opposed to the measure, EPB in Chattanooga is preparing to enter the fray later this year by launching its own type of cable TV and broadband Internet services to its 163,000 electricity customers in the Chattanooga area. EPB Chairman Joe Ferguson said the utility plans to hook up the first residential customers of its new “second generation” of faster fiber-optic services by late summer. —>

Fairfield FAIR TV Public Access Committee – People Powered Media
by Jon Kantrowitz (CT)

This comittee, assigned responsibilty for coordinating government and education public access TV in Fairfield, met for the first time last week. I was elected Chairman and Neal Fink, Secretary. Our first major decision will be what equipment to buy. We have a budget of about $11,000. Neal will be consulting CTBob for advice on this.

Our most pressing issues will be programming decisions, live and taped, and obtaining the unpaid manpower to cover the programming. We are fortunate to have a couple of very enthusastic volunteers on the committee who will provide some coverage. I am hoping to persuade mattw to lend his talents, and the MLN camera, to these efforts.

We have been told that Orange and Woodbridge have their own town specific public access channels, and that Milford does a very good job as well. Our goal is to emulate the success achieved in these towns. Any advice or input from participants will be welcome. —>

School TV isn’t new, but demand for coverage of events and programming is growing.
by Norman Draper
Star Tribune (MN)

John Jacobson. Recognize the name? Maybe not. Then again, if you’re a parent or sports fan in Brooklyn Park, Plymouth, Robbinsdale or any of a half-dozen or so other communities north and slightly west of the Twin Cities, you might not only know John Jacobson, you could pick him and his voice out of a crowd at the supermarket.

“Up here in the northwest suburbs, when I’m out shopping, people recognize me, and say, ‘Hey, you’re the guy on TV,'” Jacobson said. He sure enough is. Jacobson is the sports director of Northwest Community Television’s Channel 12, in Brooklyn Park. That means not only is he your cable sports anchor, but he is one of the guys likely to be in the broadcast booth for, say, the Hopkins vs. Wayzata girls’ hockey game or the Cooper vs. Armstrong boys’ basketball game.

Attracting not only parents but die-hard sports fans, channel surfers, and the elderly as viewers, schools on TV have become a popular broadcast staple. There’s sports, of course. But there’s also coverage of graduation ceremonies, band and orchestra concerts, school board meetings, and the occasional school-produced program. It’s not new. TV coverage of schools is as old as cable TV. But some think the audience for such programs is growing. —>

Resident seeks channel change
by Ann Bryant
Sun Journal (ME)

CARRABASSETT VALLEY – A dispute about whether the town’s local public access television station should be made more public or remain in the control of a private company may be addressed later this month, an official with Time Warner said Friday. For more than 20 years, viewers in Kingfield, Carrabassett Valley and Eustis have had WSKI-TV 17 as part of their cable lineup. The station provides programming that includes ski trail and weather reports for Sugarloaf, area events, along with sports coverage, news and advertising on a national level.

But at least one critic, a former broadcaster, is saying that arrangement is against Federal Communications Commission rules because the channels are not meant to run as commercial, for-profit operations. “It’s a unique situation and now that it has come to our attention, we need to take a closer look at it,” said Peter DeWitt, a Time Warner representative.

Initial discussions with WSKI-TV 17 operators, Snowfields Productions, began this week, DeWitt said. Time Warner became the local cable provider in 2006 and like previous provider, Adelphia, has continued to provide the town of Carrabassett Valley with channel 17 at no charge. The channel is unique, DeWitt said, in that it’s partly a Public Education Government channel and partly commercial. To be considered as such, certain Federal Communications Commission guidelines need to be followed, he said. —>

Interview with Palestinian Activist Sam Bahour (IL)
by Ray Hanania
Mideast Youth

If you would like to understand the other side of the Middle East conflict, you can check out the interview with NAAJA Palestine member Sam Bahour. Sam writes frequently and is published in many Arab American newspapers and American mainstream newspapers. he is an American Palestinian living in al-Bireh, a Palestinian city situated between East Jerusalem and Ramallah to the North in the West Bank. He talks about the Israeli government policies that restrict Palestinians who are fighting for peace based on compromise. He left his Youngstown, Ohio home after the 1993 Peace accords to return to al-Bireh, which is where his father was born (he’s American born) to contribute to the economy. Here’s his story, a complete contrast to the images asserted by publications like Commentary Magazine.

This interview is produced for Comcast Cable TV and broadcast in 145 Chicagoland suburban communities on Public Access, one of the few opportunities for Arab Americans to broadcast their stories to Americans. Here’s is the Interview. —>

Curtis, Meyer bring ‘Buzz’ to WPKN
by Tony Spinelli
Connecticut Post

It’s a freezing Wednesday afternoon, with the wind off Long Island Sound in the South End of Bridgeport blowing like needles, when longtime cable public access show host Dolly Curtis walks into the studios of WPKN-FM, a block from Seaside Park.

Phil Bowler, the jazz disc jockey who is on the air at the community-supported non-commercial station when Curtis walks in, tells his listeners just how cold it really is. “The hawk is flying. It’s going to be bone chilling tonight,” Bowler intones in his resonant voice.

That’s what it’s all about here — the voice. Curtis jokes that she gets all dressed up to tape her cable show, “Dolly Curtis Interviews,” but on radio she can show up in pajamas. Curtis looks at the lighted-up red “on air” sign, the big Shure studio microphones, and all the fancy audio equipment full of knobs and meters, and proclaims she has found her new love. “I love radio. There’s hardly any editing,” Curtis said, explaining how it is different from what she is used to in TV. “In television, there is one hour of editing for every one minute of showtime,” Curtis said. “I love this. I was born to do this.”

Curtis is the host of a new 30-minute show on WPKN, “Backstage Buzz,” which airs the third Sunday of the month at 10 p.m. The next segment is on Jan. 20. Together with co-host Leo Meyer of Milford — the former longtime owner of the Atlas theatrical scenic design company in Bridgeport — she interviews guests who hail from the world of Broadway and theater.

They are old friends. “We wanted to do a show together. I thought at first it would be a public access cable show, but my friend David Schwartz (who has a Sunday night show on WPKN) said, ‘why don’t you do a radio show? A cable show would take a crew and six months of preparation. On radio you could be on the air immediately,’ ” Curtis recalled. —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, community radio, high school television, PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising

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