Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/08/08

Legislators fight cable channel switches
Comcast moving stations used by communities, schools to 900s.
by Frank DeFrank
Macomb Daily (MI)

State lawmakers may try to stop Comcast and other cable television companies from relocating government-access channels to less-frequented areas of the dial.  “There is a strong sentiment to protect these local channels,” said state Rep. Steven Bieda, D-Warren. “These communities and schools have a vested interest in these channels.”

Comcast, the nation’s and Macomb County’s largest cable company, angered local officials when the company recently announced it would move government-access channels from the lower end of the dial – in most communities, those are channel 5 for government access and 22 for school programming – to the 900-range.  In many cases, Comcast customers would have to acquire new equipment to be able to watch government meetings, local high school sports and other locally generated programming.

Operators of government-access channels contend the switch would reduce their viewership in the short term and could spell the death of government-access broadcasting in the long term.  “We’re looking to stop Comcast and any other cable company from moving (government access) up the 900s, the Siberia of broadcast channels,” said state Rep. Tory Rocca, a Sterling Heights Republican.

Bieda and Rocca were two of about 20 Macomb County elected officials who met Friday in a “strategy” session to determine what, if any, action they might take before Comcast completes the switch on Jan. 15.  Comcast is able to make the change because of a law that went into effect last year that loosened regulations regarding franchise agreements.   —>

Editorial: Tune in, turn on, speak up
New York Daily News

Between now and the fall the city Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications will negotiate new contracts for nine cable television franchises.  This means if you are a cable subscriber within the five boroughs you will be affected.  On Jan. 22 you’ll have a chance to put in your two cents about what you want the new contracts to do for you as a cable subscriber and as a taxpayer. The DoITT is holding a public hearing in Queens about the contracts that day before beginning the actual negotiations.   —>

Council wrangles over cable money
by Kat Hughes
Columbia Tribune (MO)

A routine item on the Columbia City Council’s agenda last night sparked a broader discussion among council members regarding how unbudgeted money should be spent given the city’s budget squeeze.  Council members voted to put the estimated $250,000 the city will collect from a 2 percent increase in cable franchise fees in the city’s general fund. Cable companies will now pay the city 5 percent of their gross receipts each month to operate in the city rather than the 3 percent they’ve paid in the past…

Watkins said the city is also working on a contract with Columbia Access Television for the remaining $150,000 of the increased cable franchise fees. The money will preserve the public access channel, which has been operating for years on a shoestring budget.

City cable station will air recall ads
PINOLE: Attorney says federal guidelines, station by-laws mandate equal access for both sides
by Tom Lochner
San Jose Mercury News (CA)

Pinole officials have reversed course, agreeing after initial refusals to air on the city’s cable television channel a campaign video by sponsors of a recall against two City Council members.   —>

Brookfield artist to appear on cable access TV
by Sandra Diamond Fox
News Times (CT)

Town resident Diane Voyentzie, a muralist and decorative painter, believes everyone is born with a creative spark that must be fostered to reach its potential.  Voyentzie will communicate that message on cable television when she appears as a guest on the program “Creative Women Today” on Charter public access Channel 21 for two weeks, beginning Tuesday.   —>

Comcast Unveils Fancast Video and Film Finder
by Frank Rose

Cable giant Comcast on Tuesday plans to unveil Fancast, a TV-and-movie search site that the company hopes will become one of the Web’s top entertainment destinations.  After a year of development and six months in beta, the site still isn’t all there yet — but it’s already far enough along to become the electronic programming guide that only wishes it could be.   —>

Comcast to announce Fancast video portal: watch out, TiVo and Blockbuster stores
by Russell Shaw

Here at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the most overarchingly important innovation I’ve seen so far just has to be Comcast’s new Fancast service. will let subscribers search for and manage their TV shows as well as movie viewing. You will be able to access personalized listings, and eventually, program your DVRs with Fancast.   —>

Expanding Wi-Fi Beyond Manhattan
by Joshua Breitbart
Gotham Gazette (NY)

Municipal wireless may be struggling in other cities, but New York City’s Wi-Fi cloud is growing steadily. In addition to the fee-based access points in Starbucks, McDonald’s and other venues, various civic groups continue to deploy wireless hotspots in parks, apartment buildings and lower-income neighborhoods. Late last year, CBS announced it would start offering an advertising-supported wireless Internet service in a tourist-heavy swath of Midtown. But there are many steps the city could take to promote these efforts, especially as it works to promote Internet access across the five boroughs.

Manhattan’s Wi-Fi activity was on full display at a recent hearing of the New York City Broadband Advisory Committee, held at the Manhattan School of Music. The Downtown Alliance, NYCwireless, the New York Public Library and Harlem Wireless all spoke about their successes using wireless to promote economic development and increase quality of life.   —>

Live Reports from CES 2008
Tracy Swedlow’s [itvt] News Blog

This week, [itvt] is featuring a series of live audio reports from the CES 2008 showfloor, presented by an informal team of roving interactive and multiplatform TV experts that we have assembled.

To hear a report from Dina Kaplan, co-founder and COO of, click here.
To hear a report from Seth Shapiro, SVP, The Opportunity Management Company, click here.
To hear a report from Frank Chindamo, president and chief creative officer of Fun Little Movies, click here.

To listen to the show live, simply go to its homepage. [itvt] readers can participate in the show in a number of ways:
* By calling the show live at 1-646-595-4343.
* By submitting questions and comments via a chat application that appears on the “TV of Tomorrow Show” homepage during live broadcasts.  —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, cable vs telco, channel slamming, election programming, municiple wi-fi, PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising

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