Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/16/08

Video Internships Offered
Voices News (CT)

NEWTOWN – Charter Communications CommuniTyVision 21 is accepting applications for its Video Production Internship Program. Internships are free and are open on a first-come, first-served basis to residents of Charter Communications’ franchise area who are sixteen years of age or older. Interns will receive extensive training in all aspects of video production and can use the experience to produce their own community television programs for airing on CommuniTyVision 21. —>

Must See TV
by Ian Colye
Brockport Village Manager (NY)

With the writer’s strike, now into its third month, crippling primetime television, “what is the new must-see TV?” is a question on the mind of many television viewers. While TV viewership is on the national and local radar, I feel it’s a good time to note that in the Brockport area, the Village Board meetings (maybe not must see TV for everyone) are shown every other Wednesday night on Channel 12 Public Access. The January 7th board meeting will be shown tonight at 8 PM.

I have fixed the comment function on Blogger so chime in on this question. What do you want to see on Channel 12? We currently use the station for just bi-weekly board Meetings but we have other access time through our contract with Edu-Cable. Would you like to see a weekly call-in show? A taped “What’s Going on in Brockport” show with Village officials? Police, Public Works, Codes or Fire-specific content? Real World: Brockport? (maybe not the the last one). Let me know.

Riley Library, UEC and Community TV studio grand opening
Roseville & Rocklin Today (CA)

The public is invited to the Jan. 27 grand opening ceremony of the Martha Riley Community Library, Utility Exploration Center (UEC) and Roseville Community Television studio. The event is from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., 1501 Pleasant Grove Blvd., and will begin with a dedication by officials, followed by an open house to the public. Refreshments and children’s play areas will be provided.

Recycled materials were used in the construction of all three facilities, and the building is LEED-certified, meaning its materials, emissions and energy consumption meet stringent federal standards for energy-efficient buildings. —>

Secretary of State Handel Announces Implementation of Consumer Choice Television Act
The Business Briefcase (GA)

Secretary of State Karen Handel today announced the implementation of the Consumer Choice Television Act (House Bill 227), which gives cable and/or video service providers the option to apply for a state-wide franchise license. The statute provides telecommunications companies a less restrictive process to offer cable and video services to Georgia counties and cities. —>

Your cable bill may be going down soon (1 comment)
Lucid Idiocy (Politics) (GA)

Seriously. Write down what you pay for cable television today. And in the coming years, if it doesn’t go down (or at least doesn’t increase), feel free to call your state legislator and ask them what went wrong with House Bill 227. —>

Cable changes
Medina County Gazette (OH)

The portion of Wadsworth residents who subscribe to Time Warner Cable may no longer be able to receive the city’s public access channels. The city announced last week it no longer will provide at no cost Public, Educational and Government (PEG) channel feeds to Time Warner. This decision comes after six months of negotiations.

Prior to six months ago, Time Warner paid the city about $125,000 annually for the channels as part of a franchise agreement with the city, said Chris Easton, Wadsworth’s director of public service. The amount is 60 percent of the total operating costs of the three stations because around 60 percent of the city’s cable subscribers are with Time Warner.

Time Warner, however, pulled its funding for the channels after recent government legislation on cable franchises required them only to be franchised with the state. —>

Verizon deal could finally offer real competition in cable TV service
by Juan Gonzalez (5 comments)
New York Daily News

City officials spent Tuesday in secret talks with phone giant Verizon on a new franchise deal that could finally offer New Yorkers real competition in cable TV service. Talks on the new 15-year Verizon franchise, which have gone on for months, were supposed to be wrapped up before Christmas, but they apparently stalled. Verizon and City Hall refuse to comment on the negotiations or the reason for the delay.

But make no mistake – this Verizon deal is huge. Not only is it worth billions of dollars, it will set the pattern for the city’s renewal of the existing Time Warner and Cablevision franchises that expire later this year. Most of us can’t wait for an end to those two monopolies.

The big stumbling block between Verizon and the city, cable industry sources say, is the phone giant’s desire to offer its service, known as FiOS, in the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods first. Public housing projects and poor neighborhoods would just have to wait. “We have to make sure Verizon doesn’t cherry-pick,” said City Councilwoman Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan). —>

When Will NYC Get FiOS?
Negotiations stalled over redlining…
by Karl (45 comments)
Broadband Reports

Verizon has been conducting conversations with NYC leaders since October, with the goal of striking a 15-year franchise agreement that would bring FiOSTV to the city. With technical advancements like bendable fiber and smaller residential fiber equipment, Verizon has started a strong push into MDUs (multi-dwelling units). A fifth of Verizon’s customers live in condos or apartments, and the NYC deal would be worth billions.

The secret negotiations were originally supposed to be completed before Christmas, but apparently stalled, once worries sprung up that nobody was looking out for consumers (particularly those in less affluent neighborhoods). Back in October city council members were complaining that they were being kept out of the loop —>

Broadband Internet needs competition
by Daniel F. Daly
Home News Tribune

The Internet was invented in the United States. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s advanced research agency, nurtured it. Government and academic researchers became the first customers. Then wider use of the network blossomed. New software made network access easy and fun. Soon college students began to log on. And no wonder it spread so rapidly — it was all free.

By the early 1990s, the government and industry engineered a transition from a government-owned network where no commercial work was allowed to a commercially owned network that was open for business. It could no longer be free, but it could be cheap, and the general public started to log in with 50,000 bits per second dial-up telephone modems.

Today, the Internet transmits pages loaded with images and videos. Now users need broadband access, data rates faster than 1 million bits per second. So why is the United States, the country that launched the Internet and extended it to other countries around the globe, ranked 25th in broadband access? —>

Global Villages, Portable Internet, and Two-Way Communication: Revolutions McLuhan Could Not Foresee
by Kim Veltman
P2P Foundation

—> While much smaller in size and economic power, other developing countries also have novel approaches, which are of the greatest significance. Nepal is a case in point. Electricity and Internet are slowly spreading throughout its valleys. In Nepal, entire, remote valleys are now being connected by WiFi. Mahabir Pun has won the Magasesy Award for these pioneering efforts. Very simply, Nepal, in a far more demanding geography, is achieving what Silicon Valley has thus far failed to achieve. Nepal’s sherpas are famous for their Dokos (backpacks), which can carry the loads of mountain climbers, trekkers and tourists.

Elsewhere in the world, there are trends towards mobile phones and mobile Internet. In Nepal, the Antenna Foundation is working on mobile radio stations. They call it Doko Radio. The idea is deceptively simple. Today the minimal equipment for radio production is a portable computer, microphones for recording and software for basic editing. Hence, what once required complex equipment in radio studios and radio stations in major stations, can now effectively fit into a backpack as a portable Doko Radio. As a result persons in remote villages can now record their stories, music and other content, that can subsequently be broadcast via other community radio stations. Culturally this is very important. UNESCO’s goal to record, preserve and foster intangible culture now has an unexpected ally.

Socially and philosophically this is even more important, because it implicitly transforms the assumptions of broadcasting. As noted earlier, traditional broadcasting was a one-way method, whereby the centre spread its views from the centre to the provinces. Local users were reduced to passive consumers of content determined by an urban centre. Such broadcasting imposed centralized values and implicitly threatened local diversity and individuality. The Doko approach transforms this paradigm. Local users now become active producers as well as listeners.

This new form of broad-casting fosters regional and local diversity as well as individual expression. Citizens create their own local content, which is subsequently shared with others through a broadcasting network of local community stations. Communication is now a two-way process, whereby content is created and shared by all players in rural villages as well as urban centres. This process brings even remote communities back into communication. Hence, this new broadcasting might more appropriately be called share-casting.

McLuhan’s 20th vision of a global village was of a connected world, where traditional centres still determined the content of passive listeners in the provinces and remote villages. The emerging paradigm of the 21st century enables individuals all over the world, even in the remotest villages to be active producers and creators as well as passive listeners. It potentially makes all the world a stage in a sense neither Shakespeare nor McLuhan could have foreseen.

The vision of one global village that threatened to become globalized and homogenized through McDonaldization, is being transformed into myriad global villages, each able to contribute their individual and unique content to preserve and foster tangible and intangible content. Doko Radio is much more than a wild dream. It is working today and offers a new paradigm that could change forever the world of communication.


This article was inspired by a three week visit to my colleague and friend, Madhu Acharya, who is now Director of the Antenna Foundation, which is developing Doko Radio in conjunction with USAID in 15 test sites. To understand this principle in action there were two brief excursions beyond the Kathmandu valley.

A first took us by a small plane to the dirt runway on a hill in Phalpu in the Solukhumbu Valley near Mount Everest, where we saw the recording of a meeting with local persons and were shown a new building where 40 persons per course are being trained to use Internet and do digital editing for radio and television. A second excursion took us by motorcycle some 80 km Northwest of Kathmandu to a village near Palung set on a hilltop of c. 2,300 meters. Here we witnessed recording of a meeting, songs and local music. —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: broadband policy, cable franchising, cable vs telco, citizen media, community media, community radio, development, government access, media use, municipal programming, PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: