Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/08/08

ED Annie Folger Preserving Public Access in Washington DC
Midpenisula Community Media Center (CA)

The Media Center’s Executive Director, Annie Folger, recently flew out to Washington DC to speak in front of Congress, representing the Alliance for Community Media. She was fighting for Comcast and AT&T to continue to providing PEG (Public, Educational and Government) services as they currently are (or better) and to abide by local, state, and federal laws.  Click the video below to watch the CSPAN broadcast. Annie’s main speech starts at 48mins, and then is questioned throughout the rest.

Here are some of the issues being addressed:   —>

Forsyth Co. TV debuts
by Nancy Badertscher
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)

Forsyth County government is now as close as the television set.  TV Forsyth debutted last month on Comcast channel 23, allowing local residents to watch government from the comfort of their sofas.  The station is broadcasting meetings of the County Commission, Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Board of Education.  The channel is offering original local programming, as well as an electronic bulletin board with information on government meetings, events and programs.   —>

Fayetteville’s budget ‘A solid looking picture…’
by Trey Alverson
Fayette Daily News (GA)

—>  One revenue related issue that does worry Steele is the effort afoot in the Georgia General Assembly to do away with franchising fees for power, phone and cable companies.  The issue arose Thursday when the council unanimously approved a franchising fee of 5-percent for AT&T.  Steele took this opportunity to explain franchising fees to the public and to stump politically against their removal

“Franchising fees began in 1948 when cities and Georgia Power got together over how to deliver electricity to mostly rural areas,” Steele explained.  According to the mayor, the program they agreed upon allowed companies access to the municipalities’ right of way in exchange for a small fee per customer.

Steele says that the companies pass these fees on to the consumer and now state legislatures are trying to get rid of them.  “Franchise fees account for 11.9-percent of the city’s budget,” Steele said. “I know I’m being political now, but you should call your local legislator and tell him to mind his own business.”   —>

Resident To Moderate TV Program
Garden City News (NY)

Garden City resident Patty Knap will serve as one of the moderators of “The Healthy Respect Program.”  The American Family Association’s weekly public access cable television show will be aired on Cablevision’s Channel 20 on Tuesday, February 12 from 8 to 9 p.m. It will also be re-aired on Tuesday, March 11th.  The program, intended for teenagers, will focus on a discussion of current moral issues affecting families. It is one of New York’s largest public access TV programs.

Final Rerun of Video of Aspen Ridge/Hill Place developers’ meeting with Town Branch neighbors on Jan. 12, 2008
by Aubrey Shepherd
Aubrey’s View (AR)

LAST CHANCE TO SEE REPLAY of Town Branch Neighborhood and Ward 1 meeting with developers planning to replace Aspen Ridge developers to create student housing in the Town Branch overflow area and former wetland west of South Hill Avenue between Sixth and Eleventh streets in south Fayetteville, Arkansas.

8:45 pm Friday Feb. 7, 2008 — Ward 1/Town Branch-Neighborhood Meeting on Cox Cable channel 18, Fayetteville Public Access Television, the CAT!

9:30 am Saturday Feb. 8, 2008— Talking about how the neighborhood used to be — Robert Williams on Town Branch Neighborhood — on Cox Cable channel 18, Fayetteville Public Access Television, the CAT!  Robert Williams, whose property on South Hill Avenue is bordered on the west by the Aspen Ridge dredged and filled wetland, spoke while looking northwest from the intersection of South Duncan Avenue and Eleventh Street where a wetland area dredged out for a future street on rainy days is called Aspen Bayou by people who drive by.

Noteworthy Television This Weekend: Marvin Franklin’s Art
by Toby von Meistersinger
The Gothamist (NY)

The February edition of the MTA’s monthly television show, Transit Transit (Saturdays, 3:30 p.m., WNYE 25) , has a segment about Marvin Franklin, the NYC Transit Authority track inspector who was killed last year in an on the job accident in Brooklyn. The piece talks with some artists who knew Franklin and his co-workers and covers the opening of an exhibition of his work at the New York City Transit Museum in December.

In case you didn’t know, Transit Transit is produced entirely by MTA employees who volunteer for the job and it shows. So if you are a fan of the MTA or merely curious about some behind the scenes transit goings on we recommend it. Plus, it can be unintentionally funny. The show repeats every Saturday during the month on WNYE and will also be on several cable public access channels.   —>

Editorial: Obama and the media
Seattle Times

—>  The Seattle Times endorsed Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination for many reasons, not the least of which is that he makes the most plausible — indeed, utterly believable — argument he can foment change in this weary nation.  But his populist bent on media issues is especially encouraging. He doesn’t merely speak about it; he fights for it. He co-sponsored the recently introduced Media Ownership Act, which passed the Senate commerce committee in December.

The bill would force the Federal Communications Commission to, as Obama said, “place its public charge ahead of its concern for corporate profits.” Indeed, the bill was a response to the FCC’s brazen deference to hungry corporations gobbling up community voices at the expense of communities best served by a diversity of owners and opinions.

Obama is especially concerned about the mounting obstacles to women and minorities entering the ranks of media ownership and management. The bill would force the FCC to weight the scale to the public good.

Comcast Lobbyist Wired for Web Access
Associated Press

Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable operator, paid Capitol Solutions LLC $300,000 in 2007 to channel its issues to Congress.  According to form posted online Monday by the Senate’s public records office, it paid the lobbying firm $160,000 in the second half of 2007.  The firm lobbied on issues related to Internet traffic prioritization, customer access to the NFL Network channel and set-top boxes for converting TV signals from digital to analog. Comcast also paid the firm $140,000 on the same issues in the first half of the year.   —>

Hopefuls await nod to run access TV
by Stacy Brown
Times-Tribune (PA)

It could be decision day for hopeful operators of Scranton’s public access cable channels.  A three-member panel appointed to review three proposals to operate public access channels 61 and 62 is scheduled to meet with Mayor Chris Doherty this morning. One of the three should get the nod at the conclusion of the meeting.  “I think we may have an announcement (today),” Mr. Doherty said.

“I don’t know who the panel will recommend, I thought we’d let someone with the background of this panel make the choice.”  The panel consists of Thom Welby, a marketing executive for WNEP-TV; former WYOU-TV videographer Mark Monahan and Shiloh Baptist Church Pastor Reginald McClain.

The competitive process produced three candidates who submitted proposals to City Controller Roseann Novembrino last month.  They include civic group Scranton Today, which has operated the channel for 10 years and is facing competition from Electric City Television and the NEPA Public Access Project.  Electric City Television is an entity developed by Scranton Today veteran Chris Balton. NEPA Public Access Project is a nonprofit group connected with Ozzie Quinn’s Scranton and Lackawanna County Citizens and Taxpayers’ Association.   —>

Democracy Now! Needs Money Now For New $6 M. Loft
by Max Abelson
New York Observer

The exclamatory independent news program Democracy Now! won’t be broadcasting out of a Chinatown firehouse for much longer.  According to city records, the left-leaning TV/radio group (Newt Gingrich once told co-host/founder Amy Goodman that he warned his mother not to speak to reporters because of people like her) have paid $6 million for a raw loft at 217 West 25th Street.

But the Sixth Avenue space was massively expensive for DN!, which has the lovably homespun feel of an angry teenager’s basement public access show—though it’s broadcast on 650 TV and radio stations. So they put no money down, records show, taking out a $6 million mortgage paid for by the literary Lannan Foundation, run by J. Patrick Lannan Jr.  “Because we were so desperate,” development director Karen Ranucci told me, “they were so generous.”

Still, they’ll have to repay the loan. “We are so in debt–and that’s why we’re having a concert!” Their Feb. 20 gala will feature Willie Nelson, Danny Glover, Jackson Browne, plus playwrights Wally Shawn (he lives nearby!) and Sarah Jones. “What better way to earn some money,” Ms. Ranucci said, “than to have Willie Nelson drive across the country?” So true.  Tickets range from $200 to $20,000–for a premier table for 10, which includes “dinner with Willie Nelson and all these characters.”

But DN! doen’t necessarily want to leave its firehouse space on Lafayette Street, which it’s been renting from the Downtown Community Television Center. “They needed their space, so we’re leaving,” Ms. Ranucci said about DCTC, “the sooner for them that we could find a place, the better.”

Besides the $6 million purchase price, building offices and an actual TV studio in the loft runs at least $2 million. “We’re trying to get as much used equipment as possible,” Ms. Ranucci said. Plus, the loft will have a classroom for training future journalists. “We work with interns now,” she said, “but we’re all sitting on each other’s laps. We’re crushed in our current digs.”

Recut, Reframe, Recycle: An Interview with Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi (Part Two)
by Henry Jenkins
Confessions of an Aca-Fan

Your team has had good luck developing a set of guidelines to provide more clarity to documentary producers about when their deployment of borrowed materials is protected under current legal understandings. Can you describe some of the impact that this report has had? What lessons might we take from those experiences as we look at the challenges confronting amateur media makers?

PA: Documentary filmmakers found their hands tied creatively, without access to fair use. So in November 2005 they developed a consensus statement, Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use, through their national organizations and with our coordination, which describes four typical situations that come up for them, and what the principles of fair use are, along with the limitations on those principles. For instance, the Statement shows that in critiquing a particular piece of media, you can use that media to illustrate your point. The limitation is that you can’t use more of it than makes your point. Common sense and good manners require that you let people know what it is (provide credit)…

… You’ve drawn a distinction between acceptable use and fair use. Explain. Why might a push towards an acceptable use policy prove useful in responding to the current challenges facing amateur media makers?

PJ: In a so-called “acceptable use” policy, a copyright owner (or a group of them) might announce that it simply won’t challenge certain kinds of quotations from its material without giving an opinion, one way or another whether those are the kind of uses (i.e. fair ones) that people actually have a right to make. There’s been some talk recently on the part of content owners about this approach, and we certainly don’t oppose it. Anything that brings any additional clarity to is welcome.

But owners’ announcements about “acceptable use” would be no substitute for “Best Practices” developed by and for particular creative communities. For one thing, “acceptable use” rules are always subject to unilateral change, as markets develop or business models morph. For another, “acceptable use” policies are likely to be more restrictive than fair use. To give one example, most discussions of “acceptable use” focus on private and strictly not-for-profit uses, including education. But fair use also operates robustly in the commercial environment (think of book publishing, for example) and that is exactly the environment into which on-line video production is moving as running platforms becomes a profitable business. So while some of us could benefit from “acceptable use,” we all need fair use.

YouTube contributors are not the only group which confronts uncertainties about Fair Use. You’ve also been looking at the impact of these confusions and anxieties on Media Literacy educators. What have you heard? What kinds of classroom practices are being restricted as a result of fears or confusions about Fair Use?   —>

CFRC connects community
Local stations’ intimacy meaningful amongst growing media conglomeration
by Courtney Kirkby
The Queen’s Journal (Ontario)

Not so deep in the basement of Carruthers Hall, just south of the dormant Clark Hall Pub and the Campus Bookstore, lies one of Queen’s campus’ best kept secrets: Queen’s radio. Fifteen years short of a century old, adorned with an eclectic selection of art—everything from recent poster art by local artists to an array of framed dog portraits—CFRC 101.9FM is full of more life than any other place I’ve encountered in my four years in Kingston.

CFRC pumps out meaningful broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week, barring a minute or three of dead air every once in a while—unavoidable given the constant stream of new programmers, many of whose first words sent out to radioland are mediated by the black and silver microphones in CFRC’s main control rooms.

In 1922 Douglas Jemmett and Robert Davis first planted the CFRC seed in Fleming Hall that has since grown deep roots in Kingston. They built an experimental AM radio station to increase the Wireless Club’s ability to participate in public broadcasting. This makes CFRC one of the oldest radio stations in the world, topped only by the Marconi Companies and a few others…

… The Queen’s bubble was first broken in this station in 1977, when it was recognized that broadcasting year-round, seven days a week couldn’t be sustained through a strictly student effort. The community was invited in to start broadcasting. Some broadcasters from that era remain on-air today.   —>

Online Media: Community TV Comes Full Circle – Part I
by suzemuse (3 comments)

Chris Brogan wrote an interesting post the other day that has really got me thinking. His thought about how to make it in this burgeoning world of online media:  ” …it’s people who are figuring out the triangle, delivering something of quality, and are connecting targeted content to interested audiences.”

Hmmm. Sounds to me like Community Television to me. Over the next few blog posts I shall endeavour to explain.  Community Television. Public Access TV. Cable Access Programming. I’ve been involved in community television since I was about 10 years old. More than 27 years.

It started in the small town in which I grew up called Masset, on the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii). My Dad, along with some other townspeople, helped start a small (VERY small) community television station using some old leftover TV equipment. They hooked up a couple of cameras, an A/B switch, stuck a microphone on a table and went on the air. Kids from the community (me and my brother included) read community announcements. This community-based TV station was called Masset-Haida Television (MHTV) and it still exists today, last I heard, on Channel 13. Go to . See the blue station logo? That is the very logo my Dad designed back in 1979!   —>

Govt ‘ambushes’ media
by Brigitte Weidlich

GOVERNMENT plans to establish a Media Council in Namibia to ‘police’ media ethics and to provide a platform for the public to complain about media reports.  This was announced by Government spokesperson, Information and Broadcasting Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, in Windhoek yesterday.  The move follows a recent congress resolution by the ruling Swapo Party.

Briefing reporters, the Ministers said Government was aware of “the uneasiness among the media fraternity about the call by the Swapo congress for the creation of a media council by Government.  “Our Government has to implement the SADC Protocol on Culture, Information and Sport, to which it is a party,” she said.  The new institution is purportedly in line with a protocol on culture and information all 14 member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had to adhere to, she said….

Nandi-Ndaitwah gave no indication when the Media Council wold be established, but said that the media would be consulted.  “But Government has the last say in this matter, also under which Government institution it should be run or if it would be an independent body,” said the Minister.  “Ever since I took over at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, I have been calling on the media to get their house in order and to get a media council or media mediator off the ground, to accommodate complaints from the public,” she said.

“The argument that laws are in place to deal with media transgressions does not hold water, simply because the process of going to court is expensive, tedious and it takes too long,” she added.  “Unfortunately, the media has been dragging its feet on this very important issue.  My Ministry will start working on the matter to assist the media to provide quality services to the Namibian people.  The input from the media institutions will be sought, but Government will have to finalise the process as you have let your time pass without doing what was expected,” she told reporters.

Article 20 of the SADC Protocol stipulates that “State Parties shall take necessary measures to ensure the freedom and independence of the media”, while Article 21, which deals with the code of ethics, says, “State Parties shall encourage the establishment or strengthening of codes of ethics by various sectors of the media through the creation of an enabling environment for the formulation of such frameworks.”  Nowhere does it stipulate that a media council should be set up by governments.

Asked if the existing independent Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa), which has its headquarters in Windhoek, was not sufficient for public complaints, Nandi-Ndaitwah did not answer directly, but repeated that the “public, being the customers of the media” required an institution to launch their complaints.   —>

Social Media Measurement
by Paul Hyland
Paul’s Web Space 2.0 – Politics, Culture, Technology

Social media applications are developing at such a rapid clip that measurement technologies haven’t really kept pace. I have the daunting task of determining what success means for the social media efforts underway at, and then even more challenging, how to measure it. In my mind, success in our community efforts can be envisioned following a continuum of goals:
1. Traffic…
2. Engagement…
3. Impact…

These ideas cover only the measurement of social media content contributed to our site by our readers. Left untouched (so far) is the impact that will be felt as we engage in the larger conversation on the World Wild Web, via RSS feeds, social networks, widgets, social bookmarks, tagging and the like. Look in a future post for my treatment of the measurement of and ROI related to these efforts, the effects of which are even less well understood at this point.

I realize that this is already way too long, but I also want to pass along quality reference and background material from some of my favorite thinkers in this space.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, cable vs telco, community radio, copyright, cross-ownership, fair use, FCC, freedom of the press, government access, media ownership, municipal programming, new media, PEG access TV, press freedom, public access television, social media, U-Verse, video franchising

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