Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/03/08

Durham Asks Court to Order Time Warner Government Channel

Durham County has filed an action in Superior Court against Time Warner Cable to get the company to provide a Public/Education/Government (PEG) channel on its cable service. Durham’s complaint cites a state law requiring government access channels. The complaint, filed Feb. 29, also notes that Durham County has submitted in writing a request of Time Warner to provide a second PEG channel to be dedicated for government use. Durham County has the use of one channel for education (Cable Channel 4), however there is not a dedicated government access channel. Durham County is seeking immediate compliance in court hoping to compel Time Warner to provide the second PEG channel.

Time Warner Cable issued the following statement: “It is premature to comment until we have seen the lawsuit and had time to review it. We have been working for months with both the city and county to provide Public Access channels. We already have two access channels on the basic tier cable system, as required by law. It is Time Warner Cable’s position we are operating in full compliance with applicable law.”

Cable groups cry foul
Want AT&T to have franchise agreements
by Mike Cason & Marienne Thomas-Ogle
Birmingham News (AL)

Cable television companies and the Alabama League of Municipalities say AT&T should be required to sign franchise agreements with cities to set up its new television service, known as U-verse. U-verse provides Internet Protocol, or IP, based video television service over fiber optic cable. U-verse also provides telephone and Internet services. Franchise agreements set conditions for use of public rights-of-way for lines and other equipment. Cable companies are required to sign them.

AT&T has negotiated deals to offer U-verse in eight Alabama cities – Center Point, Clanton, Gardendale, Helena, Hoover, Midfield, Mountain Brook and Tarrant. The company is talking to others, including Birmingham. No start date is set in the state. AT&T says its U-verse agreements are “public benefits video agreements,” not franchise agreements.

AT&T spokeswoman Terri Denard said the company is not required to enter franchise agreements because it has had a statewide franchise to install telephone and telegraph lines since before 1900. Alabama Attorney General Troy King issued an opinion in December that appears to support AT&T’s position. But cable companies say AT&T’s U-verse agreements are less binding than franchise agreements and would give the company an advantage over competitors. —>

Fifth annual NPA-TV debates live on TV
Norwood Bulletin (MA)

[ comments allowed ]

Norwood Public Access is proud to announce the live broadcast of its annual debates moderated by Jack McCarthy. This will be the fifth year that NPA-TV will provide Norwood residents access to their candidates. There will be two debates: Board of Selectmen and School Committee.

NPA-TV has invited the three candidates for the Board of Selectmen seats: Jerry Kelleher, Tom McQuaid, and Tom Riolo. This debate will be held live on Wednesday, March 19, at 7 p.m. on NPA’s Town Channel. The second debate will focus on the candidates running for all School Committee seats: David Ford, Mark Joseph, and Bill Plasko Jr., in addition to Ed Morneau, Courtney Rau, Eleanor Travers. This debate will air live on Wednesday, March 26 at 7 p.m.

Viewers at home will be encouraged to phone-in questions live during the broadcast. To leave questions in advance for the candidates call 781-551-0338 or email NPA-TV at Also, please be sure to tune in for the live election results on Election Day, Monday, April 7. For more info, visit or call 781-551-0338.

Community Media Weekend (TX)
by Chip Rosenthal
Unicom Systems Development

This has been my weekend of community media. Saturday, I attended the Texas Community Media Summit. There were several highlights of the event for me. For instance, it was nice to see Debbie Austin from The Texas Observer give a shout-out to Austin Bloggers, a site I manage.

I also enjoyed finally meeting U.T. R.T.F. Professor Laura Stein who seems to have a good earthy handle on community media issues. She lead a session on media convergence. It got me thinking about funding for projects such as open source tools. One effect of Texas SB 5 is that many cities will find their PEG (access television) budgets cash rich for capital equipment, but starved for operating funds. Maybe some of those funds can be used for servers and other infrastructure for community media projects.

I had a blast chatting with public policy superstar Charles Benton. He got me thinking about the impacts the digital television transition will have on community media, and what opportunities there may be. —>

Gov’t access show to air
by Ronald Leir
The Jersey Journal (NJ)

Bayonne cable subscribers are invited to tune to the government access BAY-TV Channel 78 today for the debut of “Your Town,” a bi-monthly show being launched by interim Mayor Terrence Malloy. Malloy, who pledged in his recent State of the City address to work harder to update the community on events happening around Bayonne, said he hopes to achieve that goal through the airwaves. —>

Celebrating ‘Public Access’
by Gordon Baird
Gloucester Times (MA)

We’ve spun off the Public Access Cable TV station from Comcast, and we’re having a huge, marvelous rave-up of a party to celebrate. Everyone in town is invited to see the newly realigned digs at their old location and have a sip and a munch, and drink a toast to freedom of speech. That’s what’ll happen this Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the newly formed cable station that the public owns.

Splitting off from Comcast as a separate entity when the latest contract was renewed last year, Mayor John Bell incorporated the newborn company with the likes of Mark Orlando, Stacey Randell and myself as directors. Orlando and Baird were brilliant enough to elect Randell as president and — teaming up with the award-winning station manager, Sinikka Nogelo — the pair quickly achieved ignition, launch, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, bylaws, policies and so many boiler-plate business items that would make lesser mortals pale. Launch support also came from David Babson, Howard Fritsch, Greg Bach and John McNiff, among many others. The original board threesome then added Rockport’s Ann Patrice-Hickey, Essex’s Daisy Nell, Manchester’s Paul Jermain and Gloucester’s Dave Marsh to the board over the past six months…

So where’s your show? Perhaps when you come to the party, you’ll get an idea. There will be clips of all the shows in our local line-up. Where’s that Glosta cooking show that should be running? Or that rowing show where the rowers take you around Gloucester Habba with camera mounted? Janet Green Garrison does a show on Yoga. How about weight-lifting, sewing, boat building, gardening, plumbing, local house repair, wall building, painting? All are shows waiting to be produced. And you don’t have to make 30 shows. First make one. And the more different the show, the better.

A local politics show, modern dance, tap, clubbing, local bands, a Glosta YouTube show featuring local home-brewed vids on cable. More and different sports shows? Surfing, soccer, more cooking, Italian, French, Brazilian, vegetarian. Imagine a Treasure of Gloucester Archives show, a regular Schooner Adventure Show, Gloucester Museum show, a library show, how about a Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center show?

There could be a tour of the cruise ships show, a rock hopping show, a Gloucester architecture appreciation show, a retrospective photos of The Gloucester Daily Times show, a Cub Scout or Girl Scout show, an exploring wild spaces show. These would be fun shows to have on the air. By the way, all the Cape Ann high schools have great video equipment, too; they should get their own combined school show and promote the heck out of it. Think of the energy resource there.

So come give the new station your shout-out after work Thursday, March 6, at Unit No. 38, Blackburn Industrial Park. Same old place, different look. Come hurrah the Gloucester High School shop class for assembling all our new furniture. Come tipple some wine and munch some goodies with us. Channel 12 doesn’t have as much corporate muscle behind us as we used to, but we can move a whole lot faster and our outlook and policies are ever closer to our public. —>

2008 Studs Terkel Community Media Award Winners
Community, Media & You (IL)

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Studs Terkel’s community-driven stories and natural ability to give a voice to us all, no matter what side of the tracks we lived on, makes him one of Chicago’s most iconic journalists. An eclectic disk jockey was who I heard growing up, listening to his weekday morning program on WFMT. A man of many hats, Studs’ diverse life includes careers in TV, radio and of course, Pulitzer prize-winning author.His style and rich legacy inspired Community Media Workshop to offer an annual award. The Studs Terkel Community Media Award honors outstanding media makers who cover Chicago’s diverse communities. In an age when news coverage focuses more on celebrity gossip and less on info citizens need to make good decisions, this award is more timely than ever.

This year’s winners, Dawn Turner Trice, columnist for the Chicago Tribune, Tom McNamee editorial page editor at the Chicago Sun-Times and Dulcé {Doohl say} Mora, representing the youth-driven Latino radio station Radio Arte, represent a mix of ethnicities and talent that exemplify exceptional journalism – Studs style. On this episode of Community, Media & You, we’ll talk with Dawn, Tom and Dulce about their unique take on journalism and what it means to to the future of news making

Amesbury: TV host aims to keep viewers in touch with commmunity
by Charles Frost
Newburyport News (MA)

By day, Larry Frost is a licensed massage therapist, but at night he takes on a completely different role — as a televison program host. The Amesbury resident hosts a weekly local cable access television program called “Our Town” that focuses on all things involved with the community, from the people to the events. “The whole show’s theme is for elderly people and disabled people so they can feel in touch with the community,” said Frost.

In recent weeks, the program has focused on the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center and domestic abuse awareness, subjects that coincided with White Ribbon Day, and he also featured Opportunity Works in an episode. Frost said he has completed 32 episodes of “Our Town” thus far and has no plans to stop making new shows. He alternates each week with a new episode and a rerun. The shows air Thursdays on Channel 12 at 7 p.m. —>

[California Supreme Court arguments on public access tv]
The Tin Man

[ 1 comment ]

Tomorrow the California Supreme Court hears arguments in the state’s same-sex marriage equality case. You’ll be able to watch the oral arguments online here at 9:00 a.m. California time (12 noon East Coast), or if you live in California you can find them on public access TV here. —>

The Obama Presidential Campaign comes to San Antonio
The 411 Show (TX)

[ comments allowed ]

The excitement of the Barack Obama campaign comes to San Antonio TX, February 2008 for the presidential primary. Includes intro by Congressman Charlie Gonzalez, son of Henry B. Gonzalez. This clip aired on San Antonio Public Access TV

TV on ‘lookout’ for Montgomery’s ‘most wanted’
by Sterling Meyers
Washington Times (DC)

Montgomery County’s cable-access TV station now has its own version of the long-popular “Cops” and “America’s Most Wanted” shows to help catch local criminals. The bimonthly program, “Be On the Lookout,” started last month and features criminal investigations in the county, including a recent homicide in Gaithersburg. “Somebody out there knows something,” said Lt. Paul Starks, director of the county police department’s media division. “We want to close that case and get those people off the streets.” —>

Digital closed captioning issues
by Jeffrey Krauss

Although the transition from analog to digital TV offers some wonderful new capabilities for closed captioning, there are two issues that are causing confusion, and it could get worse. They deal with the must-carry decision to deliver analog programs after the 2009 end of the digital transition, and the limitations of the popular HDMI interface.

Analog captions conform to CEA-608-D “Line 21 Data Services.” CEA-608 (“native 608”) closed captions are captions designed for the analog television system and carried on the two fields of line 21 of the vertical blanking interval. The common look and feel of native 608 captions is limited to white block letters within a box-like black background field. Color (non-white) characters, while possible, are only occasionally used due to the 13-year legacy of set-top decoders and TV sets which cannot display colored captions.

CEA-708-C “Digital Television (DTV) Closed Captioning” is the standard for captions carried in a digital television signal. Because the DTV signal does not have a vertical blanking interval, the captions are carried as data within the MPEG-2 bitstream. CEA-708-C captions have greatly enhanced formatting and display capabilities compared to native 608 captions. “Native 708” captions are those authored and encoded for CEA-708-C use.

In addition, the CEA-708-C standard provides a way to carry native 608 captions within the 708 captioning data stream. Most digital cable programs today carry both the native 708 captions, which are displayed on digital TV receivers, and the native 608 captions, which are displayed on analog TV sets, within their data stream.

One issue, which will become more apparent after the cessation of over-the-air analog broadcasting, is that there is no standard way to downconvert 708 captions to the 608 format, and there are many features of 708 captions that are simply not supported in the 608 format. This limitation is particularly important during the three years that cable operators have agreed to deliver analog versions of the broadcast signals to subscribers with analog TV sets that understand 608 captions but not 708 captions. —>

Venezuelans to Create Alternative Community Media
Prensa Latina

Representatives from more than 240 Venezuelan media organization will set up the Social Movement of Alternative and Community in Caracas next week, organizers said. The initiative is aimed at strongly and efficiently countering the media campaign against the Venezuelan people’s democratic and revolutionary achievements over the past nine years, according to a press release published in alternative publications.

The organizers said alternative media plays a major role in the democratization process, as they allow the excluded and their struggles for social justice and equal rights to be heard. The organization will include the media from the community, workers, farmers, women and students. The movement will be founded by 400 delegates who will meet from March 7-9 at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela, where they will debate a draft bill on alternative and community communication.

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, cable vs telco, captioning, community media, community radio, election programming, government access, municipal programming, PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising, youth media

2 Comments on “Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/03/08”

  1. […] post by Rob McCausland Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and […]

  2. SOG knives Says:

    SOG knives…

    Interesting ideas… I wonder how the Hollywood media would portray this?…

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