Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/04/08

Durham to pay for public access TV
A city-county pact with Time Warner Cable sets a price of $120,000 for 10 months’ programs
by Samiha Khanna
The News & Observer (NC)

City and county leaders agreed Monday to pay Time Warner Cable $120,000 over the next 10 months to air public access programs — shows that used to be aired for free.  The city-county agreement came after more than a year of negotiation between the governments and Time Warner, and it will ensure that city and county government programming continues on cable Channel 8, which they share, and the schools continue to broadcast on cable Channel 4.

But the agreement doesn’t address all local officials’ grievances. Durham County officials have also filed a lawsuit seeking an additional channel, which they say they are entitled to for free under the law.  Both the issue of paying for public access, and the number of channels local governments can use for free, stem from recent changes to cable franchise laws.  In 2006, the legislature shifted cable franchising authority from local governments to the state government.  The transfer in responsibility has changed some of the services Time Warner is obligated to provide to governments, said Deputy City Manager Ted Voorhees.

Under a former local agreement with the city of Durham, Time Warner employees used to produce and air public access TV for free, Voorhees said.  Now that Time Warner’s franchise is granted by the state, the company doesn’t have to meet the requirements of individual contracts with cities and counties, Voorhees said.  Under the statewide franchise, Durham citizens will no longer be able to visit the cable company’s local studios on East Club Boulevard to learn how to operate cameras and edit tape.  Local shows must now be produced independently and submitted to Time Warner to be reviewed, scheduled and aired.

The shift from local to state control has threatened to disrupt a Sunday morning tradition in Durham. For 17 years, a legion of church folk have tuned in to Channel 8 to watch sermons and other inspirational programming, said the Rev. James E. Vaughan, pastor at Abundant Life Assembly Church. For the ill or disabled, televised services, which also appear some mornings and evenings during the week, are a must.  “It’s not just getting your congregation on,” Vaughan said. “Shut-ins get to follow along services with their local congregation so they can continue to feel a part of it. It’s kind of a big deal to them.”   —>

Lansing must fix threat to public access
The Times Herald (MI)


Flawed cable law paved way for transfer of community programs

No matter how Comcast tries to spin it, the cable provider’s efforts to move some of its channels to a higher digital tier runs counter to the interests of many viewers. More important, state lawmakers bear responsibility for making it easier for Comcast to change its programming.  Adopted in December 2006, Michigan’s “Uniform Video Services Local Franchise Act” was supposed to promote greater competition within the state’s cable TV industry. Instead, the new law relaxed cable providers’ commitment to public service programming  Lansing must correct that error.   —>

Cable providers in Wisconsin seek statewide franchises
The Business Journal of Milwaukee

Five Wisconsin cable and video service providers – Charter Communications Inc., Time Warner Cable, AT&T Inc., CenturyTel and Comcast Cable – have applied for statewide video franchises under legislation passed last year.  AT&T received approval for its franchise from the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions last week, the nonprofit consumer advocate group TV4US Wisconsin said Tuesday.   —>

Community Media Strategy Session 3/15
by Gordon Smith
Blog Asheville (NC)


Asheville area Community Media mavens are gathering again. Our February strategy session produced some excellent ideas, one of which I’ll ask for suggestions about in a couple of paragraphs.  First thing first though. Our next Community Media Strategy Session will take place March 15, 4:30pm – 6:15pm at URTV studios. James Wilson of Talk Asheville will present ideas for our Community Media Wiki at that time. I’ll also put out a rough agenda in a few days and ask for everyone’s input.

If you aren’t on the Community Media email list (which is different from the BlogAsheville mailing list!), just shoot me a message at scrutinyhooligans AT yahoo SPOT cOm. Then I can keep you updated as things happen.  If you haven’t taken the Priorities Survey, take a minute and do that now.

Cross promoting our various media was at the top of folks’ priorities at the last session, and it’s been good to see that a lot of people have been busily linking readers, listeners, and viewers to other media orbits. If you haven’t yet taken the time to shout out to your favorite bloggers, radio hosts, artists, and television personalities, do it today. By pointing Community Media consumers to more of the same, we’ll all become stronger.  Here’s the part where I ask for comments and suggestions:

The last strategy session produced the idea of doing a Media Swarm on a topic, issue, or area. A Media Swarm is intended to draw attention to a specific topic via our various media. It also serves the purpose of making folks more aware of Community Media. There will be ideological agenda involved in choosing the topic. It’ll be up to each person to decide how to address the topic. The inaugural Media Swarm is going to take place this month, and it’s time to decide what we’ll swarm around. Here are the ideas suggested so far in the Priorities Survey:   —>

Cable contract is for five years
City and Charter agree to terms
by Nick Kotsopoulos
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)

Breaking from past practice, the city has negotiated a shorter-term license renewal with Charter Communications for the local cable television franchise.  City Manager Michael V. O’Brien said last night the term of the new deal is five years instead of 10. He contends a shorter-term contract is in the city’s best interest because technology, competition and regulations for the cable industry continue to evolve so rapidly.

He pointed out that competitors such as Verizon have expanded their presence in the cable industry during the past couple of years. He believes Verizon, and other companies, will eventually focus their attention on Worcester.  “The very fact that the city will facilitate the construction of a 20-mile fiber loop, complete with wireless towers, over the next two years will provide for new and exciting options for competition,” Mr. O’Brien said. “It is for these reasons that I believe a shorter term sets the stage for competition, above all else, to improve the range of services and price options for our citizens.”

Charter’s previous 10-year contract with the city expired in January 2007. It was extended six months to July 7, and when city officials failed to complete a new contract before that date, it was extended another six months.  Traditionally, the city has had 10-year contracts with cable franchise holders. But city councilors have urged the city manager to limit the length of this license renewal to no more than five years because of the rapid, ongoing changes in cable technology and competition.  The terms of the new cable contract are as follows:   —>

Port’s new TV studio set for May debut
Newburyport News (MA)

The Newburyport Community Media Center, which will broadcast both Comcast Channel 9 and Channel 10 from its location at 3 Graf Road in Newburyport, is nearing completion and will open to the public in early May.  The Community Media Center, which will also provide programming for the Newburyport schools and the city, is a nonprofit organization formed in 2006. The public will be invited to visit and explore the new facility during open houses planned for May.   —>

ICTV wins five (count ’em, FIVE) PEGASYS awards for excellence!
by Dianne
All Things Park (NY)

This just in from Peter Johanns, ICTV’s adviser:

ICTV received a total of 5 awards at this years PEGASYS awards for Cablecasting Excellence for the Public Access and Educational Access channels on Time Warner Cable in Tompkins county. Held on February 29, 2008, ICTV was nominated in 7 of the 10 categories.  ICTV received first place awards for B.S. Detectives in the Comedy/Variety category; NewsWatch 16 for the Public Affairs category; and The Race 2 for the Documentary category.

Additionally, The Race 2 and Bombers Football received the highest scores for educational access programming and will be submitted to the Hometown Video Festival, a national competition organized by the Alliance for Community Media held in Washington D.C this July.  (The Race 2 was the highest scoring program among all entrants in this year’s PEGASYS Awards.)

Congratulations to all of the ICTV students who worked hard and contributed to attain this recognition and achievement!  Ditto from the dean: CONGRATULAIONS to you all!

Community radio in India set to go global
by Piya Kochhar
OneWorld South Asia

[ comments allowed ]

Steve Buckley is excited by the scope of CR in India and has plenty of wisdom to share from his 25-year love affair with radio that he began in Cambridge, as a pirate broadcaster. Piya Kochhar, co-founder of News Radio India, speaks to him.

Piya Kochhar: Why radio? What draws you to this?

Steve Buckley: Radio is an extraordinarily accessible medium. It’s a medium that’s immediate, easy to use, and low-cost. What I discovered during my pirate broadcasting days, was that it was not so difficult to actually become a radio broadcaster. I mean we didn’t really pay any money to start our radio station. We just cobbled together a few easily accessible bits of electronics, built a transmitter, and went on the air.  So I realised that broadcasting didn’t have to be medium of the elite. It didn’t have to be something inaccessible.  We could actually take control of this media; we could appropriate it for community use. And that’s what really inspired me and continues to do so every time I visit a local community radio project. I see people doing extraordinarily inspiring things.   —>

TV from the Future
Former Hartford Public Access Television maven J. Stan McCauley has launched what he claims is the world’s first broadband television network
by Daniel D’Ambrosio
Hartford Advocate (CT)

[ comments allowed ]

J. Stan McCauley, the former executive director of Hartford Public Access Television and a candidate for mayor in last fall’s election until he was swept away by the Eddie Perez tidal wave, has launched his own television network on the Internet, which he says is a first.  Technically it’s called hypermedia portal alternative television, but you can just call it, McCauley’s online address. (Have a look.)

McCauley says he had a flash of inspiration for the network soon after he joined the ranks of the unemployed in early December, after more than 20 years at Hartford Public Access Television. The inspiration came while sitting at a traffic light with a friend who was driving the car.  “I thought to myself, ‘What am I good at? I’m good at building small television stations from the ground up,'” McCauley said. “It just hit me all at once, why not do local origination programming and give it a worldwide footprint on the Web.”   —>

IFJ Calls for United Nations “Urgent Action” Over Deadly Media Crisis in Iraq
Media for Freedom

The International Federation of journalists today called on the Secretary General of the United Nations to lead new efforts by the international community in defence of journalists and media in Iraq following the death last week of Shihab Al-Timimi, the President of the Iraqi Union of Journalists.

In a letter to UN chief Bang Ki-moon, the IFJ President and General Secretary say that the United Nations must raise its voice to protect journalists and media in Iraq and to encourage more effective action by the government of Iraq and those UN states who have pledged to bring about peace and reconciliation in the country.  “A timely statement of support from the United Nations for Iraqi journalism will show that the international community stands alongside the community of journalists in these dark days,” says the IFJ.

The IFJ, which has also written to Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki, says the UN must support the Iraqi Union of Journalists (IUJ) and their campaign for safety, it must do more to put pressure on governments to defend independent media and it must reinforce efforts through the groundbreaking Security Council Resolution 1738 on journalists’ safety to find and prosecute those who are targeting and killing media workers.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, cable vs telco, community media, community radio, freedom of the press, Internet TV, PEG access TV, press freedom, public access television, video contest, video franchising

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