Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/05/08

Public access may be hard to access on U-verse
by George Moore (CT)

[ comments allowed ]

WALLINGFORD – The ability to find public access shows while channel surfing will play a central role in a struggle between public access advocates and AT&T’s new television service, U-verse.  U-verse will group all of the state’s community access channels under one U-verse channel, channel 99. After selecting 99, viewers could choose their desired public access program from a menu.

Not offering public access on a regular “surfable” channel will be detrimental, said Scott A. Hanley, manager of Wallingford Government Access Television. He said many people like to flip quickly between public access and other channels.  “This would just be an added obstacle to try to bring people to view the channel,” he said.

New take on an old lesson
by David Callender
The Capital Times (WI)

Adults of a certain age may recall the 1970s children’s TV series “Schoolhouse Rock” that set lessons in American history, civics and other topics to a catchy rock beat.  And, of all the episodes on the show, probably one of the best known was “Just a Bill,” featuring a talking piece of legislation that showed how a bill becomes a law.

Now with the help of Madison cartoonist Mike Konopacki and musician Peter Leidy, the reform-minded Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has turned the classic lesson into a more jaded look at contemporary politics called “Statehouse Crock.”  The video on the group’s Web site ( shows how it sees special interests rigging the legislative process and keeping ordinary citizens like “Just Bill, I’m only Bill” from getting access to lawmakers.,,

Cable applications

In the wake of a new law deregulating the state’s cable TV industry, five cable firms have already filed applications to provide TV service to Wisconsin consumers.  And one of them — AT&T, which led the deregulation effort — has already had its application approved by the Department of Financial Institutions, the pro-deregulation group TV4US announced Tuesday.

The remaining applicants include other major industry players: Charter Communications, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and CenturyTel.  Advocates of deregulation argued that the bill would open the state up to more competition between cable providers. Under the old state law, cable providers had near-exclusive access to operate under franchise agreements with each community.

In a response to the group’s announcement, the Wisconsin Alliance of Cities said it is “imperative” that communities where the cable companies are seeking to locate contact the state and identify the terms of their old franchise agreements. The old agreements required cable companies to help pay for community programming — known as public, educational and government channels — in exchange for the right to operate.

“Failing to provide information on the number of PEG channels, PEG support and franchise fees to a video provider within 10 days of receiving notice of its application could lead to dire consequences: loss for months of community access and government channels and franchise fees,” the alliance warned.

KREX Rising
by John Linko
John Linko (CO)

[ comments allowed ]

—>   The quarterly membership meeting of Grand Valley Peace and Justice is tonight at 7:00 PM at the St. Joseph Church offices at 3rd and White, across the street from the church. The group’s meeting announcement indicated a discussion on alternative media will be part of the agenda.  This will hopefully include the development of a working group with certain benchmarks to achieve, and one of those will hopefully be persuading the City of Grand Junction to request the activation of their PEG Access Channel on the basic cable tier, which is part of the City’s current franchise agreement with Bresnan.

The recent developments surrounding the partial resurrection of KREX, through cooperation between media outlets, the sharing of equipment and space, and the rapid deployment of alternative programming sources, displays very well the level of expertise and goal-oriented thinking present in our local media and educational institutions.

What’s to stop the development of a coalition of these groups and outlets to provide for the space, equipment, organization, and administration of a community public access channel in Grand Junction? The answer to this and many other questions may make themselves better known starting this evening. Such a resource is long overdue in our community, as there are successfully-run examples ( of such stations in smaller cities and towns across the Western Slope.   —>

Jackson examines its cable contract
by Fraidy Reiss
Asbury Park Press (NJ)


For four years now, Cablevision has done business in this town without a franchise agreement to regulate the company’s presence here.  Soon, that might change. The Township Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday evening at the municipal building on a proposed 15-year agreement it has reached with the cable company. If the council approves the deal, it will head to the state Board of Public Utilities for review.

The town has been negotiating with Cablevision on and off since the previous franchise licensing agreement expired in December 2003. A major sticking point was the town’s insistence that the cable provider keep its discount for low-income seniors at 25 percent off basic cable-television rates.  Under the proposed deal, the senior discount would remain at 25 percent. Additionally, Cablevision would give Jackson a $7,500 grant the first year of the agreement and $4,300 per year for the next 14 years, for the town to use for any cable- or telecommunications-related purpose.  The deal also calls for Cablevision to give Jackson its own public-access channel.

Councilman Scott Martin said he would like to see that channel in place by summer. It would be used to broadcast community calendars, school events and advertising for local not-for-profits, he said. “To get information out to the public about what’s going on in town,” he explained.  Children would be thrilled to see their school events on television, added Councilwoman Emily Ingram, who predicted the public-access channel would “bring the town together.”   —>

Council happy cable pact is shorter
Five years is time for innovations
by Nick Kotsopoulos
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)


City councilors last night applauded the new cable television deal the city has struck with Charter Communications, saying its shorter-than-usual term will benefit local consumers in the long run.  The councilors are betting that by the time the cable license renewal runs its course, technological advances in the cable field will reach the point in which additional companies may be interested in coming to Worcester to provide service.  They believe such competition would not only help lower cable rates, but also improve service and programming…

Traditionally, the city has had 10-year contracts with cable franchise holders. But city councilors had urged City Manager Michael V. O’Brien 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.   —>

Net benefit
Cable pact charts course to fiber-optic forefront
Worcester Telegram & Gazette  (MA)

[ comments allowed ]

The most intriguing aspect of Worcester’s new five-year cable television contract is not what is in it but what is to be taken out.  For Charter Communications customers, the changes are apt to be largely invisible. The key elements are equipment upgrades for the public access, education and government channels and provisions to smooth the transition of the PEG channels to the digital tier over the next year.

In a radical departure, however, the city’s cable-based “institutional network,” owned and operated by Charter, will be phased out under the new contract. I-NET, the city’s communications link since 1993, was a technological leap forward in its day, but it now is inadequate for the city’s communications and business needs.

Replacing the I-NET will be a 20-mile fiber-optic loop linking about 100 municipal and school buildings. The cost of installing and operating the new network will be borne by a vendor to be selected through a bidding process. The vendor will recoup the cost by selling the vast excess capacity of the fiber-optic loop to public and private entities. Fees paid by the city for use of the network are to be offset by savings resulting from the phaseout of its existing infrastructure.

It would be only a slight exaggeration to say the change will be a revolution in municipal communications. The high-speed/high broadband network will transmit all forms of data, including e-mail and telephone links. It also will be available for security and energy-management monitoring, fire detection, wireless technology and more.   —>

An urgent call: Give us broadband, Vermont towns say
by Daniel Barlow
The Barre Montpelier Times Argus (VT)

[ comments allowed ]

Vermont voters sent a clear message to the world of high-speed Internet Tuesday: We want in.  Voters in at least 19 towns approved non-binding resolutions to join in a regional effort to bring high-speed Internet via fiber-optic to their homes during town meetings held early this week and over the weekend.  In all on Tuesday, at least 13 towns approved the resolution to join the East Central Vermont Community Fiber Network and organizers of the effort anticipate a full sweep of the more than 20 towns that had the item on their agenda once all the results were in.   —>

A Conversation with Laurie from the Community Media Center
by Marie-Claire
Digital Inclusion in Grand Rapids, MI

[ comments allowed ]

On Thursday, I had a brief but interesting lunch conversation with Laurie from the Community Media Center here in Grand Rapids.  We first discussed some of the CMC programs in place for area nonprofits and residents, and then talked about a new program coming out once the city gets its WiMax working. It’s in charge of eventually processing and granting up to 5% of the area’s residents discounted rates on WiMax. They have also taken the task of traveling to local schools and talking about the available WiMax discount to schools.

So there will be education about our new wireless access, and discounted rates from an organization in the city. I’m not meaning for that to sound small, I mean for it to sound like a step in the right direction.  I explained to Laurie about our project idea. I talked about the pilot program, the gaps in the system, and some other stuff we’re working on. She seemed genuinely excited. She all but volunteered a venue for the pilot program when I explained some of our current stumbling blocks.   —>

Community for Hope develops TV series
by Aldrich M. Tan
The Northwestern (WI)

[ comments allowed ]

Lisa McLaughlin said she’s always a little nervous before going on camera.  However, the topic of bullying prevention programs is an important and familiar topic for the South Park Middle School principal so it was very easy for her to talk.  McLaughlin’s interview will be part of a television series that Community for Hope of Oshkosh is producing with the help of Oshkosh Community Media Services. It is part of a six-part series that started airing last month and will feature area people addressing mental health issues and suicide, executive director Mary VanHaute said.   —>

Obama Speaks Part 6
The 411 Show (TX)

[ comments allowed ]

Obama makes his campaign stop in San Antonio Texas for the 2008 primary election. Part 6. This clip aired on San Antonio Public Access TV.

Oregon Law Librarians (back) on TV: Topic: Family Law
by Laura Orr
Oregon Legal Research

[ comments allowed ]

On Thursday, February 28, 2008, from 8-9 p.m., the Clackamas County Law Librarian, and I, the Washington County Law Librarian, appeared again on “Legally Speaking” with the host of the show, attorney Jim Hilborn. The subject was family law. (We also sent some photos from this show into the AALL Day in the Life contest so stay tuned.)

Some of the legal information sites we talked about included: OJD Family Law website;  Legal Aid Services of Oregon; Oregon State Bar public information; Oregon Council of County Law Libraries (OCCLL) Directory.

Legally Speaking is a call-in cable public-access TV show that airs live on the 4th Thursday of each month, out of the TVCTV studios in Beaverton, Oregon and is rebroadcast at different times throughout the month on Portland metro-area cable access channels, Channel 11 or 23.   —>

Video Jam to Air at Drake University, Iowa
by Tracy

[ comments allowed ]

Video Jam, WCCA TV ‘s local originated music video show, created by Mauro DePasquale and hosted by Tracy Foley, has been asked to present their show on the Residence Life Channel 7 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa! Video Jam has produced over 500 shows since 1992 and it is seen not only in Massachusetts, but New Hampshire, California, North Dakota, and now Iowa!

Stars Shine in Sunshine Week Print, Broadcast Public Service Ads
American Society of Newspaper Editors
The Earth Times

[ no comments ]

A series of broadcast and print public service ads featuring 13 actors, who are high-profile members of The Creative Coalition, speaking about the importance of open and accountable government has been produced for Sunshine Week, March 16-22, and can be used throughout the election season in conjunction with the Sunshine Campaign. The PSAs were developed by the Radio-Television News Directors Association and Foundation, and the American Society of Newspaper Editors, in cooperation with The Creative Coalition, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.   —>,303943.shtml
~ Offers Unprecedented Access to Local Information for Every Town in America
Network of “Community Webspaces” Provides a Better Way for People To Find and Share Local Content Online
Business Wire
03/05/08 LLC today raised the bar in the hyperlocal space by launching a new version of This version, which features a new and unique “community webspace” for each town in America, lets local residents find and share an unprecedented combination of local information: community events, local news, train schedules, charitable organizations, local videos, farmers’ markets, jobs, real estate, privacy protection, “sales and savings,” local services and a host of online and previously offline community resources.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, cable vs telco, community wireless, election programming, FOI, Freedom of Information, hyper-local, hyperlocal, institutional network, municipal broadband, municipal WiMax, PEG access TV, public access television, rural broadband, U-Verse, Uncategorized, video franchising, WiMAX

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: