Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/06/08

NATOA Survey: Impact of State Video Services Legislation
Early Results Do Not Evidence Sufficient Competitive Benefits

Alexandria, VA – The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) today released results of a preliminary survey it conducted among its members to obtain a snapshot of the impact state video services legislation has had to date on communities and subscribers. While state video franchising is still a relatively new concept, the survey posed questions regarding its effects on competition, rates and services, PEG (Public, Educational and Governmental) access, and consumer complaints. Responses came from 14 of the states which have adopted state video legislation. A total of 139 Local Franchising Authorities (LFAs), representing 10 million cable subscribers (15% of cable subscribers nationwide), participated in the survey.

The results of the survey indicate that incumbent cable providers are taking advantage of the change in law, with one third of respondents indicating that the incumbent had abandoned its local franchise for one issued by the state. New entrants are seeking only state franchises. In franchise areas affected by state legislation, 27% of participants report one new entrant, and 6% report more than one new entrant in operation. Thirty-five percent (35%) of LFAs report the new entrant has not built anything; 48% report the new entrant has built out to part of the community; while only 18% report that the new entrant is in the process of or has built out to the entire community.

…Read the Executive Summary of the Survey Here (pdf).
Contact: Libby Beaty, Executive Director, 703-519-8035

Middleboro seeks answers from cable companies
by Eileen Reece
Enterprise (MA)

Comcast and Verizon representatives have been invited to meet March 17 with selectmen.  Verizon and Comcast officials have been invited by selectmen to address numerous complaints from residents.  Although Verizon began installing FIOS cable two years ago, selectmen Chairwoman Marsha L. Brunelle said some residents had questions as to when they would receive coverage and selectmen wanted to know when the town would have access to public education and government (PEG) coverage.   —>

Video system would cost Taneytown at least $72,000
by Carrie Ann Knauer
Carroll County Times (MD)


If the Taneytown City Council chooses to purchase its own video system to tape and broadcast city meetings on the county’s municipal channel on Comcast, it can expect to pay at least $72,000.  Tony Hooper, operations manager from the Community Media Center, explained that each bid package included two video cameras, a new audio system for City Hall, two LCD televisions to display presentations and a control board that would allow someone in the building to operate the cameras. The bids ranged from $72,000 to $84,000, with the prices varying for different quality levels of cameras.   —>

Glitch puts hitch in JoCo’s cable television debut
by Finn Bullers
Prime Buzz: Kansas City Star (KS)


Some local government junkies were disappointed today when they were unable to tune in this morning’s Johnson County commission meeting from the comfort of their own home televisions.  Time Warner cable subscribers were unable to find the commission meeting on Channel 2 after technical and equipment glitches blocked the public access signal from being aired, county officials said. Time Warner covers much of northern and central Johnson County.  But Comcast Channel 7 in Olathe carried the signal, as did the county’s Web site.

The county spent more than $650,000 on technology and remodeling in an effort to better communicate with residents and become more transparent in showing the public how decisions are made. The idea has been kicked around for at least three years.  The problems are expected to be worked out by next week’s meeting.   —>

Flaherty proposes comment rules
by Bobby Gates
Beverly Citizen (MA)

[ comments allowed ]

Changes to the 15-minute public comment period at the start of each City Council meeting would bar personal attacks — including on City Council members — and political speech supporting or opposing candidates for public office.  Those are among several rules being considered to regulate, and make official, a tradition of allowing the public to speak at the beginning of City Council meetings.  When possible changes were discussed in January, councilors said the most common problem with the public comment period is that speakers do not keep to the time limit.

The proposed rules allow each person to speak up to 2-½ minutes and limit the entire public-comment period to 15 minutes. The time would be filled on a first-come, first-served basis by signing up beforehand with City Clerk Fran Macdonald. The deadline to sign up would be noon on the Thursday before the City Council meeting.  The rules also would prohibit turning the comment time into a question-and-answer period and would limit the topics to issues that are pending before the City Council or are likely to come before the Council.

When Council President Tim Flaherty took over the council’s leadership earlier this year, he proposed moving the comment time to 6:45 p.m., which is 15 minutes before the usual start and before the broadcast begins on BevCam public access television.  But some councilors objected, saying the public time should be included in the meeting and be on TV.  Flaherty then said that the public-speaking time would be included within the meeting, but that he hoped to come up with a set of rules and procedures to handle it.   —>

Chicago Net2 Tuesdays – Starting March 11th (IL)

[ comments allowed ]

Join us, so Chicago can grow more technology savvy social change organizations that benefit our local communities.  Staff and volunteers of non-profits, web innovators, and any individuals pushing for change are encouraged to attend. Come tell us about your effort, your concerns, and what you need and want from a collective of like-minded individuals and organizations.

“Net Tuesday” meetings are a program of NetSquared whose mission is to spur responsible adoption of social web tools by social benefit organizations.  NetSquared is a project of TechSoup ( the technology place for nonprofits.   —>

FCC Hearing, February 25, 2008
SCAT Staff Vlog (MA)

[ comments allowed ]

An open hearing of the Federal Telecommunications Commission on the future of the Internet at Harvard Law School. Footage of the hearing and testimony of individuals about net neutrality. A project of Free Press and Somerville Community Access Television.

Access Somerville and Boston and Cambridge
Why we can’t stop watching cable access TV
by Carmen Nobel
The Boston Globe (MA)

It used to be that the thought of cable access shows garnered visions of shaky cameras, sewer commission meetings, school lunch menus, and that “Wayne’s World” skit from “Saturday Night Live.” We’ve always known the shows were there, we just didn’t think they were good for much.

But in November, the Hollywood writers’ union went on strike, and suddenly, there was a dearth of new material on our favorite commercial stations. So, resourceful couch potatoes that we are, we ventured into the vast world of community television. And lo and behold, we found entertainment.

Thousands of cable access programs are produced in Greater Boston each year. There are news shows, like Boston’s “What’s up in Trinidad and Tobago?”; how-to shows, like Watertown’s “Drawing With Fred”; art review shows, like Cambridge’s “Bitchin’ About Movies”; and yes, hundreds of hours of droning talk shows that double as insomnia cures.   —>

Hungry Critics
by Rob Kendt
The Wicked Stage

[ comments allowed ]

From my erstwhile LA Weekly colleague Steven Mikulan comes an alternately hilarious and horrifying piece about critics who eat, drink, and otherwise embarrass themselves at openings. There’s too much dirt in it to quote much, but this is a typical anecdote:

“I had a classic message on my machine when I was representing a free holiday celebration,” says one longtime publicist. “This somebody asked for backstage passes so he could go into the greenroom, where the refreshments were. And for this, he’d write 300 words on his Web site. He used the word ‘refreshments’ three times.”

Apropos Playgoer’s recent point about the proliferation of under-qualified online amateurs crowding the field, Mikulan sums up the culprit(s) here:

Stuck at the bottom of what is literally a journalistic food chain are the writers whom publicists routinely describe as B-list or “second-tier” critics — reviewers for a vast, unincorporated territory of neighborhood broadsheets, ethnic tabloids, ad-for-review papers, student newspapers, public-access TV and radio programs, vanity zines, theater Web sites, and blogger-critics. This “B-list” has dramatically expanded its theater clout with the Internet, and, while the World Wide Web has democratized such formerly elite realms as political journalism, it has paradoxically reinforced the authority (some would say tyranny) of theater critics by increasing their numbers. The proliferation of reviewers has started a conversation in theater circles (as it has in film) as to who, exactly, is a legitimate critic and whether this proliferation weakens critical credibility.

STUDIO ONE: Applications for fall 2008 internships
School of Communication at the University of North Dakota

[ comments allowed ]

STUDIO ONE: Applications for fall 2008 internships are now being accepted for Studio One! UND students are encouraged to check out internship opportunities at or call 701-777-4346. Job descriptions and applications are available on the website. Applications for the fall 2008 semester are due March 19th at 4:30 p.m.

There are several positions available at Studio One including reporter, web designer, photographer, TV production crew, marketing staff, teleprompter operator, graphics and more. Studio One offers credit for students that are interested in the internship. Working at Studio One is a fantastic opportunity to build your resume, learn networking skills and gain professional experience.

Two New Versions of Miro: Sliced by Genre
by Dean Jansen


We have just launched two new versions of Miro: Food Edition and Christian Edition!  Each of the downloadable players comes pre-loaded with a handful of channels that relate to the respective community. With over 3,500 free channels in the Miro Guide, we think now is the perfect time to introduce a content-centered approach to internet TV.

These players make it really easy for a community to recommend internet TV that is totally relevant to its members. Furthermore, because Miro is free and open source software that empowers independent creators, these players are beneficial to both the viewers and the creators in the community.   —>

Many restrictions on media coverage of campaign for 9 March general elections
Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders calls on Spain’s political parties to respect press freedom and to stop imposing conditions that restrict journalists’ ability to gather, process and disseminate news in an independent manner. “Journalists should not be regarded as mere auxiliaries and news should not be regarded as political communication,” the organisation said.  The Spanish media have a long list of complaints about the restrictions imposed on their coverage of the 9 March general elections, ranging from limited access to candidates and bans on recording candidates’ addresses at rallies, to news conferences without questions.

Many Spanish journalists organisations are saying their freedom to report the news is being violated. In particular, they are criticising the control exercised by the two leading political parties, the Spanish Socialists Workers Party (PSOE) and the Popular Party (PP), over the way the press covers their election campaigns. Both state and privately-owned TV stations are allowed to film political rallies but not candidates. “We are puppets,” a journalist who follows PSOE told El País on 1 March.   —>

Zambia: Media Houses Lobby MPs
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)

[ comments allowed ]

Fourteen media organisations have appealed to members of Parliament (MPs) to reject the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI) Bill if it is not made public before being taken back to parliament.

The media organisations have also petitioned the Speaker of the National Assembly Amusaa Mwanamwambwa to order the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Mike Mulongoti to present to Parliament the names of Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) board for ratification.

Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) vice -president, Amos Chanda who was speaking at the media briefing yesterday said the MPs and individuals needed to support the cause for FOI . The 14 media organisations included the Press Association of Zambia (PAZA), Press Freedom Committee of The Post, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) – Zambia chapter, Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA), Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ) and Zambia Community Media Forum (ZaCoMef).

Others were Society for Senior Journalists, Catholic Media Association, PANOS Institute of Southern Africa, Commonwealth Press Union – Zambia Chapter, Southern African Editors Forum – Zambia chapter, Media Trust Fund (MTF) and Media Council of Zambia (MECOZ).

Mr Chanda further appealed to parliamentarians to repeal and amend other pieces of legislation that impinged on media freedom.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, cable vs telco, FCC, Freedom of Information, freedom of the press, government access, human rights, interconnection, Internet TV, municipal programming, net neutrality, PEG access TV, press freedom, public access television, social media, video franchising, Web 2.0

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