Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/08/08

New public-access TV law comes with a price
by Samiha Khanna
The Durham News (NC)

East Durham resident Mattie Rouse doesn’t have a car, and can’t get around that easily on foot. So she doesn’t get to Greater Joy Baptist Church much anymore to see the bishop.  But she’s hopeful she’ll continue to be able to see him on cable Channel 8. Greater Joy’s Bishop James Daniel is one of several ministers in Durham who have been broadcasting their sermons on Durham’s public-access channel for nearly 20 years for free. Many of the shows are broadcast on Sundays and repeated during the week.  “That is my source of comfort and my source for healing,” said Rouse, 69, who suffers from arthritis. “That’s what keeps me going.”

Those sermons, as well as talk shows and other public-access programming that airs on cable Channel 8, were threatened earlier this year due to recent changes in cable franchise laws.  The city and county agreed this week, however, to continue public access. But what used to be aired for free will now cost taxpayers about $12,000 a month.  The change is due to a law established by the Legislature in 2006 that 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.

Ministers and other public-access providers used to be able to go into Time Warner’s local studios on East Club Boulevard to learn how to operate cameras, edit tape and make television. Now local shows must be produced independently and submitted to Time Warner to be reviewed, scheduled and aired.   —>

Local TV channel a hot topic for Kankakee County Board
by Scott Boehmer
Daily-Journal (IL)

[ comments allowed ]

A Kankakee County public access television channel continues to draw interest, but questions remain about how to best proceed.  Kankakee County Board members will vote next week on whether to have the state’s attorney’s office notify Comcast of the county’s intent to establish a public access channel. The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the fourth-floor board room of the Kankakee County Administration Building, 189 E. Court St.

Kankakee County Board member Ann Bernard proposed the resolution, which has been recommended for approval by the County Board’s Development and Operations Committee.  But Bernard’s motion was not supported by committee Chairman Sam Nicholos. He said the move was unnecessary, as he planned to contact Comcast personally and communicate to them about what the county intends to do.

Nicholos also says officials should look at all possible ways a channel can be established, not just a public access channel. The committee’s recommendation specifies the county intends to set up a public access channel.  Either a public access, educational or government access channel could be set up. Kankakee currently has a government access channel used primarily for community announcements. The only public access channel in Kankakee County is in Manteno.

The county plans to work with municipalities to create a channel serving the entire county, Nicholos said. Kankakee Mayor Don Green has expressed an interest in the idea, he said.  “It should be everybody’s channel. It shouldn’t just be the county’s channel,” Nicholos said.  However, Bernard argues the channel should start with the county and build from there.  “If we wait for everyone to come on board, it’s going to be a way to delay the issue,” Bernard said. “But there’s nothing wrong with the county being the umbrella organization.”   —>

More TV providers invited
by Chris Caesar
Daily Pilot (CA)


Costa Mesa Mayor Eric Bever has taken a step toward welcoming more competition for the city’s cable TV company, Time Warner.  Bever recently asked city staff to draft a letter inviting telecommunications providers to do business with the city.  Many local customers have been complaining about Time Warner service, the city’s major provider of cable television, he said.  Residents have griped about inadequate customer service and irregular television service to the City Council.  A Time Warner spokeswoman said that the company would “welcome competition,” but added that it already competes with other providers, such as AT&T, for residents’ television services.

Bever disagreed, saying that the playing field will be level only if all providers are granted Time Warner’s level of access to local programming and public access TV — a reason Bever cites that many people, including himself, choose to stay with Time Warner over other providers.  “Time Warner has a monopoly on our city feed — it’s the only agency providing that service and, as surprising as it may be, a lot of people choose that cable provider because they want to get city programming,” he said.   —>

Cape Ann TV holds open house
by All Hands
Gloucester Daily Times (MA)

Cape Ann TV, community cable channels 12 and 67, is holding an open house Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. to show off its newly renovated facility, located at 38 Blackburn Park. The site will be open for tours at that time.

A special video presentation will showcase the work of public access producers and volunteers. A short, informational program about Cape Ann TV will take place at 6 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome to this free event.  A number of musicians affiliated with the local station will add to the festivities, including jazz by Ed Carfano and the musicians of his Channel 12 program “Stardust;” the acoustic music of Daisy Nell and Capt. Stan with their band, Crabgrass; and Henri Smith, producer of “N’Awlins East,” who will perform as part of a jazz trio.

Cape Ann TV is the name by which Cape Ann Regional Cable Television Public Access Corp. is commonly known. The corporation is the new, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that took over operations in August of the public access television station that serves the city of Gloucester and the towns of Rockport, Essex, and Manchester.   —>

Guyana gov’t violation of press freedom continues – Media groups
Jamaica Gleaner (Jamaica)

The Media Association of Jamaica (MAJ) and the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) have noted that the withdrawal of ads from Stabroek News by some 29 government ministries, agencies and state-owned corporations, which commenced in November 2006, continues.  Indeed, the boycott has been extended to ads placed by the auditor general, the police force and the Guyana Defence Force.  The MAJ and the PAJ said they deplore the continuation of this withdrawal of ads by the government of Guyana and condemn it as an attack on press freedom, designed to punish Stabroek News for its independence and critical editorial coverage of the government.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

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

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