Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/09/08

An Act Concerning Community Access Television
by Pua Ford
Woodbridge Government Access (CT)

The state legislature meets in short session this year–closing in early May–so everything moves fast. Last year a law was passed to get the AT&T video service started. This year, the Energy & Technology committee started a bill to amend that, to correct some things regarding community access TV. A hearing on the bill (and 18 others) was held on 3/7.  The state public affairs channel, Connecticut Network, recorded the entire 14-hour hearing–viewable on their website. HB 5814 takes up almost 4 hours at the beginning.

Government access–the main concern here for Woodbridge at this time–is only one branch of community access. The others are educational (channel 78 for Woodbridge cable subscribers) and public (channel 77). Sometimes we say “PEG access” because it’s easier.  There is a comparison of PEG access on cable and on the U-Verse here. Be patient, it takes time to launch. It’s interesting.

Bill would give TV viewers more choice
by Bill O’Boyle
Times Leader (PA)

[ 2 comments; one below ]

Peter and Sylvia Reiss like to watch certain television channels, like Hallmark and The History Channel.  But to get those stations, they have to buy a special package from their cable company or satellite provider. They think that’s unfair.  “These companies have the market pretty much sewn up, and that’s not fair to consumers,” Peter Reiss said. “I think if I’m paying for the service, I should be able to choose which channels I want to watch.”  The Sugarloaf Township couple, along with most consumers in Pennsylvania, don’t have a choice when it comes to cable providers…

A bill pending in the state Legislature seeks to change that. House Bill 1490, introduced by state Rep. Todd Eachus, D-Butler Township, would allow consumers to choose their cable television provider, programming and service level. It proposes state oversight of an industry that currently offers customers no independent arbitrators when disputes occur.  “This proposal is all about giving the public a voice and giving the public the chance to get informed about expanding their power to choose,” Eachus said…

Opponents say the legislation isn’t needed; they maintain the current system is working. Attorney Daniel S. Cohen of Pittsburgh, who represents approximately 250 municipalities in Pennsylvania in cable and telecommunications matters, testified at the Feb. 7 committee hearing on the bill, arguing against statewide franchising.  “In short, House Bill 1490 would undermine municipal franchising authority, eliminate consumer service standards, potentially decelerate the build-out of competitive networks, reduce franchise fee revenue and accountability for municipalities’ legal exposure, and weaken enforcement of cable operator violations,” Cohen testified…

Comment on Article: Akbar Mytie, March 9, 2008 at 9:08 AM:
You folks had best be careful what you wish for. This “promise” is still getting a lot of attention among people who don’t know any better, but a growing body of evidence is showing that these efforts to give viewers “choice,” are worse than pipe dreams, they are ham-handed attempts to further screw the consumer.

Public Access Video on FCC Hearing
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition (MA)

[ comments allowed ]

Somerville Community Access Television Executive Director Wendy Blom produced this short video (12 min 11 sec) above from the February 25 FCC hearing on Broadband Network Management Practices at the Harvard Law School.  The video, found online at SCAT’s Vlog!, includes some of the voices not heard by the FCC during the hearing on the controversial issue of network neutrality.   —>

Kingston Resident Donates $500 to KPA
by Jeremy Blaber
Blaber’s News and Commentary (NY)

[ 1 comment ]

I received a call on Thursday from a friend of mine that has decided to donate $500 to Kingston Public Access TV. The donor wants to remain anonymous and is a concerned resident of the 8th Ward in the City of Kingston. The generous donation was prompted after hearing “disappointing commentary” about funding KPA from Alderman Teetsel on Kingston Community Radio last week. I thank this donor for supporting Kingston Public Access!

Money Raised So Far:  $ 5000.00 Town of Ulster; $ 500.00 Supervisor Nick Woerner; $ 250.00 Councilman Eric Kitchen; $ 500.00 Private Donor. Total= $6250.00

With a bare bones budget of $9000.00, only $2750 is needed to keep KPA open this year… make sure that you call your local township and ask them to support your local access station.   —>

So you want to be a DJ…
Radio dreams bring eclectic tastes to Portsmouth Community Radio training session
by Dan Lorenz (NH)

For fans of low-power community radio, expect big things in the near future.  A recent training session at WSCA 106.1 FM in Portsmouth drew more than 20 DJ hopefuls, each representing unique talents, experiences and musical interests.

YOUR TURN: Do you want to be on the radio?  WSCA is holding another Training Module 1 on April 17 at 7 p.m. For information, visit

With ideas ranging from bluegrass to a “conservative talk show run by liberals,” the trainees all appeared eager to have a shot at running their own radio program.  Jason Brown, a DJ with the station since it first began broadcasting in 2004, says that this year’s training group represents a chance for new, unique programs.  “We have people from all ages, and all interests. There are all kind of opportunities,” Brown said. “We love bringing different people in and gaining a sense of community.”

Brown is no stranger to the dedication needed to operate an all-volunteer radio program. As a student at the University of New Hampshire, Brown volunteered at WUNH, the university’s low-power station. For six months, Brown held a nightly show from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.  “That might have caused me to skip some classes,” Brown said.

The experienced DJ offers additional advice to new members.  “None of us here are pros by any stretch,” Brown said. “We don’t expect you to become Casey Kasem right off the bat. Each programmer and DJ has their own style and nuances.”

Bjorn Turnquist, general manager of Portsmouth Community Radio, says that he is impressed with how many people attended the training session.  “It’s unbelievable that we have this turnout,” Turnquist said. “It’s helping us really get on the map.”  Portsmouth Community Radio began broadcasting on Sept. 12, 2004, completely through an all-volunteer effort. Today, with the aid of a 25-foot radio transmitter on the top of The Music Hall, the station reaches a wide listening audience in the Seacoast area. The station is also streamed live on the station’s Web site.   —>

Marshall Economics Professor Returns to Huntington on TV
World Bank Retiree now Producing Public Access Television (WV)

After a 39 year absence, former Marshall University faculty member and student Tom Hoopengardner has returned to Huntington, at least figuratively, via cable television. Hoopengardner produces “America’s Best Student Shorts”, a weekly, half-hour program that now appears on Comcast Cable TV Channel 20 (Huntington Public Access TV) on Thursday nights at 9:30 P.M. and 12:30 A.M..

America’s Best Student Shorts showcases “shorts” –short films and videos — produced by college students from all over the U.S. The program has been running on sixty campus and public access television stations from coast to coast, and Huntington’s Comcast Channel 20 becomes the sixty-first. America’s Best Student Shorts celebrates the creativity, energy and imagination that college film and video students are pouring into class projects and MFA theses. The short movies featured include all genres: drama, comedy, animation, biography, documentary, and even music videos. “The one thing they all have in common,” Hoopengardner explained, “Is that they are enormously entertaining.”

Public access TV channels provide air time non-commercial programming of all descriptions. The program content is usually created by grassroots producers — artists, entertainers, filmmakers, civic groups, non-profit organizations, churches, etc. In the Huntington area, public access programming is aired daily between 8pm and 10 p.m. on Comcast Channel 20, and the daily program block later repeats between 11 p.m. and 1 am. “Huntington Public Access TV is available to everyone,” said Richard Bartram, the public access TV community liaison who has championed public access television in the Huntington viewing area. “Yet participation has been very limited so far. Hopefully, community involvement will increase in many ways, including greater participation by Marshall students.”   —>

Lisa Beatman: A poet for the unsung workers of the Ames Safety Envelope Factory
Off The Shelf by Doug Holder
Somerville News (MA)

[ comments allowed ]

Lisa Beatman has penned a new poetry collection “Manufacturing America: Poems from the Factory Floor ( Ibbetson Press) that was inspired by her stint as an Adult Literacy teacher at the Ames Safety Envelope Factory in Somerville.

Beatman, after being outsourced from the factory, now manages the adult literacy program at the Harriet Tubman House in Boston. She has won honorable mention for the 2004 Miriam Landberg International Poetry Peace Prize, and was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant, as well as a fellowship to Sacatar Institute in Brazil. Her work has appeared in Lonely Planet, Lilith, Harvard Pacific Review, Rhino, Ibbetson Street and others. Her first collection of poetry was titled “Ladies Night at the Blue Hill Spa.” I spoke with Beatman on my Somerville Community Access TV show “Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer.”   —>

Newspapers Must Innovate or Die
by J.D. Lasica
Mediashift Idea Lab

[ comments allowed ]

—>   On Friday,’s David Cohn pointed to Clay Shirky’s new book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, and quoted this excerpt from Shirky’s book:

“A good deal of user-generated content isn’t actually “content” at all, at least not in the sense of material designed for an audience. Instead, a lot of it is just part of a conversation.

“Mainstream media has often missed this, because they are used to thinking of any group of people as an audience. Audience, though, is just one pattern a group can exist in; another is community. Most amateur media unfolds in a community setting, and a community isn’t just a small audience; it has a social density, a pattern of users talking to one another, that audiences lack. An audience isn’t just a big community either; it’s more anonymous, with many fewer ties between users. Now, though, the technological distinction between media made for an audience and media made for a community is evaporating; instead of having one kind of media come in through the TV and another kind come in through the phone, it all comes in over the internet.”

University of Florida new media professor Mindy McAdams chimed in :

“Newspapers used to be centered in communities. Now they are mostly not. People in much of North America don’t even live in communities.  Is this why newspapers are dying? Because there are no communities? …  It’s about what Shirky said: Audiences are not the same as communities, and communities are made up of people talking to one another.  What does a community need? How should journalists supply what communities need?”

Indeed, this is perhaps the key question for the survival of newspapers, but one that’s rarely heard in newsrooms or corporate media offices.  I was once optimistic about the resiliency of newspapers and the promise of their online news divisions. But that optimism has faded as media companies circle the wagons and hunker down, intent on shoring up short-term profits with few attempts to boldly experiment.

A handful of exceptions like the Beat Blogging project — a collaboration among 13 news organizations to determine how social networks can improve beat reporting — only prove the rule. The Mercury News seemed on course to embrace a new direction with its Next Newsroom Project, coming to Duke University on April 3-4. I hope I’m proved wrong, but the odds appear stacked against the paper’s Denver-based corporate owners embracing the kinds of still-evolving, far-reaching, disruptive changes on the table at Next Newsroom.

Most of the innovation in news continues to occur outside of the newspaper industry, ranging from Digg, Newsvine, NowPublic and Facebook (rivers of personalized news) to Placeblogger’s list of citizen media sites and David Cohn’s citizen newspaper network BrooWaha.   —>

10 Promotion Opportunities for Mitt This Week 3/9
by unitethegop
Romney for VP

[ comments allowed ]

I’ve numbered and listed some ways you can help this week.  If you are able to attend to any or some of them please post the status of your task via comment. Let’s accomplish as many of these as possible.  I would love to see hundred comments that say, “I’ve finished number …..”

—> 5. Gather free use video footage (not copyrighted) and photos of Romney and McCain that we could use to argue our position for Romney as the best possible choice for VP, and  make YouTube and Google videos to post on these sites and Public Access Cable TV.

6. Be a dedicated Radio Talk Show caller.  Try to get on with Rush, Coulter, Beck, Hannity, Ingram and other Conservative talk shows who supported Mitt.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, cable vs telco, citizen journalism, citizen media, community radio, election programming, FCC, government access, net neutrality, PEG access TV, public access television, user-generated content, video franchising, youth media

One Comment on “Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/09/08”

  1. […] year??closing in early May??so everything moves fast. Last year a law was passed to get the AT&a baseball, prep softball, arena football The Toledo BladePrep […]

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