Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/18/08

Keeping the Public in Public Access TV
Senate Bill would exempt TV stations from bidding process.
by Jennifer Smith
The Molokai Dispatch (HI)

[ comments invited ]

Years of battles to keep Akaku Maui Community Television a true vehicle for freedom of speech will soon come to a head.  The State wants to put the job of providing public access television up for bid, a process which some say could take the community out of public media.

Public access stations in Hawaii hope to find shelter in the form of legislation. If passed, Senate Bill 1789 would exempt Public, Education and Government (PEG) access television stations from going to bid.  SB 1789 passed in the Senate and now heads to the House Finance Committee.  “This is the single most important event that has happened in the last 20 years, that if successful will preserve Molokai’s Akaku operation as we know it,” former Akaku board member DeGray Vanderbilt said.

For almost two decades, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) has held contracts with PEG access stations in each Hawaiian county. “PEG Access has a broad mission that involves community building, support for local programming and involvement of all of Hawaii’s diverse ethnic and cultural communities,” Milianai Trask said in a written testimony to the Senate.

In 2005 the Attorney General’s office advised the DCCA to regulate PEG stations under the state’s procurement code by creating a request for proposals (RFP). However, an abundance of protests and lawsuits filed by PEG access providers placed procurement procedures on hold and led to the development of SB 1789.  “PEG is not a commodity that should be bought or sold,” Trask said. The testimony echoes the view of hundreds of other concerned citizens who regularly enjoy programming on public access stations.

Opponents of the bill in the State Procurement Office (SPO) argue that the Hawaii Public Procurement Code should apply to PEG stations. “Open procurement procedures assure that the State obtains value, and potential vendors/contractors are treated fairly and that no preferential treatment is provided,” SPO administrator Aaron S. Fujioka said in his testimony.

However, supporters say the proposed procurement process would not be truly open to the public, and that it opens up the bid for the stations to special interests. “I can think of no PEG selection process any less “public” or more harmful to the concept of using the television medium to engage each other for the common good than the secret, inept, punative and breathtakingly destructive RFP process now being used by the DCCA and SPO,” Akaku CEO Jay April said in written testimony.   —>

Stayton City Council Considers More Local TV Programming
by Ken Cartwright
KENC Community Radio AM 1620 (OR)

[ comments invited ]

—>   The first presentation of the evening to the council, made by this reporter, regarded the need for a community access television system. In the presentation it was noted that the designated channel 19 that was set aside for this purpose is under-utilized.

For the past 3 months the only thing shown on it was a November county commissioners meeting. It was proposed that a local group of individuals take over the control and programming of this channel and produce and schedule both local, county and state programming of relevant television programs as well as using the cable access channel for the use of radio audio from our local community radio station KENC.   —>

Dartmouth Cable Television Airs Dept. Head Interviews on Town Ballot Questions
News from Dartmouth Public Libraries (MA)

[ comments invited ]

Local Cable’s access channel in Dartmouth, DCTV Channel 18, has begun airing interviews of Dartmouth town officials outlining the Override Questions on the April 1st 2008 ballot and the expected impact of a yes or no vote. Departments featured include: Council on Aging; Town Hall Departments; Department of Public Works; School Department; Police Department; Library; Park & Recreation.  View the Schedule for when these interviews air and learn more about the changes in town services that will result depending on the election.   —>

Push made for improved public access to government in N.J.
by Tom Hester, Jr.

[ comments invited ]

TRENTON, N.J. – Modernize rules for government bodies holding public meetings. Make copies of government records affordable. Create a law to require governments to show _ on television or via the Internet _ unedited broadcasts of all their meetings.  Such were the ideas touted Tuesday by New Jersey lawmakers and citizens looking to make it easier for citizens to learn what their elected officials are up to.

“Openness is a hallmark of democracy,” said Beth Mason, a Hoboken councilwoman and the president of The New Jersey Foundation for Open Government, which sponsored a Statehouse forum in conjunction with Sunshine Week, a nationwide effort by media organizations to draw attention to the public’s right to know.

Wayne Tarus doesn’t have to be convinced of such sentiment.  The state Supreme Court last year ruled the public has a right to videotape government meetings, a case that stemmed from Tarus’ efforts in 2000 to tape Pine Hill Borough Council meetings.  He was twice charged with disorderly persons offenses for taping meetings. He sued borough officials and won, but warned on Tuesday the fight for open government goes on.

Tarus said local governments could easily put their meetings on cable television, but chose against doing so to keep the public unaware of their activities.  “To them, ignorance is bliss and job security,” Tarus said.

Tarus called for legislation mandating public bodies televise public meetings, an idea Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, D-Union, said he has already been considering. Cryan noted how his hometown, Union Township, posts videos of meetings on its Web site.   —>–sunshineweek-newj0318mar18,0,4007044.story

Sunshine Week Arrives
OMB Watch

The week of March 17 marks the third annual national Sunshine Week, a nonpartisan campaign to promote openness in government and access to public records.

The core of Sunshine Week, led by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, is a massive coordinated media blitz around the country and across print, radio, and television to highlight the importance of government transparency and ongoing problems with the issue. As the annual event has become more established, many outside the journalism community have scheduled open government events to coincide with the week, including elected officials, public interest groups, schools, civic groups, and many others.

Sunshine Week is scheduled in March each year to coincide with James Madison’s birthday, who is celebrated as a strong proponent of open government among the Founding Fathers. This year’s Sunshine Week includes several prominent events and releases.   —>

Happy St. Patrick’s day, indeed.
by Anne (netmouse) (MI)

[ comments invited ]

I had a wonderful time last night at a house party celebrating the 10th anniversary of local band North. My favorite part was actually during the jam session post the North-only performances, when Jim Novak (a local poet and musician who runs a monthly open mic and is a terrific performer), whipped out some of his William Butler Yeats. It was wonderful…

Interested in the open mic idea?  There is an open mic each Tuesday night at Oz’s Music. On the FIRST Tuesday of each month, Jim Novak hosts “Songwriters Open Mic.” Performers are videotaped and edited for a community-access TV show seen weekly in Ann Arbor (also in Grand Rapids and other places). This open mic, and the TV show of the same name, are for original songs, played unplugged. “Songwriters Open Mic” is in its 10th year at Oz’s.   —>

Verizon’s fiber-optic rollout leaves cities behind
By Jon Chesto
The Patriot Ledger (MA)

If you’re wondering when your neighborhood will be graced with Verizon’s new fiber-optic wiring, you might get a sense of the timing from just looking out your window.  If you happen to live in a dense city neighborhood – especially one with underground wires and multifamily homes – you probably have a long wait ahead of you before Verizon’s FiOS trucks show up on your street.

Late last month, the telecom giant unveiled its FiOS plans for 2008 in Massachusetts. The company plans to add 30 communities to the list of places where it offers high-speed Internet and TV service over fiber-optic lines. However, only two of those 30 are cities. That follows two years in which Verizon has obtained TV franchises in 66 municipalities in the state – nearly all of them suburban towns.

As Verizon expands its FiOS service from Greater Boston to smaller towns in the outer suburbs, it is largely skipping over the big cities in its path. Sure, the company has wired Lynn and Lawrence. But residents in places like Quincy, Brockton and Boston have been left scratching their heads as their cities remain off Verizon’s lists for the third straight year.   —>

FCC Spectrum Auction Ends, Successfully
by Chloe Albanesius
PC Magazine

[ comments invited ]

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) much-hyped 700-MHz spectrum auction closed Tuesday after nearly eight weeks of continuous bidding with $19.6 billion in bids. Every block but the ill-fated public safety d-block reached their reserve prices, calling into question the future of public safety spectrum.   —>,2817,2277146,00.asp

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, community radio, election programming, FCC, FOI, Freedom of Information, freedom of the press, government access, municipal programming, PEG access TV, press freedom, public access television, spectrum auction, Sunshine Week

One Comment on “Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/18/08”

  1. […] 03/1808 comments invited Years of battles to keep Akaku Maui Community Television a true vehicle fo EUR ALL ON ONE PAGE EurwebKANYE’S EX ALEXIS ‘SAD’ OVER BREAKUP: Split attributed to […]

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