Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/08/08

Editorial: Mr. Fonfara’s Gaffe
Hartford Courant (CT)


State Sen. John Fonfara’s enthusiasm for bringing Connecticut consumers a competitive alternative to cable television is understandable.  As co-chairman of the General Assembly’s committee on energy and technology, he championed legislation last year allowing telecommunications companies generally, and AT&T specifically, to transmit TV programming over telephone lines.  But there’s a difference between acting in the broad public interest and behaving as a corporate promoter. Recently, Mr. Fonfara crossed that line.   —>,0,3539358.story

Save the Internet! Workshop on April 13th
by dfunk
Midpeninsula Community Media Center (CA)

Comcast has been caught blocking BitTorrent, Verizon has been caught blocking text messages, AT&T wants to inspect and filter Web traffic. These big companies’ efforts to discriminate online are crushing competition, slowing innovation, and endangering free speech. With so much at stake, it’s encouraging that the FCC’s first move is to quickly seek public feedback and expert counsel about the future of the Internet. It is rare for all five members of the Federal Communications Commission to leave Washington, D.C….

The FCC will be holding a hearing at Stanford University on April 17th and time is allotted for public comment. Come to the Media Center on Sunday, April 13th, 4-6pm to learn more about the issue, get trained on how to make the best of your 90 seconds, and tape a testimonial in advance. If you would like to come, please RSVP to Danielle Fairbairn by email: Danielle [at] communitymediacenter [dot] net .   —>

Swallows nests removed from Gavilan College
by Natalie Everett
Gilroy Dispatch (CA)

Gavilan Community College just isn’t big enough for students and birds, and the birds must go.  Swallows, which build mud nests under the eaves of campus buildings – most notably the Community Media Access Partnership building – and leave droppings on the grounds below, have long been a nuisance on campus. This year, campus officials decided to address the messy issue.  Officials hired a licensed contractor to remove the existing nests from the building on campus, and to add a netting that covers the eaves to prevent future nesting there…

Swallows nests have for years been a feature in the eaves of the buildings around campus. The problem is, [President] Kinsella said, the birds build their mud nests over the most high traffic areas on campus – like the Community Media Access Partnership building. [ emphasis added ~ rm ]

Wayne County schools will add new educational access channel
by Phyllis Moore
Goldsboro News-Argus (NC)

Wayne County Public Schools is closer to having an educational access TV channel, possibly as soon as the fall.  Olivia Pierce, executive director of community relations, media and technology, updated the Board of Education Monday night on what will be Channel 18 on the cable dial.

Discussion began several years ago but had stalled on acquiring access through the county.  The district’s best option to date, Mrs. Pierce said, turned out to be the current access agreement between Time Warner and the City of Goldsboro.  The existing franchise agreement being used by the city has specific language for an education access channel, she explained.  “Now we have determined it would be better, because the city is still under the old franchise law, which doesn’t end until 2018,” she said.  If approved, the channel would provide coverage from Fremont to Mount Olive, Mrs. Pierce said.

“Ken Derksen (the schools’ public information officer) and I met with the city council” to discuss activating Channel 18, serving as an educational access channel, she said. She added that the city manager has since met with Time Warner, with a positive reaction toward making a channel available for that purpose.  Now, it’s just a matter of making it official.  “If the city agrees, Wayne County Education Alliance Channel could be up and running by the start of the next school year,” Mrs. Pierce told the board…

“Hallelujah!” Thelma Smith, school board chairwoman, said at the conclusion of Mrs. Pierce’s announcement. “This is really an answer to our prayers. We have talked about being able to communicate with the public.”  There is still much work to be done before the station goes on the air, Mrs. Pierce said. In addition to receiving final approval from the city, there is the acquisition of extra equipment and other details to be completed.   —>

TAP TV taps the national market
by John McReynolds
Lompoc Record (CA)

Discovery Channel, ESPN, TBS, Science Channel, CNN, History Channel, A&E, and Comedy Central have all hosted Lompoc announcer Gregg Ratcliff in the last few weeks.  Without him ever leaving Lompoc.  What is he doing in these 30-second spots? Uh, talking to an orange cartoon.  “I’ve lived here for 50 years,” Ratcliff mused last week in his cramped office at TAP TV, where earphones and cables litter the floor. “I’ve had a lot of jobs and I’ve broadcast football. But my legacy will be as the guy who talks to the cartoon.”

With Ratcliff and his cartoon, Lompoc local access television is advertised on commercial networks now just like Miller Beer, Chevy 4-Runner or Viagra.  Local public access has been around for decades but was always closeted inside its little one or two-channel ghetto, never acknowledged anywhere else on the dial.  Not until one night last month, when Ratcliff and his ruddy buddy showed up. Smack in the middle of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” there they were.

“Look, there’s you,” Ratcliff’s wife Mary hollered at home that night.  She was not the only one taken aback. It seems to Ratcliff like everyone from Campbell Road to Surf Beach has seen him, talking to the orange man.  “I probably had a dozen phone calls in the first couple days,” he said, chuckling. “An amazing number of people have commented. It’s definitely raised the visibility of TAP TV.”

Ratcliff, 52, onetime grocery manager and baker, and manager of the last commercial radio station in Lompoc history, now runs Lompoc’s public access studio. TAP-TV is the one that receives funds from Comcast Cablevision as part of the company’s contract with the City of Lompoc.  Late last year, Ratcliff spotted a clause in the contract that had not been implemented, one that required Comcast to provide promotional spots on commercial channels.

“We’ve got to come up with something,” Ratcliff realized. “The first thing I thought of was Dr. Draw.”  “Dr. Draw” is the pen name of Bill Smith, a jolly graying redhead who works as a technician at TAP and moonlights drawing cartoons, including political cartoons for the Lompoc Record. Smith also produces TAP’s only animated show, titled, of course, “The Dr. Draw Show.”   —>

Community media in the prosumer era
by Ellie Rennie
Creative Economy (Australia)

How is media convergence impacting on established, ‘broadcast-era’ community media? This paper takes SYN (a community radio licensee in Melbourne) as a case study and employs media ethnography and policy analysis to identify contemporary challenges facing community media. Community media requires a different approach to convergence than that which is commonly associated with the professional creative industries. In the community sphere, convergence is led by members and encouraged through open, participative processes. The ‘open source organisation’ is proposed here as a useful way of thinking through the challenges of convergence and the limitations of Australia’s existing communications policy framework.  Read full text: Community media in the prosumer era (PDF file)

Business community to discuss media role
Daily Nation (Kenya)

The East African Business Council in conjunction with the East African Community will from Friday discuss how the media could help in preventing conflicts and instability in the region.   The Regional Media Summit will run for two days.  The meeting comes in the wake of the post-election crisis in Kenya in which regional countries were adversely affected. The transport and labour sectors were picked out as having borne the brunt of the violence.  Key among the issues to be discussed is how the East African media can jointly promote peace and security.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, cable vs telco, educational access, FCC, net neutrality, PEG access TV, public access television, U-Verse, video franchising


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