Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/09/08

AT&T-COMCAST PEG side-by-side demo
swoccstudios – Southwestern Oakland Cable Commission (MI)

[ comments invited ]

A side-by-side comparison of AT&T PEG channel and Comcast PEG Channel. Shows the length of time to change channels from a broadcast to a peg channel. [ Also compares AT&T’s U-Worse image quality to Comcast’s ~ rm ]

AT&T won’t say where it’d offer TV if bill passes
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)


Despite lobbying for a bill to start offering television services and compete with cable, AT&T will not say where it would offer those services if legislation were approved. “For competitive reasons, the company does not outline those plans,” said Bob Corney, an AT&T spokesman. “But, our goal is to try to get our product to as many customers as possible as quickly as possible.”

…The ambiguity about where AT&T would offer its services is just something that comes with state-issued franchising, said Stacey Briggs, the executive director of the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association, which had lobbied against the bill before signing off on the compromise. “I think that’s just the difference between the state process and the local process where local governments are losing control over where AT&T goes,” Briggs said. —>

A Snowy Transmission
by Tomas Dinges
411 Productions (TX)

[ comments invited ]

A snowy transmission: Public access television threatened, by Tomas Dinges

Just weeks after Patsy Robles and her 15-year-old daughter stepped into the studio of San Antonio’s Channel 20 during the summer of 2004 they were on TV, a channel-surf away from the major networks. Motivated by a desire to “counteract negative media stereotypes of youth,” Robles, an accountant, learned to produce television. Soon, belly dancing, 10-year-old mariachi players and 16-year-old news anchors describing the impact of Hurricane Katrina on young people could be seen by anybody with a basic subscription to Time-Warner cable in the San Antonio area.

This was public access television. For almost two years their show, “411,” appeared four times a month. However, in late 2006, the studio shut down, and the channel went dark. “I was totally shocked,” said Robles, who said she was given no warning of the move. “I didn’t even know if the channel was coming back.”

What happened to her and other access producers in San Antonio was a harbinger of things to come in others towns and cities where cable lines lay. Last year, 21 production studios in Indiana and Michigan were closed. Funding for public access programming is expected to dry up entirely during the next five years in Ohio, Florida, Missouri and Wisconsin, according to the Alliance for Community Media, an advocacy group that organizes public access channels across the country.

The closings resulted from new statewide franchise contracts, which eliminated the longtime obligations of cable providers to local communities in 17 states. Public access television has existed in the past because of “its close connection to the local community,” said Anthony Riddle, executive director of the Alliance for Community Media. Established by Congress in 1973, the Public, Educational and Governmental channels were a trade-off for company use of public land to run cables and make a profit. They would be available for local groups and individual citizens to use in whatever manner they wished–sort of a modern-day electronic public sphere.

Now, “the telecommunications companies are not connected to the public that they serve,” said Riddle. “There is no accountability on a state level.” Instead of having to negotiate new agreements with thousands of municipalities across the country, the cable and telephone industries heavily lobbied state legislatures for permission to strike the simpler statewide agreements. Local communities had no leverage. As a consequence, said Riddle, cable companies are out to make new rules or “take an interpretation of the rules to shut down an access center.” —>

Black Evil Television, Low-Power FM Neighborhood Radio, and the Congressional Black Caucus
by Bruce Dixon
Black Agenda Radio


A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce Dixon.

Even when corporate black radio does not ape the content of “Black Evil Television” it consistently fails the legal tests of serving local needs with local content and broadcasting in the public interest. Legislation is now in the Congress to open up licensing for hundreds of new low-power FM neighborhood radio stations in cities and towns across the nation. Though all three presidential candidates, along with Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress are co-sponsoring… the Low-Power FM Neighborhood Radio bill (HB 2802 & SB ) relatively few members of the Congressional Black Caucus are among them.

Click the flash player below to hear the audio of this Black Agenda Radio commentary. Broadcasters and others desiring an MP3 copy should visit the Black Agenda Radio archive page here. —>

Two young women journalists working for indigenous community radio station in Oaxaca ambushed and shot
Reporters without Borders

[ comments invited at Corrugated Films: ]

Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked by the fatal shooting on 7 April in Putla de Guerrero, in the southern state of Oaxaca, of Teresa Bautista Flores, 24, and Felicitas Martínez, 20, two women journalists working for La Voz que Rompe el Silencio (“The Voice that Breaks the Silence”), a community radio station serving the Trique indigenous community. “Although there is so far no evidence that these two women were killed because of their work as journalists, their murders will be traumatic for all of Latin America’s many community radio stations, which are too often ignored or despised by the rest of the media and by governments,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“We are conscious of the risks run by the press in Oaxaca state, where the political climate continues to be tense, where two journalists were killed in 2006 at the height of a period of social unrest, and where other community media have been attacked,” the press freedom organisation continued. “We hope the investigators quickly establish the circumstances and motives for this double murder and catch those responsible. And we join their community in paying tribute to the two victims.”

La Voz que Rompe el Silencio was launched by the Trique indigenous community in San Juan Copala (in the west of Oaxaca state) on 20 January, a year after the locality was granted administrative autonomy. The community appointed Bautista Flores and Martínez to manage and present the radio station, which is dedicated to promoting indigenous culture.

The two young women were returning from doing a report in the municipality of Llano Juárez in the early afternoon when they were ambushed and, after being threatened with abduction, were finally shot with 7.62 calibre bullets of the kind used in AK-47 assault rifles, Reporters Without Borders was told by CACTUS, an organisation that supports indigenous communities. Investigators found 20 bullet casings at the scene. Three other people were wounded in the shooting – Jaciel Vázquez, aged 3, and his parents. —>

Independent radio reclaims the airwaves
“If you don’t have access and ownership and control of a media system, you really don’t exist,” said Loris Taylor, of Native Public Media.
by Michelle Chen
Straight Goods (Canada)

[Editor’s note: As the CBC public broadcasting system suffers the death of a thousand cuts, Canadians should pay attention to what US communities have learned about the importance of radio, especially, for building communities, delivering local news, and providing public space for airing issues of vital public interest.]

A mother’s voice stretched over the air to a son spending the holidays in a Virginia prison: “Keep your head up. I love you. Just do what you gotta do to survive.” The hushed message was one of dozens featured on Calls from Home, a project of Mountain Community Radio in Kentucky. Each December, the call-in program helps families of prisoners reconnect through holiday shout-outs, aired on stations across the country.

As broadcast conglomerates narrow radio’s political scope, activists are recasting the medium to once again empower underserved communities.

Since the first mass broadcasts crackled over the country’s airwaves in the 1920s, radio has defined itself as a democratic medium, providing communities that have few resources — from inmates to immigrant workers — a conduit for news and civic communication. But today, media activists say commercialism has reduced a vital institution to an industry of white noise. In response, alternative radio projects and media-justice movements have emerged to resuscitate a flagging public sphere. —>

Columbia College Chicago/Community Media Workshop
New America Media

[ comments invited ]

NAM and the Community Media Workshop at Columbia College Chicago hosted an event with the Centers for Disease Control on the importance of flu shots with Chicago area ethnic media in November 2007, and are joining forces again for an ethnic media workshop on investigative reporting with IRE in Chicago May 17-18th.

Ethnic Media Practice Serious Journalism at Risk of Peril
by Kenneth Kin
New America Media

[ 1 comment ]

Editor’s Note: Practicing the first amendment in America can be hazardous to your health, especially if you work in the ethnic media sector, according to editors at a New America Media-sponsored conference on ethnic media and freedom of expression in Los Angeles this week.

The First Amendment may have guaranteed the promise of a free press, but for ethnic media reporting on their own communities that can be as perilous as covering a war zone. In ethnic enclaves where the power of protest is mightier than the pen, it takes a combination of physical courage, mental perseverance and sometimes even the willingness to risk one’s own life to practice journalism.

A diverse group of leading editors from ethnic news media gathered in Los Angeles on April 7 to share accounts of threats they had received from their own communities. The roundtable discussion, “A Challenge for Ethnic Media: When Coverage Provokes Threats from Your Own Community,” was co-hosted by New America Media, the California First Amendment Coalition, USC Annenberg’s Institute for Justice and Journalism, CSU Northridge’s Center for Ethnic and Alternative Media, The Society of Professional Journalists-Greater LA Chapter, UCLA’s CCC (Campus Computing Council), California Chicano News Media Association (CCNMA) and other media advocacy groups.

Journalists, editors and publishers of ethnic media told harrowing tales of having been boycotted, protested, sued, harassed, and physically threatened by members of their own communities who wanted to dictate what the ethnic news media could and couldn’t cover. —>

S. F. event and national symposium in D. C. to counter mis-information on Venezuela
by Jonathan Nack

[ comments invited ]

“The level of openness and participation in the community media in an inspiration. From what I witnessed, the democratization of the media in Venezuela flies in the face of practically everything I read about Venezuela in U. S. corporate media.”

SAN FRANCISCO – Mainstream media outlets have run many stories recently criticizing freedom of the press in Venezuela, but have ignored the story of the explosion of community radio and T.V. Greg Miller and Sean Kriletich explore the burgeoning community media movement spreading across Venezuela in their film, “La Revolucion Comunicativa: community radio and t.v. on the rise in Venezuela.” —>

New Hope For Press Freedom With Election Upset
The Malaysian


The Malaysian government’s unprecedented losses in national elections last month will hopefully provide the long-awaited drive for media reform, say Malaysia’s Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA). —>

Somerville Cares About Prevention (Part 1)
SCAT’s Vlog! (MA)

[ comments invited ]

On March 26 Somerville Cares About Prevention, a City of Somerville agency, held its 5th Annual Community Addiction Speakout at Somerville Community Access Television. The program featured a panel of experts on teen alcohol and opiate addictions, including two teens in recovery who shared their stories. SPF100, the youth group that promotes positive choices, showed their video about the problem of adults giving youth access to alcohol.

Public access channel opens up its mics
Ventura County Star (CA)

Ventura’s public-access channel will hold “Open Mic Days” where people can sit down in front of a camera and say what’s on their minds for three minutes, organizers said. Participants must live, work or go to school in Ventura. Individuals will be responsible for their remarks and will have to sign a waiver releasing Community Access Partners of San Buenaventura, or CAPS-TV, from liability. The segments will be compiled into shows titled “What’s On Your Mind, Ventura?” and “What’s On Your Mind, Ventura — After Dark.” —>

Chicago IMC Public Access TV Show Coverage of 5th Anniversary Antiwar Direct Actions
by Chicago Indymedia Collective
The War Stops Here

[ comments invited ]

ON THE SHOW THIS MONTH: Complete coverage of the 2008 Chicago Peace Protests during the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq.

M20 Civil Disobedience and Arrest, Federal Plaza, Chicago – March 20, 2008, 7 activists, including Kathy Kelly, perform civil disobedience action at Federal Plaza, downtown Chicago, resulting in arrest. This was one of many actions in Chicago to mark the 5th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Produced by Fred Hickler.

Chicago Anti-War Protest 2008 – Video by CIMC and Labor Beat. —>

Cable Access Talk Show Spreads Positive Message
Northland’s News Center (MN/WI)

[ comments invited ]

“Well, howdy there, you buckaroos! Welcome to Late Night With Don!” is how Don Yoder introduces his show. Look out “Tonight Show” and “Late Night With David Letterman”. This is “Late Night With Don” hosted by Superior native Don Yoder which airs at the same time as the network’s late shows.

Yoder doesn’t think his cable access talk show is a competitor to the big boys of evening television. “I think it is an alternative I have. I don’t get up here and make fun of actors or actresses that are going through difficult times in their lives.” says Don Yoder. Don is a Marine Corps veteran and country and gospel singer who is back in the Northland after many years away. His show is taped in Proctor and airs there and in the Twin Ports weeknights at 10:30 pm on cable access TV.

After two months of production, the show is catching on. “The public reaction is good. People like to see local programming and I think it fills a void we’ve had in public access in this area and I think it’s a fun show to work on.” according to Peter Luke who runs Proctor’s cable access TV channel…

How to do a show on Proctor Trac 7 TV: You can be the Creator/ Producer and Director of your own Video show. You call the shots, you write the format of of your show and you edit the show. Whether you Produce the show In-Studio or on-Location, you have access to the latest Video Production Equipment. Call: Peter Luke, Cable TV Coordinator at (218) 628-6283 for more Information!

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, cable vs telco, community media, community radio, ethnic media, free speech, freedom of the press, human rights, low power FM, LPFM, media criticism, media diversity, PEG access TV, press freedom, public access television, U-Verse, video franchising

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