Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/10/08

Joe Powell breaks down the AT&T cable franchise bill
by R. Neal
TennViews (TN)

[ comments invited ]

Joe Powell has an in-depth analysis of the “new and improved” AT&T statewide cable franchise bill. His conclusion in a nutshell:  “The more I read of this plan, the more it seems to be a program geared to look out for the interests of AT&T and not for consumers.”   Joe Powell’s thorough analysis, backed with additional commentary by Bunnie Riedel of Riedel Communications, answers many questions about the bill and raises some ones regarding the players involved.

The AT&T cable franchise bill looks like a winner for AT&T and a Loser for all of us Consumers.
by WhitesCreek
Roane Views

[ comments invited ]

Analysts who are familiar with the current Bill say that it looks like it could be the worst bill in the Nation except for the one passed in Nevada as far as consumers go.  Could somebody get our State legislators out of that restaurant and explain that this is a really bad deal for us?  Joe Powell has the analysis.

Tennessee Waltz
by Bunnie Riedel
Telecommunications Consulting

It’s every woman’s nightmare. You take your sweetheart to a dance and your best friend dances off with him. Sure it feels like betrayal, but they couldn’t help themselves, they fell in love with each other while they were dancing. Nothing personal, mind you, nothing personal.

I would have loved to been a fly on the wall when at&t, Charter, Comcast and James O. “Jimmy” Naifeh (Speaker of the House of Representatives) were waltzing around, falling in love and leaving the people of Tennessee in the dust. Their love child is the second worst piece of statewide video franchising legislation in this country. It is a clumsy and ugly progeny that is better left locked in a cellar never to see the light of day.  Where do I begin?   —>

Devilish Details In TN Cable Franchise Legislation
by Joe Powell
Cup of Joe Powell (TN)

[ 1 comment ]

A definition of the word Legislation: a solution to a problem which may, or may not actually exist, which may or may not actually create any observable results, and typically is a hand-stitched agreement crafted after some great length of time in order that the public be aroused or dulled and during which time money may be applied to preserve, alter or eliminate debate.

That thought kept running through my head as I was reading the proposal to allow AT&T to by-pass local control of franchises for cable television – especially since they could now today be offering ‘competitive’ plans to consumers across the state. Wading into and through the complex legal language is and always has been a chore. My brother is the lawyer, not me. And sometimes I’m not even sure what he says and/or means.

I wrote previously this week about this draft agreement. The plain fact is the plan does have some odd and downright wrong components. Keep in mind this bill was created to provide AT&T with a statewide cable franchise proposal, though there is much in the bill addressing the access to internet services, too.

For example, when it comes to verifying whether or not a franchise holder has attained the mandated deployment of broadband access to the internet, Section 12 (d) of the plan says that the state agency Connected Tennessee will be providing the information. I wrote recently about Connected Tennessee, since it’s board members are former Bell South/AT&T employees. How handy the agency was created prior to this legislation – sure sounds like the fox watching the henhouse to me…

I also received an email from Bunnie Riedel of Riedel Communications, and former Executive Director of the National Alliance for Community Media, who has been reviewing and analyzing these franchise plans being pushed across the country state by state. She wrote that in reviewing the plans: “The worst bill to have passed is Nevada, TN’s bill comes in 2nd to that one. AT&T is about to take TN on a nice long ride.”   —>

Is community TV facing its Waterloo?
by Marsha Lederman
Globe and Mail (Canada)


Grassroots local TV has been a source of community information and a training ground for future professionals. But as part of a sweeping review, the CRTC may rule cable distributors will no longer be required to carry the service

—>  This week, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is considering removing the requirement that community channels remain on basic cable as part of a sweeping review of broadcast distribution regulations. The public hearings began Tuesday in Gatineau.

Alarmed by the possible disappearance of community television, where he spent more than 30 years as a volunteer, Richard Ward of the Community Media Education Society has written to the CRTC, urging it not to expel community TV from basic cable.

While Ward acknowledges that the issue is just a tiny part of the CRTC’s review, the overall discussion about deregulation has him worried. “We have got distinctly Canadian things to say and the community channel [has] the broadest reach of all of the parts of Canada’s broadcasting system,” he said from Calgary. “I think it’s prudent to be on guard, even if the threat is not directed primarily at the community channel. I don’t think you wait until everyone else has been destroyed before you speak up.”   —>

Route 51 cable users now will have a choice
by Jim McMahon
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)

Choice is the watchword for Route 51 cable subscribers who, along with local government officials, have sought for years to encourage competition in programming and pricing.  And now thanks to a 10-year franchising agreement with Verizon through the South Hills Council of Governments, residents of Baldwin borough and township, Brentwood, Jefferson Hills and Whitehall boroughs will be able to choose from Verizon or Comcast.  …As part of the agreement, Verizon will provide local schools, libraries and municipal facilities with free basic cable services and will provide as many as six PEG channels (public, educational and government) for SHACOG use.   —>

New TV station nears completion
by Mike Gaffney
Saugus Advertiser (MA)

[ 1 comment ]

Work is nearing completion on the refurbished cable television access studio at Saugus High School. In the coming months, workshops to train the public on the new equipment are expected to be offered.  Richard Garabedian, executive director for Saugus Community Television, Inc., reported the project has moved along smoothly since the volunteer organization decided last year to upgrade and expand the cable studio located in the rear of the high school.

The task of providing local cable access programming fell to the town in November 2006 after the Board of Selectmen signed a new agreement with Comcast.  Under the terms of the deal, the town is responsible for providing public, educational and governmental (PEG) access programming to subscribers.  To pull off this duty, the selectmen created SCTV, a non-profit public access corporation that oversees the management of the studio and handles local programming.

After looking for potential suitors across town, SCTV ultimately determined the high school represented the most feasible site for the revamped studio.  Representatives of SCTV led the Advertiser on a tour of the new facility last week. Garabedian said it is amazing to see how far the studio has come since the physical alterations began this past winter.   —>

ORCTV and Comcast finalize an agreement
by Kim Miot
The Sentinel (MA)

[ comments invited ]

Marion – ORCTV and Comcast have signed an agreement to house Marion and Mattapoisett’s INET hubs at the local cable access station facility, located in the Captain Hadley House on Route 6. The agreement also details plans to connect the facility to the system, the “lighting up” the tri-town’s educational Channel 18 and constructing Rochester’s government access channel.

All parties agreed on March 28 to the final parameters effectively starting the clock on the build out specifications. It had taken several months to work out the language on the agreement. ORCTV wanted to be sure the tri-towns were protected in the document and that all elements were in place to fulfill each town’s complete access channel lineup.  In the document, Comcast has scoped a 14-16 week time frame on the work to be completed, putting the finish date in June. ORCTV is excited to be moving ahead with the plans.

ORCTV moved into the Captain Hadley House in August 2007. ORCTV staff has been working on the facility to develop it into a functioning community access television station that serves Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester. The studio and edit bays were completed in the fall of 2007. Staff is now working on the control room and playback systems. Once Comcast connects the facility to the INET system, it will operate all community access channels from the ORCTV building. This includes the public Channel 9 for all three towns, the educational Channel 18 for all three towns and each town’s separate government channel.   —>

5 residents seeking seats on Jackson school board
by Dave Benjamin
Tri-Town News (NJ)

—>   Each candidate was asked by the Tri- Town News to respond to three questions on current issues.  The three topics were: cable television and how it could be used in the schools; how to improve security in the schools during and after school hours while remaining within the budget; and while there were 30,123 registered voters in Jackson last year, only 4,893 voters cast their ballots (16.24 percent) in the election. This year there are 30,610 registered voters. How would you actively get people out to vote in the upcoming election?   —>

“Monmouth in Focus”: Brookdale television students produce county government news program
by Sarah Webster
Asbury Park Press (NJ)

[ comments invited ]

The Brookdale Community College television station helps keep Monmouth County government and services “in focus” for county residents.  A televised program for the county, highlighting services to the community is being produced at Brookdale in Middletown by television staff and students enrolled in TV production classes, said Executive Director of the Brookdale Network Cheryl Cummings.

Production of the program, “Monmouth in Focus,” started in January 2008, according to Cummings, and it serves the approximately 655,000 residents of Monmouth County, she added.  The show is a half-hour program with two 12-minute segments.  Each segment features a different aspect of county government. Shows already have been produced about the county budget, the library system, parks and a general overview of the functions of county government.  Future shows will feature the Reclamation Center, Social Services department and economic development, to name a few, according to a prepared statement.   —>

Rip City? Teen sportscaster all over it
On camera – Reynolds High junior Trevor Christenson’s passion leads to anchoring a cable-access sports show
by Casey Parks
The Oregonian (OR)

Trevor Christenson is running out of things to say.  He’s in the studio, a massive gray room equipped with lights and big cameras. All pointing at him.  Usually, when Christenson, a black-blazered teen sitting at a red desk, hosts his sports show “Top This,” he has guests. They joust back and forth, arguing sports for half an hour every other week.  But during spring break, he hosted the show solo. It’s hard work to fill 30 minutes by yourself, but Christenson, 17, has been in front of cameras long enough to handle it. He starts ad-libbing.

He started “Top This” a year ago after a two-year run as sports anchor on another MetroEast Community Media show, “Rose City News.”  He grew up playing basketball, shooting hoops while his dad coached. But at 14, he stood barely at 5 feet tall. A career on the courts wasn’t likely. But he knew sports. And he thought he might like to become an actor.

After a few years with “Rose City News,” he wanted more responsibility. His dad warned him it would be tough. Hosting his own show would mean setting up cameras, editing and producing. It would mean cleaning up after everyone went home.   —>

Columbia’s Kindred Spirits (MO)
by T.J. Greaney
Our Strange World

[ comments invited ]

A group of paranormal investigators in Columbia (Missouri) is raising eyebrows by seeking out haunted spots, spending the night and airing the findings on cable access television.

Calling themselves the Kindred Moon Paranormal Society, the enthusiasts have been on air for three months and have already scared the daylights out of workers at Jack’s Gourmet Restaurant on the Business Loop, “reunited” a wife with her deceased husband in Hartsburg and picked up bone-chilling audio at the University of Missouri’s Ellis Library.   —>

UN press freedom prize goes to crusading Mexican journalist
Agence France-Presse

PARIS – Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro will be given the UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize for her work exposing political corruption and organized crime, the UN cultural body said Wednesday.

“Through investigative journalism, she uncovered the involvement of businessmen, politicians and drug traffickers in prostitution and child pornography” in Mexico, said UNESCO in a statement announcing the award.  Her work continued “in the face of death threats, an attempt on her life and legal battles,” it added, noting that she had also been the victim of police harassment.

“A journalist who knows the antagonistic environment in which he or she operates and continues to do the right thing by keeping readers, listeners or viewers informed about their society deserves recognition for their contribution to freedom of expression around the world,” said Joe Thloloe, the president of the UNESCO jury of journalists and editors.  “Lydia Cacho is such a laureate,” he added in the statement.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, cable vs telco, PEG access TV, public access television, U-Verse, video franchising, youth media

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