Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/17/08

Cable access television debate rages on
by Marilyn Moss
The Orange Bulletin (CT)

[ comments invited ]

The view on Sound View Community Media may not be so sound these days. SV is the third-party nonprofit provider of public access television for local area 2, which includes Woodbridge, Orange, Milford, Stratford, Bridgeport and Fairfield. The Committee on Energy and Technology of the Connecticut General Assembly held a public hearing on March 7 for a proposed bill, An Act Concerning Community Access Television bill No. 5814. During that hearing, details of the troubled interaction between SV and area 2 municipalities were thoroughly examined.

The legislation was proposed, in part, to address concerns by area 2 municipalities about the control of the content on their respective government channels. Several towns in area 2 want to feature their own town-specific programming. These towns have met resistance to that by the community access provider, SV. SV prefers to send system-wide programming so that each town in area 2 can watch government in action in every town in the franchise area. According to Paul Davis, a Orange and West Haven state representative, however, “If a community desires to have town-specific programming, the government should grant that choice.”   —>

Public must fight to maintain net neutrality
by Lawrence Lessig and Ben Scott
San Francisco Chronicle


The Internet is an engine of economic growth and innovation because of a simple principle: net neutrality, which assures innovators that their next great idea will be available to consumers, regardless of what the network owners think about it.  No previous mass media technology has been so remarkably open. Traditional media – newspapers, radio, TV – have gatekeepers standing between consumers and producers, with the power to control content. The Internet eliminates the gatekeeper.  Now, however, the Internet’s unprecedented openness is in jeopardy.

Comcast, AT&T and Verizon have been lobbying to kill net neutrality. They say they won’t build an information superhighway if they can’t build it as a closed system. No other industrialized country has made that devil’s bargain, and neither should we. Without net neutrality, online innovation is vulnerable to the whims of cable and phone companies, which control 99 percent of the household market for high-speed Internet access. And Silicon Valley venture capitalists are unlikely to bet the farm on a whim.   —>

FCC Should Send Signal And Take Action Against Comcast
by Therese Poletti

On Thursday, all five members of the Federal Communications Commission will make an usual appearance in Silicon Valley, where they will host a public hearing at Stanford University for a debate on managing Internet traffic.  The hearing is the FCC’s second on “Net neutrality,” a longstanding principle which seeks to treat all Internet content and traffic equally. The principle matches the spirit of the early pioneers of the Internet, who designed a distributed network that could not be controlled by any one entity or company.

In February, Comcast (CMCSA), the largest cable company in the U.S., was in the hot seat at Harvard Law School, where the FCC hosted an all-day hearing over complaints that the cable giant deliberately delays Internet traffic for consumers accessing peer-to-peer file sharing Web sites like BitTorrent and newer ones like Vuze.  The hearing did not go well for Comcast. Even though the cable giant partially filled the room with its own paid attendees who applauded company reps, the FCC intimated it was considering action against the Philadelphia-based behemoth. A month later, Comcast and former foe BitTorrent agreed to collaborate on network capacity and management issues. Bit Torrent of San Francisco wants Comcast to use its file sharing technology and expertise to help alleviate network congestion caused by the downloading of large music and video files.  The two also agreed to work with other Internet service providers and others to explore and develop a new architecture for better distribution and delivery of rich media.

Now just two days before the FCC’s Stanford hearing, Comcast issued yet another press release, probably aimed at dissuading the FCC from taking any action against it. Comcast and another peer-to-peer company, Pando Networks, said they created their own “Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” for file sharing, much to the amusement of some legal experts..  After speaking with Comcast, it appears that their “Bill of Rights,” is really about informing the consumer that their Internet traffic could suffer delays.   —>

Need Help Hosting Citizen Media Outreach Events in Rural Minnesota
Blandin on Broadband (MN)

[ comments invited ]

I’ve heard great things about the training and conferences provided by E-Democracy in the Twin Cities. So I am happy to pass on the following request. It is a great opportunity for the right community!

Wanted: Partners to Help Host Citizen Media Outreach Events in Rural Minnesota (See Examples Below)
Citizen media projects are springing up across the country and the world. Between now and the end of June 2008, is hosting Citizen Media Outreach Events across rural Minnesota to showcase some of these exciting projects, and encourage the launch of similar projects in rural Minnesota.  We are looking for organizations or institutions in rural Minnesota interested in co-sponsoring a Citizen Media Outreach Event in their community.   —>

Local-access TV programs home in on real estate issues
by Denise Taylor
Boston Globe (MA)

Earlier this month, when a home sale in Uxbridge fell through due to what she called “an increasingly common” mortgage snag in Worcester County, realtor Kelley Byrnes-Benkart was one of the first to hear. One week later, she was explaining the cause – not at a seminar, but on public-access television.  Byrnes-Benkart, owner of Realty Executives Tri-County in Bellingham, is one of a handful of area real estate professionals using public-access cable TV to turn a laser focus on the housing market in their communities.

“We hear a lot of talk in the media about the real estate market, but many times it’s painted with a broad brush. It’s often from a national perspective or a state perspective,” said Milford resident Michael Shain, a mortgage consultant with Medway Co-operative Bank. “But I wanted to do something that focused on specific towns because every market is different. What’s happening in Milford may not be the same as what’s happening in Newton, Brookline, Pittsfield, or LA.”

In September, Shain began taping “Real Estate Roundtable” at Access Bellingham-Mendon. The program, which he cohosts with Byrnes-Benkart and two other realtors and is produced monthly, airs on local-access channels in Bellingham, Milford, Medway, Upton, Grafton, and Mendon, and covers market news in those towns as well as in Franklin and Wrentham.  Guests also appear on each episode to discuss general real estate topics ranging from the short sale process to how to stage your home using feng shui. But the core of the show is the panel discussion of emerging local issues. Recently they focused on the increasing affordability and availability of single-family homes being offered for rent (by homeowners unable to sell). Next month, they’ll delve more deeply into those Worcester County mortgage issues.

“Worcester County has been declared a declining market” by commercial lenders, “which means they are requiring larger down payments,” said Byrnes-Benkart. “In Uxbridge . . . the buyer could not afford to move forward because they would have had to put 15 percent down,” after expecting to pay 10 percent.  “I try to pick topics that are important to homeowners and potential homeowners,” said Shain, whose other cohosts are Joshua Lioce, owner of Realty Executives Lioce Properties in Milford and Whitinsville, and Judy Leonelli, owner of Century 21 Millennium in Mendon.

In Millis, Joe Luker recently taped his first two episodes of “The Home Show” at Millis Community Television. A home appraiser based in Medway for 20 years and a former real estate broker, Luker said he plans to produce two shows per month.  “There’s so much turmoil in the real estate market. That’s why I’m doing this now,” said Luker.  With local lawyers, realtors, and other industry professionals as guests, Luker will cover the Millis housing market and real estate how-tos. Upcoming subjects include the foreclosure process, home inspections, and hidden issues for home buyers (such as easements, deed restrictions, and convicted sex-offenders living in the area).  “I’m not going to be out there entertaining. My goal is to produce something useful,” said Luker. “There are a lot of people in trouble right now because they didn’t know what to watch for. But I’ve seen the things that people need to know.”   —>

Beverly’s history now available free on DVD
by Cate Lecuyer
Salem News (MA)

[ comments invited ]

More than a century worth of local history — chronicled on video by resident Ted Josephs over the last 20 years — is now available to the public on DVD.  BevCam, the city’s local cable access station, has been consistently airing Joseph’s show, “Beverly’s Times Past,” since he started making it back in the 1980s. But for the past 21/2 years, BevCam staff has been converting the footage from the original, now obsolete, video cassettes onto DVDs.

They recently completed the project and yesterday presented copies of all 183 hourlong shows to both the Beverly Public Library and the Beverly Historical Society, where they will be available free to the public.  “If we were to lose this, we would have lost so much,” said BevCam Associate Director Walt Kosmowski.  Beverly Historical Society Interim Director Darren Brown and Beverly Library Director Pat Cirone said having immediate access to the shows, instead of having to wait for them to air on BevCam, will be valuable to the community.

The shows are centered on interviews with local people talking about their past. There’s a series that includes stories told by World War II veterans and shows actual footage of fighting that they took while oversees.  Another series focuses on the freight trains that came in and out of the United Shoe Machinery Corporation, now the Cummings Center.  The stories people tell go back to the late 1800s and are complemented by old photos, newspaper articles and other archives that Joseph found in the historical society.   —>

Local students promote reading on TV program
by Scott Stafford
Berkshire Eagle (MA)

[ comments invited ]

NORTH ADAMS — Eight-year-old Noah Boucher of Cheshire likes dinosaurs. He even likes reading about them, and he’s not afraid of saying so — not even on television.  He was one of 17 second-grade students at Cheshire Elementary School who stopped by Northern Berkshire Community Television studios yesterday morning to make their opinions known about their favorite books.  “Do you like books about dinosaurs?” Noah asked the would-be television audience during the taping session. “Then you will love the book ‘How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?’ by Jane Yolan. The dinosaurs hug and kiss their moms.”

After the taping, Noah said he liked being on camera.  “I liked the book very much, and I think it is pretty cool that I get to tell my story to everyone in the world, and to my friends,” he said.  Teacher Eric Brown’s second-grade class has been writing, editing and rehearsing their presentations, inspired by public television show “Reading Rainbow,” for about three weeks.  Brown said the idea occurred to him while the class was watching an episode of that television program. He used his idea to get students excited about reading, and used the technology to enhance that motivation.   —>

Providence City Council meetings to begin airing on TV (RI)

The Providence City Council will soon be on the tube. The City Council will begin televising its biweekly meetings, starting with Thursday night’s gathering.  The meetings will air nine days later, on Saturday mornings, on public-access TV. Council Majority Leader Terrence Hassett says televising meetings will allow residents who can’t make it there in person to stay informed about what’s happening in the city.  The city has purchased $4,000 of new video equipment, and five students at Mount Hope High School in Providence will be trained to film the meetings and then package them for television.

Napa school district to show meetings online
by Tony Burchyns
Times-Herald (CA)

[ comments invited ]

Anyone with Internet access might be able to watch the Napa school board in action this week, district officials said Wednesday.  The Napa Valley Unified School District is testing out new software to provide live streaming video of its meeting at 7 p.m. today.  The goal is to expand public access to school board meetings. Also, the technology will allow people to watch meetings on-demand, which could be the wave of the future for the video platform.  “It’s another avenue to reach people,” said Laurel Krsek, director of technology for the Napa school district. “And it gives the public a chance to go back and watch meetings they missed.”

A consortium including the district, Napa Public Access Cable Television and the cities of American Canyon and Napa allowed for considerable savings on the new technology, officials said.  “We got a group deal that saved us tens of thousands of dollars for the entire group,” said Dan Monez, executive director for Napa public access TV.  Monez started the initiative last year when the cable channel wanted to begin streaming and archiving its programs. He said he mentioned the idea to Napa city employees and learned the city was also interested.   —>

Underground Radio: Is Salt Lake City big enough for two KRCLs?
by Ted McDonough
Salt Lake Weekly (UT)


In a cavernous basement deep beneath the Dakota Lofts on Salt Lake City’s 200 South, a group of radio enthusiasts are sweeping up cobwebs, unpacking audio equipment from boxes and trying to make a comfortable space for Utah’s newest community radio station.  “It’s real underground radio,” jokes Troy Mumm, one of the forces behind Utah Free Media, a planned Internet-only radio station that has gone from concept to flipping the switch in a few months.

Some volunteers manning the brooms come from the ranks of volunteers at KRCL 90.9 who have—or soon will—lose their on-air DJ spots to a format change scheduled to take place May 5 at the community radio station. Others, like Mumm, one-time KRCL music director, staffed KRCL in an earlier era.

Their big idea is a big experiment. Scads of radio stations now stream on the Internet. But instead of music-on-demand streaming, Utah Free Media will attempt a live broadcast hosted by volunteers. That is, freeform radio, like KRCL. Or, as some Utah Free Media volunteers say, like KRCL before the eminent format switch.   —>

Support Community Radio
by Roy Kasten
Living in Stereo (MO)

[ comments invited ]

I first moved to Saint Louis, Missouri in August 1987. I was 22, a student of literature and a writer. I spent most of my days and nights in the stacks and study rooms of Olin Library at Washington University.  I moved to the river city from Utah. As a teen I had discovered something called “community radio” in the form of KRCL, a volunteer-based music and talk station that broadcasted (and still broadcasts) along the Wasatch Front from the far left end of the FM dial. I think I first heard Bob Marley, the Grateful Dead, Bill Monroe, Hank Williams and John Coltrane on that station. It was a part of my secret teenage life, something no one else would understand, a place and space of solace and discovery.

In Saint Louis, I turned again to the left end of the dial, and in October of 1987, I found KDHX, which had just begun broadcasting at 88.1 FM. I couldn’t believe my ears. The programming was even more eclectic, even more passionate, smart and free than KRCL. I heard country, jazz, punk, new wave, bluegrass — and especially, soul, deep soul, spun by some guy named Papa Ray, “The Soul Selector.” I’m sure it was on his show that I first heard, or really heard, ZZ Hill, Bobby Blue Bland, Joe Tex, Bettye LaVette, Jr. Parker, Johnny Taylor, Fontella Bass, O.V. Wright and Oliver Sain. In the mostly desolate radio wasteland of Saint Louis, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in that.

I became a programmer for KDHX in 2004. My show is called Feel Like Going Home, it airs Wednesday mornings, from 8:00 – 10:00 am Central Time. I try to mix indie rock, singer-songwriters, country, soul, blues and Americana in some way that makes connections, maybe even makes sense.

There are around 200 volunteers that contribute to KDHX–I’m one of them. We all believe that “community media” (and KDHX includes a local access cable TV station, an expanding web site, educational efforts and work with film and video) is more than a noble concept. It’s a practical, viable, meaningful way of building and transforming our community. Saint Louis wouldn’t be Saint Louis without the station.   —>

Seminar on Peoples Voices, Peoples Participation and Community Radio – 04 May, 2008
Waves of Change

[ comments invited ]

We would like to appreciate that the present non-political Care Taker Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh recently formulated Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy – 2008 and then asked for applications from interested initiators to install Community Radio in the country. In order to facilitate the application and registration process of the organizations for Community Radio, Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) immediately opened a national help desk in its secretariat in Dhaka. As a result, BNNRC is receiving huge response from the interested development organizations for technical support in this regard.

To accelerate the Community Radio Policy 2008, we are going to organize a national seminar on Peoples Voices, Peoples Participation and Community Radio at 09:30 AM -5:00 PM on Sunday, 04 May, 2008 at UNB Auditorium (7th Floor), Cosmos Centre, 69/1, New Circular Road, Malibagh, Dhaka-1212.where resource persons from Singapore, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh will present their respective papers.  The seminar is jointly organized by Asian Media Information Communication Center(AMIC), United News of Bangladesh (UNB) and Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC).   —>

Cable TV operations will not be blocked
Information minister says no blackout of opposition proceedings in parliament
Daily Times (Pakistan)

ISLAMABAD: Cable operators are the primary source of information for the public and the new democratic government will not allow anyone to block cable TV operations in the country, Information Minister Sherry Rehman said on Wednesday.  “The government believes in freedom of information and public access to information, therefore, no one will be allowed to disrupt the free flow of information,” she told a delegation of the Cable Operators Association of Pakistan, which called on her under the leadership of its chairman, Khalid Sheikh. Sherry said that the government had already tabled a bill to remove the ‘black’ media law and would take further measures for the freedom of the media. “To ensure smooth running of the cable TV network throughout the country, a hotline service would be set up at the Information Ministry, where cable operators would register their complaints of any external pressure for blocking their system or a particular TV channel,” she added.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: archive, archiving, BitTorrent, broadband policy, cable franchising, community radio, FCC, freedom of the press, government access, municipal programming, net neutrality, PEG access TV, press freedom, public access television, rural broadband, telecommunications policy, video franchising

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