Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/02/08

Public-access TV
LTE by Mark Hart, Statewide Organizer, Florida Media Coalition
Miami Herald (FL)

The state Legislature apparently will miss the opportunity to revisit the Consumer Choice Act of 2007 and address its unintended consequences on public-, educational- and government-access cable TV (PEGs).

The bill has potentially legislated out of existence PEGs, once the great promise of cable-TV franchise agreements with local governments. Only one public-access channel remains in Florida. In addition, PEGs now may be voted away with a majority vote of not just all poll respondents, but all subscribers, in a service area.

PEGs are burdened with programming requirements not applicable to commercial TV; they must be on air at least 10 hours every day, and with at least five hours of nonreruns and not including ”bulletin board” announcements.

Meantime, states such as Illinois have ensured that PEGs can’t be ”channel-slammed” into hard-to-find, triple-digit, high-tier channels unavailable to basic subscribers who don’t have converters.

Florida should do the same by adding a provision to the bill that PEGs not be numerically separated from other basic service channels. In addition, the state Legislature should delete the provisions allowing for elimination of PEGs, as well as for minimum programming requirements.

Further reductions in the ranks of professional journalists in the state of Florida, like those announced recently by Media General in Tampa, make causes such as PEGs, which relate to open government, all the more important now.

Sprouting between the channels
The garden of public access TV is anything but secret.
by Becky Lang
Minnesota Daily

[ comments invited ]

For an entire week, I watched only public access TV. We’re not talking PBS shows about mushrooms in the rainforest and girls in cargo pants traveling in Europe and mispronouncing several versions of “excuse me.”

What I watched was Minneapolis Television Networks, a hodgepodge of shows made by anyone who walks into their studio on Southeast Main Street. Some choose to take their free filmmaking classes and cart around town in their production van, and some sit in the rooms in the studio and stare at the camera like it’s their waiting lover, or their cooling dinner.

To many, public television is cathartic. They can tell their life stories, reveal that their kid’s friend got shot eight times, how they got their buff bod, their master’s degree, or $500 for selling their soul on eBay. It can act as a street vendor of individualism, roping in whoever might walk by, hoping they stay a minute as they channel surf.

To others, public television is a means of keeping a community together. Ever notice that there are basically zero shows on television about recently migrated families who don’t speak English? The Somali community isn’t exactly represented on “Gossip Girl.”

For a week, I explored the climate of public TV. No “Top Modelthons” for me. I even gave up my “No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain” lunch hour. My experience culminated in a late-night watch-whatever’s-on marathon. Sure, it can get tricky to keep the fingers from channel surfing, but with the right beer and snacks, you can feel right at home. In case you venture to try, I provided a recipe for public access quesadillas, which I like to pair with a Blue Moon or two.   —>

YouTube AND Public Access Television
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition (MA)

[ comments invited ]

On my way into work this morning, I noticed an article in the Boston Metro entitled, “Pol eye YouTube for city life.” In it, Greg St. Martin talks about how Boston City Councilor, Rob Consalvo is interested in using YouTube to “broadcast” PSA’s to reach younger audiences. Martin adds,  “Consalvo said the city could use the new Boston Neighborhood News (BNN) studio to film the announcements, which he envisions spanning topics such as education, voting and summer jobs.”

This would be an excellent use of a community media center to provide residents with locally relevant information using web video platforms such as YouTube. The access center could also share the content on its website, while inviting community members to be involved in the production process.

It might also encourage residents to work with the city to create a more democratic communication process through their involvement on such a project. In any case, it’s an interesting model that access centers might consider particularly in working with local non-government and non-commercial organizations.

Where will SCAT go?
City plans to sell local station’s home
by George P. Hassett
Somerville News (MA)


The city’s cable access television station, the oldest in the state, is facing an uncertain future as city officials plan to sell off the station’s building in Union Square.  At the April 25 Somerville News contributors meeting, Somerville Community Access Television Executive Director Wendy Blom said the station has a temporary contract to remain in the old Union Square fire station free of charge until June. She said city officials assure her they will not displace SCAT but will not agree to anything in writing.

“There is some uncertainty there. We don’t know what may happen at City Hall. But we do have support in the community,” she said.  Blom said that support comes from SCAT’s efforts to be “embedded” in Somerville. More than 30 percent of the station’s shows are in languages other than English, she said, and programs such as Next Generation Producers offer teenagers opportunities to create their own movies, music videos and documentaries.   —>

AT&T mum about cable plans
For competitive reasons company not ready to disclose rollout details
by Larisa Brass
Knoxville News Sentinel (TN)

[ 1 comment ]

A bill paving the way for AT&T to introduce cable television services in Tennessee now awaits the governor’s expected signature, but the telephone giant is staying mum about what happens next.  “We’ve not made a specific announcement about our (rollout) plans at this point,” said AT&T spokesman Bob Corney, and he declined to indicate when such an announcement might come, what time frame the company is considering for launching a digital television product and what communities would first be targeted.

“For competitive reasons we really don’t get into the specifics of that,” he said.  Corney reiterated the importance of the legislation to AT&T’s strategic business efforts in the state, saying the company worked closely with state legislators to hammer out what he called a “very technical bill.”  “Clearly this is something we’ve put a lot of time in ourselves,” he said. But, “as is our policy, we will announce (specific plans) at the time we’re prepared to announce. I’ve got no formal announcement.”   —>

Verizon Deal Could Lower Cable TV Rates
by Peter Kiefer
The New York Sun

[ comments invited ]

New Yorkers could see a short-term drop in cable television rates and enhanced service after the Bloomberg administration reached an agreement yesterday with Verizon for a new citywide cable television franchise.

Time Warner has had a virtual monopoly on the city’s cable television market except in the Bronx and eastern Brooklyn, where Cablevision offers service. The agreement would allow Verizon to offer its FiOS TV service over its new fiber optic network.

The city in turn would receive 5% of all new cable fees generated by Verizon, the maximum percentage permitted by federal law, and the same rate applied to the city’s other cable franchise agreements. Verizon will also make a $10 million donation to the downtown Brooklyn studios of NYC TV as part of the agreement.   —>

Local boy’s success has taken a circuitous route through entertainment
In his own words, Michael Furlong’s life has gone full circle.
by Sue Morrow
Reno Gazette-Journal (NV)

[ comments invited ]

The Carson City native started out in the television business when he was hired in 1973 as Educational TV director at Carson City High School, writing a grant for the closed circuit TV system and managing the program. In 2006, he became general manager for Access Carson City community public television operated by the Brewery Arts Center.  However, before his job with the school district, and to this day, he has been heavily engaged as a performing musician — he sings and plays guitar — and as a song-writer.   —>

Public Informational Meeting on the Plains area Sewer Project
Easthampton Community Access Television (MA)

[ comments invited ]

May 1, 2008 – WBMS

Whatever Happened To Back Porch Video?
by Big Wave Dave
Motor City Rocks (MI)


Back in the early 1980’s two revolutions met in a head on collision; the music video and public access. Here in metro Detroit, the king of this combined revolution was none other the Back Porch Video (BPV).  Last week I sat down with Lance Rosol; former Back Porch Video producer and music director, and talked about his recent Back Porch Video YouTube channel on what exactly made BPV so influential.   —>

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, video franchising

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