Archive for the ‘community media’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/04/08

May 6, 2008

Statehouse Secrets: Beacon Hill does its most important business behind closed doors
by Edward Mason
The Eagle-Tribune (MA)
05/04/08

[ comments invited ]

Lawrence resident Bill Collins likes to keep an eye on Massachusetts lawmakers as they find ways to spend his money. So Collins is disappointed the House budget debate that used to be on television can only be found on the Internet. “With the Lawrence City Council, every word uttered is broadcast live on local access Channel 22,” Collins said. “On Beacon Hill, with hundreds of millions of dollars, it’s done in the dark of night.”

Actually, it’s billions of dollars. House lawmakers put together a $28 billion state budget largely out of public view. Much of the deliberations over spending occurred in backrooms, and debates that were once televised were moved to the Internet. —>
http://www.eagletribune.com/punews/local_story_125012519.html
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Community Media and UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2008
by Fred Johnson
Media-Space-Place-Network
05/04/08

[ 1 comment ]

World Press Freedom Day 2008: Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and Empowerment of People

May 3 was UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day. Checkout the UNESCO Communication and Information site. It is rich with information on the media and development.

Community media is recognized by UNESCO and the UN as a key element in reaching their Millennium Development Goals. At this link there are a few spare paragraphs on community media that express their value and importance. The ease, clarity and thoughtfulness with which the UNESCO writer makes the critical distinctions between mainstream media and community media and notes the obvious logic of new media and community media integration is like a clear, cool drink of water.

Particularly when compared to the contorted language and obfuscations, and barely concealed aggression and turfiness, associated with the US discussion on community media, participatory media and the social web. Rather than seeing community access and community radio portrayed as failures that have fallen under an “old media malaise,” here we find a clear understanding of the role of community media in empowerment and democracy.

Rather than finding community media framed as receding into the past along with the old pre-network society media organizations — as has been the tendency of many new media types in the US — we find in much of the rest of the world an understanding of community media as a pioneer in media participation and open platform media development that rests on a logical continuum with the social web. And we find an understanding that community media organizations are extremely well positioned to become the local cultural institutions needed to realize the democratic potential of the network society.

So then, if you have a moment click your way through the UNESCO site and enjoy being in an information space that sees the value of community media as a prerequisite for development, not as an old media barrier to development.

As I said cool water. —>
http://fredjohnson.mwg.org/?p=73
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Candidates on TV
Save Our Schools: Change The Board! Vote May 20 (NY)
05/04/08

Our four candidates will be on Sam Mercer’s show on Public Access TV, Channel 23, Sunday May 4, at 6pm.
http://www.saveouronteoraschools.com/2008/05/candidates-on-tv.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/01/08

May 2, 2008

EAS: Act locally, think regionally
by Thomas G. Robinson
CedMagazine.com
05/01/08

As cable communications systems have evolved from solo headends to master headend and hub configurations and then to regional super headends, the concept of the local emergency override seems to have gotten lost in the complexity of it all.

The original local emergency overrides go back to the glory days of cable franchising when cable operators touted them as being a critical component of an emergency notification system that would set their system’s capabilities apart from others desiring to cable unwired areas, thus being part of the reason for choosing them over another franchisee. A number of these promises were kept, and emergency override systems were put into place to either override the audio, or audio and video, and allow the emergency operations directors of local franchising authorities to take over the cable system for a brief period of time and notify subscribers of local alerts. This could include hazardous materials spills on a highway within the franchise area or ruptured gas lines in a specific subdivision. As government access channels came on line, subs could then be directed to turn to those for more information.

Over time, a number of things happened to alter the way in which these systems were able to be utilized. First, digital cable channels were developed and added to the lineup. The way that they were encoded and distributed presented new challenges for modifying systems which had been developed for overriding analog channels.   —>
http://www.cedmagazine.com/Article-In-The-Loop-050108.aspx
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The cancellation of Channel 36
Policy debates and high school sports could soon fade to black.
by Patt Morrison
Los Angeles Times (CA)
05/01/08

It’s the channel you probably channel-surf right past on your way from Discovery to CNN.  Its production values can look a little … lean. “Desperate Housewives” no doubt spends more on its backstage buffet line than it costs to operate this little local channel for a whole year.

Tonight, other cable channels will air something called “Britney’s Secret Childhood” and reruns of “Law & Order” and “Family Feud.” Cable access Channel 36 will explore the future of Broadway downtown, and what Proposition 98 means. On Friday, as you’re flipping through the lineup looking for a pro baseball game, Channel 36 will broadcast the local high school slugger-fest between Cleveland and Chatsworth. Fox lets you decide whether to vote for Syesha or Brooke on “American Idol”; Channel 36 shows the debate between Bernard Parks and Mark Ridley-Thomas, so you can decide who to vote for for L.A. County supervisor, a post that represents more people than do the senators from 14 U.S. states.

Whoops — we interrupt this programming announcement for a de-programming announcement. Los Angeles is pulling the money plug. Unless the City Council overrules the mayor’s budget choices, come July 1, Channel 36 as we know it will go dark.  Not that there’s much budget to cut. The 16 hours of programming a day, seven days a week — school sports, public policy talks, long-distance for-credit college classes and a lot of repeats if you missed anything the first time — cost the city $555,000. (Channel 36 raises another $320,000 itself, mostly from hiring out its production services.)

That $555,000 comes from cable TV companies, not taxpayers. Back in 1984, the city boldly demanded funding for public access channels as a condition of handing out those rich, rich cable franchises. That show of nerve now generates $25 million a year.  About $3 million goes to Channel 36’s more production-intense sister station, Channel 35. If some of the faces on 35 look familiar, it’s because they’re often the mayor’s or council members’, in public meetings and on chatty shows about the work they’re doing. They’re on so often that their political opponents have complained that Channel 35 is like one big, free campaign commercial.

The Monday morning that the mayor released his budget, Carla Carlini, the general manager of Channel 36, was nervous. The city nearly whacked Channel 36 four years ago, and the city’s red ink is a lot more crimson now.  “I looked at it online,” she told me, “and literally froze.” Her budget was zero. “I printed it out, I looked at it again — at that point I picked up the phone and called [the agency that supervises the channel] and said, ‘Am I reading this correctly?’ and they said, ‘Yes.’ ”   —>
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-oe-morrison1-2008may01,1,3119514.column
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AT&T will start offering public access TV on U-verse system
by Luther Turmelle
New Haven Register (CT)
05/01/08

An AT&T Inc. executive indicated Wednesday that the debut of local public access television channels on the company’s U-verse system is imminent.  “It will occur sooner, rather than later,” said John Emra, AT&T’s regional vice president of external and legislative affairs. Emra said that at least one provider will appear on the system in the initial launch, with others to appear in coming weeks and months.

Emra declined to identify which public access provider would be first to launch on the system, which has been operating in the state for 17 months without offering any such programming.  “We are working closely with a number of providers to bring them on board,” he said. “Some of those providers serve a number of towns.”

Speculation among those who work in the public access community is that the first provider to launch on U-verse will be Sound View Community Media of Bridgeport. The company provides public access programming for cable television customers in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Milford, Orange, Stratford and Woodbridge.  But while company President Thomas Castelot acknowledged that Sound View is negotiating with AT&T to be carried on U-verse, any suggestion that an agreement is imminent is “premature,” he said.

Contrast Sound View’s experience with that of Wallingford’s Government Access Television.  Scott Hanley, who manages the government access channel, said AT&T hasn’t had any contact with Wallingford since Mayor William Dickinson Jr. made an initial overture to the company.  “We know that Wallingford has a fair number of (U-verse) customers, but at this point, we’ve heard nothing,” Hanley said.

U-verse is AT&T’s Internet-based challenge to cable television in the state and is operating in parts of 40 communities and 135,000 households.  Local public access channel advocates in some of those communities have criticized AT&T, saying that a portal, or “PEG platform,” that U-verse subscribers will use to view community-based programming will be substandard compared to what’s available from cable providers in terms of picture quality and accessibility.   —>
http://www.nhregister.com/WebApp/appmanager/JRC/BigDaily;jsessionid=5QftLZnVpyydvBDTDlVSdT9LgphBDsgpGC8yjgQnmm7THq1ymGjg!289188298?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_article&r21.pgpath=%2FNHR%2FBusiness&r21.content=%2FNHR%2FBusiness%2FHeadlineList_Story_1982738
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Cable Companies Fight For Franchise
by Ben Hogwood
Queens Tribune (NY)
05/01/08

Cable franchises are up for renewal this year, and one Queens councilman wants to make sure customers receive better service before the City signs any new contracts.
“With the cable franchises for Cablevision and Time Warner up for renewal for the first time in 10 years, we must wisely use this opportunity to protect consumers and hold Big Cable to higher standards,” said Tony Avella (D-Bayside), the chair of zoning and franchises for the City.

In addition, the City is seeking bids from all possible companies that can offer services to every residence, and already it appears consumers may have another option. The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) reached an agreement with Verizon Tuesday for a citywide cable television contract. The proposed agreement must still be approved by the City’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee, which is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the topic May 20.   —>
http://www.queenstribune.com/news/1209661473.html
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Column: School board meetings — where and what time?
by Bob Fasbender
Tomah Journal (WI)
05/01/08

[ comments invited ]

The Tomah Area School District Board of Education is seeking your input on where and when you feel board meetings should be held.  Currently all Tomah School Board regular monthly meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month beginning at 7:30 p.m. at various schools throughout the year. The board is investigating the possibility of making some changes to the regular monthly board meeting schedule.

The first change they are considering is moving the starting time to 7 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m. Secondly, they are considering discontinuing the “traveling” board meeting schedule. For many years the board has rotated the location of their monthly meeting so that they get into all of the schools at least once a year. They are considering the possibility of holding all regular board meetings at the former WTC building to be renamed the Robert Kupper Learning Center (RKLC), located at 1310 Townline Road in Tomah. They would continue to hold the May meeting in the Tomah High School library because this is the meeting where the retirees are recognized and usually attracts a large number of people.

Part of the reason for looking at a change in meeting location is because the board feels that more people watch the board meetings on cable (the PEG Channel and the Hagen Sports Network) than those who appear at the meetings. Secondly, anyone who has attended the meetings knows that the acoustics in the gymnasiums is marginal and makes it very difficult to hear and record. It affects the quality of the videotape that is being broadcast on cable. By holding the meetings in the former WTC building, the district can address the sound problems with the acoustical ceiling tiles and speakers in the ceilings. This will result in better sound for those who watch the meetings on cable and for those who are in attendance.   —>
http://www.tomahjournal.com/articles/2008/05/01/opinion/02fasbendercolumn.txt
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Public Forum on Philly WiFi
by twolfson
Philly Future (PA)
05/01/08

Media Mobilizing Project, Temple School of Communications and Theatre and a bunch of co-sponsors are hosting a public forum on the future of Philly WiFi on June 3rd at Temple. The forum will host a diverse panel of speakers, while including an open space for participants to speak about the future of the wireless Internet initiative.   —>
http://www.phillyfuture.org/node/6220
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How community TV spends its night of nights
by Daniel Ziffer
theage.com (Australia)
05/01/08

The Antenna Awards are community television’s Logies and last week they were celebrated with just as much passion and style. A crowd of several hundred tramped another red carpet, clinked champagne flutes and crammed into a Federation Square theatre to discover the winners of television’s other night of nights.  Nominees for best program included The MS Show, a series about multiple sclerosis, The Goin Ballistyx Snow Board Show, animated children’s program Play Kool and Let’s Go Bird Watching.

The winner was sustainable-lifestyle show Making The Switch, which also took out best lifestyle program and the award for best editing.  Presenter of the show’s 26 half-hour episodes, Lisa Corduff, says the community sector has room for anyone with a message. “I had never really made TV before and I was given the opportunity to research and present and produce.   —>
http://www.theage.com.au/news/tv–radio/how-community-tv-spends-its-night-of-nights/2008/04/30/1209234934185.html
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Time Warner to shed stake in cable operation
by Thomas Mulligan
Los Angeles Times
05/01/08

Answering Wall Street’s calls for a slimmer and more focused company, Time Warner Inc.’s chief executive said Wednesday that the cable system operator in which it holds a majority stake would become a completely separate entity.  Jeffrey L. Bewkes did not spell out how and when the split-off of Time Warner Cable Inc. would be accomplished.  Bewkes said that he was “very optimistic” about the prospects for the cable business but that “we just believe that the two entities would ultimately be more valuable if separated.” Time Warner owns 84percent of Time Warner Cable, a portion of which was spun off into a separate public company that began trading last year.

Time Warner has long been talked about as a possible deep-pockets buyer of Bethpage-based Cablevision Systems Corp. But there has never been a formal offer and stock analysts yesterday said it was too soon to know if the Time Warner spinoff would affect possible acquisitions, including one involving Cablevision.   —>
http://www.newsday.com/business/ny-bztime0501,0,4960948.story
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What’s Next for Time Warner Cable?
by David Lee Smith
The Motley Fool
05/01/08

It was a busy day for Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), the second-biggest player in the cable industry. And the major event for the company wasn’t, as you might expect, its quarterly results, but rather the fact that we now know that it’s about to leave its parental nest.  So, let’s look quickly at the company’s results for the quarter before discussing its future.   —>
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2008/05/01/whats-next-for-time-warner-cable.aspx
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/30/08

May 2, 2008

Live from a big ol’ van . . .
Mobile at the nonprofit tech conference, New Orleans 2.5 years after Katrina, and a jazz archive in peril . . .
by Jen Gilomen, Lead Developer of Strategic Initiatives, BAVC
04/30/08

[ comments invited ]

Saint Louis Cathedral, French QuarterWhen Hurricane Katrina hit, David Freedman was thinking about the history of jazz. Specifically, he was thinking about how to save the 5,000+ original recordings, 50,000 LPs, and 25,000 CDs housed at his community radio station, WWOZ, in New Orleans. The first emergency — besides evacuating — was saving the vaulted archive of original recordings. David and I were both at the Nonprofit Technology Conference in New Orleans in March, and the story of his station, combined with the overall vibe of the conference and some exploration of New Orleans two and a half years after the flood, got me thinking about what the ‘community’ in community media and technology really means.   […]

And while community media may have lost some of the renegade reputation that it had in the ’70s, when BAVC was born and the organization consisted of a few guys were running around with Porta Packs, it has grown into its own without losing, we hope, the community spirit in which it began. As BAVC and our own ‘community of community media’ continue to think about technologies of the future — who will have access to them, use them, profit from them, and learn from them — we need to remember the importance of localism, the preservation of the “authentic space” for people to create, collaborate, express themselves, and enrich themselves that is the heart of community media.
http://bavc.wordpress.com/2008/04/30/live-from-a-big-ol-van/
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Hot off the presses
Rumblings in ITA (CA)
04/30/08

[ 7 comments ]

ITA just completed their budget hearing:

—>  Channel 36 and cable franchise oversight: Councilman Rosendahl and other board members discussed the funding cuts to Channel 36 and asked that ITA and the Mayors Office look at restoring that funding through the 1% franchise fee that the City will get from the State of California or perhaps by some other means. Citing Channel 36 as an invaluable asset to the citizens of Los Angeles. Rosendahl chided the State for taking cable regulatory control away from the local governments.   —>
http://itarumblings.blogspot.com/2008/04/hot-off-presses.html
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Reportback from April 17th Action at Mexican Consulate
Portland Independent Media Center (OR)
04/30/08

Members of Portland State University student groups M.E.Ch.A., Las Mujeres, North American Solidarity, Amnesty International PSU, and community groups Portland Central America Solidarity Committee, Cascadia Root Force, Oregon Oaxaca Solidarity [held] a march and rally outside the Mexican Consulate to demand a thorough investigation of the ambush and murder of two women community media activists in Oaxaca, Mexico. These groups also condemn the paramilitary repression of indigenous women and community media projects.   —>
http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/375161.shtml
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Amy Goodman Interview
by Elizabeth DiNovella
The Progressive
February 2008

[ 2 comments ]

Amy Goodman is one of the leading journalists of our time.  She is executive producer and host of Democracy Now, a daily, independent radio and television news program broadcast on 650 stations around the world.  “I’ve always been surprised that people say it’s a hopeful program because we deal with such difficult subjects,” she says. “But I think it’s hopeful because of the people we interview. They are both the analysts and those that are doing something about it, wherever they might be.”   —>
http://www.progressive.org/mag_intv0208
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World’s longest-running cable access show produced in Somerville
Somerville Journal (MA)
04/30/08

[ 1 comment ]

Somerville – Turn to SCAT Channel 3 on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. to watch the longest-running public access TV show in the world, “Dead Air Live.”  The program has been produced by the Somerville Producers Group every other Tuesday night since 1975, and presents everything from talk shows to music performance to travelogues. The members, who come and go over the years, take turns producing the shows.    —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/somerville/news/x914621464
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Claire’s Community Showcase to feature host’s 1974 trip to Saudi Arabia
Duluth Journal (MN)
04/30/08

Duluth Public Access Community Television, Inc. (PACT) regularly airs a program called Claire’s Community Showcase, a talk-show format series hosted by local writer Claire Schumacher.  This Thursday and Friday, PACT is airing a special showing of Claire’s Community Showcase as it features a slide show format program of the host’s 1974 trip to Saudi Arabia. Mrs. Schumacher narrates over the picture slide show as she relives her memories from that trip and explains the stories behind the photos.   —>
http://www.howiehanson.com/?p=2861
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/14/08

April 14, 2008

Slidell, Pearl River councils oppose cable and tax bills in Legislature
by Erik Sanzenbach
St. Tammany News (LA)
04/14/08

[ comments invited ]

One proposed bill affecting tax collection and a bill vetoed by former Gov. Kathleen Blanco that has been revived and would change the way cable franchise negotiations are handled have incurred the displeasure of both the Slidell City Council and the Pearl River Board of Aldermen.  The Slidell Council voted Tuesday night to accept two resolutions that oppose the passage of the legislations in the state Legislature.

The first piece of legislation is the Competitive and Video Services Act passed by the Legislature in 2006 and vetoed by Blanco. The act would prohibit local governments from negotiating cable television franchise contracts. The state would negotiate all cable television contracts and would set franchise fees.

This would mean a substantial loss of revenue for local municipalities. Slidell City Attorney Tim Mathison told the council the state would set up franchise fees that were 5 percent of the net revenues of a cable company.  In Blanco’s veto message in July 2006, the governor said the proposed revenue losses to local municipalities would force town to either cut back on essential services, or they would have to increase taxes.   —>
http://www.slidellsentry.com/articles/2008/04/14/news/doc48037209cc286191238178.txt
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Community Information Needs and Access to be Studied by New Commission from the Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute
by Erin Silliman
Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy
04/14/08

First Study on Comprehensive Information Availability and Engagement; Theodore B. Olson and Marissa Mayer, Commission Co-Chairs

Washington, D.C. – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute today announced the launch of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy.  The high-level Knight Commission will look into whether the information needs of 21st century American citizens and communities are being met and make recommendations for public policy and private initiatives that will help better meet community information needs.

“The Commission will look at the issues of information, news and society from the perspective of communities across the nation,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president and CEO. “We want to assess their information needs, then take a snapshot to see how they are being met. The Commission will offer creative recommendations to improve democratic problem-solving at the local level through more and better engagement with relevant news and information.”   —>
http://www.knightcomm.org/?q=node/5
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Comcast deal boosts ORCTV
by Don Cuddy
Standard-Times (MA)
04/14/08

[ comments invited ]

MARION — Community television in the tri-town area received a boost last week with the news that ORCTV and Comcast have reached an agreement that will result in all of the community access channels operating from the ORCTV studios at the Captain Hadley House in Marion.  “Comcast has agreed to transfer the I-net hubs from their customer service building in Marion and install them in the studio here,” ORCTV director Kim Miot said. “The town technically owns the equipment but Comcast will manage and maintain it. It will be good for us to have the technical equipment operating right next to our playback system.”

The I-net hubs are a series of switches that “operate like a traffic cop” to manage input and control the flow of information, according to a Comcast spokesman. What this will mean for viewers of local cable will be more programs on more channels and greater variety, Ms. Miot said.  “We will be able to finally light up Channel 18 EDTV, the educational channel, which has been dark for a long time, as well as constructing Rochester’s government access channel,” she said. “Up to the present we have been functioning out of the Marion town house but these things can now begin to happen because of this agreement.”   —>
http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080414/NEWS/804140342/-1/NEWS
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BATV plan includes two new TV studios at BHS
By Elana Zak
Brookline Tab (MA)
04/14/08

[ comments invited ]

Brookline High students might soon be giving Conan O’Brien a run for his money.  The School Committee is considering a proposal from BATV to build two new television studios in the high school’s Unified Arts Building. One of the studios would be designated an educational studio for high school students, allowing them to create content that would be shown on air.

BATV, Brookline public access television, presented the plan last week and said it would foot the bill for the approximately $1.8 million renovations.  “We need a new home,” said William Slotnik, president of BATV, at the April 10 School Committee meeting. “It seemed natural that we would move deeper into the schools.”

The plan involves moving BATV from its current home at the old Lincoln School to the UA building. The public-access station has been there since 2004, after leaving its former offices with Comcast on Amory Street. BATV would take over the third floor of the building and concentrate all art classes and studios on the second floor. They would use one of the two studios for BATV broadcasting.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/brookline/news/education/x1148173393
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New soundstage for Tucson?
Ambitious plan aims to boost local filmmaking, plus build a media center and 300-seat theater
by Rob O’Dell
Arizona Daily Star
04/14/08

[ 34 comments ]

Once known has “Hollywood in the Desert,” Tucson has been relegated to more of a low-budget, direct-to-video status in the hierarchy of show business.  But a group of community organizations and city officials wants to restore some of our former glitz by building a state-of-the-art soundstage to attract more A-list movies and television shows.  The $10 million package would include a media center that local groups could use and a 300-seat theater. Tucson hasn’t had a first-class soundstage since the one at Old Tucson burned down in 1995.

The idea is for Access Tucson, radio station KXCI, the Loft Cinema and possibly city-owned TV station Tucson 12 to pool their resources and save costs by sharing facilities.  The effort is being led by Sam Behrend, executive director of Access Tucson, which provides public-access television. Behrend used a grant from City Councilman Steve Leal’s office for preliminary schematic work on a new “community media center.”

A soundstage, to attract some of the films that now bypass Tucson for Albuquerque and Austin, Texas, was added to broaden the appeal of the media center.  Mayor Bob Walkup, for example, said he doesn’t know whether he would support a media center, but he’s solidly behind bringing in a soundstage.  “I do strongly support a soundstage to be back in motion picture, the TV and the commercial business,” Walkup said. “That’s got some traction, and I would really like to see that re-established in Tucson.”  Leal said he supports both a stand-alone community media center and one with a soundstage.   —>
http://www.azstarnet.com/dailystar/234215
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A local Rite of spring
BCTV Cable Channel 2: Belfast — Searsport (ME)
04/14/08

[ comments invited ]

Recently the Waldo County YMCA staged two River races. The St. George and Paasagassawakeag races have been held every spring for almost 30 years. This year, for the first time ever, the YMCA decided to have the races filmed to not only be shown on area public access channels, but also to provide each race paricipant with a DVD. There was still snow along the river banks and the weather was brisk, but it was a lively event to watch and the one hour program that was produced should be entertaining to see. There were many local participants, and you may just recognize a neighbor. It is wonderful that the Y has provided us with this program and we hope other organizations in our community will do the same.
http://belfastcommunitytv.blogspot.com/2008/04/local-rite-of-spring-recently-waldo.html
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New approach to community broadcasting
by Kevin
Australian-Media.com.au
04/14/08

[ comments invited ]

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has announced a new approach and a number of ongoing initiatives to improve its interactions with the community broadcasting sector.  The new approach will be more proactive, entail a review of processes and procedures and have a focus on improved information, consultation and transparency.

“This sector is incredibly diverse and its several hundred members vary widely in their size and resources and the quality of their governance arrangements. We have gone back to first principles and are looking for better ways to do business with the sector. The aim is to ensure sector members continue to serve the community while at the same time making the regulator more accessible and more accountable,” said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman.

The first step of ACMA’s new approach to interaction with the community broadcasting sector is the establishment of a new ACMA team, the Community Broadcasting Group (CBG). One aim of the CBG is to interact with the community broadcasting sector and, in particular, its peak bodies in a highly consultative manner.

The CBG’s work encompasses all licence allocations and renewals, complaints and investigations, compliance and enforcement, and the monitoring and review of the codes of practice that govern community radio and community television broadcasting services. A single group dealing with this range of matters will deliver efficiencies and ensure a more consistent approach across the range of issues experienced by the community broadcasting sector. This, in turn, should minimise overlap or delay.

As at 30 June 2007, there were 358 community radio broadcasting services, compared to 274 commercial radio broadcasting services.  “This is a large number of community radio broadcasting services. As they obtain access to valuable free-to-air spectrum at little cost, it is important for ACMA to administer the legislative provisions in accordance with the public interest and in the manner intended by Parliament,” said Mr Chapman.   —>
http://www.australian-media.com.au/index.php?c=home&p=news&article=9565&from=rss
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/09/08

April 11, 2008

AT&T-COMCAST PEG side-by-side demo
swoccstudios – Southwestern Oakland Cable Commission (MI)
04/08/08

[ 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 ]
http://youtube.com/watch?v=v6A-btugKdA
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AT&T won’t say where it’d offer TV if bill passes
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)
04/09/08

[ 12 comments ]

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. —>
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59467
~

A Snowy Transmission
by Tomas Dinges
411 Productions (TX)
04/09/08

[ comments invited ]

A snowy transmission: Public access television threatened, by Tomas Dinges
http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2008-03-04/dinges-accesstrouble

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.” —>
http://411productions.blogspot.com/2008/04/snowy-transmission-by-tomas-dinges.html
~

Black Evil Television, Low-Power FM Neighborhood Radio, and the Congressional Black Caucus
by Bruce Dixon
Black Agenda Radio
04/08/08

[ 4 comments ]

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. —>
http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=582&Itemid=1
~

Two young women journalists working for indigenous community radio station in Oaxaca ambushed and shot
Reporters without Borders
04/09/08

[ comments invited at Corrugated Films: http://corrugatedfilms.blogspot.com/2008/04/community-radio-activists-murdered-in.html ]

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. —>
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=26511
~

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)
04/08/08

[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. —>
http://www.straightgoods.ca/ViewMediaFile8.cfm?REF=15
~

Columbia College Chicago/Community Media Workshop
New America Media
04/09/08

[ 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.
http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=d289fe32384cdb8230278d4dcb1ca7eb&from=rss
~

Ethnic Media Practice Serious Journalism at Risk of Peril
by Kenneth Kin
New America Media
04/09/08

[ 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. —>
http://news.ncmonline.com/news/view_article.html?article_id=f68b62db82c0909a0f07e6c12123bea9
~

S. F. event and national symposium in D. C. to counter mis-information on Venezuela
by Jonathan Nack
indymedia.org
04/09/08

[ 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.” —>
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/09/18491508.php
~

New Hope For Press Freedom With Election Upset
The Malaysian
04/09/08

[ 2 comments ]

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). —>
http://the-malaysian.blogspot.com/2008/04/new-hope-for-press-freedom-with.html
~

Somerville Cares About Prevention (Part 1)
SCAT’s Vlog! (MA)
04/09/08

[ 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.
http://scatstaffvlog.blogspot.com/2008/04/somerville-cares-about-prevention-part.html
~

Public access channel opens up its mics
Ventura County Star (CA)
04/09/08

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.” —>
http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/apr/09/public-access-channel-opens-its-mics/
~

Chicago IMC Public Access TV Show Coverage of 5th Anniversary Antiwar Direct Actions
by Chicago Indymedia Collective
The War Stops Here
04/08/08

[ 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. —>
http://thewarstopshere.wordpress.com/2008/04/08/chicago-imc-public-access-tv-show-coverage-of-5th-anniversary-antiwar-direct-actions/
~

Cable Access Talk Show Spreads Positive Message
Northland’s News Center (MN/WI)
04/09/08

[ 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!
http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/news/local/17393714.html
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/03/08

April 4, 2008

Don’t Downgrade CT-N
Hartford Courant (CT)
04/03/08

[ 8 comments ]

AT&T’s new U-verse service doesn’t have to play by all the rules that cable TV companies do. But it should play by one: It should offer viewers the same quality public affairs broadcasts that cable viewers now enjoy.

The Connecticut Television Network, aptly described as Connecticut’s C-SPAN, covers state government, including debates on bills before the General Assembly. CT-N fears, with good reason, that AT&T will move it to a substandard channel that will be hard for viewers to connect with and see clearly.

Paul Giguere, president and CEO of CT-N, recently did a side-by-side comparison of public affairs programs on U-verse and cable TV in a town in Michigan. (The comparison can be seen at www.compare.ct-n.com.)

On U-verse, the public access channel took more than a minute to appear on the screen. The picture was fuzzier than on cable TV. Also, viewers couldn’t record U-verse public access programs with DVRs. These changes will surely upset the many fans of the invaluable CT-N.

AT&T has fought its way into the Connecticut cable TV market this past year with promises of great quality and competitive pricing on its service. The legislature relaxed its regulations last year to give the newcomer a chance. But even the lighter regulatory system still included public access requirements for U-verse.

The legislature must make sure CT-N viewers don’t get shortchanged with the new service. They should have the same easy, crisp viewing experience as they will have with C-SPAN and CPTV, which will be carried on commercial channels.

CT-N has become too vital to the informed citizenry of Connecticut to allow anything less.
http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ctn.artapr04,0,2491936.story
~

Secrecy granted to cable TV providers
by Timothy C. Barmann
Providence Journal (RI)
04/03/08

The state’s three cable TV companies have asked state regulators to keep secret some of the details the businesses are required to file about their operations each year.  Eric Palazzo, the state’s top cable regulator, has granted that request.

Cox Communications, Verizon Communications and Full Channel TV all contend that releasing some of the information in their annual reports, such as how many customers each company has, would harm their competitive positions.  Cox has gone a step further by also requesting that financial information, such as its balance sheet and income statements, be kept confidential as well.  These filings, in their entirety, have been made available to the public for 25 years.

Palazzo said the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers supported cable competition within Rhode Island, adding “We do not want to do anything that the companies feel would be negative in the competitive environment.”  The three companies filed their annual reports Tuesday, the deadline for doing so. The Journal has asked Thomas Ahern, administrator of the division, to review Palazzo’s decision to withhold the information.

Ahern said that state law gives the agency 10 days to respond to The Journal’s request. He said that Palazzo has asked the cable companies to file memos that expand upon their reasons for wanting to keep the information confidential.  The state rules that govern cable TV have required cable companies to file annual reports since the industry’s inception in Rhode Island in the early 1980s.  The reports are to contain information about each company’s ownership, management, financial condition, facilities, services and subscriber information…

Linda Lotridge Levin, a professor of journalism at the University of Rhode Island, said the information that the cable companies don’t want disclosed could be helpful to consumers.  “If you have the information, then you can make a better informed decision,” Levin said, who is also chairwoman of Access Rhode Island, a group that works to ensure that the workings of government are open to the citizens of the state.

“As a proponent of open government …. I think the residents of the state have a right to know the details of these businesses.”  She said that since these companies are regulated by the state, citizens “should be able to know what our state is regulating.”   —>
http://www.projo.com/business/content/bz_cable_secrets03_04-03-08_K19KE3D_v14.2a635b3.html
~

Pointdexter
The 411 Show (TX)
04/03/08

[ comments invited ]

Meet Pointdexter, the lost dog (http://blip.tv/file/get/411Show-Pointdexter125.mov). If anybody recognizes him, send us a message.  This clip was filmed for San Antonio Public Access TV.
http://411show.blogspot.com/2008/04/pointdexter.html
~

Public access and grassroots video
by Forty Brown
40Brown
04/03/08

[ comments invited ]

I’m attending a lecture today given by DeeDee Halleck, an expert in public access television programing and the use of communications in grassroots development.  You can follow along here.
http://40brown.wordpress.com/2008/04/03/public-access-and-grassroots-video/
~

Clash over ‘white spaces’
by Chris Frates
Politico
04/03/08

[ comments invited ]

The big guns of high tech and consumer advocacy are launching a major lobbying blitz next week to convince policymakers to allow unlicensed electronic gadgets to operate on the television spectrum.   While a bit esoteric-sounding, the issue of allowing unlicensed electronics to use vacant spectrum space between television channels will have a dramatic and lasting impact on consumers, argue supporters and opponents alike.

The high-tech community contends that allowing laptops, PDAs and other unlicensed devices to operate in the so-called “white spaces” will revolutionize wireless broadband access. Broadcasters counter that such a move would interfere with television signals and distort TV picture quality for millions of Americans.   A classic Washington clash of the titans, the fight between the broadcasters and the tech companies has turned savage, with each side accusing the other of distortion and greed.

The techies contend the broadcasters want to keep the white spaces for themselves until they can figure out how to make money selling them. The broadcasters say the tech giants are trying to score free spectrum space — unlicensed devices mean companies don’t have to buy expensive spectrum space that licensed devices require.   Each side dismisses its opponent’s arguments as bunk.

To push their cause, Microsoft, Dell, Google and other tech companies, along with several public interest groups, have formed the Wireless Innovation Alliance. And it has bought a round of print ads to run in Washington publications over the next several weeks.  The ads criticize the National Association of Broadcasters for what the alliance calls NAB’s pattern of opposition over the years to FM radio, cable television and the VCR, among other innovations. The alliance expects to begin a second round of advertising in late May or early June.

On Capitol Hill, the alliance is targeting lawmakers charged with overseeing the Federal Communications Commission, which is currently testing unlicensed devices to determine whether they cause interference. Specifically, the alliance intends to lobby the 70 lawmakers who wrote to the FCC to express their concern about unlicensed devices.

“Many of these members merely voiced concern over television interference, not the technological opportunity that will bring wireless broadband access to millions of Americans and close the gap between American schools, rural communities and underserved populations,” said alliance spokesman Brian Peters. “Opposing interference and supporting NAB’s position are two very different things.”

To mobilize consumers, the alliance has tapped its partners to help build a grass-roots network. More than 500,000 members of the media reform organization Free Press have filed more than 20,000 comments with the FCC supporting unlicensed devices to use white spaces, said Shawn Chang, the consumer advocacy group’s deputy policy director. The move will help counter NAB’s constituency of station owners.

Free Press believes white spaces can increase Internet access, a message it has pitched to the civil rights, music and rural groups it has asked to sign on to the fight, Chang said.   “The goal is expanding the number of coalitions and bringing a diverse perspective into the debate,” Chang said. “Traditionally, people don’t view this as a digital divide issue. They view it as one large industry, tech companies, versus another large industry: the broadcasters. It’s really about connecting more people to the Internet.”    —>
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0408/9344.html
~

REPACTED: Giving Voice To The Kenyan Youths
by Rezwan
Rising Voices
04/03/08

[ comments invited ]

REPACTED is the abbreviation of Rapid Effective Participatory Action in Community Theater Education and Development.  REPACTED was formed in the year 2001 by young theater artists from the Nakuru Players Theater Club with assistance from an international NGO. Their aim is to improve the community by encouraging young people and involving them in community development through participatory theater methodologies, awareness campaigns and peer education and counseling.

The scope of the Youth Media Consultative Forum is stated in their application to Rising Voices:

“The youth media consultative forum will collect news, stories, information, and other content from their respective communities among the target population and post them on the internet, through photography, broadcast, video, blogging, and magazines. The project will also use Magnet Theater to inform, educate, and communicate to the target population. With the above activities the target population will be able to communicate with like minded population in the whole world, and show the true picture of their community. The kind of news and stories that we will collect and share using the above tools will be to show the struggles that young people are going through here in Nakuru Kenya and give them a voice.”

In their first post in Rising Voices REPACTED tells about its works and achievements till-to-date.

Dennis Kimambo is the resource mobilizer of the program. We have talked with him recently to learn about the program and its progress in details. Here is the interview.   —>
http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/blog/2008/04/03/repacted-giving-voice-to-the-kenyan-youths/
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/27/08

March 28, 2008

Verizon’s Seidenberg calls for less red tape
by Carolyn Y. Johnson
Boston Globe (MA)
03/27/08

Verizon Communications Inc. chief executive Ivan G. Seidenberg called for a streamlined cable franchising process and cautioned politicians to be careful when considering new taxes or regulations.  Speaking at the Boston College Chief Executives’ Club of Boston, Seidenberg jokingly referred to Mayor Thomas M. Menino several times during his speech. The mayor supports a recent Appellate Tax Board decision that Verizon should pay taxes on telephone poles and wires over public ways, but the company has said it will appeal the ruling.   —>
http://www.boston.com/business/ticker/2008/03/verizons_seiden.html
~

Hooksett to consider sewer plant expansion
by Jenn McDowell
Hooksett Banner (NH)
03/26/08

[ comments invited ]

—>   At the public hearing, the Budget Committee also heard from resident David Pearl on a petitioned warrant article to bring public access television to Hooksett.  The program would be paid for through franchise fees the town currently collects from Comcast customers, which is currently about three percent of the total bill.  Right now, the money collected from those fees goes into the town’s general fund, and it would more than cover the estimated start-up costs for the station.  The total amount needed for the first year could approach $100,000, which would pay for a typical set up for the station and fiber optic cables.   —>
http://cs.newhampshire.com/blogs/hooksett_editor/archive/2008/03/26/Hooksett-to-consider-sewer-plant-expansion.aspx
~

City council votes for deregulation of cable contract
The Norman Transcript (OK)
03/27/08

[ comments invited ]

Norman city councilmembers split their vote 5-4 in favor of deregulating the contract with Cox Communications at its Tuesday evening regular meeting.  The vote came after a 35-minute rant by Ward 2 councilmember Richard Stawicki, in which he objected in great detail to every element of the changes in the contract. Other councilmembers fidgeted, whispered to each other and rolled their eyes during Stawicki’s statements.  “What this ordinance does is deregulate,” Stawicki said, railing against the City giving away elements of the contract.  He named off each section of the new ordinance and noted that the items were “struck — wrongfully so.”   —>
http://www.normantranscript.com/localnews/local_story_087002325
~

CTC applies for Rice Lake cable franchise
by Gene Prigge
Chronotype  (WI)
03/27/08

CTC Telcom has been issued an interim video franchise for the City of Rice Lake and other areas. The Cameron-based company plans to begin offering cable television here by May, said CTC chief executive officer Rick Vergin.  CTC applied for a franchise under a new state law that shifts the authority to grant video franchises from local municipalities to the state. The new law, which makes the state the exclusive franchise-granting authority, took effect Jan. 9…

Under the new law, CTC will pay a 5% franchise fee to the city, with that fee based on gross revenues from video income. Charter also pays a 5% franchise fee to the city, with those funds used primarily to support Rice Lake’s public access channel, Channel 14.  Charter also pays a capital grants payment to the city’s public access channel. Under the new law, however, that payment will be phased out over the next 3 years.  Budgeted income from the Charter franchise fee to Rice Lake in 2008 is $91,000. The capital grant income is $13,884.

Mick Givens, the director of the local public access channel, said overall the state legislation is “a positive thing,” but he said it also creates challenges for public access channels and could result in the end of those channels. Losses to the local public access channel include lower franchise revenues because of new revenue accounting methods, and the loss of capital grants.

Givens noted that while the bill enabling the state franchise system was passed by state legislators by a 2-1 margin, local representatives Bob Jauch and Mary Hubler voted against the measure.  Givens said that under the new law, cable providers will still be required to pay up to 5% of revenues as a franchise fee, but the new accounting of gross revenues will result in a net loss of income for public access channels.  Under the current Charter franchise, Charter revenues include charges for video service, including events and pay-per-view, rental of set-top boxes, service charges such as activation and maintenance, and revenue received from home shopping and similar programming.

The law provides for public access channels to solicit sponsorships, or advertising, which would help make up for lost revenues, but Givens also notes that the Rice Lake cable system has only one full-time employee and a slot for a half- time employee.  “Where do we find the time to perform our functions and go out and sell ads?” he asked.

The new system mandates that new entries into a market must carry existing public access channels, and Vergin indicated that CTC will do that.  Givens, who has served on the board of the Wisconsin Cable Communications Assn. and on the board of the Wisconsin Association of Public, Educational and Government Channels, said AT&T, and probably other providers, plan to move public access channels to “the hinterlands” of Channel 99. He said the lower channel numbers are the most desirable, that Rice Lake public access has been on Channel 14 for years and that “It’s going to be tough to find a channel that has no publicity.”

Adding to that problem, he said, is that it may take considerably longer for a public access channel to feed into a system when the viewer selects that channel, perhaps as much as 30 seconds or more, which will prompt most viewers to make another choice.  —>
http://www.chronotype.com/newarticle.asp?T=L&ArticleID=13574
~

Grant to pay for TV technology
by Holly Angelo
The Republican (MA)
03/27/08

CHICOPEE – The city has received the last of two $500,000 capital grants from Charter Communications for the School Department’s telecommunications center, which is scheduled to be fully operational by the fall.  The $1 million in grant payments are part of the city’s 10-year contract with Charter that expires in 2014. The telecommunications center on James Street will be relocated to new headquarters at the new Chicopee Comprehensive High School. Bids for equipment for the center are expected to go out in early May.

“It was definitely a good thing for the School Department and the city,” Rose Y. Blais, assistant superintendent for telecommunications technology services for the School Department, said yesterday. “We’re looking at a high-definition television studio.”

The $1 million didn’t come without a price. Public access programming used to be handled by Charter, but the School Department has taken over those duties for the city. In addition, Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette said the city lost two of its four local cable access channels when it signed the 10-year pact.  “There was a substantial trade-off,” Bissonnette said.

Of the $1 million, $750,000 will buy studio equipment and $250,000 will outfit a new remote television van, Blais said.  Blais said the School Department is changing its telecommunications department from the James Street site to Chicopee Comprehensive. The telecommunications department also teaches television production to both Chicopee Comprehensive and Chicopee High School students, along with managing all the computers and servers in the School Department. The telecommunications department also oversees local cable access Channels 5 and 19.   —>
http://www.masslive.com/chicopeeholyoke/republican/index.ssf?/base/news-13/120660249098000.xml&coll=1
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WSKI continuing community broadcasts
by Ann Bryant
Sun Journal (ME)
03/27/08

[ 4 comments ]

CARRABASSETT VALLEY – With a long history of providing unique television to the community, WSKI-TV 17 plans to continue despite the challenges of this past year.  “We think we do community television in the best possible way to serve our community,” said owner Nadine McLeod Wednesday.

Recent questions raised about the station’s legal right to use channel 17 by Scott Hogg led McLeod to seek the advice of Tony Vigue, a board member of the Community Television Association of Maine, she said.  “Federal statutes do not expressly prohibit commercial advertising and programming on public access television. It’s not typical, but is not prohibited,” he said he told both McLeod and Hogg when they asked about general guidelines for public access stations.

The history of the station included ad placement on channel 17 before public access channels were started, she said.  SKI-TV originated this way: An antenna was placed atop Sugarloaf so that condominiums could receive three Bangor stations. That led to the decision to put up its own station and McLeod became the station supervisor in 1979, she said.

When Larry Warren started Longfellow Cable, he asked Sugarloaf to let WSKI be added to his cable menu. The station offered a unique product with weather and trail conditions for skiers, she said. It was a big service not available on satellite that each cable company after Longfellow’s has kept in their lineup, she added.

“When the mountain faced bankruptcy in 1986, the station was shut down and we came back and offered to keep it running,” she said.  Because they offered a local community channel, at some point it was assumed they were Carrabassett’s public channel, she said.

“In terms of whether or not they did anything illegal, I don’t think so because there was no precise agreement between the town and WSKI over channel 17. No one else has construed the historical relation between the town and WSKI as being illegal. No law has been broken. Regardless, the issue is gone,” said John McCatherin, who leads a new committee organized to research whether the town wants to run a public access channel and what that would entail.

Basically, the contract or franchise agreement between the town and the cable company spells out what can be done with the public channel assigned to the town, Vigue said.  The town’s franchise agreement with Time Warner states that the cable company will provide a channel for public access, said Town Manager Dave Cota on Wednesday. The town has never run a public channel itself, he has said previously.  Time Warner offered the town the option to take channel 22 for a public access channel.   —>
http://www.sunjournal.com/story/258216-3/Franklin/WSKI_continuing_community_broadcasts/
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Port to address underage drinking at televised ‘Town Hall Meeting’
by M. Renee Buckley
Newburyport Current (MA)
03/27/08

[ comments invited ]

Newburyport – The arrests of a group of local teens over February vacation for underage drinking wasn’t an isolated incident in Newburyport, but rather serves as a close-to-home example of what the Surgeon General calls a leading public health problem across the United States.  Last year the acting Surgeon General made a call to action “to prevent and reduce underage drinking,” and the campaign to educate the nation on the dangers of underage drinking is under way.

In answer to that call — and in support of its own mission to decrease underage use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in Newburyport — the city’s Beacon Coalition will participate in a nationwide Town Hall Meeting next Wednesday to educate the community about the problem and to encourage addressing it…

Dispelling those misconceptions and brining to light the realities about underage drinking is the aim of next week’s live televised Town Hall Meeting — to be held Wednesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. on public access Channel 9. Hayden said they set up the event to make it as easy as possible for parents and other community members to participate. Viewers can call in or e-mail questions during the program — or e-mail anytime leading up to it — all from the comfort of their own homes.  While guests are welcome to participate by being a part of the live audience, those who’d like to must arrive at the Newburyport Community Media Center, 3 Graf Road, before doors close at 6:45 p.m. to begin filming.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/newburyport/news/education/x125180489
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RCTV-15 to screen series of public interest programs
Democrat and Chronicle (NY)
03/27/08

[ comments invited ]

RCTV-15, the city of Rochester’s public access television station, is hosting a series as it shows films all month from INPUT, an international conference that picks the best in public interest programs from around the world.  Carvin Eison, general manager of RCTV, has been on the INPUT selection committee since 2006.

Since only Rochester residents will see the programming, the station at 21 Gorham St. will host The Best of INPUT screenings at 7:30 p.m. on four consecutive Fridays starting this week, followed by a discussion. Admission is free.  “These wonderful programs demonstrate how independent producers from Mexico, South Africa, Iran and the Netherlands are using television to examine the most pressing issues in their communities,” Eison says.   —>
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080327/LIVING/803270302/1032
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Akaku board appoints Jay April president, CEO
Maui News (HI)
03/27/08

[ 2 comments ]

WAILUKU — Jay April has received a two-year contract to continue as president and CEO of Akaku: Maui Community Television.  The station’s board of directors voted Friday to appoint April to the position he has held in an interim capacity for more than a year. Board members praised April for leading the organization through difficult times and “breathing life” into an ailing program.

“Since the board appointed Jay April as interim president in January 2007, Akaku has experienced renewed activity with its producers and viewers, restored relationships with decision makers in the community, and has developed strong internals support to take the organization to new heights,” Chairman John Bruce said in a statement.  April said he was pleased to receive the appointment.  “I think we have a bright future, and if I could be a small part of that, I’m really honored,” April said in a statement.

April took the helm of Akaku in the wake of a bitter dispute over the use of funds for public-access, educational and government television programming that divided the board. The dispute was later resolved through mediation, but Akaku has since filed lawsuits over moves by the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to put out for competitive bids the contracts for managing the public-access channels.   —>
http://www.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/501898.html
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Community Media Matters in Kirklees
by Colin Harrison
Yorkshire & Humber ICT Champion (UK)
03/27/08

[ comments invited ]

Community Media Matters is an exciting new project offering voluntary and community groups free training and support to gain skills in using media effectively to raise the profile of their organisation.  Attached is a leaflet explaining the project, an application form for support and a flyer with the introductory programme of courses listed.   —>
http://yhictchampion.wordpress.com/2008/03/27/community-media-matters-in-kirklees/
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org