Archive for the ‘educational access’ category

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government September 17th Hearing on PEG Access TV, in YouTube Clips

September 21, 2008

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We thank the House staff and the staff of DCTV for their work in making this footage available.  Persons interested in cablecasting this hearing on their communities’ PEG access channels may obtain a copy by contacting the Alliance for Community Media at 202-393-2650 x 12.  Also, the whole hearing is available for viewing in one online file at http://blip.tv/file/1278920/ .

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01: Chairman Jose Serrano (NY-D) Opening Statement (pdf)

In his opening statement Chairman Serrano expressed support for PEG access, explaining the purpose of the 1984 federal law that gave local franchising entities the authority to require PEG access channels.  “By granting this authority,” Serrano said, “Congress recognized that PEG programming is in the public interest and essential to our communties as an outlet for free speech, local information and opinions, and emergency communications.  PEG supports our democratic ideals by helping to develop a well-informed and educated society.  It benefits all of us to support and encourage PEG programming.”

Chairman Serrano also explicitly took AT&T to task for declining to attend the hearing.  “AT&T’s recent action relating to PEG channels goes to the heart of many of the concerns that will be raised today.  Let the record show that I consider their decision not to send a witness to be indicative of the company’s apparent disregard of the importance of PEG to local communities.”
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Chairman Jose Serrano (NY-D) & Acting Ranking Member Mark Kirk (IL-R)

02: Acting Ranking Member Mark Kirk (IL-R) Opening Statement

In the absence of the Subcommittee Ranking Member Ralph Regula (OH-R), Rep. Mark Kirk (IL-R) made the opening statement for the minority.  He strongly reinforced the Chairman’s comments on AT&T, and the importance of PEG access.  “If there was any thought by AT&T that the Republican member here at the hearing would help them out, let me disabuse them now,” Kirk said.

Kirk continued, “I think this committee should take some action on this.  It does appear that AT&T is in direct violation of Illinois law, and so, whether it is in Springfield or in Washington, we should fix this to make sure that there is a very convenient place, especially for our seniors, to find what’s happening in their local community… I breeze through local access cable like everyone else does, except when we’re doing a zoning or other issue related to my neighborhood, and then we are locked on this like everyone else.”
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03: Monica Desai, FCC Media Bureau Chief, Testimony (pdf)

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04: Barbara Popovic, Alliance for Community Media, Testimony – (Written-pdf) (Oral-pdf)

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05: Howard Symons, National Cable Television Assoc., Testimony (pdf)

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06: Michael Max Knobbe, BronxNet, Testimony (pdf)

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07: Chairman Jose Serrano (NY-D); Questions – Territories

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08: Chairman Jose Serrano (NY-D); Questions

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09: Acting Ranking Member Mark Kirk (IL-R); Questions

Rep. Kirk asked Monica Desai, “What are your plans to implement your testimony from the Commission, to make sure that AT&T is forced to bring PEG back to the basic – so that they have a channel, somewhere between 1 and 100, on the basic service tier, and are not exiled to on-demand?”  Desai replied, “I would be anxious to place this issue in front of the Commissioners for them to decide, with our view that this would be a violation of the statute.  But what we would need is to have a specific and formal complaint filed in front of us.  We would need something to act on.”
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10: Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI-D); Questions

Rep. Kilpatrick made mention of the Michigan law suit enjoining Comcast from channel slamming, then said, “I don’t want to see PEG relegated to some substandard something.  It ought to be right up there with the other major channels.  And whatever we have to do to get it there — it sounds like it’s a regulatory something, as well as a people something — and if we have to mobilize America to educate them to what it is, I think we have to do that.”

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11: Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY-D); Questions

Rep. Hinchey asked about possibly establishing minimum levels of support for PEG access.  “I have a public access station back in my district, in the city of Binghamton,” Hinchey said, “that unfortunately is not provided with the facilities and training by its cable service providers.  So I’m wondering what you think could be done so that the Federal Communications Commission would have the authority to enforce perhaps a federal minimum of financial support that could be provided by cable service providers, so that rural areas generally have the same capability for public access as do larger cities?”

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12: Rep. Peter Visclosky (IN-D); Questions

"Oh, don't say that!"

Rep. Peter Visclosky to NCTA's Howard Symons: "Oh, don't say that!"

Rep. Peter Visclosky (IN-D) asked questions of Howard Symons about the cable industry’s commitment to community service.  In response to a question about Comcast’s closing of studios following passage of Indiana’s statewide video franchising law, Symons said: “You know, Congressman, the cable industry didn’t ask the state legislatures to change the law.”  Visclosky instantly replied, “Oh, don’t say that!  Don’t say that! I would suggest that that is not a correct statement — to be polite.”
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13: Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-D); Questions

Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-D) questioned Ms. Desai’s mention of the FCC’s requiring a formal complaint

“I’m surprised that it really requires that.  I would think if you have an oversight responsibility in this area, and you see major companies who are not complying with the statute, that you have the authority on your own to take action, to communicate with the companies that this does not meet the requirements of the statute.”
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14: Chairman Jose Serrano (NY-D); Questions, Round 2

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15: Michael Max Knobbe Answers Chairman Serrano

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16: Acting Ranking Member Mark Kirk (IL-R); Questions, Round 2


Rep. Kirk asked Ms. Desai if a joint letter from the Committee would help the FCC expedite an inquiry into these matters.  “I would be willing to sign a letter, with the Chairman, to you, saying, ‘Hey, get on the case here.’  Is that enough for you to get rolling?”

Ms. Desai answered, “I’m sure a letter from you and Chairman Serrano would be taken… act on it post haste.”
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17: Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY-D); Questions, Round 2

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18: Chairman Jose Serrano (NY-D) Closing Statement

“We stay committed to the commitment I made before to Mr. Kirk and the Committee that the issues that have been discussed here will be placed by this Committee officially in a formal fashion before the FCC, to make sure that we begin to look at the whole issue and how best we can stick to the intent of the law, notwithstanding some changes that have taken along the way.”
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
http://alliancecm.org

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Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/15/08

April 20, 2008

Cable access channels to move in St. Charles County
Charter making room for more high-definition stations
by Kalen Ponche
St. Charles Journal (MO)
04/15/08

[ 1 comment ]

Residents who regularly watch their local city council or board of aldermen meetings on cable soon will have to flip to a new channel. Charter Communications officials are planning to move four local government access stations from their current location on the dial to a new location in the 900s, said Charter spokesman John Miller. The stations for St. Peters, St. Charles, Lindenwood University and O’Fallon would move to channels in a new “government programming corridor” that also would include C-Span 2 and 3 by May 13, Miller said. The St. Charles County government station, channel 18, would move at a later date.The move will free up space for Charter to debut eight new high-definition channels. But Charter customers who do not already subscribe to digital cable would have to rent a converter box for $5 per month for each TV to catch shows broadcast on the government stations.

The potential cost to consumers has raised concerns amongst government officials who also worry about losing audience members because of the move. St. Charles city officials have questioned Charter’s ability to move the stations under the current franchise agreement. In August, a new state law went into effect giving Charter the ability to operate under a state franchise agreement rather than honoring local franchise agreements with each municipality. City Attorney Mike Valenti said he is looking into the legality of the issue. A representative from Charter was expected to discuss the matter with City Council members during their meeting Tuesday. —>
http://stcharlesjournal.stltoday.com/articles/2008/04/15/news/sj2tn20080415-0416stc-charter0.ii1.txt
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Don’t shortchange our public access (Conn. Post)
SimsburyTV.org (CT)
04/15/08

[ comments invited ]

Why is it that public affairs and public access channels get such short shrift and lack of attention from cable companies and Internet Protocol-based television purveyors? It was only a few years ago that cable providers in this region made unfathomable attempts to cut back on local public access channels. Now, the Connecticut Television Network, devoted to coverage of state government issues, fears it might receive second-class treatment as AT&T rolls out its newly authorized U-verse service in many communities across Connecticut. CT-N officials are fighting back — and rightfully so. —>
http://simsburytv.org/blog/2008/04/why-is-it-that-public-affairs-and.html
Also in The Stamford Advocate (comments invited): http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/opinion/ci_8927505
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Democracy means aiding participation
Citizen of Laconia (NH)
04/15/08

Gilford selectmen have made the right move in returning to nighttime meetings. While the selectmen have only agreed to try the new schedule for three months, it shows that the board is making a serious attempt to give the public every opportunity to observe and influence the process of town government. Starting at the end of the month the selectmen’s meetings will move from 3 p.m. on Wednesday to 7 p.m.

…It has also been suggested that scheduling meetings when the public can attend has become obsolete with the advent of Public Access cable television. While Cable TV certainly gives greater exposure to local government than was possible before, being able to attend those meetings in person gives the public not only the opportunity to observe what one town board or other is doing, but it also enables the public to offer their input at appropriate times. Most local boards have a designated time when the public is able to raise concerns, ask questions or offer comments. —>
http://www.citizen.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080415/GJOPINION02/237446345/-1/CITNEWS
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Fiber Optics: Bringing the Next Big Thing to New York
by Joshua Breitbart
Gotham Gazette (NY)
April, 2008

[ comments invited ]

On April 15, after months of negotiations, Verizon announced it would file an application with the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to offer video service throughout the city. If that application is approved, it will be the company’s cue to ramp up its installation of fiber optic cables to every home in New York and start offering its FiOS package of Internet, video, voice and even wireless for those customers who really love a one-stop-shop. Verizon says it could begin offering the video service by the end of the year.

I’m not trying to hype the service – Verizon’s television advertising campaign can take care of that. But the widespread adoption of DSL and cable changed the Internet radically, making photo galleries and short videos commonplace; the next generation of connection speeds will likely yield a similar transformation. An uncompressed feature film will download in a half an hour over a fiber optic connection compared to almost 10 hours on DSL and practically never on dial-up.

… As Juan Gonzalez reported in the Daily News last fall, the Bloomberg administration and Verizon have been conducting secret negotiations for months. Although the application must still clear a number of hurdles, Verizon’s announcement seems to indicate that it and the city have made some progress in the talks. Based on the statements by members of the City Council and the public interest community, there have been a number of key issues. The first is buildout.

… Another issue centered around whether Verizon would commit to funding centers like Manhattan Neighborhood Network and Brooklyn Community Access Television where people can go to use expensive television production equipment and broadcast their programming. Existing cable providers already do this. But the Internet is different. People can upload video content from their homes. Training and equipment access can happen at the neighborhood level. Verizon representatives visited the public access centers recently, andthe company probably is willing to match the incumbents’ support in that realm, but might balk at going further. Its statement did not address this.

“Public access and citywide buildout are a given,” Brewer said, “but Verizon also needs to support the social layer.” That means all of the things in addition to access that people need to use the Internet, especially computers, training and relevant content. There are many groups in the city like Per Scholas in the Bronx and Computers For Youth that provide these kinds of services. Since the Bush administration cut community technology funding in his first term, these programs have relied almost exclusively on foundation support. —>
http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/tech/20080416/19/2493/
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Hook ‘Em with Technology, Keep ‘Em with Relationships
by Kimberlie Kranich
Jouth Media Reporter
04/15/08

[ comments invited ]

Young people build social skills and positive relationships through media technology, specifically the creation of radio and TV programs. It is through these positive relationships that young people begin to see possibilities for themselves beyond the low expectations set by the media and community. “Media. That’s what it took, [to] really get me to ask questions and get to really know other people and what they’re all about,” says Jason, a high school student that participates in the Youth Media Workshop at the University of Illinois based WILL AM-FM-TV.

The excitement of using technology and the possibility of making a TV or radio program prompts young people to apply for the Youth Media Workshop (YMW). After five years of working with youth in the YMW, our experience has shown us that the positive relationships created are as important, if not more important, than the media technology skills gained by young people. Youth media programs must focus on building these positive relationships as the basis of their work and improve upon not only young people’s lives, but those within the community. —>

Related Articles from Youth Media Reporter, April 15, 2008:

The Talking Cure
Practitioners don’t need to be junior therapists to support young people who disclose trauma. Creating media and sharing stories is part of the cure.
http://www.youthmediareporter.org/2008/04/the_talking_cure_1.html

Thinking Outside the Youth Media Box
If youth media wants young people to step outside the box it will have to take its own steps in the same direction.
http://www.youthmediareporter.org/2008/04/thinking_outside_the_youth_med_1.html

Keeping the ‘Youth’ in Youth Media
A youth leader-turned-employee informs how youth media organizations need young people to take the lead.
http://www.youthmediareporter.org/2008/04/keeping_the_youth_in_youth_med.html

http://www.youthmediareporter.org/2008/04/the_talking_cure.html
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Image fix is planned for FWCS
by Kelly Soderlund
The Journal Gazette (IN)
04/15/08

There is a disconnect between what the public believes is happening in schools and what is actually going on, the Fort Wayne Community Schools communications director told the board Monday night. But the public is not to blame; it’s the district, said Melanie Hall, who oversees the district’s public relations. “We understand that this is a lot our fault,” Hall said. Hall, her staff and the FWCS administration are working to close that gap by reaching out to the community, educating parents and Fort Wayne residents and trying to enhance the district’s image.

… FWCS officials also produced an annual report and fact sheet to distribute to the public and developed videos and documentaries about students and the district to be aired on the public-access channel. Hall plans to add community members to the communications team, develop an electronic newsletter and expand television productions. —>
http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080415/LOCAL04/804150307/1002/LOCAL
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Production Manager Karen Adams Nominated for an Emmy!
by Stan Ng
Midpeninsula Community Media Center (CA)
04/14/08

The Midpeninsula Community Media Center proudly announces that Riding the Storm, the independent production of Karen Adams, our production manager and staff producer, has been nominated for an EMMY! The 37th Annual Northern California Area EMMY® Award Nominations were announced Thursday, April 10th. Riding The Storm: Landslide Danger in the San Francisco Bay Area, that first aired on KTEH 54, was submitted by U.S. Geological Survey in the Informational/Instructional category. Besides Adams’ leadership as Producer/Director/Editor, credits go to Douglas DeVore, Videographer; Bryan Coleman, Motion Graphics/Animation; and Wendy Van Wazer, Editor.

About the program – Although well aware of the region’s earthquake threat, many San Francisco Bay Area residents are perilously uninformed about another dangerous geologic hazard: landslides triggered by heavy rainfall. In January 1982 a single, catastrophic rainstorm triggered 18,000 landslides throughout the Bay Area. During the drenching winter of 1997-98, El Nino-driven storms triggered a range of landslides in the Bay Area from deadly debris flows to destructive deep-seated slides. Riding the Storm documents these tragic events, the lessons learned from residents, and explores the science behind the hazard with U.S. Geological Survey researchers. It is the first documentary of its kind to detail the landslide hazard in the Bay area. —>
http://midpen-media-center.blogspot.com/2008/04/production-manager-karen-adams.html
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Council hears concerns about Urbana Public TV
by Mike Monson
The News-Gazette (IL)
04/15/08

URBANA – Members of the local Jewish community Monday night denounced what they call hate speech that they say has been regularly broadcast on Urbana Public Television. The overflow crowd, in excess of 60 people, endured a meeting that lasted more than four hours for the chance to tell city council members how anti-Semetic public-access programming had deeply upset them. “We get free speech,” said Rona James. “We love free speech. We are talking about something that is not free speech. It is hate speech.” “This is KKK stuff,” said Lee Melhado of Champaign, executive director of the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation. “It doesn’t happen to be directed at African-Americans … but it is directed at Jews.” —>
http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2008/04/15/council_hears_concerns_about_urbana
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Distribution: Public Access Television
by Randy Hansen
Videomaker
May 2008

How to produce video productions with someone else’s gear and get them broadcast – for free!

It’s a federal mandate to local cable companies (the Federal Cable and Telecommunications Acts of 1984, 1992 and 1996, to be exact): depending on your city or county’s franchise agreement with your local cable company, there may be an entire video production organization at your disposal – everything from video gear, video editing computers, studio space and even a way to broadcast your finished masterpiece at no cost to you. All you have to do is provide the labor and brainpower. In the Beginning… —>
http://www.videomaker.com/article/13870/
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This concludes our broadcast…
by Helder Mira
Mira Hartford (CT)
04/14/08

[ comments invited ]

While not as long as the 11 seasons of M*A*S*H*, my broadcasting days at Hartford Public Access Television have now concluded. I have officially resigned from the organization to pursue my own endeavors. It’s been an interesting ride over 7 years, despite the last seasons having ‘jumped the shark’, but it was still the place to be. And it is still the place to tune to find out what’s happening in Hartford. After a brief hiatus, I will be producing programs again (right now, just acting as sponsor on Saturday Fright Special). —>
http://www.mirahartford.net/2008/04/this-concludes-our-broadcast.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 – 04/08/08

April 10, 2008

Editorial: Mr. Fonfara’s Gaffe
Hartford Courant (CT)
04/08/08

[ 6 comments ]

State Sen. John Fonfara’s enthusiasm for bringing Connecticut consumers a competitive alternative to cable television is understandable.  As co-chairman of the General Assembly’s committee on energy and technology, he championed legislation last year allowing telecommunications companies generally, and AT&T specifically, to transmit TV programming over telephone lines.  But there’s a difference between acting in the broad public interest and behaving as a corporate promoter. Recently, Mr. Fonfara crossed that line.   —>
http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-fonfara.artapr08,0,3539358.story
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Save the Internet! Workshop on April 13th
by dfunk
Midpeninsula Community Media Center (CA)
04/07/08

Comcast has been caught blocking BitTorrent, Verizon has been caught blocking text messages, AT&T wants to inspect and filter Web traffic. These big companies’ efforts to discriminate online are crushing competition, slowing innovation, and endangering free speech. With so much at stake, it’s encouraging that the FCC’s first move is to quickly seek public feedback and expert counsel about the future of the Internet. It is rare for all five members of the Federal Communications Commission to leave Washington, D.C….

The FCC will be holding a hearing at Stanford University on April 17th and time is allotted for public comment. Come to the Media Center on Sunday, April 13th, 4-6pm to learn more about the issue, get trained on how to make the best of your 90 seconds, and tape a testimonial in advance. If you would like to come, please RSVP to Danielle Fairbairn by email: Danielle [at] communitymediacenter [dot] net .   —>
http://midpen-media-center.blogspot.com/2008/04/save-internet-workshop-on-april-13th.html
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Swallows nests removed from Gavilan College
by Natalie Everett
Gilroy Dispatch (CA)
04/07/08

Gavilan Community College just isn’t big enough for students and birds, and the birds must go.  Swallows, which build mud nests under the eaves of campus buildings – most notably the Community Media Access Partnership building – and leave droppings on the grounds below, have long been a nuisance on campus. This year, campus officials decided to address the messy issue.  Officials hired a licensed contractor to remove the existing nests from the building on campus, and to add a netting that covers the eaves to prevent future nesting there…

Swallows nests have for years been a feature in the eaves of the buildings around campus. The problem is, [President] Kinsella said, the birds build their mud nests over the most high traffic areas on campus – like the Community Media Access Partnership building. [ emphasis added ~ rm ]
http://www.gilroydispatch.com/news/240165-swallows-nests-removed-from-gavilan-college
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Wayne County schools will add new educational access channel
by Phyllis Moore
Goldsboro News-Argus (NC)
04/08/08

Wayne County Public Schools is closer to having an educational access TV channel, possibly as soon as the fall.  Olivia Pierce, executive director of community relations, media and technology, updated the Board of Education Monday night on what will be Channel 18 on the cable dial.

Discussion began several years ago but had stalled on acquiring access through the county.  The district’s best option to date, Mrs. Pierce said, turned out to be the current access agreement between Time Warner and the City of Goldsboro.  The existing franchise agreement being used by the city has specific language for an education access channel, she explained.  “Now we have determined it would be better, because the city is still under the old franchise law, which doesn’t end until 2018,” she said.  If approved, the channel would provide coverage from Fremont to Mount Olive, Mrs. Pierce said.

“Ken Derksen (the schools’ public information officer) and I met with the city council” to discuss activating Channel 18, serving as an educational access channel, she said. She added that the city manager has since met with Time Warner, with a positive reaction toward making a channel available for that purpose.  Now, it’s just a matter of making it official.  “If the city agrees, Wayne County Education Alliance Channel could be up and running by the start of the next school year,” Mrs. Pierce told the board…

“Hallelujah!” Thelma Smith, school board chairwoman, said at the conclusion of Mrs. Pierce’s announcement. “This is really an answer to our prayers. We have talked about being able to communicate with the public.”  There is still much work to be done before the station goes on the air, Mrs. Pierce said. In addition to receiving final approval from the city, there is the acquisition of extra equipment and other details to be completed.   —>
http://www.newsargus.com/news/archives/2008/04/08/wayne_county_schools_will_add_new_educational_access_channel/index.shtml
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TAP TV taps the national market
by John McReynolds
Lompoc Record (CA)
04/08/08

Discovery Channel, ESPN, TBS, Science Channel, CNN, History Channel, A&E, and Comedy Central have all hosted Lompoc announcer Gregg Ratcliff in the last few weeks.  Without him ever leaving Lompoc.  What is he doing in these 30-second spots? Uh, talking to an orange cartoon.  “I’ve lived here for 50 years,” Ratcliff mused last week in his cramped office at TAP TV, where earphones and cables litter the floor. “I’ve had a lot of jobs and I’ve broadcast football. But my legacy will be as the guy who talks to the cartoon.”

With Ratcliff and his cartoon, Lompoc local access television is advertised on commercial networks now just like Miller Beer, Chevy 4-Runner or Viagra.  Local public access has been around for decades but was always closeted inside its little one or two-channel ghetto, never acknowledged anywhere else on the dial.  Not until one night last month, when Ratcliff and his ruddy buddy showed up. Smack in the middle of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” there they were.

“Look, there’s you,” Ratcliff’s wife Mary hollered at home that night.  She was not the only one taken aback. It seems to Ratcliff like everyone from Campbell Road to Surf Beach has seen him, talking to the orange man.  “I probably had a dozen phone calls in the first couple days,” he said, chuckling. “An amazing number of people have commented. It’s definitely raised the visibility of TAP TV.”

Ratcliff, 52, onetime grocery manager and baker, and manager of the last commercial radio station in Lompoc history, now runs Lompoc’s public access studio. TAP-TV is the one that receives funds from Comcast Cablevision as part of the company’s contract with the City of Lompoc.  Late last year, Ratcliff spotted a clause in the contract that had not been implemented, one that required Comcast to provide promotional spots on commercial channels.

“We’ve got to come up with something,” Ratcliff realized. “The first thing I thought of was Dr. Draw.”  “Dr. Draw” is the pen name of Bill Smith, a jolly graying redhead who works as a technician at TAP and moonlights drawing cartoons, including political cartoons for the Lompoc Record. Smith also produces TAP’s only animated show, titled, of course, “The Dr. Draw Show.”   —>
http://www.lompocrecord.com/articles/2008/04/08/news/featurednews/news01.txt
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Community media in the prosumer era
by Ellie Rennie
Creative Economy (Australia)
04/08/08

How is media convergence impacting on established, ‘broadcast-era’ community media? This paper takes SYN (a community radio licensee in Melbourne) as a case study and employs media ethnography and policy analysis to identify contemporary challenges facing community media. Community media requires a different approach to convergence than that which is commonly associated with the professional creative industries. In the community sphere, convergence is led by members and encouraged through open, participative processes. The ‘open source organisation’ is proposed here as a useful way of thinking through the challenges of convergence and the limitations of Australia’s existing communications policy framework.  Read full text: Community media in the prosumer era (PDF file)
http://www.creative.org.au/linkboard/results.chtml?filename_num=203334
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Business community to discuss media role
Daily Nation (Kenya)
04/08/08

The East African Business Council in conjunction with the East African Community will from Friday discuss how the media could help in preventing conflicts and instability in the region.   The Regional Media Summit will run for two days.  The meeting comes in the wake of the post-election crisis in Kenya in which regional countries were adversely affected. The transport and labour sectors were picked out as having borne the brunt of the violence.  Key among the issues to be discussed is how the East African media can jointly promote peace and security.   —>
http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/nmgcontententry.asp?category_id=3&newsid=120694
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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 – 04/07/08

April 8, 2008

Don’t Downgrade Public Channels
by Scott Hanley
Hartford Courant (CT)
04/07/08

[ 3 comments ]

I applaud The Courant’s decision to encourage the General Assembly to protect the Connecticut Television Network from substandard delivery on AT&T’s U-verse video system [editorial, April 4, “Don’t Downgrade CT-N”].

The editorial did not mention that this “downgrade” will also have a significant impact on the many community-based public, education and government channels throughout the state. Just as CT-N has built a loyal following, these channels have become valued sources of information about community issues, school events and government services.

On cable systems, subscribers can find local channels without difficulty and easily monitor long-duration programming, such as meetings, by tuning away and back with the touch of a single button on the remote. The ability of subscribers to select and view community programming in a convenient manner is critical. Unfortunately, this might become a casualty of AT&T’s preference for an economical form of signal transmission.

Connecticut residents should not be penalized by the legislature’s efforts to ease the entry of AT&T, or any new competitor, into the cable TV market. These competitors should be required to deliver CT-N and all community access channels in a manner equal to that used for commercial channels.

AT&T will make money using the streets and poles throughout our neighborhoods. Good corporate citizenship is the least we should expect from them in return.
http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/letters/hc-digedlets0407.art0apr07,0,4319893.story
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AT&T, cable rivals agree on rules for TV
Phone giant will have quota for offering statewide access
by Naomi Sntyder
The Tennessean
04/07/08

[ 13 comments ]

After months of secret negotiations between AT&T and the cable industry, both sides have agreed on many of the ground rules for AT&T’s entry into the television service business in Tennessee — including how many customers must get access and how many households must be in low-income neighborhoods.  Legislators set a deadline for today for both sides to come up with draft legislation so they could present it to the media this afternoon.  Under draft legislation that was still being negotiated over the weekend, AT&T would have to offer TV service to a minimum of 30 percent of its telephone territory within 3½ years after it begins offering television, according to people involved in negotiations.   —>
http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080407/NEWS0201/804070370/1009/NEWS01
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Announcement expected today for compromise AT&T, cable bill
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)
04/07/08

[ 3 comments ]

Leading lawmakers in the cable/AT&T negotiations over statewide television franchising will roll out their compromise legislation today.  The compromise bill marks the culmination of months of negotiations between the involved parties, dating back to late last year. House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington) spearheaded the effort.   —>
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59416
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Compromise legislation expected today on competitive cable issue
Knox News (TN)
04/07/08

Tennessee lawmakers are expected to present compromise legislation today that would create a statewide system for permitting cable TV franchises.  The measure is supported by AT&T Inc., which wants to avoid having to seek hundreds of municipal permits as it enters the cable TV business.  Similar legislation stalled last year. But lawmakers have scheduled a news conference today to roll out legislation that is the result of behind-the-scenes negotiations between AT&T, the cable industry and local governments.   —>
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/apr/07/compromise-legislation-expected-today-on-cable/
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Some school subcommittee meetings to be broadcast on local TV station
by Gerry Tuoti
Taunton Gazette (MA)
04/06/08

Some of the School Committee’s subcommittee meetings are returning to the airwaves.  A month after voting to no longer televise its subcommittee meetings, the School Committee passed a motion Wednesday that calls for any subcommittee meetings held the same night as a regularly scheduled full committee meeting to be televised on local access television.  The regularly scheduled full committee meetings are held on the first and third Wednesday of each month. The camera crew, which consists of high school audio/visual students and their teacher, is already present on those nights.   —>
http://www.tauntongazette.com/homepage/x637725022
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GenderVision Releases First Video Program, “Sex & Gender” (MA)
by Nancy Nangeroni
Trans Group Blog
04/07/08

[ comments invited ]

Now available: the first show of the long-awaited video program, “GenderVision.” Produced and hosted by GenderTalk radio producers Nancy Nangeroni and Gordene MacKenzie, GenderVision continues the ground-breaking work of challenging and expanding our vision of gender and progressive politics. Cablecast in Beverly, it is also available for viewing and downloading at http://www.gendervision.org.

This first program in the half-hour monthly show focuses on “Sex & Gender.” Nancy and Gordene speak candidly with their guest, medical sociologist, author and intersex activist Esther Morris Leidolf, about bodies and gender that differs from cultural expectations. Esther observes that intersex is more common than cystic fibrosis and Down syndrome combined. Their lively conversation explores the “medical normalization” of intersex bodies and the dangers of simplistic assumptions about sex and gender. Fans of “Raving Raven,” an animal issues commentator and regular on GenderTalk radio, will also enjoy a brief appearance by the “Bird with the Word” (not included in cable version due to time restraints).   —>
http://transgroupblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/gendervision-releases-first-video.html
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Wallingford public access TV available on Internet
by George Moore
MyRecordJournal.com (CT)
04/07/08

Wallingford public access TV is still local, but its availability is now global, due to a new live video streaming arrangement.  Channel 18’s video is now being broadcast at http://www.vbricktv.com/wpa, thanks to technology upgrades donated by Wallingford-based VBrick Systems Inc. The company is also providing the Web site.

VBrick, on Beaumont Road, is known worldwide for hardware that converts video and audio signals into digital data accessible over the Internet.  The company’s founder, Richard Mavrogeanes, is a Wallingford native and has lent support to the Wallingford Public Access Association’s effort to create a new headquarters. Mavrogeanes said it is important for WPAA and other public television groups to think beyond cable.
http://www.myrecordjournal.com/site/tab1.cfm?newsid=19461780&BRD=2755&PAG=461&dept_id=592708&rfi=6
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Not Your Father’s FCC
by Michael J. Copps
The Nation
03/20/08

“To the extent that the ownership of and control of…broadcast stations falls into fewer and fewer hands,” the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concluded, “the free dissemination of ideas and information, upon which our democracy depends, is threatened.” With those words, the FCC ordered the breakup of the leading broadcast network and banned a single company from owning more than one station per city.

Is this an FCC you recognize? Probably not. That’s because it’s not your FCC–it’s your father’s FCC (maybe even your grandfather’s). These media reforms were the work of James Lawrence Fly, the FCC chairman appointed by Franklin Roosevelt in 1939. A card-carrying New Deal trustbuster with good access to the President, Fly was a relentless opponent of “chain broadcasting”–the domination of local broadcasting by the CBS and NBC Red and Blue radio networks.

What a far cry from the media regulation we have today. In 1981 President Reagan appointed an FCC chairman who described a television set as nothing but a “toaster with pictures.” The commission went on to dismantle nearly every public-interest obligation on the books and to enable a tsunami of media consolidation. The results have been disastrous–reporters fired, newsrooms shuttered and our civic dialogue dumbed down to fact-free opinions and ideological bloviation.   —>
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080407/copps
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We won’t know what we never got
by David Isenberg
isen.blog
04/05/08

[ comments invited ]

Damian Kulash of the band OK Go, in Op-Ed in today’s New York Times:

. . . When the network operators pull these stunts [violations of neutrality — David I], there is generally widespread outrage. But outright censorship and obstruction of access are only one part of the issue, and they represent the lesser threat, in the long run. What we should worry about more is not what’s kept from us today, but what will be built (or not built) in the years to come.

We hate when things are taken from us (so we rage at censorship), but we also love to get new things. And the providers are chomping at the bit to offer them to us: new high-bandwidth treats like superfast high-definition video and quick movie downloads. They can make it sound great: newer, bigger, faster, better! But the new fast lanes they propose will be theirs to control and exploit and sell access to, without the level playing field that common carriage built into today’s network.

They won’t be blocking anything per se — we’ll never know what we’re not getting — they’ll just be leapfrogging today’s technology with a new, higher-bandwidth network where they get to be the gatekeepers and toll collectors. The superlative new video on offer will be available from (surprise, surprise) them, or companies who’ve paid them for the privilege of access to their customers . . .

Exactly. Outright censorship is way too visible for them to get away with. Creeping proactive censorship built into a new infrastructure is a MUCH harder story to tell. And a MUCH bigger danger.  And they’re building it. And at first it will look exactly like legitimate network management.
http://isen.com/blog/2008/04/we-won-know-what-we-never-got.html
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At Freedom to Connect, Isenberg Asks Tech Industry to Save the World
by Alex Goldman
ISP-Planet.com
April 14, 2008 [sic]

Isenberg likes the people who make up the technology industry and knows most of the important ones, but at the conference, he pointed out that an epic global disaster is a possible outcome, and asked us all to work together to avoid it.

David Isenberg opened his Freedom to Connect conference with unusually passionate remarks, recorded in full here in his blog. He ditched the rhyming from previous years.  That’s because there’s a new sense of urgency. It’s not peak oil or the closing of the internet frontier. It’s this:

“Our planet is in danger of becoming hostile to life. I’m not talking about the flooding of Miami and New York and Bangladesh. I mean that because of the carbon we humans put in the air, Earth could become Venus, a place where life can’t live. So I believe—and I put this forward as a hypothesis—I believe that we can use the Internet to conserve more atmospheric carbon than its infrastructure generates. Furthermore, I believe we can use the Internet for global participation that transcends tribalism and nationalism to end war . . . for discussion! ”

So it’s no longer the fight against the telcos for the freedom to connect. It’s no longer the fight for democracy against governments like China and Pakistan that want to restrict it.  The most important thing we can use the internet for, Isenberg believes, is to save the world. And there’s not much time to do it.  Isenberg, an opponent of the current AT&T monopoly strategy who hails from Bell Labs as if it were his birthplace said, “It is the story of a Goliath composed of a thousand Davids. I am one of them.”   —>
http://www.isp-planet.com/perspectives/2008/isenberg_f2c.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 – 04/04/08

April 5, 2008

Announcement of cable/AT&T deal set for Monday
by John Rodgers
The City Paper (TN)
04/04/08

[ comments invited ]

Leading lawmakers in the cable/AT&T negotiations over statewide franchising will roll out their compromise legislation Monday in a press conference, the House Democratic Caucus announced today.  The compromise bill marks the culmination of months of negotiations between the involved parties.  The deal is expected to have AT&T agree to “build out” its television service to a certain percentage of a town or city, as well as offer the services to some low-income residents.   —>
http://politics.nashvillecityblogs.com/?p=505
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Legislators Say Bill Sought By AT&T Finally Ready
The Chattanoogan (TN)
04/04/08

Legislative leaders said they have finally reached agreement on a statewide franchise bill sought by AT&T that is expected to result in a new cable TV option for Chattanooga residents and others throughout Tennessee.  On Monday afternoon, House and Senate members working directly in talks with AT&T and Tennessee’s cable companies are due to hold a press conference to announce the completion of a new telecommunications bill.  Officials said copies of the agreement will be provided after the Nashville press conference.

Set to take part are Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington), Rep. Charlie Curtiss (D-Sparta), Rep. Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads), Rep. Ulysses Jones, Jr. (D-Memphis), Rep. Randy Rinks (D-Savannah), Sen. Lowe Finney (D-Jackson) and Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro).
The bill was introduced last year, but has gone through a number of revisions before the compromise measure was reached.   —>
http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_125216.asp
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Comcast, AT&T work together on new bill for franchising rights
Memphis Business Journal (TN)
by Einat Paz-Frankel
04/04/08

After vociferously contending an AT&T, Inc.-backed bill on the state’s Capitol Hill last year, Comcast Corp. is now working with the telecom giant behind closed doors to create a new bill that will assuage both parties while changing the way video franchising rights are granted in Tennessee.  A resolution is expected this month, according to the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association and the Tennessee Municipal League, which has also opposed the proposed Competitive Cable and Video Services Act. The bill would allow television service to be provided through a single statewide franchise agreement, instead of negotiating with each municipality separately.   —>
http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/stories/2008/04/07/story8.html
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SEE ME, HEAR ME, PICK ME: Endorsement video of Dems for House Seat 1
by Ian Gillingham
Willamette Week (OR)
04/04/08

[ comments invited ]

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been inviting candidates to sit down with WW and make their case for your vote—and our friends at Portland Community Media have been there to catch it all on video. Every day for the next month, we’ll post a new video of our endorsement interviews on WWire.  Today and tomorrow, we’ve got the candidates for U.S. House of Representatives, First District .  First up: Democrats (incumbent David Wu, Will Hobbs).

For footage of more WW endorsement interviews, tune your TV to Channel 30, see Portland Community Media’s Blip.tv site, or just check back on WWire tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after….  Tomorrow: House Seat 1—the Republicans.
http://www.wweek.com/wwire/?p=11440
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Cable Increases, Franchise Renewal Up for Questions
by Bernice Paglia
Plainfield Plaintalker (NJ)
04/04/08

[ comments invited ]

—>  The notice reminded Plaintalker of another issue, the cable franchise renewal process. According to a BPU report, more than 12,000 households had cable in 2005. The three-year process to determine how well Comcast has served Plainfield should have begun in August of 2006, with a report due in August of this year. The franchise expires in August 2009.  The Plainfield Cable Television Board was supposed to hold monthly meetings during the ascertainment period, make annual reports, report regularly to the mayor and council and generally to be involved in any activities having to do with local cable television, including the city’s own Channel 74.

Plaintalker has harped on this subject since December 2005 but there is not much progress to report. Click here for a file of past stories.   —>
http://plaintalker.blogspot.com/2008/04/cable-increases-franchise-renewal-up.html
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Cable Access TV and the Arts
by Salma
Souldish (NJ)
04/04/08

[ comments invited ]

Monday, April 7 – A repeat of the successful 2 hr. forum will be held at SCAN covering topics on: a) Arts and cable access TV: how to get on TV for free b) The WIN-15 TV show & publicity c) Special TV production training for those in the art.  (7p, Free) SCAN Learning Center, Monmouth Mall, Rt 35 and 36, Eatontown, NJ; 732-938-2481
http://www.souldish.com/2008/04/04/body-of-war-shamans-way-of-healing-moses-code-horned-ball-sub-swara/
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Great Falls TV station needs home
by Matt Austin
KRTV (MT)
04/04/08

Many Great Falls departments are asking for more money in the next budget, and on Friday city commission members will talk about its budget priorities.  One group which always keeps an eye on commission meetings will also be watching the budget talks as a Great Falls television channel is looking for a home.  The community access channel, Cable 7, has become a nomad in Great Falls, moving four times in just five years.

The group is currently using the waiting area at the Central Avenue office of former  KRTV anchor Cindy Cieluch. Staff members tell us that the area works well for a studio and they use another office for the director and to store equipment. The non-profit films its six studio shows at the office, and also films government meetings.  “Cable 7 provides a public service, local events” explains Executive Producer Kevin Manthey. “This is something I feel is very important to the community of Great Falls and surrounding area.”   —>
http://www.montanasnewsstation.com/Global/story.asp?S=8118751
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PEG pact is unclear
by Alan Lewis Gerstenecker
Rolla Daily News (MO)
04/03/08

[ 3 comments ]

Steve Leonard, former President of Rolla Video Productions — the company that operated Channel 16 for the best part of seven years — has some concerns about an educational and governmental television channel currently considered by city and school officials and Fidelity Communications.  The PEG (Public Educational and Governmental) channel, which is in discussion stages, would be a partnership between Rolla city government, Rolla Public School District, and Fidelity Communications, Rolla’s cable television franchise holder.

Leonard, 28, expressed some of those concerns during a recent City Council meeting and then again Wednesday.  “In its current state, the contract with the city doesn’t say what they’re going to get for that $50,000,” Leonard said. “As someone who used to do programming, I’d like to think that it would spell out just what the residents of Rolla are going to get.”…

“Don’t get me wrong. I’ve moved on with my life,” Leonard said. “But if they would have offered me $50,000 for programming, I would have told them exactly what I’d have given them. In addition to City Council, I’d have televised the Planning & Zoning meetings, the RMU (Rolla Municipal Utilities) meetings, done more spring (high school) sports. I’d have done it right,” Leonard said.  “If you turn on Channel 6 now, you hear a buzz. You can’t listen long, or at least I can’t without getting a headache. I don’t know if $50,000 is going to fix that or not,” said Leonard, who is now a full-time business student at Missouri University of Science & Technology.

For his part, Leonard said he is supportive of Fidelity.  “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking Fidelity. They offer some great programming, and I think they offer more basic channels for the best price. I just want to see what they’re going to offer for the $50,000,” Leonard said. “I think anyone who reviews that contract will want to know what they’re going to offer.”

John Paul, Fidelity Communications Director of Sales and top official in Rolla, said Thursday the contract with the city, Rolla Public Schools, and his company, still is a work in progress.  “I can tell you we intend cover all City Council and School Board meetings. I can also tell you we’re not just going to cover those two and then run a community bulletin board the rest of the time,” Paul said.   —>
http://www.therolladailynews.com/articles/2008/04/04/news/news03.txt
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State PEGs Tune Into “Same Channel” to Support Free Speech
by Cynthia Thomet
Akaku: Maui Community Television (HI)
04/04/08

Hawaii People’s Fund Media Justice review panel granted $7,400 to Akaku in mid-March to launch the Free Speech Hawaii Coalition, a collaborative effort to build community and ensure diverse points of view on issues of free speech across the state. The coalition is made possible by the commitment of all of Hawaii’s public, educational and governmental (PEG) access organizations, including Akaku for Maui County, `Ōlelo Community Television on O`ahu, Na Leo O Hawaii on Big Island and Ho`ike: Kaua`i Community Television.

“We’re very grateful to Hawaii People’s Fund for their commitment to media justice to fund this public awareness coalition,” says Jay April, President/ CEO of Akaku, who invited `Ōlelo, Na Leo and Ho`ike to lead the coalition’s public education messages with their respective island audiences

The grant will cover some of the expenses required for the core coalition members to work together and reach out to their respective islands’ viewers about preserving public, educational and governmental (PEG) access services in Hawaii. Some outreach measures include a vibrant website, advertising to build community awareness and localized public education campaigns to get island residents engaged in protecting their right to public access cable television and other mass media venues.   —>
http://www.akaku.org/?p=74
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Participatory Media for a Global Community: BAVC’s Producers Institute 2008
by Wendy Levy
Bay Area Video Coalition (CA)
04/04/08

[ comments invited ]

With continued support from the MacArthur Foundation, the Producers Institute for New Media Technologies will happen May 30 – June 8 here at BAVC in San Francisco. The new crop of projects coming into this year’s Institute are part of a documentary-driven conversation focused on finding and engaging diverse audiences, creating social and political networks of participation, the notion of global community, the viability of Web 2.0 social change, emerging mobile media applications, games for change, and interactive strategies for multi-platform storytelling.

Check out full project descriptions from the recent press release.

The first panel of the Producers Institute will be open to the public this year, and it revolves around marketing social justice media. The always dynamic and uber-literate B. Ruby Rich will moderate. I’ll follow up with details of the where and when, but here’s the panel description. We are hoping to see if its possible for change-the-world stories to expand You Tube sensibilities, to rock CreateSpace, to shock iTunes, to blow out XBOX. And, of course, we want to know if you can actually make money while making a difference?   —>
http://bavc.wordpress.com/2008/04/04/participatory-media-for-a-global-community-bavcs-producers-institute-2008/
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US kept in slow broadband lane
by Ian Hardy
> Click
04/04/08

We all know that America is the technology hub of the universe. It is home to Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Sun, Google, YouTube, Yahoo, MIT – the list is endless. So why, when it comes to the basics, like delivering the internet to its citizens, has it fallen way behind many other nations?

In Manhattan people pay about $30 (£15) a month for a download speed of three megabits per second (Mbps) via a DSL line. Many people are very happy with that, until they realise what is going on elsewhere in the world.  US broadband speeds are much slower than in many countries  “In Japan you can get 100 megabits for $35,” says Selina Lo of Ruckus Wireless.  “I think that has penetrated some 30% of subscribers. The government is targeting for 100 megabit services to penetrate 60% plus of the subscriber base in a few years…

Today most New Yorkers have two choices for home net – via their phone or cable TV company.  But in New York state 52% of residents do not have any internet access, especially rural areas and low income families.  “We haven’t been able to overcome those barriers in terms of increasing the technology adoption rate of those households that are on or below the poverty level,” explains Dr Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, New York State’s chief information officer.  “I think if you look at where the US is compared to other countries, given our speed, we’re not competitive with other countries.”

The lack of competition has had other consequences. Comcast, the nation’s largest residential cable TV and net company was recently accused of interfering with the downloading of video files.  Internet video directly threatens the popularity of traditional TV, so Comcast’s answer is to curtail download speeds for its biggest users.

“As we get more and more things that tie us into the internet – Xbox 360, IPTV services, all sorts of broadband gaming – we’re all getting online more and more,” says Jeremy Kaplan executive editor of PC Magazine.  “And rather than opening up and getting better service, most of these cable and DSL companies are really trying to limit what we do, put caps on what we do. As consumers we’re suffering from that.”

Public wi-fi efforts have also been held back. Several city governments have given up or reduced efforts to provide blanket coverage for their residents.  This is because they have been worn down with lawsuits and lobbyists working for the telephone companies, who want consumers to rely on expensive cell phone plans to access the net on the go.  “Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore – they all have wi-fi in public areas. People can access broadband internet when they’re out in public,” says Ms Lo.  “It is the cheapest way to offer public access. As a quality of life, as a city service, I don’t know why our city government just don’t do that.”   —>
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/7329992.stm
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More questions than answers
by Mark Jones
Reuters Editors
04/04/08

[ 1 comment ]

I was invited to a gathering of activists, academics and media practitioners by the Berkman Centre’s Media:Republic program in LA last weekend. Exhilarating to be in such exalted company but depressing to find them so anxious about the future of political engagement and so negative about big Media’s future.

The context of the meeting was to establish what we don’t understand about the emerging media landscape in order to inform the direction of future research programmes.  So, in the spirit of Donald Rumsfeld, what do we know that we don’t know?

How distributed can the production of meaning be?
An academic question from John Zittrain of Berkman but very much with real world concerns in mind. He’s worried about where the atomisation of media consumption and production will take society. In an elitist world, one in which communication channels (including media) are controlled by the few, then it is relatively easy to see how the politics of consensus and compromise can be pursued. But many felt that the new social technologies were creating new silos, reducing the quality of public discourse, accelerating disengagement from politics and, possibly, creatng the conditions for extremist politics.

How can we get the public to eat their broccoli?

Traditionally, nearly all media has followed a public service remit to some degree and mixed content with public policy relevance with the really popular stuff. So you get a smattering of Darfur in a diet of domestic news, celebrity and sports. But that only works when publishers control the medium.

I know I wasn’t the only one to squirm as David Weinberger, co-author of the seminal Cluetrain Manifesto, described how increasingly anachronistic the Big Media model of editors deciding what it was appropriate for readers to read was beginning to seem. What seemed to worry this group more than anything else was that if consumers control their ‘DailyMe’ — a personalised news service — then how will the public service stuff get through?   —>
http://blogs.reuters.com/reuters-editors/2008/04/04/more-questions-than-answers/
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/30/08

March 31, 2008

City to begin programming on cable TV channel
by Andy Powell
Gadsden Times (AL)
03/30/08

[ 15 comments ]

Sometime in May, Gadsden City Council President Ben Reed might sit up straight in his chair in the council chambers, pound his gavel and say, “(Almost) Live from Gadsden, it’s the Gadsden City Council meeting,” to debut the new Public Education and Government Channel on Comcast Cable.  The city is scheduled to begin programming on Channel 99 on Comcast in mid-May, communications manager Craig Clark told the City Council last week in a briefing.  He said the channel currently displays graphics explaining what programming will be offered.

Video equipment is being installed and city personnel are training on the equipment.  Clark said in addition to council meetings, the city will be able to tape programs about other city departments, run programs and information provided by the Gadsden-Etowah Emergency Management Agency and run programs provided by the police and fire departments.

The council meetings will not be carried live but will only be edited for profanity, if that occurs, because of FCC rules concerning content, according to Clark.  He said the council meetings will be broadcast at 1 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m. and midnight the days they take place and again early the next morning.  The meetings will be broadcast on other days during the week, too.   —>
http://www.gadsdentimes.com/article/20080330/NEWS/803300319/1017/NEWS
~

Inside Canada’s Telecom Nightmare
by D
Angry Robot (CAN)
03/30/08

[ 6 comments ]

This week there was news that Bell is slowing down P2P traffic, i.e. bitshaping, even for their resellers. And there was information on Rogers’ new fee structure, with the highest plan costing $100 a month and still subject to a bit cap.  Meanwhile, in the US, Comcast is backing down from bitshaping after a public outcry. What the hell is going on?

At issue here is net neutrality, and in the US there is public debate on the issue, whereas here there has been none. In brief, net neutrality is the principle that the network should treat all content and devices equally – that internet access should behave like electricity or your water supply. And generally that’s how it’s gone up until recently, when gradually the internet providers have been introducing bitshaping (slowing down certain types of traffic, most often BitTorrent) and bitcaps (a limit on how much you can download before incurring extra fees).

Don’t be distracted by the current focus on piracy – the idea that ‘a few bad apples’ are slowing down the internet for everyone else. The real issue is internet video in all its forms: bittorrented TV shows, youtube, and pay-per-download services like iTunes and Xbox Live. Video takes a lot of bandwidth and with the explosion in online video, suddenly ISPs are seeing people actually use some of the bandwidth they are paying for. And they’d rather not, you know, make less money. Let’s not forget that both Bell and Rogers sell TV services, and online video threatens their profits in that business as well. The last thing they want is someone canceling their cable to download shows off iTunes – but if that happens, they want to get their cut. Despite the fact that their broadband services are sold on the promise of fast, rich media.   —>
http://angryrobot.ca/2008/03/30/inside-canadas-telecom-nightmare
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White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood
by Paul Philbin
Ndugu Habari Zenu (Tanzania)
03/30/08

On Thursday, March 27, The White Ribbon Alliance For Safe Motherhood of Tanzania celebrated its annual event in Dar es Salaam. Unfortunately, there was very little press coverage. I was able to locate Jiang Alipo’s report titled “Maternal mortality rates remain high” in the Daily News.

I soldiered on however because I wanted to know more about a family traveling from the UK staying at the same lodging facility, Swiss Garden Hotel. Julia (grand mother), Alison (daughter) and Harriet (grand daughter) were coming back to their roots. Their story can be found in the BBC story, Celebrating 50 by raising awareness of Africa’s highest killer. It turns out that the younger Harriet is “part of a project to teach Tanzanian midwives how to film and edit their own stories in the hope of raising awareness of the biggest killer in Africa” (six million babies a year are stillborn or die in the first week of life).

The project, Birth Aid is supported by Engine Room, a community-based media center in Somerset, England. The outcome is a participatory video titled “Play Your Part”, which earned a Commendation from One World Media Awards 2007 “for an outstanding and unique contribution to the communication of sustainable development and human rights”.
http://marafiki.blogspot.com/2008/03/white-ribbon-alliance.html
~

Public Access TV Discussions
Citizens for Accountability in Jail Expansion (WI)
03/30/08

[ comments invited ]

These were originally broadcast on Eau Claire Community TV.
* Eau Claire Jail Expansion History
* County Board and our ever expanding jail
* Cost of the Jail, Alternatives, and new Data
http://eccaje.blogspot.com/2008/03/public-access-tv-discussions.html
~

Wellesley – Spending Decisions
by Lisa Keen
Boston Globe (MA)
03/30/08

Town Meeting members may not have to face a budget deficit for the next fiscal year, but they have a high stack of financial concerns on the warrant for this spring’s annual session, which opens tomorrow night. Among the issues is whether residents should spend more than $2 million for schematic designs for the new or renovated high school building, and more than $3 million to rebuild one of the town’s most active playing fields, at Sprague Elementary School. Town Meeting convenes at 7:30 p.m. in the Wellesley Middle School auditorium, and will be carried on the local public-access television station, seen on Channel 9 on Comcast and Channel 39 on Verizon, according to the town’s website, wellesleyma.gov.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/03/30/faded_history_on_display/?page=2
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University of Hawaii, Maui Community College Television, Hawaiian Studies 107, MCCT
Hawaii Community Television Public Access
03/30/08

Watch It!
http://hawaiicommunitytelevision.blogspot.com/2008/03/university-of-hawaii-maui-community.html
~

Into each life some rain must fall…
by Sophia Travis
Pin the Tail (IN)
03/30/08

[ comments invited ]

I mentioned that I would try to blog about the forums that took place last week–  I had two political forums to attend: one at Bell Trace Retirement Home last Wednesday, and one that was sponsored by Democracy for Monroe County last Thursday…  I cited my proven record for having advanced much of the following:

“As a Progressive Democrat my voting record demonstrates that I’ve not only been a part of a sea change through local County Government for Progressives, but that I’ve also often been at the helm of those changes during these past four years. I’ve supported people with disabilities, demanded clarity about our complex local justice systems’ rehabilitative quality level, restored social service funding for the community, augmented funding for outreach to the public for CATS and the Public Library, organized County Government staff and employees by officially bringing them into the process of addressing appalling salary and wage issues, questioned economic development tools efficacy and fairness towards average taxpayers, made environmental issues a visible priority demanding attention, challenged mainstream media—- and I’ve done all this with an unbeatable positivity and receptiveness to my constituents concerns and ideas. When asked to make decisions, speak to issues, and to get things done, I have delivered tangible achievements without making any excuses for anything less to be accomplished. In short I follow-through. I make decisions.”

The forum was formatted to allow a 3 minute opening statement, 2 minute closing statement, and questions from the audience in between…  My answers (not transcribed verbatim here below, and not entirely complete—but you can catch this forum on CATS Television and access it online…) were limited to 2 minute responses and my opponent and I took turns alternating answering the quesitons:   —>
http://www.pin-the-tail.com/?p=847
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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 – 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
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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
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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
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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
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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