Archive for the ‘Emergency communications’ category

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
~

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
~

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
~

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
~

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
~

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
~

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
~

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
~

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
~

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

Advertisements

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/25/08

January 26, 2008

Comcast fight joins federal case (MI)
by Deanna Rose
Source
01/27/08

A Macomb County court case against Comcast has been combined with a federal lawsuit, with several communities attempting to permanently halt the cable company’s movement of local access channels to higher-numbered digital channels.  Macomb County Circuit Judge David Viviano, in response to a lawsuit filed by the city of Warren, granted a motion for a temporary restraining order Jan. 14 that prohibited Comcast from relocating public, educational and government, or PEG, channels. The move, slated to occur Jan. 15, was to place PEG programming on digital channels in the 900s.

A hearing for a preliminary injunction on whether or not to make Viviano’s decision permanent was scheduled to take place Jan. 22, but the case has since been moved to the U.S. District Court in Detroit and combined with another case citing similar issues.

U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts, of the Eastern District of Michigan, issued the same action Jan. 14 as Viviano did. The federal decision was made on behalf of a motion filed Jan. 11 by Meridian Township and Dearborn against Comcast, which stated the move would no longer keep PEG channels on the lowest service plan, limiting access to senior citizens and low-income subscribers. With the channel switch, non-digital customers would have to purchase a converter box to watch PEG programming after Comcast’s promotional offer of a free converter box expired after one year.   —>
http://www.sourcenewspapers.com/stories/012708/loc_story3001.shtml
~

Court won’t block bids for cable TV PEG contract
Maui News (HI)
01/25/08

WAILUKU – Second Circuit Judge Joel August said Thursday that the state could continue with a competitive procurement process for public-access television services.  Akaku: Maui Community Television, which holds the Maui contract for public-access TV, had asked August to stop the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs from using a competitive bidding process, saying it was illegal and inappropriate given the station’s role in protecting free speech.

But August said that while he wasn’t sure the state is required to use competitive procurement, it has “wide discretion” in awarding the contracts. “They’re free to use any reasonable form of designation they wish to,” he said.

State law requires cable TV companies to provide money and channels for public, education and government access on cable. The DCCA has contracted with nonprofit organizations like Akaku to manage the public-access services.  After years of awarding no-bid contracts to Akaku and three sister operations in other counties, the DCCA was told by procurement officials the contracts had to be awarded in a competitive process.

The agency issued requests for proposals in 2006. But the procurement notice has been on hold while the state addresses protests filed by Akaku and the Oahu operator, Olelo, and while the DCCA writes rules for the procurement process.  The department is currently seeking approval to hold a public hearing on the draft rules.  The state Procurement Office last month granted an extension of the current contracts to July 15 while the DCCA completes the rules and renews its request-for-proposals.

August said Thursday he was “rather pleased” the state had listened to his recommendation that it create procurement rules.  He suggested that in addition to other factors, the DCCA make a “commitment in writing” to looking at preservation of free speech as one of its selection criteria for the contracts.   —>
http://www.mauinews.com/news/2008/1/25/05couw0125.html
~

Raymond’s RCTV paves the way for public access excellence
by Sean Bourbeau
Rockingham News (NH)
01/25/08

People that were trapped in their homes during the floods last year had power and cable TV, but they didn’t have land-line phone service and cell phone service was spotty at best.  Sure, there were images on the floods on Channel 7 and Channel 9, but they weren’t able to give people the type of information they needed if they wanted to venture out of their house.

That’s where Channel 22 stepped in, also known as Raymond Community Television (RCTV), providing roads that were open and closed throughout Raymond.  Marc Vadeboncoeur, member of the cable committee, went out to various roads and checked with the police and fire chiefs to find out information regarding road closings, safety measures, and other flood related coverage.

They were then able to post this information on Channel 22, giving people who had little or no information a wealth of it.  Their flood coverage is one example of how far RCTV has come in a decade since it started.  Vadeboncoeur said this coverage made the channel relevant.  “That was probably one of the best uses of local access,” he said. “The town (viewed) Channel 22 as a viable resource for them to get information out when needed.”   —>
http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080125/NEWS/801250382
~

Letter: City public TV channel needs some attention
by Bernie del Llano (4 comments)
Nashua Telegraph (NH)
01/25/08

As I began typing this letter, it has become more to create awareness and relay concerns about our public, education and government channels here in Nashua.  Well, first of all, we do not have a public channel. We live in one of the biggest cities in New Hampshire, and we do not have a public channel. We are too big of a city not to have one.

I have done many “public” shows for Lowell, Revere and Malden, Mass., as well as in our own state. I co-hosted a flood-relief telethon for Merrimack, and now every Monday morning I co-host a live talk show in Manchester for MCAM on Channel 23.  But as a resident of Nashua, I cannot have a public access show in my “hometown” because there isn’t a public access channel to begin with.  Cable television advisory board, what is the status of the public channel? Do you need help with this? —>    http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080125/OPINION02/462238622
~

City’s special session to focus on Suddenlink franchise agreement
Enid News (OK)
01/25/08

Enid City Commission will meet in special session 6:30 p.m. Tuesday for a public hearing on Suddenlink Communications and extension of its franchise agreement with the city.  During the hearing, commissioners will review Suddenlink’s compliance with its existing license, review results of a satisfaction survey and identify future cable-related community needs and interests.   —>
http://www.enidnews.com/localnews/local_story_025004752.html
~

‘Humble Farmer’ makes TV return
by Ray Routhier (1 comment)
Kennebec Journal (ME)
01/25/08

Seven months after he lost his public radio show because he wouldn’t agree to restrictions on what he could say on the air, the man known as “The Humble Farmer” is bringing his humor and commentary back to Mainers via public access television.  Robert Skoglund sent new versions of “The Humble Farmer” on DVD to public and community access TV stations around the state this month, hoping to get them on. In an e-mail to fans, Skoglund wrote that 28 stations have agreed to show the program or consider it. Skoglund declined to comment on his TV efforts for this story.

Stations that have scheduled “The Humble Farmer” include Harpswell Community Television, South Portland Community Television and Saco River Community Television, which appears in Buxton, Hollis, Limerick, Limington, Standish and Waterboro.

Skoglund had done his weekly show on the radio stations of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for 28 years before he was dismissed in June. MPBN officials said Skoglund had refused to sign a letter indicating he would follow commentary guidelines that apply to the network’s non-news staff.   —>
http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/news/local/4692958.html
~

Bismarck public art policy discussed
by Gordon Weixel (7 comments)
Bismarck Tribune (ND)
01/25/08

Questions from the community were as wide-ranging and diverse as the subject matter itself during the course of Thursday evening’s Public Arts Forum sponsored by the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District.  Originally intended as a four-person panel with a moderator, an unexpected fifth panelist appeared in the form of park district director Steve Neu, who found many of the questions directed his way. Other panelists included Bismarck State College instructor and artist Michelle Lindblom; local art dealer Ondine Baird; public art consultant Jack Becker; and Doug Kane, who started the process by questioning the park district’s policy on public art display…

…Neu said there will be further discussion with the community and that the information will be brought to the park board for their consideration. The forum was broadcast live on Community Access Television and will be repeated several times.   —>
http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2008/01/25/news/topnews/147344.txt
~

FAQ: Inside the High-Stakes 700-MHz Spectrum Auction
by Bryan Gardiner
Wired
01/24/08

The FCC’s 700-MHz-spectrum auction officially began on January 24 and stands to be one of the most significant airwave auctions in U.S. history, potentially affecting everything from the cost of your wireless service to the competitive landscape among U.S. mobile providers for years to come.  With 214 qualified bidders expected to compete for various 700-MHz band licenses — including Verizon, AT&T and Google — some industry insiders say the government could rake in as much $30 billion in the auction. That money will be used to help transition to all digital TV signals by 2009.

Although bidding gets underway on Jan. 24, 2008, the public won’t know who the winners and losers are until the auction officially concludes. Per FCC rules, the entire bidding process for Auction 73 will be anonymous, and the government agency has warned participants not to disclose anything about the auction (or their bids) until after it’s over. That said, interested parties can track the auction’s progress by visiting the FCC’s auction homepage.

Over the next week, industry insiders will be watching Google in particular. If the company does win the highly coveted “C Block” of spectrum, the portion that has been deemed “open to any devices and services,” the resulting network could usher in much-needed innovation, improve services, and even a “third broadband pipe” (after DSL and cable) into the home — one that wouldn’t be controlled by any one company.

The “C Block” carriers a minimum bidding price of $4.6 billion, and the general consensus is that if Google does win this portion of spectrum, the company will have someone else build the network. Total build-out costs could be as high as $15 billion, according to industry analysts.  Of course, there are already enough loopholes attached to the “C Block” to render all of the open access stipulations obsolete if the FCC doesn’t get its asking price for the spectrum. Unquestionably, there’s a lot at stake.  Here’s a FAQ on how the FCC’s 700-MHz auction will work — and why you should be interested in its outcome.   —>
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/news/2008/01/auction_faq?currentPage=all
~

[  In the last few months I’ve been keeping an eye out for the term ‘ communitarian.’   That word comes freighted with tons of baggage, but yesterday this interesting reflection turned up – not unrelated to access television’s practices and effects.  – rm ]

The new commonwealth
by Deric Bownds (4 comments)
Deric Bownds’ Mindblog (WI)
01/25/08

Some interesting comments by Kevin Kelly on possible political consequences of the Wikipedia phenomenon, excerpted from his brief essay. He changed his initial assumption that an encyclopedia editable by anyone would be an impossibility. This commentary has a rather different spirit than yesterday’s post on the internet phenomenon.

“It has always been clear that collectives amplify power — that is what cities and civilizations are — but what’s been the big surprise for me is how minimal the tools and oversight are needed. The bureaucracy of Wikipedia is relatively so small as to be invisible. It’s the Wiki’s embedded code-based governance, versus manager-based governance that is the real news. Yet the greatest surprise brought by the Wikipedia is that we still don’t know how far this power can go. We haven’t seen the limits of wiki-ized intelligence. Can it make textbooks, music and movies? What about law and political governance?

“The reality of a working Wikipedia has made a type of communitarian socialism not only thinkable, but desirable. Along with other tools such as open-source software and open-source everything, this communtarian bias runs deep in the online world…In other words it runs deep in this young next generation. It may take several decades for this shifting world perspective to show its full colors. When you grow up knowing rather than admitting that such a thing as the Wikipedia works; when it is obvious to you that open source software is better; when you are certain that sharing your photos and other data yields more than safeguarding them — then these assumptions will become a platform for a yet more radical embrace of the commonwealth. I hate to say it but there is a new type of communism or socialism loose in the world, although neither of these outdated and tinged terms can accurately capture what is new about it.

“The Wikipedia has changed my mind, a fairly steady individualist, and lead me toward this new social sphere. I am now much more interested in both the new power of the collective, and the new obligations stemming from individuals toward the collective. In addition to expanding civil rights, I want to expand civil duties. I am convinced that the full impact of the Wikipedia is still subterranean, and that its mind-changing power is working subconsciously on the global millennial generation, providing them with an existence proof of a beneficial hive mind, and an appreciation for believing in the impossible.”

[ Kevin Kelly is Editor-At-Large for Wired, and author of “New Rules for the New Economy.”  There’s more of his essay at Edge’s World Question Center website.  Interesting place – the question for 2008 is “What Have You Changed Your Mind About?” – rm ]
http://mindblog.dericbownds.net/2008/01/new-commonwealth.html
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 08/22/07

August 23, 2007

Columbia Access Television requests funding from council
Supporters of the station appealed to the City Council to include money for it in the budget for 2008.
by Regan McTarsney
Missourian
08/21/07

With less than $6,000 left to survive on, Columbia Access Television is in dire need of money and could face extinction if the Columbia City Council doesn’t help soon. At Monday’s council meeting, Columbia Access Television supporters who say they are uncertain about continued financial support from local cable provider Mediacom, appealed to the council to include money for their group in the budget for 2008.

Mediacom has provided CAT with $30,000 a year since October 2004. This year, however, it has fallen $10,000 behind. Mediacom was renegotiating its franchise agreement with the city in the spring when the Missouri General Assembly passed legislation giving cable and telephone companies the option to negotiate with the state instead of individual cities. Under Senate Bill 284, cable and telephone providers can also pass on to customers any costs associated with public access channels.

Mediacom announced in May that it would begin negotiating through the state and has since failed to make its scheduled $10,000 contribution, CAT representatives say. Members of the Cable Task Force, appointed by the City Council in December 2003, agree. “They just quit participating when the law allowed them to,” task force chairman Marty Riback said. —>
http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2007/08/21/columbia_access_television/
~

New feature: YouTube versions of my disaster tips!
By W David Stephenson
Stephenson blogs on homeland security 2.0 et al. (MA)
08/22/07

You may notice something different about this page today: that guy in the YouTube video in the sidebar is none other than your genial host! Here’s why… I got a lot of favorable response a year ago when I created a series of “10 21st-century disaster tips you won’t hear from officials” (more about that “you won’t hear from officials” part below).

Today, trying to practice what I preach about how we need to use a wide range of Web 2.0 apps to spread information regarding disasters (because you won’t know in advance which ones will actually be operable during a disaster), I’m launching a series of YouTube videos that should make the tips more compelling because of the addition of a variety of graphics that show how they might be used in a disaster.

The first two introduce the series and provide details on two tips:
* how to use the free mesh networking software from CUWiN to create an instant neighborhood network when you can’t get internet access.
* how a wiki can help share information before and after a disaster because it allows anyone with a small piece of information about what happened or how to respond, or with a question, to post, and anyone else to provide answers (it also suggests that communities prepare an on-the-shelf disaster wiki that can be dusted off quickly before an on-coming storm so that local folks won’t have to re-invent the wheel).

Over time, all my other tips will be in video form, such as using Twitter to communicate instantly with your family and friends in a disaster, subscribing to the National Hurricane Center’s RSS feeds, or even using cheap walkie-talkies for a neighborhood network if all else fails.

I produced them in association with Jason Daniels and his staff at Medfield TV (”It’s all about access”) –don’t forget that community access TV can be another important way of getting information to your community (especially the elderly and shut-ins) in a disaster. —>
http://stephensonstrategies.com/2007/08/22/new-feature-youtube-versions-of-my-disaster-tips/
~

Editorial: Wollangk served city with sense of civic duty, pride
The Northwestern (WI)
08/22/07

It’s right to offer a sincere “Thank you” to Oshkosh City Manager Richard Wollangk….I n 2000, who can forget Wollangk leading Oshkosh Community Access Television news conferences and briefings during a December chemical railcar fire that spewed dangerous gases into the air over southern city neighborhoods, evacuating hundreds.

Wollangk clearly understood that a strong pipeline of frank, top-down communication during such a time of uncertainty and confusion not only keeps order but also keeps fearful citizens calm and confident. Under Wollangk, city emergency responders and staff aimed to be as attentive and helpful as possible to displaced residents looking for housing and insurance help. —>
http://www.thenorthwestern.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070822/OSH06/708220415/1190/OSHopinion
~

How to Get a Public Access TV Show video
On the Wilder Side (NY)
08/22/07

Public Access producers Robert Langley and Jean Waters gave a talk at a Babylon Green party gathering on how to have your own Public Access TV Show. the audience included several other public access producers who added their experience. —>
http://wilderside.wordpress.com/2007/08/22/how-to-get-a-public-access-tv-show/
~

“Solving the Klamath Crisis” Screenings
by Dan Bacher
Indybay (CA)
08/21/07

This superbly done film by the Klamath Media Collective is a must-see. It focuses on the battle by Klamath Basin Indian Tribes, fishermen, farmers and conservationists to bring down four dams owned by PacifiCorp, a company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Corporation. The following announcement from Friends of the River lists the dates and times that it will be screened on Media Edge and other local public access television cable channels.
Solving the Klamath Crisis Screening (from http://www.friendsoftheriver.org) —>
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/08/21/18442082.php
~

Collecting MadVideos — Scarlett Johansson promotes WYOU
by Kristian Knutsen
The Daily Page (WI)
08/22/07

“Get involved, support your local public access television station with music and in-depth coverage of people, events, and things that matter to you,” urges Scarlett Johansson in the opening to a promotional clip for WYOU, Madison’s non-profit community access television station. The spot started airing on Channel 4 at the end of May in advance of the station’s third annual awards show back on June 1.
http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=8229

~

City Opposes deregulating Comcast
by Roger DeWitt
Tuscaloosa News (AL)
08/22/07

The city of Tuscaloosa is opposing an attempt by Comcast Cable to end city regulation of basic cable rates. Tuesday the Tuscaloosa City Council voted unanimously to authorize the city’s legal departments to file comments with the Federal Communications Commission opposing Comcast’s request for relief from regulation.

… Comcast is claiming that it should be granted relief because satellite television companies are providing it with “effective competition,” Nunnally said. “We believe there’s a factual and legal basis to challenge the assertions that Comcast is making to the FCC,” Nunnally said. —>
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20070822/NEWS/708220347/-1/entertainment3
~

Why We Need A Neutral Internet
CenLamar
08/22/07

—> At a Lollapalooza show in Chicago earlier this month, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder exercised his creative political license in a performance of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.” He inserted the lyrics, “George Bush! Leave this world alone!” and “George Bush! Find yourself another home!” On AT&T’s live music streaming website, Blue Room, fans discovered that those lines had been edited out.

… Marguerite Reardon at News.com went deeper into the past ”handful of cases” that I’ve emphasized.

“But then Wired.com reported Friday that it had received an e-mail stating that Webcasts from the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in June had also been edited. Specifically, comments made during the John Butler Trio show when a band member remarked on the government’s lack of response during Hurricane Katrina were deleted, as were comments from the group Flaming Lips about George Bush screwing up. MTV.com also reported Monday that Pearl Jam’s publicist was notified that a fan watching the Bonnaroo concert also claims that comments made by Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine had also been edited. —>
http://cenlamar.wordpress.com/2007/08/22/why-we-need-a-neutral-internet/
~

An Open Letter to AT&T
Our response to claims of political censorship during AT&T’s webcast of an August 5th live performance by the band Pearl Jam
Trillium Assest Management
August 2007

Mr. Randall Stephenson
Chair and CEO, AT&T Inc.

Dear Mr. Stephenson:

Trillium Asset Management Corporation (Trillium) is a leading socially responsible investment firm with over $1 billion in assets under management, including over 200,000 shares of AT&T Inc. common stock. We are writing as citizens and as shareholders concerned about claims of political censorship during AT&T’s webcast of an August 5th live performance by the band Pearl Jam. —>
http://www.trilliuminvest.com/pages/news/news_detail.aspx?ArticleID=585&status=CurrentIssue&Page=HotNews
~

Portland Grassroots Media Camp
August 24 through 26th, 2007
Portland Independent Media Center (OR)
08/22/07

Schedule available (pdf)

The Portland Grassroots Media Camp (PGMC) is a weekend long event of skills trainings and workshops designed to make media creation and production more accessible to organizers, activists, and all community members. Workshops will take place across Portland at such sites as PCC Cascade Campus, the Musicians Union, St. Francis Church, KBOO, Laughing Horse Books, Liberty Hall, and the Center for Intercultural Organizing.

The weekend will be an opportunity for community members, organizers, and activists, especially from immigrant communities in and around Portland, to learn new skills, get connected with local alternative media resources, and network with other immigrant, community, and media organizations. Workshops will two hours long focusing on one specific skill through the use of hands on activities. All skill levels are welcome. All workshops are FREE and open to the general public.

Participating organizations include: the Bolivarian Media Exchange, PCASC, Portland Freeskool, PCC Multimedia Department, KBOO, Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, Street Roots, TK Artist Collective, Sisters of the Road, Write Around Portland, PCUN/KPCN, Theater for Change/Teatro por un Cambio, the Independent Black Producers Organization, Sisters in Action for Power, Portland Alliance, Jobs with Justice, Oregon Oaxaca Solidarity, IPRC, and Portland Community Media —>
http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/08/363813.shtml
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Director of Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org