Archive for the ‘FCC’ 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 – 04/27/08

April 28, 2008

Spirit Freed II Art Exhibit
Perspective Prisms (TX)
04/27/08

[ comments invited ]

Paintings by San Antonio artist Rita Maria Contreras for an exhibit at the Oblate School of Theology in the Spring of 2008. The theme of the exhibit is the pain suffered by children of sexual abuse. The event was in conjunction with a talk by Patrick Fleming and Sue Lauber-Fleming on their book Broken Trust, dealing with the sexual abuse by priests within the Catholic Church. This clip was for San Antonio public access TV. Espanol-video de pinturas de la artista Rita Maria Contreras, del thema de abuso sexual de ninos.
http://perspectiveprisms.blogspot.com/2008/04/spirit-freed-ii-art-exhibit.html
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Representative Harwell supports cable bill
by Truman Bean
Truman’s Take (TN)
04/27/08

Legislative leaders reached a consensus recently on the much-anticipated “Competitive Cable and Video Services Act.” Representative Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) said she was pleased with the outcome of the strenuous negotiations, but that consumers won in the end.  “Although it has taken a while to get to this point, I am excited about the possibilities that this bill will bring,” said Rep. Harwell. “Consumers are the real winners—anytime competition can be introduced into the market, they are the ones who benefit.”   —>
http://trumanstake.blogspot.com/2008/04/representative-harwell-supports-cable.html
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BE the Media — Free Speech Unfurled
by Lauren-Glenn Davitian
Nonprofit Technology Network
04/22/08

[ comments invited ]

While mainstream media remains under the control of a handful of giant corporations, you no longer have to own a printing press to reach a dedicated audience. Gone are the days when we chose from one of three national nightly newscasts on the living room TV. Free speech, broadband services and mobile handsets are quickly dismantling the “one to many” Broadcast Age and putting media production and distribution directly into the hands of “the people”.

Building on traditions of public access, independent media and peer-to-peer networks, we now communicate, “many to many”, across phone and internet networks with affordable and high powered laptops, PDAs, phones and gaming devices. In this major step forward for free speech, the “network centric” age enables us to “be the media”, tell our stories and make social change happen.

But what media and communication tools will make the biggest impact and have the farthest reach? The choices can be daunting — especially if you are an activist or nonprofit with modest means and limited time. Whether you are planning a demonstration, a print campaign, a web site, a viral video, or a mobile action, you need to start with a goal and a strategy.

To help, we’ve compiled many of the rich resources available to the nonprofit community in these basic steps to strategic communications.   —>
http://www.nten.org/blog/2008/04/22/be-the-media-free-speech-unfurled
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State Chairman’s Prophecy About Ron Paul and Republican Convention Comes True
by Christopher Hansen
Independent American Party of Nevada
04/27/08

I was told by Ron Paul supporters that they would triumph at the Republican State Convention. I told them that the Republican Party leadership would do EVERYTHING to stop them because the Republicans are corrupt and care NOTHING about freedom and Democracy but only about power.  Here is the ONLY report on the Convention I have so far.  […]

At the beginning of the Convention the State GOP/McCain campaign tried to limit who could be considered delegates. This prompted a floor fight that went on for hours. The record crowd wondered why they were there if the people to be voted on were already predetermined.  Already the 3 congressional districts have gone (3 delegates for each Congressional District) One district has awarded all 3 to Ron Paul, the second district went, One for Ron Paul, One for John McCain and One for NV. US Senator John Ensign and the third congressional district is unknown since the convention authorities won’t tell.

Nevada’s US Senator Bob Beers is also permanent chair of the convention. He approached the podium at 6pm banged gavel and said we lost the room, we’re in recess and have to figure out another way another time to elect the remaining 22 delegates to the national convention and left the room…. but a quorum was present and the people were not finished 🙂  After the hotel stated that they had no problem with another 3 hours of room use someone tried turning off the lights.  […]

The entire convention was filmed by SNCAT, an impartial observer whose purpose is to simply report the actual news, no spin, no lies, just the facts.  The convention (subject to time limits) will be broadcast on Public Access Television this Wednesday, April 30th, at 8:00pm. They welcome people who took part in the convention (and they don’t care which candidate you support) to state your observations and comments, on camera, during the broadcast.   —>
http://www.independentamerican.org/blog.php?blog=1164
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Surfing without
by Melinda Welsh
newsreview.com
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

In 2008, the internet is fair and open to all. Soon, you may have to pay more for simple services like web searches. Do we have your attention now?

You know the routine. Monday morning, 6:30 a.m: You wake up, shower, down coffee and go online to check email and CNN for gossip and news of the world. You forward a proposal you drafted over the weekend to your work email. After skipping around to a few other sites—like YouTube, Facebook or Digg—you dress, breakfast and join the Interstate 80 commute.

When you get to the job, the first thing you do, naturally, is go online. No big deal—just an average, wired morning in the first decade of a century where much of our work and personal lives revolve around being digitally connected to each other and everything almost all the time.

If you’re under 25, you barely remember a time when all this hyperconnectedness didn’t exist. But really … it didn’t. It was less than 15 years ago when the baby boomers among us were buying our first personal computers and starting to send each other glacially slow emails that seemed to move at light speed. Since then, the tech has gotten always faster, cheaper. We are communicating—sending, searching, interacting and creating content—as never before. In the upcoming years, we’re told, this capacity to connect will speed up exponentially as our internet, TV and telephone use moves to a converged platform operating off a super high-speed connection.

Or not.

You don’t have to be a paranoid techie or consumer-rights policy wonk to see that the era of an open, egalitarian and transparent internet could soon come to a screeching halt in America. The nation’s largest cable and telephone companies—the ones that control the wires, towers and switching systems that make up residential broadband in America—seem to be moving with new aggressiveness to figure out ways to establish themselves as gatekeepers on the internet.   —>
http://www.newsreview.com/reno/Content?oid=657914
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What Broadcasters Don’t Want You to Know
Groundswell
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

For too long, TV stations have made a fortune off of the public airwaves — which they use free of charge — with little accountability to their local community.  In the fall of 2007, the FCC began to address this problem when it approved new rules that would dramatically strengthen and improve reporting requirements for TV stations.  The FCC’s old disclosure requirements asked little of TV stations, ensuring that most broadcasters were easily granted their license renewal every time stations reapplied.

Keeping The Public in the Dark

The public records that stations are supposed to keep were often incomplete and hard to access, making it difficult for local citizens to examine a station’s track record. The FCC’s new rules require that TV stations post their public files on their Web sites and that they file a new reporting form every three months.

The new form will capture more and better information on stations’ programming and will be invaluable to assessing how well they are serving the public. The FCC is asking for minute-by-minute documentation of programming and tying these reports to their programming rules and requirements. The FCC hopes that these steps will help empower local communities to participate in their local broadcast stations and give citizens more control over their airwaves.

However, there are clearly things that these broadcasters don’t want you to know. The National Association of Broadcasters just took the FCC to court to block these important new rules from taking effect. The broadcasters oppose the “scale and scope” of the FCC’s new rules, claiming that they would impose an administrative burden on stations. It would be much more convenient for these broadcasters to keep the public in the dark.   —>
http://stearns.wordpress.com/2008/04/25/what-broadcasters-dont-want-you-to-know/
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The UpTake Awarded Best Citizen Based Media Outlet by City Pages
by Allison
Walker Art Education and Community Programs (MN)
04/23/08

[ comments invited ]

For those of you who don’t know what or who the UpTake is, let me inform you now. It is definitelyy one of the most rockin citizen journalist efforts to spring from the offices, basements, and living rooms of Minnesota.  It is also the brainchild of St. Paul activist and sculptor Jason Barnett, Minnesota Stories creator Chuck Olsen, and Mike McIntee, producer of Inside Minnesota podcasts. Not only have they stayed up late covering all things Minnesota politics, but they also have loyal bloggers, video journalists, and writers all over the country covering this wacky thing we call the election. Their motto is, “Will journalism be done by you or to you?”   —>
http://blogs.walkerart.org/ecp/2008/04/23/uptake-awarded-citizen-based-media/
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Films for Action.org >> Extensive resource of online documentaries and indy film
by tribalzendancer
guerilla news network
04/27/08

Films for Action is a non-profit group that uses the power of film to raise awareness on important issues not being covered by the mainstream news. Through public screenings, the internet, our lending library program, and public access TV, we’re working to build an independent, grass-roots media network that will provide more meaningful and reliable ways to stay informed on the issues that matter.   http://www.filmsforaction.org
http://tribalzendancer.gnn.tv/blogs/28080/Films_for_Action_org_Extensive_resource_of_online_documentaries_and_indy_film
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TV Party
srsly.tv
04/23/08

[ comments invited ]

I am psyched to learn that there was a TV Party DVD released.  From 1978 to 1982, Glenn O’Brien hosted a New York city public access cable TV show called TV Party. Co-hosted by Chris Stein, from Blondie, and directed by filmmaker Amos Poe, the hour long show took television where it had never gone before: to the edge of civility and “sub-realism” as Glenn would put it. Walter Steding and his TV Party “Orchestra” provided a musical accompaniment to the madness at hand, and many artists and musicians, from The Clash, Nile Rodgers, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Bryne and Arto Lindsey were regular guests. It was the cocktail party that could be a political party.

With 80 hours of disintegrating 3/4 inch videotape as a starting point, we tracked down the trend setting participants still living today and found out what they remember of the period and how the show influenced their lives. This, combined with clips from the orginal show, became the documentary “TV Party.   —>
TV Party on YouTube
http://srsly.tv/blog/2008/04/23/tv-party/
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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 – 04/17/08

April 20, 2008

Cable access television debate rages on
by Marilyn Moss
The Orange Bulletin (CT)
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

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

The legislation was proposed, in part, to address concerns by area 2 municipalities about the control of the content on their respective government channels. Several towns in area 2 want to feature their own town-specific programming. These towns have met resistance to that by the community access provider, SV. SV prefers to send system-wide programming so that each town in area 2 can watch government in action in every town in the franchise area. According to Paul Davis, a Orange and West Haven state representative, however, “If a community desires to have town-specific programming, the government should grant that choice.”   —>
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19492921&BRD=1661&PAG=461&dept_id=9538&rfi=6
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Public must fight to maintain net neutrality
by Lawrence Lessig and Ben Scott
San Francisco Chronicle
04/17/08

[ 2 comments ]

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

Comcast, AT&T and Verizon have been lobbying to kill net neutrality. They say they won’t build an information superhighway if they can’t build it as a closed system. No other industrialized country has made that devil’s bargain, and neither should we. Without net neutrality, online innovation is vulnerable to the whims of cable and phone companies, which control 99 percent of the household market for high-speed Internet access. And Silicon Valley venture capitalists are unlikely to bet the farm on a whim.   —>
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/16/EDM11064UL.DTL
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FCC Should Send Signal And Take Action Against Comcast
by Therese Poletti
CNNMoney.com
04/17/08

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

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

Now just two days before the FCC’s Stanford hearing, Comcast issued yet another press release, probably aimed at dissuading the FCC from taking any action against it. Comcast and another peer-to-peer company, Pando Networks, said they created their own “Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” for file sharing, much to the amusement of some legal experts..  After speaking with Comcast, it appears that their “Bill of Rights,” is really about informing the consumer that their Internet traffic could suffer delays.   —>
http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/200804170110DOWJONESDJONLINE000013_FORTUNE5.htm
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Need Help Hosting Citizen Media Outreach Events in Rural Minnesota
Blandin on Broadband (MN)
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

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

Wanted: Partners to Help Host Citizen Media Outreach Events in Rural Minnesota (See Examples Below)
Citizen media projects are springing up across the country and the world. Between now and the end of June 2008, E-Democracy.org is hosting Citizen Media Outreach Events across rural Minnesota to showcase some of these exciting projects, and encourage the launch of similar projects in rural Minnesota.  We are looking for organizations or institutions in rural Minnesota interested in co-sponsoring a Citizen Media Outreach Event in their community.   —>
http://blandinonbroadband.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/need-help-host-citizen-media-outreach-events-in-rural-minnesota/
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Local-access TV programs home in on real estate issues
by Denise Taylor
Boston Globe (MA)
04/17/08

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

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

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

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

In Millis, Joe Luker recently taped his first two episodes of “The Home Show” at Millis Community Television. A home appraiser based in Medway for 20 years and a former real estate broker, Luker said he plans to produce two shows per month.  “There’s so much turmoil in the real estate market. That’s why I’m doing this now,” said Luker.  With local lawyers, realtors, and other industry professionals as guests, Luker will cover the Millis housing market and real estate how-tos. Upcoming subjects include the foreclosure process, home inspections, and hidden issues for home buyers (such as easements, deed restrictions, and convicted sex-offenders living in the area).  “I’m not going to be out there entertaining. My goal is to produce something useful,” said Luker. “There are a lot of people in trouble right now because they didn’t know what to watch for. But I’ve seen the things that people need to know.”   —>
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/04/17/local_access_tv_programs_home_in_on_real_estate_issues/
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Beverly’s history now available free on DVD
by Cate Lecuyer
Salem News (MA)
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

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

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

The shows are centered on interviews with local people talking about their past. There’s a series that includes stories told by World War II veterans and shows actual footage of fighting that they took while oversees.  Another series focuses on the freight trains that came in and out of the United Shoe Machinery Corporation, now the Cummings Center.  The stories people tell go back to the late 1800s and are complemented by old photos, newspaper articles and other archives that Joseph found in the historical society.   —>
http://www.salemnews.com/punews/local_story_108003233.html
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Local students promote reading on TV program
by Scott Stafford
Berkshire Eagle (MA)
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

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

After the taping, Noah said he liked being on camera.  “I liked the book very much, and I think it is pretty cool that I get to tell my story to everyone in the world, and to my friends,” he said.  Teacher Eric Brown’s second-grade class has been writing, editing and rehearsing their presentations, inspired by public television show “Reading Rainbow,” for about three weeks.  Brown said the idea occurred to him while the class was watching an episode of that television program. He used his idea to get students excited about reading, and used the technology to enhance that motivation.   —>
http://www.berkshireeagle.com/localnews/ci_8955082
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Providence City Council meetings to begin airing on TV
WPRI.com (RI)
04/17/08

The Providence City Council will soon be on the tube. The City Council will begin televising its biweekly meetings, starting with Thursday night’s gathering.  The meetings will air nine days later, on Saturday mornings, on public-access TV. Council Majority Leader Terrence Hassett says televising meetings will allow residents who can’t make it there in person to stay informed about what’s happening in the city.  The city has purchased $4,000 of new video equipment, and five students at Mount Hope High School in Providence will be trained to film the meetings and then package them for television.
http://www.wpri.com/Global/story.asp?S=8180702
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Napa school district to show meetings online
by Tony Burchyns
Times-Herald (CA)
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

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

A consortium including the district, Napa Public Access Cable Television and the cities of American Canyon and Napa allowed for considerable savings on the new technology, officials said.  “We got a group deal that saved us tens of thousands of dollars for the entire group,” said Dan Monez, executive director for Napa public access TV.  Monez started the initiative last year when the cable channel wanted to begin streaming and archiving its programs. He said he mentioned the idea to Napa city employees and learned the city was also interested.   —>
http://www.timesheraldonline.com/todaysnews/ci_8957348
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Underground Radio: Is Salt Lake City big enough for two KRCLs?
by Ted McDonough
Salt Lake Weekly (UT)
04/17/08

[ 15 comments ]

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

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

Their big idea is a big experiment. Scads of radio stations now stream on the Internet. But instead of music-on-demand streaming, Utah Free Media will attempt a live broadcast hosted by volunteers. That is, freeform radio, like KRCL. Or, as some Utah Free Media volunteers say, like KRCL before the eminent format switch.   —>
http://www.slweekly.com/index.cfm?do=article.details&id=57D41F3C-14D1-13A2-9F188B4D76D07182
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Support Community Radio
by Roy Kasten
Living in Stereo (MO)
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

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

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

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

There are around 200 volunteers that contribute to KDHX–I’m one of them. We all believe that “community media” (and KDHX includes a local access cable TV station, an expanding web site, educational efforts and work with film and video) is more than a noble concept. It’s a practical, viable, meaningful way of building and transforming our community. Saint Louis wouldn’t be Saint Louis without the station.   —>
http://livinginstereo.com/?p=428
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Seminar on Peoples Voices, Peoples Participation and Community Radio – 04 May, 2008
Waves of Change
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

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

To accelerate the Community Radio Policy 2008, we are going to organize a national seminar on Peoples Voices, Peoples Participation and Community Radio at 09:30 AM -5:00 PM on Sunday, 04 May, 2008 at UNB Auditorium (7th Floor), Cosmos Centre, 69/1, New Circular Road, Malibagh, Dhaka-1212.where resource persons from Singapore, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh will present their respective papers.  The seminar is jointly organized by Asian Media Information Communication Center(AMIC), United News of Bangladesh (UNB) and Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC).   —>
http://deepdishwavesofchange.blogspot.com/2008/04/seminar-on-peoples-voices-peoples.html
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Cable TV operations will not be blocked
Information minister says no blackout of opposition proceedings in parliament
Daily Times (Pakistan)
04/17/08

ISLAMABAD: Cable operators are the primary source of information for the public and the new democratic government will not allow anyone to block cable TV operations in the country, Information Minister Sherry Rehman said on Wednesday.  “The government believes in freedom of information and public access to information, therefore, no one will be allowed to disrupt the free flow of information,” she told a delegation of the Cable Operators Association of Pakistan, which called on her under the leadership of its chairman, Khalid Sheikh. Sherry said that the government had already tabled a bill to remove the ‘black’ media law and would take further measures for the freedom of the media. “To ensure smooth running of the cable TV network throughout the country, a hotline service would be set up at the Information Ministry, where cable operators would register their complaints of any external pressure for blocking their system or a particular TV channel,” she added.   —>
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008%5C04%5C17%5Cstory_17-4-2008_pg7_18
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/16/08

April 20, 2008

Saving tctv2 a true service
Editorial: Traverse City Record Eagle (MI)
04/16/08

The Land Information Access Association is a local nonprofit that up to now has specialized in putting land use, resource and environmental information into easily-accessible formats to help residents, planners and governments make better land-use decisions.  Now — just in time, it appears — the LIAA is broadening the scope of its educational mission to include rescuing public-access television station tctv2 from the trash heap.

It’s going to need some financial help; hopefully, some of that will come from area governments still meeting their obligations under old franchise agreements and some from a few townships that essentially reneged on old promises. Other funds are expected from services such as production assistance and studio rentals.

Back in the day, tctv2 was sitting pretty. It had a decent revenue flow, it had pretty good facilities at Northwestern Michigan College and there was a steady, if low-key, flow of locally produced programs. Some were exactly what the term public access TV brought to mind — tepid discussions on arcane subjects or variations on the home movie theme. Others, however, were creative and informative, exactly what a lot of people hoped public-access television would be.

Probably the most popular offerings were the live broadcasts of Traverse City commission meetings on Monday nights. The deathly dull always seemed to be offset by some bit of local politics that kept people watching.  Those broadcasts were a great precedent for the region. They brought local politics into area living rooms and helped raise awareness of local issues. They also led directly to similar efforts by Traverse City schools, Grand Traverse County (finally) and some local townships.   —>
http://www.record-eagle.com/opinion/local_story_107100152.html
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NB considers public access arts channel
by Jessica Musicar
The World (OR)
04/15/08

[ 2 comments ]

NORTH BEND — Coos County viewers looking to make a stronger connection to the local arts scene won’t have to leave their living rooms to do so, if the city of North Bend supports an area television station’s effort to start up a new channel.  Officials from Coos Bay-based PEG Broadcasting Services Inc., which records and televises governmental meetings on Channel 14, plan to take up a public access channel dedicated to arts and education, said Don Van Dyke, the president of PEG Broadcasting.

“There’s just tons of things we could cover and we’re talking about the whole county, not just North Bend or Coos Bay,” Van Dyke said.  He added he plans to feature local school bands, debating clubs, science fairs, and shows in a variety of Bay Area theaters. “There’s a lot of talent in this area, especially among the youth, that the public just doesn’t know about.”   —>
http://www.theworldlink.com/articles/2008/04/15/news/doc4804e67f7f4a8358850505.txt
~

Democrat Steve Beshear Killing Telecom Subsidy Connect Kentucky?
by Matt Stoller
OpenLeft.com
04/15/08

[ 2 comments ]

I’ve written a fair amount about corruption and the telecom lobby.  One of the nastiest tricks the telecoms use is the notion of universal buildout to grab subsidies and then not do the buildout, which of course creates the need for more subsidies to do universal buildout.  It’s a neat trick.  Connect Kentucky is their current malignant model for doing that, a ‘public-private’ partnership funded by the cash strapped state of Kentucky.  Art Brodsky did a devastating take-down of the nonprofit, and subsequently Hillary Clinton’s internet platform has removed its references to the program which was slated to go national.

As Brodsky’s piece percolated, it generated momentum against the program, which had previously only been subjected to hagiographic pieces about how wonderfully Connect Kentucky spread broadband access.  Fortunately, Governor Steve Beshear just vetoed the program’s funding.   —>
http://openleft.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=75B2A78C4C668FC689D65C7C47D5778E?diaryId=5170
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Squabble over net neutrality resumes
by Brooks Boliek
The Hollywood Reporter
04/16/08

When the FCC convenes its second hearing on what it calls “network management” Thursday, it will have covered both coasts and the universities that played midwife to the Internet.  Thursday’s hearing at Stanford University in California and February’s at MIT in Boston complete an arc that could be described as the Internet’s Fertile Crescent.  These campuses are the staging ground for what could be the government’s foray into the Internet’s next phase. While the commission calls it network management, most of the people with a stake in the hearing call it network neutrality — a hotly debated policy notion that likely will define just how far a company can go to control what and how fast information flows over the Internet’s backbone.   —>
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/business/news/e3i94a671a1b94ff736b514c84ce14c5d2e
~

Verizon FiOS proposes citywide buildout
by Joshua Breitbart
Civil Defense (NY)
04/16/08

[ comments invited ]

Yesterday, Verizon proposed to build a fiber optic network covering all of New York City. The proposal comes just one day after the City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) published notification of the RFP for cable television providers, which is how you know DoITT’s RFP (request for proposals) and Verizon’s proposal were worked out in tandem over months of closed-door negotiations.

Verizon is offering to finish the installation by midyear 2014, provide a public safety INET (institutional network), pay franchise fees equivalent to five percent of gross revenues on cable TV service, channels for public access. As the precise details emerge and once I’ve had a chance to read the RFP, I’ll give you my assessment on the fine points, but that doesn’t sound like enough off the bat given the scope of the deal.   —>
http://breitbart.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/verizon-fios-proposes-citywide-buildout/
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The Power and Responsibility of our Nation’s Broadcasters
by Tim Robbins
Huffington Post
04/16/089

[ 232 comments ]

The following is my opening keynote speech for the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, which I delivered Monday night.

[ audio at Huffington Post ]

Hello, I’m Tim Robbins. I’d like to thank you for the invitation to address you here at the National Association of Broadcasters. When I first received the invitation I was a little confused because the last time I had contact with the national media I seem to remember them telling me to shut the hell up.

I would like to start with an apology. To Rush and Sean, and Billo and Savage and Laura what’s-her-name. A few years ago they told America that because I had different opinions on the wisdom of going to war that I was a traitor, a Saddam lover, a terrorist supporter, undermining the troops. I was appealing at the time for the inspectors to have more time to find those weapons of mass destruction. I was a naïve dupe of left wing appeasement. And how right they were. If I had known then what I know now, if I had seen the festive and appreciative faces on the streets of Baghdad today, if I had known then what a robust economy we would be in, the unity of our people, the wildfire of democracy that has spread across the Mideast, I would never have said those traitorous, unfounded and irresponsible things. I stand chastened in the face of the wisdom of the talk radio geniuses, and I apologize for standing in the way of freedom.

So when they asked me to come speak to you I said, “Are you sure? Me?” And they said, “Yes.”  And I said, “You know, I have a tendency to say things that I believe at the time to be well-intentioned but that are actually traitorous.” And they said, “Sure, cool.” And then I read the press release and it said, “Mr. Robbins will be speaking about the challenges of new media and delivery systems.” Oh, OK. But I just want you to know I’m not sure I know what that fucking means.  But it is an honor to be speaking to you here at this years National Association Broadcasting convention even if I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.   —>
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-robbins/addressing-the-national-a_b_96836.html
Also posted at AlterNet – 25 comments: http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/82510/
~

Legislators Take Aim at FCC Localism Proposals
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin Receives Letter from More than 120 Legislators
by John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable
04/16/08

[ comments invited ]

The National Association of Broadcasters got support Wednesday in its fight against proposed new localism obligations.  More than 120 legislators signed onto a letter to Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin asking him not to impose any localism mandates on broadcasters.  A copy of the letter was released by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), but included Democrats, as well.  The letter said the FCC is considering a “radical reregulation” of broadcasting and takes aim at FCC proposals to create community-advisory boards, to require broadcasters to report on programmning in a variety of categories and to locate their studios in their community of license and have their stations staffed at all times.   —>
http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6552169.html?display=Breaking+News&referral=SUPP&nid=2228
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The Future of Community Radio
by Greg Guma
Toward Freedom
04/16/08

Will audiences keep tuning in to radio if the information and music they want can be more easily accessed by other means? Can FM compete with the quality and reliability of new portable devices? And will listeners continue to pay attention to long fund drive pitches? These are some of the difficult questions public and community radio must answer in the near future.

At the moment blogs are undermining newspapers, DVRs and TiVo are allowing viewers to skip commercials and time-shift the viewing of their preferred shows, and iPods are revolutionizing the way we access and consume music. The good news is that there are traits and features specific to radio that can help. But broadcasters need to open themselves to the inevitable convergence with new media and the Internet.

So, how can community radio prepare for the future? Three ways: embrace convergence, focus on unique and thematic content, and use radio’s traditional strengths while combining them with the power of new technologies. This can lead to a new form of radio that doesn’t abandon the airwaves, but also brings quality programming that can’t be found elsewhere to new audiences and emerging media platforms.

What are Radio’s strengths, especially those can be leveraged and integrated with some of the new opportunities?   —>
http://towardfreedom.com/home/content/view/1283/1/
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Teletubbies, Digital Zapatistas, Viral Marketing, Sign “Bombing”
by Elizabeth Coffman
elizabeth coffman’s guerilla media weblog (IL)
04/16/08

[ comments invited ]

Guerilla Media Class is nearing the end of the Spring 08 semester. Students are preparing their final community media projects and updating their blogs. I will report on the final projects soon.  The projects range from persuading Loyola Chicago’s Public Safety office to donate ‘found’ or abandoned bikes on campus to the student Bike Club, (who will place them for free around campus), to unconventional promotional efforts for a new musician, who is giving away his music online for free, to sign ‘bombings’ on a variety of issues, including guerilla support for 3rd Party Political candidates, as well as a project that documents “random encounters” on the Chicago El by the women’s rugby team, in full uniform and covered with mud.

Our readings on guerilla media, our guest speakers, our field trip to CANTV and LUC’s new Information Commons have helped us to see the digital spectrum as ranging from political activism to viral marketing, and to think through Habermas’s ideas of the ideal public sphere. The public, the market and participatory culture redefine how politics, economy, art, and pop culture interweave and overlap in old and new media arenas. From blogging in Ethiopian elections to radio listening clubs in Malawi, from the Guerilla Girls to Second Life, the participatory power of new media is obvious.   —>
http://ecoffman.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/teletubbies-digital-zapatistas-viral-marketing-sign-bombing/
~

Zambia: No Politicians on Community Radio Boards – Nyirenda
The Times of Zambia
04/16/08

The Government has said that politicians should not be on the board of directors for community radio stations to avoid political interference in the editorial content of such institutions.  Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Nyirenda yesterday told the Parliamentary Watchdog Committee chaired by Namwala member of Parliament (MP) Robbie Chizhyuka (UPND).  Mr Nyirenda appeared before the Committee on Information and Broadcasting Services to explain the role of community radio stations in the promotion of governance and national programmes.

He said community radio stations were cardinal to the country’s democracy and should therefore be supported. Mr Nyirenda said that the Government through his ministry was planning to establish a Media Development Fund. The goal of the fund was to enable community media houses become sustainable and operate without any hindrances. Mr Nyirenda said even if politicians were stopped from sitting on community radio boards, they could still be allowed to participate in their formation and contribute financially.

On the establishment of the Media Development Fund, he said the decision was arrived at after the realisation that the Media Trust Fund (MTF), some donor institutions and religious organisations only supported most community stations. The Media Development Fund would focus on resource mobilisation, funding and supporting both existing and new media organisations and funding capacity building for such organisations.  He said that the funds would ensure the establishment of community radio stations in far flung areas as opposed to them being situated on the line of rail. Mr Nyirenda said this when he addressed concerns raised by Mpika Central MP, Mwansa Kapeya (PF) who wanted to know whether there were any plans to ensure that community radio stations were not only located on the line of rail.   —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200804160434.html
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/11/08

April 12, 2008


Tech TV: Big Thinkers – Lawrence Lessig
Google Video
04/01/08

Big Thinkers is a former ZDTV (later TechTV) television program. It featured a half-hour interview with a “big thinker” in science, technology, and other fields… This episode features Lawrence Lessig. He is a professor of law at Stanford Law School and founder of its Center for Internet and Society. He is founder and CEO of the Creative Commons and a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and of the Software Freedom Law Center. He is best known as a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright, trademark and radio frequency spectrum, particularly in technology applications.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=832994055525533014&q=%22public+domain%22+duration%3Along

[ Thanks to Jeff Garland for the link ~ rm ]

~

Media Minutes: April 11, 2008
Free Press
04/10/08

Length: 5:03 minutes (5.78 MB); Download Audio

At BroadbandCensus.com, you can find out about broadband providers in your area, see what your broadband speed actually is, and help create a nationwide census on broadband information that big media companies don’t want you to know. And Community Television of Santa Cruz plugs public access TV with an entertaining new promotional video.
http://community.freespeech.org/media_minutes_april_11,_2008
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Tennessee Franchising Bill Aims To Extend Broadband Services
Local Governments Could Also Subsidize Deployment If Private Sector Passes
by Linda Haugsted
Multichannel News
04/11/08

[ comments invited ]

Legislators in Tennessee have been presented a new version of a state franchising bill with a unique scheme to provide an incentive to new providers to extend broadband services. The bill language, which has been the subject of negotiations among effected industries, contains broad build-out language. Large telephone companies that become video providers must deliver that service to 30% of their existing service area within 3 1/2 years. But those companies can decrease the number of homes which get video if they deploy broadband services to areas that don’t currently have such services, or areas that are determined to be undeserved.

Under the formula in the bill, a provider will get credit on a 4-to-1 basis for connecting a home to broadband services for the first time. In other words, a house getting service for the first time would count as four homes when computing the 30% build-out formula. According to the current version of the bill, local governments may also subsidize broadband deployment, if the Tennessee Regulatory Authority determines that there is no interest in the private sector to build plant locally. —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6550755.html
~

Verizon readies FiOs proposal for NYC
by Amanda Fung
Crains New York
04/11/08

[ comments invited ]

The city announced Friday that it will start taking proposals from new cable TV providers, giving Verizon the go-ahead for its fiber-optic cable plan.

After a 18-month-long wait, Verizon Communications Inc. can now move forward with plans to offer television service in New York City. The city announced Friday that it will start taking proposals from new cable TV providers. The telecom giant’s plan to launch television service over its new fiber-optic cable, dubbed FiOS, has been stymied in the past. The City Council authorized the Bloomberg administration to open the cable TV market to competition in October 2006 but the city failed to issue the request for proposals, the next step in allowing in new providers. —>
http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080411/FREE/473277305/1065
~

Opening Plenary Set
Alliance for Community Media – Northeast Region
04/11/08

The ACM-NE usually uses the opening plenary at its Spring Conference to focus on PEG in the local state or region in which the conference is held. This year will be no different. This year’s Opening Plenary is entitled “RI PEG, How it’s Different, Why it Works”

Being the smallest state in the Union presents Rhode Island with advantages and disadvantages. And that goes for PEG access as well. PEG in Rhode Island is controlled by a quasi-government agency that also oversees Rhode Island PBS. Their studios are spread out throughout the state and serve many communities. The state also has three state-wide inter-connect channels that have become extremely popular.

Joining us as part of our plenary panel will be Elizabeth Espositio, Director of PEG in Rhode Island. She will be joined by two producers, Bob Venturini who produces An Hour With Bob, and John Carlevale who heads up a political program called State of the State.

It should be an enlightening discussion. Make sure you join us on Friday, May 9th at 9:30am.
http://acmneconference.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/opening-plenary-set/
~

Next president should launch the Digital New Deal
by Helen De Michiel
San Francisco Chronicle
04/11/08

[ 1 comment ]

When more than 3 million voters under age 30 turned out for recent caucuses and primaries, they staked a claim as a major force shaping this historic presidential election. Because so many leave college with, on average, $20,000 in debt during a recession economy and are entering a job market with fewer opportunities to earn a decent living, energized young Americans are yearning to help solve America’s problems, address the mounting issues of income disparity, and contribute to the health and well-being of their communities. At the same time, a call for enhanced national public service is part of the presidential candidates’ campaign platforms.

Thus, this is a singular moment in which to demand a larger and bolder vision to propel all Americans, across generations, fully into the 21st century. It’s time for a Digital New Deal.

Even though we inhabit a technologically saturated environment, America is not keeping pace in its capacity as a technological world leader. In the array of studies comparing Internet infrastructures across nations, the highest America ranks in any of them is 4th – in network readiness to compete globally – but 24th among industrialized nations in broadband penetration to U.S. households. These rankings show that America has a ways to go to remain competitive in the dynamic global economy, not to mention protecting itself from cyber-terrorism and other Internet high jinks.

Our next president can help reconstruct America’s fragmented and relatively weak public communications infrastructure by using the most effective tool our youth wield – the power and depth of their digital fluency. This eager, highly knowledgeable, connected and multitasking first generation of digital natives – “millennials” coming of age now who have used computers and the Internet since childhood – can be put to work in a WPA-inspired Digital New Deal to build out a networked national public commons that bolsters our international competitiveness. —>
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2008/04/11/EDJU103F1U.DTL
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Election Portends Legislative Action for Broadband Policy, VoIP
by Danny Adams
IP Business
04/11/08

With the certainty that a new Presidential Administration will be sworn in next January, and the apparent possibility that it will be a Democratic one, many telecommunications policy initiatives will percolate up over the coming months. Given that 2008 is a major election year, only the most non-controversial of these will pass as many legislators will be campaigning and business in Congress will virtually come to a halt for the year as of early August. While not many legislative proposals will pass in this environment, much of the work will be done this year and bills made ready for speedy action early in 2009 after the inauguration.

High on the list of priorities is broadband policy. One indicator of what to expect is a bill introduced in the House by Congressmen Ed Markey (D-Mass) and Chip Pickering (R-Miss) addressing net neutrality. Within 90 days of enactment, this law would mandate that the FCC initiate an inquiry on broadband services and consumer rights. The agency would be required to review such things as compliance with its previously stated principles of network neutrality, whether broadband service providers vary their charges based on quality of service or content, and the network management practices of broadband companies.

Despite the bipartisan sponsorship of the bill, not every member of the House Telecommunications and Internet subcommittee is enthusiastic. Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla), ranking minority member on the subcommittee, indicated his belief that the proposal will need extensive hearings and study before it becomes law. And the US Telecom Association, a group of large carriers, has stated opposition to the bill, as has CTIA, the wireless carrier association. Both groups contend that the new law is unnecessary. The controversy suggests that the bill will not see passage this year, but may be a vehicle to create a record for legislation in 2009.

The focus on broadband network management practices has been propelled by alleged blocking activities of Comcast and Verizon… Another aspect of broadband policy which will get attention is the speed of deployment throughout the U.S…

Wireless communications is another area that is receiving attention from legislators. The courts have ruled that State authorities have the jurisdiction to review items such as wireless carrier line item billing and early termination fee disclosures. This has motivated the carriers to seek expanded federal preemption of state oversight. (Currently the states are prohibited from regulating carrier rates or market entry, but the courts ruled that “rates” do not include bill format or presentation.)

Congressman Markey is working on a bill for the House which will give the carriers the preemption of state regulation which they seek. It also will contain consumer safeguards, however, so as not to be seen as ignoring the consumer issues raised by the states. The state agencies are likely to oppose any such preemption legislation.

Another area of interest in state preemption is the entry of municipal governments into the telecom marketplace. In response to several cities seeking to build WiMax or similar systems to provide universal Internet access, several states (encouraged by the carriers who sell Internet access) passed laws against such activities by municipalities. Congressman Markey’s bill may also include federal preemption of such state laws, allowing municipalities back into the market. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate last Fall. A Democratic Administration would seem to be more likely than a Republican one to sign these preemption bills into law, but Sen. McCain was supportive of the Senate bill as well. —>
http://www.ipbusinessmag.com/articles.php?issue_id=59&article_id=370
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East Africa: Media Summit Should Harness Communication Power to Sell EAC
Editorial: The New Times (Kigali)
04/11/08

Today the second East African Media Summit opens in Dar es Salaam, with many leading media and diplomatic personnel in the region attending. It is being opened by Uganda’s Eriya Kategaya, Chairman of the East African Community Council of Ministers under the theme: “The Role of the Media in Addressing the Causes of Conflict and Instability, and their Prevention: The East African dimension.” —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200804110348.html
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New community radio station speaks out for peace
Inspire Magazine [UK]
04/11/08 [?]

Peace FM, a radio station committed to promoting peace and community cohesion in Manchester, has received one of a limited number of full-time community radio licences from the broadcasting regulator Ofcom. Fighting off stiff competition from other community radio groups in the city, the station will be run by Peace Full Media Group, part of local community alliance CARISMA, and staffed by a team of enthusiastic volunteers from all walks of life.

Anthony Weekes, DJ, says: “We are absolutely over the moon – it’s a triumph for the local community. However, this is just the beginning. “The building of peace and respect requires the input of all parts of our community. DJs can raise a public debate on the issues people experience in their lives and get people talking. “Through phone-ins we can grow understanding and give people a voice about how they feel, what they think, and what we see as part of the solution. Just acknowledging that we need to talk already grows a sense of community and respect.“
http://www.inspiremagazine.org.uk/news.aspx?action=view&id=2321
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2550
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
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org