Archive for the ‘freedom of the press’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/02/08: World Press Freedom Day

May 3, 2008

“Broadcasting, Voice, and Accountability”
Book Offers Tools to Foster Independent Broadcast Media in Developing Countries
The World Bank
05/02/08

People from the foothills of the Himalayas to small communities in Benin listen to the radio or watch TV. Now a new book seeks to help developing countries foster a diverse broadcasting sector that truly informs and empowers their citizens.

“Broadcasting, Voice and Accountability,” published this week by the World Bank Institute, is a best-practices guide to the kinds of policies, laws and regulations that result in a free, independent and responsible media, greater transparency in government, and more open public debate.

“The enabling environment for the media is crucial to the type of media we have, and that, in turn, has a critical role in development,” says co-author Steve Buckley, President of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters. “The media can play a role as checks and balances ensuring good governance and accountability.”

The 400-page book, the culmination of five years of research by six media experts, was presented just ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3, in Maputo, Mozambique, at a conference on freedom of expression hosted by the United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). —>
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:21753143~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html
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Broadcasting, Voice, and Accountability
Steve Buckley, Kreszentia Duer, Toby Mendel and Seán Ó Siochrú
World Bank Institute
05/02/08 [?]

This book provides guidelines, tools, and real world examples to help assess and reform the enabling environment for media development that serves public interest goals. It builds on a growing awareness of the role of media and voice in the promotion of transparent and accountable governance, in the empowerment of people to better exercise their rights and hold leaders to account; and in support of equitable development including improved livelihoods, health, and access to education. The book provides development practitioners with an overview of the key policy and regulatory issues involved in supporting freedom of information and expression and enabling independent public service media. Country examples illustrate how these norms have been institutionalized in various contexts.

* Introduction (PDF 54KB)
* Chapter 1 (PDF 215 KB) –
* Table of Contents (PDF 35 KB) –
* Podcast Interview with Steve Buckley (co-author and President of the WACRB)
Real Media ; MP3
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/WBI/0,,contentMDK:21747844~pagePK:209023~piPK:207535~theSitePK:213799,00.html
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World Press Freedom Day (Malaysia)
Little Garden of Joy
05/02/08

[ 2 comments ]

World Press Freedom Day is an annual and global event dedicated to press freedom. What is press freedom? Press freedom is a guarantee by the government of free public press for its citizens, and extending to journalists, even bloggers. With respect to governmental information, the government chooses which materials are revealed to the public and which materials that should be protected from disclosure. The purpose of this is to protect national interest as to conceal matters of sensitivity and controversy. Sadly, in Malaysia, much is being concealed from public interests despite continuous appeals from the public for the government to be as transparent as possible. [ … ]

The role of community media
Even though many media outlets have made provisions for audience participation and have therein become more accessible to the people they serve, nowhere is accessibility and specificity of purpose so well defined as with community media. Currently radio is the most widespread form of community media in the developing world because it is cheap to produce and to access, can cover large areas, and overcomes illiteracy. —>
http://sarahliane.blogspot.com/2008/05/world-press-freedom-day-malaysia.html
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World Press Freedom Day: Not there yet, say Hungarian media reps
MTI Daily Bulletin (Hungary)
05/02/08

Budapest – Hungary essentially has a free press, but needs improvement, Hungarian media organisation chiefs told MTI on the eve of May 3, UN World Press Freedom Day. “Freedom of the press is the product of democracy and societal operations: always a conflictive area,” said Pal Eotvos, chairman of the National Association of Hungarian Journalists (MUOSZ). Still unresolved problems include restrictions on court reporting and the manner in which the law determines slander. In addition, he said, the media is at the intersection of two conflicting constitutional rights: the rights of ownership and freedom of speech, adding that most Hungarian media are foreign-owned. —>
http://english.mti.hu/default.asp?menu=1&theme=2&cat=25&newsid=251966
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Liberia: Three Draft Media Laws Advance Through Legislature; CEMESP Urges Their Approval As World Press Freedom Day Approaches
Center For Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP) (Toronto)
05/01/08

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, CEMESP welcomes the introduction in the House of Representatives of three draft media laws, presented to that body on 17 April 2008 by a coalition of media and civil society organisations. Liberia’s House of Representatives introduced three draft Liberian media laws (An Act to Transform the Liberia Broadcasting System into a Public Service Broadcaster, An Act to Establish an Independent Broadcast Media Regulatory Commission and a Freedom of Information Act) during its regular plenary session on 29 April.

The laws, produced under the banner of the Liberia Media Law and Policy Reform Group, itself an outgrowth of the internationally sanctioned Partnership for Media Development and Conflict Prevention in West Africa, have been four years in the making, during which there was a series of consultations involving civil society, the media, government and the international community. —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200805020122.html
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Southern Africa: SADC Sliding Down Media Freedom Scale
by Kaitira Kandjii
Financial Gazette (Harare)
05/01/08

The Media Institute of Southern Africa, a regional media and freedom of expression advocacy organisation, based in Windhoek and working through national chapters in 11 Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries joins the rest of the world in marking the World Press Freedom Day on Saturday.

MISA commemorates May 3 under the theme “Press Freedom, Access to Information and empowering the people.” This theme captures all we expect from our media, and the role our governments should play in promoting media and freedom of expression rights.

The 2008 World Press Freedom Day comes at a time when the enjoyment and respect for media and freedom of expression rights in Southern Africa is on the slide. We mark May 3 under the shadow of a crisis in Zimbabwe and the deterioration of media freedoms throughout the region notably in Lesotho, Angola and Swaziland. May 3 comes at a time when the international spotlight is once again on Southern Africa, home to some of the world’s archaic and repressive media environments with Zimbabwe taking the lead.

We mark May 3 with mixed feelings, while we have made substantive strides since the Windhoek declaration in 1991, the last three years have witnessed a steady deterioration of media freedom, reminiscent of Africa’s one party state era of the 70’s and early 80s, characterised by the suppression of the basic fundamental rights of freedom of expression, assembly and human dignity. —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200805020644.html
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USAID Supports World Press Freedom
PRNewswire
05/02/08

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) salutes the bravery and professionalism of journalists throughout the world and condemns all actions to suppress press freedoms.

May 3 marks World Press Freedom Day, a date set aside to reflect upon the key importance of freedoms of media and information. Free media perform critical checking functions on governments, raising the quality of governance. A free press also provides voice to citizens, creates public forums to discuss key issues, and contributes to social-economic development. But journalism can be a challenging, even dangerous profession, as witnessed by the killings of over one hundred journalists during 2007.

The U.S. government, through USAID, has supported enabling conditions for media to freely provide objective news and information to citizens in more than 50 countries. USAID will continue to support those individuals and organizations that are committed to freedom of the press and looks forward to the day when independence throughout the media can be found worldwide. Examples of USAID efforts include: —>
http://sev.prnewswire.com/publishing-information-services/20080502/DC2129902052008-1.html
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[ The communications infrastructure is not unrelated to the content capable of flowing over it. Hence, the relevance of broadband policy to world press freedom… ~ rm ]

Explaining International Broadband Leadership
by Robert D. Atkinson, Daniel K. Correa and Julie A. Hedlund
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
05/01/08

Executive Summary (PDF)

It is hard to follow broadband telecommunications policy without hearing almost weekly that the United States ranks 15th out of 30 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations in broadband adoption. But it is much less apparent why the United States is behind. Indeed, relatively little work has been done to understand why some nations are ahead, and why some, like the United States, are lagging. By examining OECD nations through statistical analysis and in-depth case studies of nine nations, including the United States, this report attempts to do just that.

In identifying factors that have spurred broadband performance in other nations, we present key findings that government and the technology industry must recognize if we are to find the right course for the United States. And we propose key policy recommendations that will drive greater broadband performance. —>
http://www.itif.org/index.php?id=142
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[ Technology may always dazzle and divert, promising grace and glory, but in human nature lies our salvation or curse, if either there be. ~ rm ]

In Medias Res: Brilliant, Scary, Visionary, and Strange
The Parasitic Meme
by Rob
05/02/08

[ comments invited ]

Russell has some thoughts about a speech by Clay Shirkey in which he discusses his observations about social surpluses. He makes a certain case there by recounting a conversation with a person who couldn’t understand where the people who edit wikipedia articles find the time to do so. And in a speech which likens television sitcoms of the mid to late 20th century to gin pushcarts of the late 19th to early 20th century, he points out that those people have found that kind of time by not watching as much television as they used to.

I confess to being weary of tech visionaries. I don’t agree with Clay Shirkey about the transcendence of what he’s seen. Either that or I simply can’t get excited about tech progress any longer. Or I see his anecdotes as data points in much larger trends which have “changed the world” in superficial ways, but not in fundamental ones.

Consider, for example, the rhetoric that used to swirl around the invention of various devices we now take for granted. Perhaps the telephone is a good example. At first, people were shocked and appalled at a device, essentially the very first automation network, which could utter sounds made before then only by a human throat. Leave aside the notion that a human was still required to make the sound, he was still making a machine imitate it an appreciable distance away.

So, looking “from 30,000 feet” at the growth of the phone network, first, there was resistance, sometimes lots of resistance, then embrace by the wealthiest or most technologically inclined of the population, followed by a general acceptance of the tool by commercial interests, followed by general acceptance by all the population, followed by a worldwide build-out of the network.

But during those first years, the rhetoric was of a revolution in the way humans interacted. Some even declared that it would end wars, because people could then talk to one another more easily and misunderstandings could be resolved with the new gizmo far easier than with the old.

Since then the human race has fought the bloodiest wars in the history of civilization, and endured the most brutal tyrannies, alongside some of the highest and most noble expressions of lovingkindness and humanitarianism. Good and bad, but no fundamental change in human behavior, because there were now telephones.

The same sorts of things can and have been said about any subsequent innovation. Television was supposed to be a premier educational tool, bringing teachers to far-flung places. Hopefully the primary use of television today illuminates the absurdity of that assumption.

FM Radio was supposed to supplant AM Radio as a better technology than before. But RCA undertook to destroy its inventor personally, rather than buy shares in its technology.

The attitude towards the computer was that it would eventually become “machines that make big decisions / Programmed by fellows with compassion and vision” with the promise that “we’ll be clean when their work is done / We’ll be totally free, yes, and totally young, mmmm…”

What a beautiful world that will be, indeed. Donald Fagin’s “IGY” (for the International Geophysical Year declared by world scientists) captured the rhetoric of the revolutionary, common when we Americans were reaping the low-hanging fruit of the second large network to be built after the telephone, namely, the electric power grid. It was the attitude that got my American society to agree to send a man to the Moon and return him home again. [ … ]

It is ironic that Fagin released “IGY” in 1982, when the shine had come off the electric grid, after one energy crisis and during the tail end of a second, and when pollution, global climate change (then called global cooling, actually!), and peak oil were starting to be on everyone’s mind. By then the Internet was a connection network for large computers owned by the military and the universities affiliated in one way or another with DARPA.

Ten years from that point I would be of age, and be participating in a small way in the build out of that fourth internetwork, following the voice, power, and transistor networks which had already been designed and built. At that time I was fully enraptured by the revolution the Internet and computers could provide.

Since then, I’ve seen the same things happen “over the Web” that happened with the first telephone network, and the upheavals of the power grid and the rollouts of various, faster, and smaller computers. Resistance to the new technology is most often followed by attempts by established powers to own the new technology and shape it to their benefit. Witness the fights between Western Union and Alexander Graham Bell. Farnsworth and RCA. Steve Jobs and Microsoft. Any number of music publishers and the anarchists who use the Internet to duplicate their intellectual property against all laws. Efforts by movie companies to control through the DMCA. The “Net Neutrality” debates.

That ought to be enough of a body of examples to showcase what I think is true: Visionaries can’t see the future. Bell’s prognostications about the phone network, Kurzweil’s and Gates’ about computers, Roosevelt’s about the power grid, all were partly true and partly appallingly false. The telephone network was built, the power grid, television broadcast networks, but we are not “totally free” nor “totally young”.

Instead, basic human nature continues to rule. Now, Shirken talks about a tiny fraction of all the people participating in media interactivity, blogs and online votes and Web 2.0 stuff. As a revolution, because people were choosing to “wake up” from the 20th century’s equivalent to the gin cart, namely, broadcast television entertainment.

He isn’t alone in this kind of thinking, obviously, both since it is plain to see the ease with which young people obtain cheap computers and use them to communicate with one another, and to see how baffling these new approaches to communication are to those of us who are used to older technologies.

Hopefully, though, I’ve been able to demostrate why I don’t see those things as “revolutionary” or even very important for changing society or the world. Instead of sudden, the changes he highlights appear to me to flow apace, as society behaves the same about every new innovation as it did about all the old ones. As a very early adopter of what people now call text messaging and of the power of the so-called “social networks” (I used Unix “talk” and still use Usenet, for two examples), coupled with my study of modern history (for which I am not lettered, merely educated), I claim armchair expertise in the field as a social observer.

Hence, the observation he offered is pedestrian, and not terribly inspiring to me. I claim this even as I buy new iPhones and flat screens and computers for my own use, because they are dead useful tools. But they will not help us transcend ourselves. —>
http://www.parasiticmeme.com/?p=22
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannel.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

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Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/29/08

April 30, 2008

Cable bill off to the Senate
Officials hope act will create more competition in Tenn.
by Richard Locker
Commercial Appeal (TN)
04/29/08

[ 3 comments ]

The state House overwhelmingly approved the three-year-old effort to induce more competition for cable television services in Tennessee Monday.  Representatives voted 93-2 to send the “Competitive Cable and Video Services Act” to the Senate, where final approval is expected before the legislature adjourns in two weeks.  In addition to cable competition, state officials hope the bill leads to broader deployment of Internet broadband service to areas with inadequate or no service.   —>
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/apr/29/cable-bill-off-to-the-senate/

also reported at:

House OKs AT&T TV bill; Senate is expected to pass legislation
by Theo Emery; The Tennessean
04/29/08 [ 1 comment ]

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080429/NEWS0201/804290370/1009/NEWS01

Suburbs OK With Cable Measure — Hope It Will Survive Tenn. House Debate
by Clay Bailey; Commercial Appeal (TN)
04/28/08

http://www.blackenterprise.com/yb/ybopen.asp?section=ybsb&story_id=116863886&ID=blackenterprise

House approves AT&T cable deal
by Andy Sher; Chattanooga Times Free Press
04/29/08 [ comments invited ]

http://timesfreepress.com/news/2008/apr/29/nashiville-house-approves-t-cable-deal/?local
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Hate speech limits fail to gain support
by Mike Monson
The News Gazette (IL)
04/29/08

URBANA – Urbana council members have tentatively decided against taking strong steps to limit hate speech on Urbana Public Television, despite concerns raised by the local Jewish community and other residents about anti-Semitic programming being regularly shown on the station.  Council members, in a voice vote Monday night, tentatively approved a revised public access policies and procedures manual for Urbana Public Television, known as UPTV. Only Alderwoman Lynne Barnes, D-Ward 7, voted against the proposal.  A final vote will take place at next Monday night’s council meeting.

Barnes said she thought the city should drop the public access programming from its PEG channel, which includes public access, education and government programming.  “My trouble with it is, as a city council member, you’re a part of this,” she said. “If you’ve got trash in your yard, even if it’s not your trash, it looks bad. As long as our name is on it, I feel as a taxpayer we’re participating it in.”  Much of the anti-Semitic programming is being submitted by a single resident, 88-year-old Timothy A. Brumleve of Urbana.

Other council members disagreed with Barnes. Dennis Roberts, D-Ward 5, said Urbana has a “reputation for being forward-thinking and supporting the widest range of viewpoints.”  “What this city needs is not less PEG, but more PEG,” Roberts said. “We need a greater and more active public dialogue.”  Roberts said he supports creating a fifth PEG channel, through cable franchise negotiations with Comcast this year, that would be exclusively devoted to public access and would allow Urbana to remove the public access component from its channel.

Roberts also said he recently watched a particular anti-Semitic program and “wasn’t impressed in the least.”  “Let’s not give them the power to control our lives through fear, let’s totally ignore it,” he said. “Let’s change the channel.”  Danielle Chynoweth, D-Ward 2, made similar comments, saying “the decay of society is when a single person can destroy a public amenity.”   —>
http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2008/04/29/hate_speech_limits_fail_to_gain_support
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World Press Freedom Day 2008 – May 3
Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and Empowerment of People
UNESCO

Freedom of Expression is a fundamental human right as stated in Article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. This is especially worth recalling as we mark the 60th anniversary of that declaration.

At this year’s World Press Freedom Day celebration, UNESCO would like to explore how media freedom and access to information feed into the wider development objective of empowering people. Empowerment is a multi-dimensional social and political process that helps people gain control over their own lives. This can only be achieved through access to accurate, fair and unbiased information, representing a plurality of opinions, and the means to actively communicate vertically and horizontally, thereby participating in the active life of the community.
http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=25875&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
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Perspectives TV Show on Sean Bell Verdict
BreaktheChains.info
04/29/08

[ comments invited ]

In the wake of the verdict resulting from the trial of the officers in the Sean Bell case, BronxNet is dedicating the next live episode of Perspectives to discussing and analyzing the outcome of the case.  The special episode of Perspectives will be cablecast on Tuesday, April 29, at 8:30 p.m. We are inviting advocates, activists, and legal aids, to join us as guests for a panel discussion. You can also join our inside studio television audience.  The program will highlight a peaceful quest for justice, help shed light on issues at hand, give viewers a chance to hear the opinions of experts and to call in and express their own opinions.   —>
http://breakallchains.blogspot.com/2008/04/perspectives-tv-show-on-sean-bell.html
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Free public forum hosts 3rd District County Supervisor candidates
by Sarah Spotten
KSBY.com (CA)
04/29/08

The Citizens Planning Foundation of Santa Barbara County and the League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara Education Fund are co-hosting a 3rd District County Supervisor Candidates Forum.  The purpose of this free forum is to help educate the public about candidates’ positions on issues of concern to them so that they may become better-informed voters.  All five candidates have confirmed they will participate in the public forum.  Simultaneous Spanish translation will be provided, and a video of the forum will be broadcast in both English and Spanish on public access television.   —>
http://www.ksby.com/Global/story.asp?S=8245207
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NYC Reaches Cable TV Agreement with Verizon
1010 WINS (NY)
04/29/08

New York City residents may soon get a choice of cable television providers.  The city announced Tuesday that it has reached agreement with Verizon for a cable television franchise contract, which calls for increased channel capacity and funding for all public, educational and governmental channels.  “Our administration is committed to bringing better service and competitive choices for cable television to the residents of New York City, and the proposed agreement would go a long way toward doing that,” Deputy Mayor Robert C. Lieber said.  […]

Under the agreement, Verizon would pay the city a franchise fee of 5 percent of the revenues from the cable service in the city; provide a $10 million capital grant to the city-owned NYC TV and a $4 million grant to expand public access to technology.   —>
http://www.1010wins.com/pages/2091549.php?
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Public-television revolutionary
WYBE’s new model offers 5-minute shorts
by Joseph N. DiStefano
Philadelphia Inquirer (PA)
04/28/08

WYBE-35, Philadelphia’s tiny, nonprofit, old-fashioned broadcast TV station, is betting its future on digital shows for the YouTube generation.  The station is programming its signals and Web site with five-minute shorts that producers pay to play, set in a new studio built as part of a signal-swapping deal with General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal networks.

“It’s short-form programming, in which we let the community come to us and let them and viewers tell us what they want,” says Howard Blumenthal, the station’s chief executive and a 30-year veteran of the business, including stints as a brand executive for Bertelsmann AG and a senior executive at CDNOW Inc.  “These are not infomercials,” he adds. WYBE’s program affiliate, Mind Media Independence (Mind TV), controls content, with no obligation to use programs it doesn’t want. No home-shopping programs; no racist propaganda.

The station offers technical assistance and training to member-donors who want to make their own programs, for a yearly fee ranging from $75 for individuals to $1,000 for corporations.  The business model reverses the usual TV business patterns. Like Philadelphia-based vanity publisher Xlibris Corp., WYBE is now getting paid to carry content, not paying for it. It’s giving paying members – there are 50 so far, pending the service’s formal launch next month – the power to put their own work on television and the Internet.   —>
http://www.philly.com/philly/business/homepage/18327209.html
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nick calzoncit Confronts Harlandale ISD school board
Mexican American Peace Project (TX)
04/29/08

[ comments invited ]

Click to play

Local San Antonio Activist nick calzoncit confronts the Harlandale School District about his quest for renaming Stonewall Elementary School to Cesar Chavez Elementary at the board meeting held in April 2008. This clip was for San Antonio Public Access TV, Mexican American Peace Project, Fridays 12:30pm and 8:30pm.
http://mexamerican.blogspot.com/2008/04/nick-calzoncit-confronts-harlandale-isd.html
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Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick tapes own TV show
The Associated Press
Lansing State Journal (MI)
04/29/08

[ 6 comments ]

Kwame Kilpatrick is adding “talk show host” to his mayoral duties.  The Detroit mayor on Monday taped the first installment of his new cable public access television show.  WWJ-AM and WXYZ-TV report Kilpatrick’s first two guests were city Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings and City Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers.   —>
http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080429/NEWS01/804290349/1001/NEWS
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KDHX is looking to hire a Youth Media Production Instructor this summer
by Reggi
St. Louis Audition (MO)
04/29/08

KDHX instructors are working media artists who use the power of digital production to help young people fashion their own multi-media messages. Through music, video and computer technology, young people can create messages that bridge cultural differences and create change in their communities and in their own lives. The KDHX Youth Video Production Instructor teaches basic video production classes focusing on story telling and media literacy to students ranging from middle school to high school age. The rate for this position is $20 per hour.   —>
http://www.stlauditions.com/2008/04/kdhx-is-looking-to-hire-youth-media.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/25/08

April 28, 2008

Verizon TV proposal needs tuning
by Juan Gonzalez
New York Daily News
04/25/08

[ 8 comments ]

Telecom giant Verizon has finally submitted its long-awaited proposal for a competing cable television franchise for New York City.  If you live in the Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens and you’re eager to ditch Time Warner or Cablevision, take a number.

Verizon plans to offer its FiOS TV service to virtually all Staten Island and nearly 60% of Manhattan residents by the end of this year, according to a copy of the company’s proposal obtained by the Daily News.  On the other hand, FiOS will be available to less than 10% of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens this year. Most people in those boroughs won’t be able to buy it until at least 2011.   —>
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2008/04/25/2008-04-25_verizon_tv_proposal_needs_tuning.html
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Commission to tweak cable access agreement
by Steve Bandy
Marshall News Messenger (TX)
04/25/08

Some minor tweaks in an agreement contract between the city of Marshall and First United Methodist Church will allow a non-profit group established by the church to operate the second public access cable channel.  The city’s cable-TV franchise agreement with Charter Communications calls for Charter to provide one channel free of cost for public, educational and governmental information. Charter considers this channel to be channel 20, which is operated by the city as a governmental information channel, Assistant City Manager Janet Cook told commissioners Thursday night.

“Under the franchise agreement, Charter also must provide a second channel at our request or at the request of an approved non-profit institution,” she said. “Charter may charge for the use of that channel.”  Charter operated the second channel — channel 19 — for a number of years, but notified the city in January that its staff would no longer be available. On March 15 Charter ceased operation of channel 19.  “They told us there will not be a charge for someone else to operate the channel,” Ms. Cook said.

The city began seeking proposals for the operation of the second public, educational, governmental (PEG) channel in mid-February.  “One proposal was received from First United Methodist Church,” Ms. Cook said. “The church proposes to incorporate a non-profit ‘The Marshall Channel’ to operate the channel.”   —>
http://www.marshallnewsmessenger.com/news/content/news/stories/2008/042608_cable.html
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Comcast Expects Automatic Franchise Renewal
by Bernice Paglia
Plainfield Plaintalker (NJ)
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

When Comcast of the Plainfields’ 10-year city franchise ends in 2009, the company will invoke a 5-year automatic renewal, a representative told the Cable Television Advisory Board Thursday.  Charles Smith III, director of Government and Community Affairs for Northern New Jersey, told the board, “Comcast will exercise that option. That’s the way we look at the franchise.”  […]

While the Comcast franchise is running out, Verizon has gained state approval to hold franchises in many communities, including Plainfield. Smith said that when Verizon’s ability to serve customers reaches 60 percent of the Plainfield market, franchise fees will double from 2 percent to 4 percent due to state legislation. The city currently receives as much as $120,000 in franchise fees to operate the city’s local origination channel.

But while officials wrested the commitment for two local channels from Comcast in the past franchise renewal, the implementation has been spotty. Only one channel, based in City Hall Annex, is currently operating. A studio built at Maxson Middle School has languished.

Besides the operational aspects of the local channels, programming was another topic addressed by the board. Much of the local channel’s content is public service announcements and outside programs such as Democracy Now and White House Chronicles, but Public Information Officer Jazz Johnson said consultant Parris Z. Moore has launched a pilot program called “Hello Plainfield” and has several more in the works. They include “Plainfield at Work,” about day-to-day city activity on behalf of its citizens; “Plainfield Profiles,” about interesting residents; and “Plainfield Update,” a news format program.  […]

Board members asked Johnson when the City Council meetings would be televised. Johnson said Channel 74 was ready to record the meetings, but the council was holding off.   —>
http://plaintalker.blogspot.com/2008/04/comcast-expects-automatic-franchise.html
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Grand Rapids budget crunch could cost workers, raise parking, court fees
by Jim Harger
The Grand Rapids Press (MI)
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

GRAND RAPIDS — City Manager Kurt Kimball said the city can balance its budget and spend $1.6 million more on street improvements in the fiscal year beginning July 1.  But that means the city’s 1,700 employees and 470 retirees will be asked to pay more for their health care coverage. It also means higher parking fines and court fees.  […]

The $123 million spending plan also eliminates $355,000 in general local revenue sharing for charities and trims the city’s subsidy to the Community Media Center by $86,000.  Although he expects an outcry, Kimball said the city no longer can afford gifts to local charities after seven years of budget-cutting.  “I didn’t think that pot of money should be a sacred cow,” he said.   —>
http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/04/grand_rapids_budget_could_cost.html
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County budget $7M short of requests
Wicomico officials work to keep finances within constraints
by Greg Latshaw
The Daily Times (MD)
04/25/08

[ 1 comment ]

SALISBURY — One hard truth is already clear to Wicomico County Council members a week into reviewing next year’s budget proposal.  Charged with making further reductions, the council on Thursday continued scrutinizing a preliminary draft that is 2 percent smaller than last year. County Executive Rick Pollitt’s $129.6 million budget is about $7 million short of department requests from education, Public Safety, county employees and PAC-14 — the county’s public access television station.  […]

As department heads continue to defend their budgets, one popular area nonprofit has already taken a hit.  PAC-14 won’t be celebrating its 10th anniversary with a funding increase.  Pollitt’s proposal adds no extra dollars this year, dismissing a $79,600 department request. That means PAC-14 is set to again receive $131,000 in county funding, an amount that makes up about 60 percent of its operating budget, according to station manager Mike Goodson.   —>
http://www.delmarvanow.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080425/NEWS01/804250301/1002
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CATV wants to sign up Mandan
by Gordon Weixel
Bismarck Tribune (ND)
04/25/08 (repeat of 4/24 story, but with comments)

[ 8 comments ]

When Community Access Television makes its pitch to the Mandan City Commission about televising meetings, it will be more about forming a partnership with Bismarck than numbers of cameras and when the reruns will air.  On Tuesday, CATV’s Mary Van Sickle will respond to the Mandan City Commission’s request for a proposal to cablecast commission meetings. But what Van Sickle will present is an opportunity for Mandan to join with Bismarck in funding of CATV.   —>
http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2008/04/25/news/local/154129.txt
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St. Louis TV
by Diane Meyer
Respublica (MO)
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

The city of St. Louis utilizes the public access channel on cable tv to promote events and inform residents of what is happening.  While the rest of us in the metro area do not have this broadcast, it is possible to get a feel for what is going on by checking STLTV on the web.

St. Louis is doing something many local cities should do, using as much public technology as possible to reach the most people.  The STLTV website is colorful and inviting and contains many of the videos broadcast on cable access.   Why more cities aren’t doing something like this is puzzling.  Maybe there is a feeling that the public access channel won’t attract viewers, but if there is local programming done well with frequent additions, people will watch.  And, to continue this on a “tv web page”, well, this seems so obvious.   —>
http://respublica.typepad.com/respublica/2008/04/st-louis-tv.html
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SCAT News
by Jason McIntos
The Gameshelf (MA)
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

For folks with access to cable TV in Somerville, MA, I’ll be appearing on an upcoming episode of Inside SCAT, a new show about stuff going on around the community access TV station that helps me produce The Gameshelf. The show airs Tuesday evenings at 7:30 on channel 3. I’m on either next Tuesday or the week after, depending upon how quickly stuff gets edited. Hurrah for community access TV!

I also got a chance to meet Danny Martinez, a Somerville High student who produces a weekly live TV show about video games called S’Ville Games. It airs every Tuesday at 3:30, and features call-in segments. Give it a watch, if you’re in town!
http://gameshelf.jmac.org/2008/04/scat-news.html
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Paramilitaries threaten priest who runs community radio station
Reporters Without Borders
04/25/08

Reporters Without Borders is worried about death threats made in the past 10 days against Catholic priest Rafael Gallego, the manager of Ecos de Tiquisio, a community radio station in Tiquisio, in the northern department of Bolívar, and the leaders of other civil society organisations in the region.  The threats were made in two email messages signed by the Black Eagles, a branch of the paramilitary alliance known as the United Self-Defence Groups of Colombia (AUC), which has a strong presence in Colombia’s northern departments.

“Community media such as Ecos de Tiquisio play a very important role in local life in Bolívar and are very popular with the local population,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Black Eagles are using these threats to both intimidate the station’s personnel and undermine their credibility, with the aim of consolidating their own influence in a region wracked by armed violence. We urge the Bolívar departmental authorities to protect Father Gallego and all of the station’s personnel.”

The Network of Community Radio Stations of the Mid-Magdalena Region (AREDMAG), of which Ecos de Tiquisio is a member, reported in a 16 April release that death threats had been made against representatives of several regional organisations including Father Gallego in a message signed by Commander Camilo Mora of the Northern Block of the Black Eagles.  It referred to them as “military targets”and announced an “annihilation plan” in which they would be “exterminated one by one.”   —>
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=26711
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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 – 04/09/08

April 11, 2008

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

[ comments invited ]

A side-by-side comparison of AT&T PEG channel and Comcast PEG Channel. Shows the length of time to change channels from a broadcast to a peg channel. [ Also compares AT&T’s U-Worse image quality to Comcast’s ~ rm ]
http://youtube.com/watch?v=v6A-btugKdA
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AT&T won’t say where it’d offer TV if bill passes
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)
04/09/08

[ 12 comments ]

Despite lobbying for a bill to start offering television services and compete with cable, AT&T will not say where it would offer those services if legislation were approved. “For competitive reasons, the company does not outline those plans,” said Bob Corney, an AT&T spokesman. “But, our goal is to try to get our product to as many customers as possible as quickly as possible.”

…The ambiguity about where AT&T would offer its services is just something that comes with state-issued franchising, said Stacey Briggs, the executive director of the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association, which had lobbied against the bill before signing off on the compromise. “I think that’s just the difference between the state process and the local process where local governments are losing control over where AT&T goes,” Briggs said. —>
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59467
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A Snowy Transmission
by Tomas Dinges
411 Productions (TX)
04/09/08

[ comments invited ]

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

Just weeks after Patsy Robles and her 15-year-old daughter stepped into the studio of San Antonio’s Channel 20 during the summer of 2004 they were on TV, a channel-surf away from the major networks. Motivated by a desire to “counteract negative media stereotypes of youth,” Robles, an accountant, learned to produce television. Soon, belly dancing, 10-year-old mariachi players and 16-year-old news anchors describing the impact of Hurricane Katrina on young people could be seen by anybody with a basic subscription to Time-Warner cable in the San Antonio area.

This was public access television. For almost two years their show, “411,” appeared four times a month. However, in late 2006, the studio shut down, and the channel went dark. “I was totally shocked,” said Robles, who said she was given no warning of the move. “I didn’t even know if the channel was coming back.”

What happened to her and other access producers in San Antonio was a harbinger of things to come in others towns and cities where cable lines lay. Last year, 21 production studios in Indiana and Michigan were closed. Funding for public access programming is expected to dry up entirely during the next five years in Ohio, Florida, Missouri and Wisconsin, according to the Alliance for Community Media, an advocacy group that organizes public access channels across the country.

The closings resulted from new statewide franchise contracts, which eliminated the longtime obligations of cable providers to local communities in 17 states. Public access television has existed in the past because of “its close connection to the local community,” said Anthony Riddle, executive director of the Alliance for Community Media. Established by Congress in 1973, the Public, Educational and Governmental channels were a trade-off for company use of public land to run cables and make a profit. They would be available for local groups and individual citizens to use in whatever manner they wished–sort of a modern-day electronic public sphere.

Now, “the telecommunications companies are not connected to the public that they serve,” said Riddle. “There is no accountability on a state level.” Instead of having to negotiate new agreements with thousands of municipalities across the country, the cable and telephone industries heavily lobbied state legislatures for permission to strike the simpler statewide agreements. Local communities had no leverage. As a consequence, said Riddle, cable companies are out to make new rules or “take an interpretation of the rules to shut down an access center.” —>
http://411productions.blogspot.com/2008/04/snowy-transmission-by-tomas-dinges.html
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Black Evil Television, Low-Power FM Neighborhood Radio, and the Congressional Black Caucus
by Bruce Dixon
Black Agenda Radio
04/08/08

[ 4 comments ]

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce Dixon.

Even when corporate black radio does not ape the content of “Black Evil Television” it consistently fails the legal tests of serving local needs with local content and broadcasting in the public interest. Legislation is now in the Congress to open up licensing for hundreds of new low-power FM neighborhood radio stations in cities and towns across the nation. Though all three presidential candidates, along with Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress are co-sponsoring… the Low-Power FM Neighborhood Radio bill (HB 2802 & SB ) relatively few members of the Congressional Black Caucus are among them.

Click the flash player below to hear the audio of this Black Agenda Radio commentary. Broadcasters and others desiring an MP3 copy should visit the Black Agenda Radio archive page here. —>
http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=582&Itemid=1
~

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

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

Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked by the fatal shooting on 7 April in Putla de Guerrero, in the southern state of Oaxaca, of Teresa Bautista Flores, 24, and Felicitas Martínez, 20, two women journalists working for La Voz que Rompe el Silencio (“The Voice that Breaks the Silence”), a community radio station serving the Trique indigenous community. “Although there is so far no evidence that these two women were killed because of their work as journalists, their murders will be traumatic for all of Latin America’s many community radio stations, which are too often ignored or despised by the rest of the media and by governments,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“We are conscious of the risks run by the press in Oaxaca state, where the political climate continues to be tense, where two journalists were killed in 2006 at the height of a period of social unrest, and where other community media have been attacked,” the press freedom organisation continued. “We hope the investigators quickly establish the circumstances and motives for this double murder and catch those responsible. And we join their community in paying tribute to the two victims.”

La Voz que Rompe el Silencio was launched by the Trique indigenous community in San Juan Copala (in the west of Oaxaca state) on 20 January, a year after the locality was granted administrative autonomy. The community appointed Bautista Flores and Martínez to manage and present the radio station, which is dedicated to promoting indigenous culture.

The two young women were returning from doing a report in the municipality of Llano Juárez in the early afternoon when they were ambushed and, after being threatened with abduction, were finally shot with 7.62 calibre bullets of the kind used in AK-47 assault rifles, Reporters Without Borders was told by CACTUS, an organisation that supports indigenous communities. Investigators found 20 bullet casings at the scene. Three other people were wounded in the shooting – Jaciel Vázquez, aged 3, and his parents. —>
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=26511
~

Independent radio reclaims the airwaves
“If you don’t have access and ownership and control of a media system, you really don’t exist,” said Loris Taylor, of Native Public Media.
by Michelle Chen
Straight Goods (Canada)
04/08/08

[Editor’s note: As the CBC public broadcasting system suffers the death of a thousand cuts, Canadians should pay attention to what US communities have learned about the importance of radio, especially, for building communities, delivering local news, and providing public space for airing issues of vital public interest.]

A mother’s voice stretched over the air to a son spending the holidays in a Virginia prison: “Keep your head up. I love you. Just do what you gotta do to survive.” The hushed message was one of dozens featured on Calls from Home, a project of Mountain Community Radio in Kentucky. Each December, the call-in program helps families of prisoners reconnect through holiday shout-outs, aired on stations across the country.

As broadcast conglomerates narrow radio’s political scope, activists are recasting the medium to once again empower underserved communities.

Since the first mass broadcasts crackled over the country’s airwaves in the 1920s, radio has defined itself as a democratic medium, providing communities that have few resources — from inmates to immigrant workers — a conduit for news and civic communication. But today, media activists say commercialism has reduced a vital institution to an industry of white noise. In response, alternative radio projects and media-justice movements have emerged to resuscitate a flagging public sphere. —>
http://www.straightgoods.ca/ViewMediaFile8.cfm?REF=15
~

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

[ comments invited ]

NAM and the Community Media Workshop at Columbia College Chicago hosted an event with the Centers for Disease Control on the importance of flu shots with Chicago area ethnic media in November 2007, and are joining forces again for an ethnic media workshop on investigative reporting with IRE in Chicago May 17-18th.
http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=d289fe32384cdb8230278d4dcb1ca7eb&from=rss
~

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

[ 1 comment ]

Editor’s Note: Practicing the first amendment in America can be hazardous to your health, especially if you work in the ethnic media sector, according to editors at a New America Media-sponsored conference on ethnic media and freedom of expression in Los Angeles this week.

The First Amendment may have guaranteed the promise of a free press, but for ethnic media reporting on their own communities that can be as perilous as covering a war zone. In ethnic enclaves where the power of protest is mightier than the pen, it takes a combination of physical courage, mental perseverance and sometimes even the willingness to risk one’s own life to practice journalism.

A diverse group of leading editors from ethnic news media gathered in Los Angeles on April 7 to share accounts of threats they had received from their own communities. The roundtable discussion, “A Challenge for Ethnic Media: When Coverage Provokes Threats from Your Own Community,” was co-hosted by New America Media, the California First Amendment Coalition, USC Annenberg’s Institute for Justice and Journalism, CSU Northridge’s Center for Ethnic and Alternative Media, The Society of Professional Journalists-Greater LA Chapter, UCLA’s CCC (Campus Computing Council), California Chicano News Media Association (CCNMA) and other media advocacy groups.

Journalists, editors and publishers of ethnic media told harrowing tales of having been boycotted, protested, sued, harassed, and physically threatened by members of their own communities who wanted to dictate what the ethnic news media could and couldn’t cover. —>
http://news.ncmonline.com/news/view_article.html?article_id=f68b62db82c0909a0f07e6c12123bea9
~

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

[ comments invited ]

“The level of openness and participation in the community media in an inspiration. From what I witnessed, the democratization of the media in Venezuela flies in the face of practically everything I read about Venezuela in U. S. corporate media.”

SAN FRANCISCO – Mainstream media outlets have run many stories recently criticizing freedom of the press in Venezuela, but have ignored the story of the explosion of community radio and T.V. Greg Miller and Sean Kriletich explore the burgeoning community media movement spreading across Venezuela in their film, “La Revolucion Comunicativa: community radio and t.v. on the rise in Venezuela.” —>
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/09/18491508.php
~

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

[ 2 comments ]

The Malaysian government’s unprecedented losses in national elections last month will hopefully provide the long-awaited drive for media reform, say Malaysia’s Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA). —>
http://the-malaysian.blogspot.com/2008/04/new-hope-for-press-freedom-with.html
~

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

[ comments invited ]

On March 26 Somerville Cares About Prevention, a City of Somerville agency, held its 5th Annual Community Addiction Speakout at Somerville Community Access Television. The program featured a panel of experts on teen alcohol and opiate addictions, including two teens in recovery who shared their stories. SPF100, the youth group that promotes positive choices, showed their video about the problem of adults giving youth access to alcohol.
http://scatstaffvlog.blogspot.com/2008/04/somerville-cares-about-prevention-part.html
~

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

Ventura’s public-access channel will hold “Open Mic Days” where people can sit down in front of a camera and say what’s on their minds for three minutes, organizers said. Participants must live, work or go to school in Ventura. Individuals will be responsible for their remarks and will have to sign a waiver releasing Community Access Partners of San Buenaventura, or CAPS-TV, from liability. The segments will be compiled into shows titled “What’s On Your Mind, Ventura?” and “What’s On Your Mind, Ventura — After Dark.” —>
http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/apr/09/public-access-channel-opens-its-mics/
~

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

[ comments invited ]

ON THE SHOW THIS MONTH: Complete coverage of the 2008 Chicago Peace Protests during the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq.

M20 Civil Disobedience and Arrest, Federal Plaza, Chicago – March 20, 2008, 7 activists, including Kathy Kelly, perform civil disobedience action at Federal Plaza, downtown Chicago, resulting in arrest. This was one of many actions in Chicago to mark the 5th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Produced by Fred Hickler.

Chicago Anti-War Protest 2008 – Video by CIMC and Labor Beat. —>
http://thewarstopshere.wordpress.com/2008/04/08/chicago-imc-public-access-tv-show-coverage-of-5th-anniversary-antiwar-direct-actions/
~

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

[ comments invited ]

“Well, howdy there, you buckaroos! Welcome to Late Night With Don!” is how Don Yoder introduces his show. Look out “Tonight Show” and “Late Night With David Letterman”. This is “Late Night With Don” hosted by Superior native Don Yoder which airs at the same time as the network’s late shows.

Yoder doesn’t think his cable access talk show is a competitor to the big boys of evening television. “I think it is an alternative I have. I don’t get up here and make fun of actors or actresses that are going through difficult times in their lives.” says Don Yoder. Don is a Marine Corps veteran and country and gospel singer who is back in the Northland after many years away. His show is taped in Proctor and airs there and in the Twin Ports weeknights at 10:30 pm on cable access TV.

After two months of production, the show is catching on. “The public reaction is good. People like to see local programming and I think it fills a void we’ve had in public access in this area and I think it’s a fun show to work on.” according to Peter Luke who runs Proctor’s cable access TV channel…

How to do a show on Proctor Trac 7 TV: You can be the Creator/ Producer and Director of your own Video show. You call the shots, you write the format of of your show and you edit the show. Whether you Produce the show In-Studio or on-Location, you have access to the latest Video Production Equipment. Call: Peter Luke, Cable TV Coordinator at (218) 628-6283 for more Information!
http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/news/local/17393714.html
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/29/08

March 31, 2008

Canadian ISPs Limiting Access To CBC Shows
by kdawson
Slashdot
03/29/08

[ 70 comments ]

An anonymous reader sends word that, even as ISP interference with BitTorrent traffic is easing in the US, the issue is heating up in Canada. Major Canadian ISPs are limiting access to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s shows, made available online using BitTorrent.  This issue has burst onto the scene due to smaller ISPs, such as Teksavvy, blowing the whistle on the fact that Bell was expanding its traffic-shaping policies to smaller ISPs that rent Bell’s network.

These events have sparked a formal complaint by the National Union of Public and General Employees, which represents more than 340,000 workers across Canada, to the regulatory body, CRTC, and calls for change in Parliament.   —>
http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/03/29/2217231
~

Fort Collins Public Access may get new home
by Cari Merrill
The Coloradoan
03/29/08

[ comments invited ]

The Fort Collins Public Access Network may soon have a new home.  Following a three-year quest to find office and equipment space, the station has staked out a location at 200 W. Mountain that includes three offices and its own lobby. And if the deal goes through, which those involved are sure it will, FCPAN could move in within the next month.  “It’s wonderful to be able to have a space for offices and storage for our equipment,” said Pete Seel, FCPAN volunteer and associate journalism professor at Colorado State University. “We have a lot of nice gear and no place to store it.”

The channel has searched for a home since leaving the Comcast building on University Avenue in 2006 when Comcast opted out of the public access broadcasting business.  Carson Hamlin, video production director for government access channel 14, helped find the Old Town location and is almost certain FCPAN could move into the space in the next month once the previous tenants move out, the space is cleaned and all electrical needs for the equipment are addressed.

After the move from Comcast, FCPAN stored equipment in the basement of City Hall, said FCPAN president Blue Hovatter, which created access issues for Fort Collins residents who might want to make a show.  “How do you run a station like that?” he said. “It’s the chicken-and-the-egg style of deals. You can’t get the funding until you get the studio, but you can’t get the studio until you can prove you can make programming, which requires funding.”

In addition to the strong possibility of a new home, FCPAN got new equipment last year, enabling the station to continually loop content, such as local artwork and poetry, surpassing the six hours they were able to run before.  That equipment comes thanks to Public Educational and Governmental funds. PEG funds are collected from all Comcast subscribers as part of their bill. The 50 cents on each bill each month adds up to almost $90,000 annually to be distributed between four public access networks in Fort Collins: Poudre School District programming on channel 10, CSU student-run television on Channel 11, government coverage on dial 14 and FCPAN on channel 22.   —>
http://www.coloradoan.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080329/BUSINESS/803290327/1046/CUSTOMERSERVICE02
~

Producers pick up pile of PACCIES
by Wesley Ennis
Plymouth Bulletin (MA)
03/29/08

[ 6 comments ]

Karen and Ken Buechs scored a hat trick at PACTV’s ninth annual Paccie Awards Wednesday night, taking home trophies for Best General Talk Show and Show of the Year for the popular Talk of the Towne, and the PACCIE for Best Community or Informational Show for Karen and Company.  The Buechs invited Talk of the Towne host Loring Tripp to join them at the podium as they – the show’s producers – accepted the awards for that show. When their production won Show of the Year, Ken Buechs thanked Tripp for his work on the show and presented him with the trophy.

“PACTV has always been a very positive experience,” Karen Buechs said following the awards show. “The staff is awesome. My husband, Ken, and I are looking forward to producing more quality programming and it’s been an honor to work with Loring. He’s been a terrific host. Most of all, we thank our viewers for all of their support and encouragement.”   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/plymouth/fun/entertainment/arts/x1012435661
~

Wallingford Town Council March 25, 2008, Part 2
Wallingford Governmet Television (CT)
03/29/08

[ comments invited ]

Part two of regular meeting held by the Wallingford Town Council on Tuesday, March 25, 2008.
http://wallingfordgovtv.blogspot.com/2008/03/wallingford-town-council-march-25-2008_29.html
~

Santabarbara shares love of cheese
Angelo Santabarbara – County Legistature (NY)
03/29/08

[ comments invited ]

Angelo Santabarbara may not be a big cheese in county politics yet, but the freshman legislator from Rotterdam certainly knows how to produce his fair share of the dairy staple.  The first-generation Italian-American will feature his cheesemaking prowess on “Let’s Cook,” a popular home-cooking program hosted by Delores Scalise on Schenectady’s public access TV station. Santabarbara spent Tuesday afternoon at Channel 16’s Broadway studio, demonstrating a recipe his parents brought to Schenectady County from the old country decades ago.   —>
http://www.angelosantabarbara.com/?p=48
~

Acoustic Music TV: Tom Smith
by Bruce Jones
Acoustic Music TV (MA)
03/29/08

[ comments invited ]

Acoustic Music TV show #4 features Tom Smith, singer, songwriter and performer. Calling himself a “kitchen musician” who enjoys sharing music with other who like simple, direct folk music that has stood the test of time.  Tom has played music since he was five, starting out on the ukulele, and now playing a wide range of instruments, including the guitar, mandolin, harmonica and the Appalachian dulcimer. Tom sings in a wide range of folk traditions including American, English, Scottish and Irish.  For more information check out his website.  Visit Acoustic Music TV.
http://acousticmusictv.blogspot.com/2008/03/acoustic-music-tv-tom-smith.html
~

Salmonella Dwella’
SLV Dweller (CA)
03/28/08

[ comments invited ]

—>   Phase 1 of the 3-phase water flush left Alamosa citizens at a disadvantage when trying to go about their normal routines. Although Alamosa has only begun Phase 1 of the water flush, done with a high concentration of chlorine in the water supply, by Phase 2, citizens can use their showers again – and could turn their hair green. Alamosa Mayor Farris Bervig announced on community access television Channel 10 Thursday that reports of scam artists have surfaced in the city in the wake of the salmonella outbreak.   —>
http://www.slvdweller.com/index.php?/archives/2008/03/28/Salmonella-Dwella.xhtml
~

Serving the Community with a Passion for Truth
by Oskar Wermter
The Zimbabwean
03/29/08

He will not concede defeat even if the votes go against him because that would mean allowing the British colonizer to reconquer the country.  If people are starving that is because Britain has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.  Or so says the great leader. And state media repeat these falsehoods ad nauseam.

They are designed to keep power in the hands of the “ruling elite”. They perpetuate the poverty and misery of the vast majority. They drive millions of Zimbabweans out of their homeland  into the “diaspora”.  It takes torture and violence to silence the people who know these lies contradict what they see with their own eyes every day…

Media workers themselves who accept that they serve the public and are therefore answerable to it  are nowadays setting up their own ‘courts of appeal’, media councils and complaints committees to which members of the public can appeal if they feel they have been wronged. Such arbitration councils if accepted by all media houses and the entire media fraternity can administer  justice speedily and effectively in a self-regulatory manner.

There is no need for the state to set up such a body. What the people can do for themselves, the state should not try to control. Government is too partisan, dominated as it is by politicians, to be trusted with this delicate task. The Media Council has to educate its own members about proper media ethics which must be guided by a spirit of service to the community, a passion for truth and respect for the individual person.   —>
http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11830:serving-the-community-with-a-passion-for-truth&catid=31:top%20zimbabwe%20stories&Itemid=66
~

Telesis on Processing
by Nathan Shaw
Neuroplasticity
03/29/08

[ comments invited ]

Telesis is the purposeful use of natural and social forces. It is planned progress. Magickal activism.  Power does not reside in church or state, but in the manipulation of words, images, and symbols. The power of reality engineering. In the past, church and state held a monopoly on this power. Today, this power is in the media. The popular media was first to show people ways of life from outside of the clenched provincialism and parochialism of their family and community.

Cultural currents were able to cross-fertilize each other and media was able to confer a cosmopolitanism on even rural-living individuals. Media is the foundation of the emerging Global Village and the key to the alchemical Great Work of manifesting the Aeon. The common usage of the word “media”, a plural noun, as a singular noun indicates unconscious movement toward that manifestation: an all-inclusive medium growing and progressing in all directions and dimensions simultaneously.   —>
http://www.success-matrix.com/neuroplasticity/telesis-on-processing/2008/03/29/
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/24/08

March 25, 2008

New Media Network Kicks Off
by Maneeza Iqbal
MyMissourian.com (MO)
03/24/08

[ comments invited ]

The new session is underway. My First Ward: Digital Storytelling workshop kicked off March 12th. My First Ward is a arts and community development program to introduce youth in Columbia’s first ward to digital storytelling. The sessions runs from March to May.
girl-at-park-400.jpg
Girl at park.  This is an example of work created by Shanda, 15, who participated in last session’s workshop. Artists are handed donated digital cameras to explore their world and share it through, one possible outlet, photography.

The central mission of the New Media Network is to serve as a community development project within Columbia’s First Ward by building capacity in youth through the media arts. Through the framework of digital storytelling, students between the ages of 9 and 18 gain skills in multimedia technology while building a greater sense of community awareness, identity, and pride. The New Media Network then provides a forum for the artistic agency and journalistic work of these marginalized voices on local community radio and television, showcasing their talent and unique perspectives both within the First Ward and to the greater community.
http://mymissourian.com/2008/03/24/new-media-network-kicks-off/
~

Somalia: UN Expert Says Media’s Rights Being Violated By All in Conflict
by Hassan Shire Sheikh, Chairperson of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network
National Union of Somali Journalists (Mogadishu)
03/24/08

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRD/Net) and the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), a founding member of the network, would like to welcome the report by Dr Ghanim Alnajjar, the UN Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Somalia which he presented to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) today in Geneva…

Of particular importance is the exposure which Dr Alnajjar has accorded to the current curtailment of independent media and the deliberate violations being committed against journalists. The report reveals that these violations are being carried out by all actors in the conflict and are largely being used as a means of silencing the very few voices speaking out against the abuses being committed against the civilian population.   —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200803241588.html
~

Comcast considers creepy new addition to the set top box
by Tricia Liebert
Tech Republic
03/24/08

[ 127 comments ]

[ I didn’t quite believe this when I first read it in Chris Albrecht’s blog post – until later in the comments I saw the obfuscating non-denial denial by Comcast’s Kunkel.  Here, Tricia Liebert quotes Kunkel’s response, as well as Albretch’s reply, garnering 127 comments (so far) in the process. ~ rm ]

I have never been one of the tinfoil hat crowd in the past, but that could change –especially in light of the comments made by Comcast’s Gerard Kunkel, senior VP of user experience, to reporter Chris Albrecht of NewTeeVee.com. Mr. Kunkel mentioned an experiment with different camera technologies built into the cable box that would be able to tell who is in the room watching television…

From NewTeeVee:

Chris,

Your article on “Comcast Cameras to Start Watching You” portrayed some assumptions that require correction and clarification. I want to be clear that in no way are we exploring any camera devices that would monitor customer behavior.

To gather information for your article on Comcast’s exploration of cameras you picked up on my conversation with another conference attendee. The other attendee and I were deep in a conversation discussing a variety of input devices offered by a variety of vendors that Comcast is reviewing.

The camera-based gesture recognition device is in no way designed to — or capable of — monitoring your living room. These technologies are designed to allow simple navigation on a television set just as the Wii remote uses a camera to manage its much heralded gesture-based interactivity.

We are constantly exploring new technologies that better serve our customers. The goal is simple — a better user experience that allows the consumer to get ever increasing value out of their Comcast products.

As with any new technology, we carefully consider the consumer benefits. In fact, we do an enormous amount of consumer testing in advance of making a product decision such as this. I’m confident that a new technology like gesture-based navigation will be fully explored with consumers to understand the product’s feature benefits — and of course, the value to the consumer.

Sincerely, Gerard Kunkel

I responded to Mr. Kunkel in our comment with the following:

Hi Mr. Kunkel,

Just to further clarify. After you granted me our initial video interview, you brought up the topic of Comcast knowing who was in the living room in a conversation between you, myself, and another conference attendee.

I actually left and came back to follow up on this point while you were talking with that same attendee. At this point, you were aware that I was a reporter and I took handwritten notes in front of you as we talked to make sure I had an accurate accounting of what you were saying.  I’d love to talk further with either you or someone else at Comcast to follow up on this story.

A person named Jenni Moyer, claiming to be from Comcast, posted a nearly identical message to Mr. Kunkel’s on PC World’s blog on this story. And frankly, I will be quite hurt if someone from Comcast doesn’t post to this thread.

Whether the device is intended for consumer benefit is almost not the point. The question is how far are we willing to allow companies with whom we do business to invade our private space? I have a set top box. I have three. I have remotes for all of them. I even have a Harmony integrated remote. My viewing experience is just ducky, thanks. I don’t need to gesture at the TV any more than I already do — and the gestures that I make are probably not ones that Comcast needs to see.   —>
http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/tech-news/?p=2124
~

AT&T, cable crafting compromise
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)
03/24/08

[ 23 comments ]

Lengthy negotiations between AT&T, the cable industry and local governments over AT&T’s bid to offer television services in Tennessee are close to complete, and the final product may cause a first for the telecom giant in the southeast.  To make an agreement happen, AT&T has given in on where it’s required to offer its services under a statewide franchise.

Going into the talks, one of the biggest points of contention was where a statewide franchise holder would have to offer video services.  Local franchise holders are often bound to “build out” to cover a certain area of a city or county, and therefore can’t “cherry pick” wealthy residents.  The cable industry has argued that a pure statewide franchise would allow AT&T to only cater to high-income customers.

In the tentative agreement, Tennessee would be the only southeastern state to require AT&T and other statewide television franchise holders to offer its services to a certain percentage of a geographical area within a certain time frame.  Some low-income customers would also have to be covered.  “That’s what the build out is going to look like,” said Rep. Randy Rinks (D-Savannah).   —>
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59252
~

Luvin’ on the Speakuh
by Rex Noseworthy
Nashville City Paper (TN)
03/24/08

[ comments invited ]

Throughout this legislative session, House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh has been trying to broker a compromise between AT&T and the cable industry in their multi-million dollar battle over television franchising rights.  Gov. Phil Bredesen, in an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free-Press earlier this year, questioned whether Naifeh’s efforts could be successful since the two sides were looking out for their best interests and Tennesseans’ interests needed to be considered.

After Bredesen’s comments, Naifeh called an odd, impromptu press conference that apparently had no purpose but to refute the governor’s questioning of his methods. The longtime speaker and the governor later had a conversation, with Naifeh claiming Bredesen said he was “misquoted.”

That leads us to last week. Bredesen was asked by a reporter if he thought the AT&T-cable talks had a chance of succeeding.  This time, Bredesen expressed faith in Naifeh’s efforts.  “Basically, I think if the speaker puts his mind to something, he’s likely to get it accomplished,” Bredesen said.
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59249
~

New arrangement nets city more money
By T. Scott Batchelor
The Daily Reflector (NC)
03/24/08

[ comments invited ]

The city of Greenville is getting more money now that state — rather than local — government is franchiser for cable systems, local officials said.  Even so, there remains no permanent source of adequate funding for Greenville-Pitt County Public Access Television, an officer of the local nonprofit corporation said.   —>
http://www.reflector.com/local/content/news/stories/2008/03/24/cable.html
~

Cable Television Franchise Renewal
City of Dover, New Hampshire
03/24/08 (?)

The City of Dover will soon be negotiating a new franchise agreement with Comcast. To prepare for these negotiations, the City is conducting a review concerning Comcast’s past performance and soliciting input to determine the future cable-related needs of the community.  All residents are encouraged to participate in an on-line cable television and Internet survey in order to share their opinions and views regarding cable television services.   —>
http://www.dover.nh.gov/Cable/index.htm
~

MCTV invites public to celebrate five years at its studio
by Stephanie Chelf
Eagle Tribune (MA)
03/24/08

METHUEN — In the five years since moving out of high school and into its own studio, Methuen Community Television has grown in membership and added more community programming.  To celebrate five years at 13 Branch St., MCTV is hosting a daylong open house from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“They did a lot of excellent programming out of the space they had (at the high school),” said MCTV Executive Director Karen Hayden. “We’ve been able to do more training, get more people in doing their work. It’s our space now. People used to look at it as being part of the school. This is ours, the public space.”

The more convenient location and larger studio have encouraged more volunteers to join MCTV, Hayden said. The station produces several local-themed shows, airs live election results, and covers high school sports. The community-run nonprofit was founded in 1996…

MCTV is also partnering with local nonprofit, New England Caring for Our Military, to have residents come to the studio and record a video message to send to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  “Community television is an expression of free speech,” Hayden said. “What better way to honor that than to include our soldiers — the people who defend our free speech. They appreciate those types of things and hearing from home.”   —>
http://www.eagletribune.com/punews/local_story_084060409.html
~

Metro Board Chair Takes to Air Waves To Engage Public in Discussing Long-Range Traffic Solutions
Metro.net (CA)
03/19/08

In an unprecedented move, Metro Board Chair Pam O’Connor will take to the air waves Thursday night, March 27, to promote live public discussion of the mobility future for Los Angeles County and how to pay for traffic relief.  O’Connor will take live calls from viewers between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on a public access cable television show broadcast live on both City of Los Angeles Channel 36 and CityTV Channel 16 in Santa Monica. During the broadcast, call-in numbers will be posted.

The show will have three segments: first, a focus on traffic in Los Angeles County and Metro’s draft Long Range Transportation Plan that proposes dozens of new highway and public transit projects to handle the county’s projected population growth of 2.4 million more people by the year 2030. The second segment will address how to pay for traffic relief, and the third segment will look at traffic and the environment. Viewers are encouraged to ask O’Connor about any of these issues and share their opinions.   —>
http://metroriderla.com/2008/03/24/daily-transit-links-roundup-33/
~

Humboldt Trivia
by EkoVox
299 Opine
03/23/08

[ 22 comments ]

While flipping channels, I landed on Community Access Television on Channel 12 on the Northern Humboldt cable system. Today, they were showing a 1991 video recording of my father doing one of his history lectures at the Humboldt Senior Resource Center.

Rather than a straight ahead lecture, he was doing Eureka Trivia and Sounds I’d Like To Hear Again. The first part consisted of business trivia in the 1940’s….You know, “Where was Morrow’s Drive-In?” and “Where was Adams School located?” The next part was about sounds that have disappeared from the Humboldt lifeshed. Sounds that were around when he was a kid….like, Dinner Bells, Drag Saws, Treadle Sewing Machines, Ringer Washers and….. ahem…trains. Sounds that we haven’t heard on the north coast for decades.

At one point he would say a person’s name and the audience had to guess who they were….or what they did for a living.  For instance, George C. Jacobs….(Hardware Store, School Board) Doris Niles…(educator).

I would like to list some names from our recent era and see if we are as connected to our local society as we think.  What were or are these people known for in Humboldt Society?   —>
http://299opine.blogspot.com/2008/03/humboldt-trivia.html
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People in Business: Kathy Bisbee
Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
03/24/08

Kathy Bisbee, the director of marketing and development at Community Television in Santa Cruz, is leaving to become executive director of the Community Media Access Partnership in Gilroy. She will succeed Suzanne St. John-Crane, who left to launch a public access station in San Jose.

CMAP, at Gavilan College, is a smaller operation than Community Television. The 5-year-old station manages four public access television channels, including an educational channel, broadcasting to Gilroy, San Juan Bautista and Hollister.

Bisbee previously was director of marketing at Cruzio, and volunteered on the Workforce Investment Board, the Santa Cruz Film Festival and the Santa Cruz Downtown Commission.

Originally from rural Maine, she grew up on a working farm and earned a degree in political science and social sciences from the University of Maine at Farmington. She is working on a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications and public relations at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Last summer she filmed two documentaries in Guatemala and Nicaragua about sustainable farming and youth hip-hop music in underdeveloped nations. Her films will be showed this year at the Santa Cruz Film Festival and EarthVision Environmental Film Festival. She and her husband, Alec VanderWoude, live in Santa Cruz County.
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_8676404
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Free the whitespace
by Andrew Dubber
new music strategies
03/24/08

[ 3 comments ]

One of the great things about the migration to digital broadcasting platforms is what gets left behind. As the VHF band is cleared of television and radio signals, previously unavailable (or incredibly scarce – and therefore expensive) spectrum becomes freed up.

That empty spectrum, or ‘whitespace’ as it’s becoming known, has been attracting a lot of attention recently. Bill Gates is having a say, Google are putting their hands up. It’s a turning point in communications history.

Now, contrary to popular belief, there are two (rather than just one) possible uses for that spectrum that would be of enormous social and cultural use. The first would be to reallocate it for community broadcasting, low power FM, access television and other political and grassroots media. The second would be wifi. Gigabytes-fast, ubiquitous and, to the public, potentially free wifi.

You could have a long argument about which of those two uses are the principle democratising forces. Frankly, either would be a superb result in my book. Because both ways, there is more speech, more access to speech and more availability for citizens to make media.

The migration to digital television and DAB radio has not been, in my opinion, a phenomenal success. There are all sorts of exciting things around picture quality and enhancement of services, but in the end these things are more flavours of the same thing — with audio and picture fidelity improvements that are not the solution to any genuinely experienced problem. And you can keep that bloody red button.

But the freeing of the whitespace makes for a genuinely promising and potentially hugely rewarding opportunity for the connectedness, wellbeing and productivity of the communities covered by those vacated stretches of spectrum. One gives local music exposure and a much greater chance of hearing marginalised voices and arts. The other allows for mobile working, connectivity and access to technology – a serious dent in the digital divide (at least at a national level).

Community media – or ubiquitous wifi. There’s no wrong answer here.  Now let’s wait and see the politicians screw it up.
http://newmusicstrategies.com/2008/03/24/free-the-whitespace/
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Verizon’s FiOS Takes Manhattan
by Peter Svensson
Associated Press – Google
03/24/08

Verizon’s fiber-optic service, so far mainly available to suburbanites, is making a big push into Manhattan with a deal to connect an 11,232-unit apartment complex.  Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, an enclave of 110 buildings on Manhattan’s East Side, is the largest apartment complex in Manhattan and the largest to get FiOS service anywhere in Verizon’s 17-state fiber buildout area.  Verizon Communications Inc. announced the deal Monday, but seven buildings are already connected. It will take some months to connect the rest.   —>
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hkOowGCGbGb-ZbUHPIyM8ITVL_dQD8VJIHSG4
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Verizon rolls out FIOS to Stuy Town, Cooper
by Amanda Fung
Crain’s New York Business.com
03/24/08

[ comments invited ]

Verizon Communications Inc. has been quietly rolling out its fiber-optic Internet service to residents of apartment buildings throughout the city. The company’s announcement Monday that it will bring service to Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village apartment complex, may be Verizon’s largest coup in a major metropolitan area, but it is not its first.

The company refused to disclose how many buildings in the city are connected for competitive reasons, but identified a half a dozen other buildings in New York where FIOS Internet is available. Those properties include Place 57 at 57th Street between Third and Second avenues; The Crest Lofts at 67 Wall St., two Trump properties in Manhattan; Arverne By the Sea in the Rockaways, Queens and Octagon Park on Roosevelt Island.   —>
http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080324/FREE/942183117/1065/newsletter01
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compiled by Rob McCauland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
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