Don’t touch that dial: AccessVision staying put for now
by Nick Schirripa
Battle Creek Enquirer (MI)
If you’re looking in the 900s for AccessVision and other local cable channels, stop. Although Comcast Cable Communications announced it would be moving PEG — public education government — channels on Jan. 15 to new stations, two judges issued temporary restraining orders stopping the move, at least for now. “The judges decided there would be enough harm to put off moving the channels until the legal details could be worked out,” said Michelle Reen, assistant to the Battle Creek city manager. —>
City’s cable board sends letter of dissatisfaction to Comcast
by Andrea Goodell
Holland Sentinel (MI)
The proposed move of public access channels and complaints about customer service have city officials unhappy with their cable franchise. “It’s discouraging when people tell you they hung up after 20 minutes on hold,” said Jodi Syens, the city’s cable liaison and member of the Commmunity Access Television Advisory Commission. The commission voted during a special meeting Tuesday to send a letter to Comcast expressing its dissatisfaction with the company’s customer service and laying out its expectations for the future. —>
Wadsworth irked over funding halt by Time Warner
by Maria Kacik
Medina Gazette (OH)
The city of Wadsworth may take official action against Time Warner Cable after the company halted its funding of a portion of the city’s public education and government (PEG) programming on WCTV. “There may be an unfunded obligation that Time Warner has in respect to the PEG channels,” said Wadsworth Service Director Chris Easton.
He noted the city has the option of filing a petition with the Ohio director of commerce challenging Time Warner’s actions. “We’re seeking a legal opinion on that matter and we’re trying to determine if that’s the right course of action,” Easton said.
For 15 years prior to 2008, the city and Time Warner Cable shared the costs of the programming proportionately. Time Warner paid the city a $112,000 operating grant annually, which is 60 percent of the total operating costs of PEG programming. Time Warner holds a 60 percent share of the cable subscribers in the city, Easton said.
However, after the Ohio Cable Act in 2007 passed, cable providers no longer are required to be franchised with the city and are only to be franchised with the state, said Chris Thomas, Time Warner of Northeast Ohio’s director of government and media relations.
Thomas said Time Warner purchased a franchise with the state last year. It no longer holds a franchise with the city, but still pays a franchising fee to Wadsworth. Starting this year, Time Warner will not pay the operating grant for the PEG programming, he said.
In a press release dated Jan. 22, Mayor Robin Laubaugh included the advice of legal counsel: “Section 1332.30 (E) of the new Ohio Cable Act requires all cable and video providers to bear a proportional share of any unfulfilled obligation for PEG Channel facilities that existed on the effective date of the legislation.” —>
Board won’t ask electric system to pay for study
by Jeff Farrell (1 comment)
The Mountain Press (TN)
SEVIERVILLE – The Board of Mayor and Aldermen won’t make Sevier County Electric System foot the bill for a study looking at the feasibility of creating a local broadband franchise. For now, at least, the city won’t be paying for one either.
The board decided Monday to put off any decision on whether to pay for a formal study into the prospects of using Sevier County Electric Service to provide cable television, high speed internet and phone services. They asked city staff to collect more information, and said they will review it at a March workshop and consider funding a formal study during the budgeting process for the upcoming fiscal year. —>
Access channel not happy with $200,000 a year
CAT TV wants an additional $400,000.
by Kat Hughes
Columbia Tribune (MO)
To keep Columbia Cable Access Television on the air during the past few years, volunteers have been organizing programming, operating cameras, fixing broken equipment and doing what’s necessary to ensure the show goes on even without a steady stream of funding.
But despite the Columbia City Council’s approval Monday night of a contract that provides the public access channel with $150,000 this year and $200,000 a year in operating costs for the next five years, CAT TV says it’s not enough.
Beth Pike, a member of CAT TV’s board and the Columbia Cable Task Force, said the channel’s board might decide not to sign the contract unless it gets additional money for capital expenditures such as professional-grade equipment and studio space. “Everything we have been doing to this point has just been a Band-Aid,” Pike said. “If we don’t get the capital funds we need, we will be very hard-pressed to continue. We either do this or we don’t.”
Faced with substandard equipment, no paid staff and an obligation to renovate a small studio at Stephens College that will cost about $250,000, Pike said the channel needs an additional $400,000. That’s $29,000 less than the city said the channel needed for start-up money in its pending 2001 lawsuit with Mediacom about unpaid franchise fees to provide public access. In that lawsuit, the city said the public- access channel required $429,000 in start-up capital and $174,000 to cover yearly operating costs. —>
Public TV chief heads north
by Chris Bone
Morgan Hill Times (CA)
Avid viewers of Gilroy’s community television station might notice something different March 22. That’s when Executive Director Suzanne St. John-Crane will end her nearly seven-year career at Community Media Access Partnership and depart for San Jose, where she will hold the same position at that city’s Community Media Access Corporation. —>
Coming up next on MATV
by Ron Cox
Malden Observer (MA)
This year, 2008, represents the 20th anniversary of the establishment of MATV, Malden’s Media Center. In those two decades, Malden Access Television has grown into a vital institution that brings together this very diverse community and provides them with access to electronic media, technology, and training as well as a forum to exchange information and ideas. It is through interaction and cooperation that this incredible resource helps connect members of this City and MATV is committed to broadening this role in the coming years.
The future looks very bright for MATV, and we are encouraged by the support we are given by the variety of community organizations, businesses and citizens who have collaborated with us over the many years of service that our media center has provided.
Last year, the Mayor’s office successfully re-negotiated a new 10-year contract with Comcast and just recently started the process of negotiating an agreement with a second provider, Verizon Communications. This is not only good for consumers but its good for the city of Malden, because soon both providers will be contributing to the success of Malden’s communication needs. —>
CALL FOR PROPOSALS:
“OURMedia 7: Identity, Inclusion, Innovation – Alternative Communication in a Globalized World”
August 11-15, 2008, Accra, Ghana
CALL FOR PROPOSALS:
“OURMedia 7: Identity, Inclusion, Innovation – Alternative Communication in a Globalized World” will be held in Accra, the capital of Ghana, from 11-15 August 2008…
Founded in 2001, OURMedia/NUESTROSMedios is a global network with the goal of facilitating a long-term dialogue between academics, activists, practitioners and policy experts around citizens’ media initiatives. OURMedia is about building an alternative world, rooted in local knowledge, anchored in strong identities but also connected to global networks, open to ‘otherness’, diversity and inclusion.
Alternative communication for an alternative world
OURMedia 7 is built on the assumption that alternative communication – a diversity of actors, voices, themes and discourses – needs to flourish and take hold to create alternative worlds. It sees equity, community and cultural identity as the hallmarks of an alternative world.
Our Media 7 – In Africa, and in the world
OURMedia is coming to Africa for the first time through OM7. The previous six conferences (OM1-OM6) were held in Washington, D.C., USA; Barcelona, Spain; Barranquilla, Colombia; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Bangalore, India; and Sydney, Australia.
Like the other conferences, OM7 will be shaped by the living experience of its host country and region. For Ghana and much of Africa, that experience has tended to be portrayed by the world media in terms of deprivation and destruction, or as curiosities. Yet, this vast, diverse and vibrant continent nourishes many of the values, traditions and practices that can enrich communication in an alternative world.
Like previous OURMedia conferences, OM7 is an opportunity to dialogue and strengthen initiatives around common causes with the rest of the world. In the case of OM7, the conference is also an invitation to better understand the complex and dynamic reality of Africa that informs and potentially deepens such dialogue and initiatives…
OM7 has selected three sub-themes – Identity, Inclusion and Innovation – that are key dimensions of alternative communication in, for and towards an alternative world. These may be regarded as different faces of marginalization in a world where expression is becoming increasingly uniform, majorities are being excluded (and even exploited), and certain kinds of knowledge and experience are presented as having more value than others. At the same time, the assertion of identity, inclusion and innovation are the very sources of strength to overcome homogenization, exclusion and relegation. —>
compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media