Time short for Pinellas public access TV advocates
by Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Evening News (FL)
Pinellas County public access television could be forced off the air next month, perhaps forever. There are only two public hearings left for advocates for the channel to persuade Pinellas County Commissioners not to cut the entire $331,930 budget.
Producers and their supporters are putting everything on having as many people attend a public hearing on the budget on Sept. 4. Candi Jovan hosts a show on political issues, called Democracy For America. She said she and others are looking at legal remedies to save their station.
Like every other municipal government in Florida, Pinellas needs to cuts its fiscal year budget next year as dictated by legislation signed into law earlier this year… As it stands now, Pinellas, intends only to dismantle the Public Access Channel, one of the three channels that are funded by cable franchise fees. The government and education channels are not being affected. —>
Grant public access to television channel
Letter to the Editor by Bob Fulford
Some of Stephen Beasley’s remarks in support of WCOT surprise me. To get his news about Tallahassee from a wholly-owned propaganda machine doesn’t strike me as the way a newspaper does its job. While you sometimes – often, even – get helpful information from WCOT, most of their stuff is fluff and much of it misinforms and dissuades.
The station’s production values are excellent and they regularly garner praise from their peers. They look good and their ratings are high. The staff is approachable and congenial but a citizen can not get an opposing view on their programing.
But several groups, several times, have attempted to get the city to give over to an appropriate entity the right to use the public-access channel, but no group or group of groups, or even a specially incorporated citizen group, has ever come close.
I would acquiesce that the city has the right to a channel, but adamantly support the right that the public should have access also.
Reader views: Cable TV legislation
AT&T, cable firms shirk public benefits
by Mary Cardona
Wisconsin State Journal
The true driver behind Senate Bill 107 is not jobs, competition or lower rates. It ‘s not even “new ” technology. The core issue is that the cable industry and AT&T do not want to pay for the public benefits that local franchise contracts typically contain.
The public loses throughout this legislation: no free cable television service in public schools; no requirement to provide cable service to every neighborhood; no dedicated fees to support local public, education and government-access channels; no tools to enforce consumer protection — and that ‘s just the beginning of the list.
The cable industry and AT&T want to shift their expenses to the public ‘s purse, but they want consumers to swallow the fantasy that this bill is all about more jobs and lower rates. Don ‘t believe it. It hasn ‘t happened anywhere else.
Illinois just passed a telecommunications bill that protects both the public ‘s interests and the industry ‘s. Why can ‘t Wisconsin do the same?
— Mary Cardona, executive director, Wisconsin Association of Public, Educational and Government Channels
Radio dial has room for more local voices
It’s time for the FCC to license more community-based, noncommercial low-power FM stations.
Op Ed by Jon Bartholomew and Dennis Ross
Portland Press Herald
Jon Bartholomew is national media and democracy organizer for Common Cause. Dennis Ross is president of WJZP-LPFM in Portland.
After hurricanes Katrina and Rita ripped through the Gulf Coast, volunteers from a local radio station trudged through floodwaters, scaled a 130-foot tower and risked their safety to keep WQRZ-LP on the air. A low-power, noncommercial radio station owned and operated by residents of the community, WQRZ became residents’ only link to the outside world after the storm destroyed the broadcast abilities of most commercial radio stations in the area. During the long weeks of cleanup, this low-power FM station broadcast essential local advisories, such as points of distribution for food, water and ice, as well as information residents were desperate to hear about missing family and friends.
Now, policymakers in Washington are considering opening up more airwaves in Maine to stations just like WQRZ — low-power, community-run radio stations that air news, information, arts and culture that keep neighbors connected. However, the National Association of Broadcasters opposes giving communities access to the airwaves. They’re fighting to keep you off the air. —>
FCC Boss Riles Cable Astroturf Machine
‘A La Carte’ cable dust up…
As we’ve noted, both cable and phone operators not only make up completely bogus consumer groups to support their political positions, they also frequently donate cash to minority and disability organizations in exchange for vocal political support for policies that often aren’t in constituents’ best interest (or vice versa).
FCC boss Kevin Martin ran into some trouble last week when he criticized some cable industry-backed minority groups who were fighting against his desire to implement “a la carte” (the ability to purchase individual channels) cable programming:
“The grassroots opposition to a la carte is actually a highly sophisticated lobby campaign where seemingly disinterested third parties — like nonprofits and legislators — are spreading the anti-a la carte message using minority programming as the key issue. In fact, rather than being disinterested, these third parties have much to gain.”
Those groups called Martin’s comments “patronizing and insulting,” and forced Martin to apologize. Of course, similar tactics were key in helping Martin and the phone industry push their vision of “franchise reform,” but received no such tongue lashing from the FCC boss — who the cable industry claims gives phone operators preferential treatment.
‘Week in Review’ wins Telly Award
The weekly county TV news program, Anne Arundel County Week In Review, has won a 2007 Bronze Telly Award for outstanding local or regional TV program, the county announced Friday. Anne Arundel County Week In Review is produced weekly and airs daily on public access channel 98. The 30-minute program uses a news show format to report on Anne Arundel County government and the greater community. Updates from the police, fire and health departments, weekly interviews of special guests by County Executive John R. Leopold and even a sports segment are featured in the show.
“The show has proved to be an effective and entertaining way for us to let county residents know what is happening in local government and their communities,” Leopold said. “We strive to make it informative and enjoyable, so that viewers continue to tune in every week.” —>
Vint Cerf, aka the godfather of the net, predicts the end of TV as we know it
Web guru foresees download revolution
by Bobbie Johnson
Thirty years ago he helped create a technology that has revolutionised millions of lives around the world. But yesterday the man known as the “godfather of the net” laid out his vision of where our online future might be, including a time when we download entire TV series in seconds – and even surf the web from Mars.
Talking at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Vint Cerf – one of the handful of researchers who helped build the internet in the 1970s – said that the television industry would change rapidly as it approached its “iPod moment”.
The 64-year-old, who is now a vice-president of the web giant Google and chairman of the organisation that administrates the internet, told an audience of media moguls that TV was rapidly approaching the same kind of crunch moment that the music industry faced with the arrival of the MP3 player. —>
H.264 and AAC support for Flash and Open Source Media Server
Setting Orange, 21st Bureaucracy, 3173.
by General fukami
The Turkey Chase
Tinic Uro, an engineer at Adobe working on the Flash Player, blogged about the announcement that Adobe will support H.264 and AAC with the Flash Player. Reading the blog post, I was very upset reading this part at the end of the article:
“I am not in a position able to explain to you why we will not allow 3rd party streaming servers to stream H.264 video or AAC audio into the Flash Player. What I can tell you is that we do not allow this without proper licensing. Refer to Adobe’s friendly Flash Media Server sales staff for more information. ”
Someone on the OSFlash mailing list came up with the entry in Wikipedia regarding H.264: —>
Digital Television and Communication in the 21st Century: Part 2
by Nuno Cordeiro
A commentary on how television has evolved since its inception, part 2, with focus on the future, convergence and social impacts (Editor’s note — This is final part of a two part series first published last week.) —>