Slidell, Pearl River councils oppose cable and tax bills in Legislature
by Erik Sanzenbach
St. Tammany News (LA)
[ comments invited ]
One proposed bill affecting tax collection and a bill vetoed by former Gov. Kathleen Blanco that has been revived and would change the way cable franchise negotiations are handled have incurred the displeasure of both the Slidell City Council and the Pearl River Board of Aldermen. The Slidell Council voted Tuesday night to accept two resolutions that oppose the passage of the legislations in the state Legislature.
The first piece of legislation is the Competitive and Video Services Act passed by the Legislature in 2006 and vetoed by Blanco. The act would prohibit local governments from negotiating cable television franchise contracts. The state would negotiate all cable television contracts and would set franchise fees.
This would mean a substantial loss of revenue for local municipalities. Slidell City Attorney Tim Mathison told the council the state would set up franchise fees that were 5 percent of the net revenues of a cable company. In Blanco’s veto message in July 2006, the governor said the proposed revenue losses to local municipalities would force town to either cut back on essential services, or they would have to increase taxes. —>
Community Information Needs and Access to be Studied by New Commission from the Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute
by Erin Silliman
Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy
First Study on Comprehensive Information Availability and Engagement; Theodore B. Olson and Marissa Mayer, Commission Co-Chairs
Washington, D.C. – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute today announced the launch of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. The high-level Knight Commission will look into whether the information needs of 21st century American citizens and communities are being met and make recommendations for public policy and private initiatives that will help better meet community information needs.
“The Commission will look at the issues of information, news and society from the perspective of communities across the nation,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president and CEO. “We want to assess their information needs, then take a snapshot to see how they are being met. The Commission will offer creative recommendations to improve democratic problem-solving at the local level through more and better engagement with relevant news and information.” —>
Comcast deal boosts ORCTV
by Don Cuddy
[ comments invited ]
MARION — Community television in the tri-town area received a boost last week with the news that ORCTV and Comcast have reached an agreement that will result in all of the community access channels operating from the ORCTV studios at the Captain Hadley House in Marion. “Comcast has agreed to transfer the I-net hubs from their customer service building in Marion and install them in the studio here,” ORCTV director Kim Miot said. “The town technically owns the equipment but Comcast will manage and maintain it. It will be good for us to have the technical equipment operating right next to our playback system.”
The I-net hubs are a series of switches that “operate like a traffic cop” to manage input and control the flow of information, according to a Comcast spokesman. What this will mean for viewers of local cable will be more programs on more channels and greater variety, Ms. Miot said. “We will be able to finally light up Channel 18 EDTV, the educational channel, which has been dark for a long time, as well as constructing Rochester’s government access channel,” she said. “Up to the present we have been functioning out of the Marion town house but these things can now begin to happen because of this agreement.” —>
BATV plan includes two new TV studios at BHS
By Elana Zak
Brookline Tab (MA)
[ comments invited ]
Brookline High students might soon be giving Conan O’Brien a run for his money. The School Committee is considering a proposal from BATV to build two new television studios in the high school’s Unified Arts Building. One of the studios would be designated an educational studio for high school students, allowing them to create content that would be shown on air.
BATV, Brookline public access television, presented the plan last week and said it would foot the bill for the approximately $1.8 million renovations. “We need a new home,” said William Slotnik, president of BATV, at the April 10 School Committee meeting. “It seemed natural that we would move deeper into the schools.”
The plan involves moving BATV from its current home at the old Lincoln School to the UA building. The public-access station has been there since 2004, after leaving its former offices with Comcast on Amory Street. BATV would take over the third floor of the building and concentrate all art classes and studios on the second floor. They would use one of the two studios for BATV broadcasting. —>
New soundstage for Tucson?
Ambitious plan aims to boost local filmmaking, plus build a media center and 300-seat theater
by Rob O’Dell
Arizona Daily Star
[ 34 comments ]
Once known has “Hollywood in the Desert,” Tucson has been relegated to more of a low-budget, direct-to-video status in the hierarchy of show business. But a group of community organizations and city officials wants to restore some of our former glitz by building a state-of-the-art soundstage to attract more A-list movies and television shows. The $10 million package would include a media center that local groups could use and a 300-seat theater. Tucson hasn’t had a first-class soundstage since the one at Old Tucson burned down in 1995.
The idea is for Access Tucson, radio station KXCI, the Loft Cinema and possibly city-owned TV station Tucson 12 to pool their resources and save costs by sharing facilities. The effort is being led by Sam Behrend, executive director of Access Tucson, which provides public-access television. Behrend used a grant from City Councilman Steve Leal’s office for preliminary schematic work on a new “community media center.”
A soundstage, to attract some of the films that now bypass Tucson for Albuquerque and Austin, Texas, was added to broaden the appeal of the media center. Mayor Bob Walkup, for example, said he doesn’t know whether he would support a media center, but he’s solidly behind bringing in a soundstage. “I do strongly support a soundstage to be back in motion picture, the TV and the commercial business,” Walkup said. “That’s got some traction, and I would really like to see that re-established in Tucson.” Leal said he supports both a stand-alone community media center and one with a soundstage. —>
A local Rite of spring
BCTV Cable Channel 2: Belfast — Searsport (ME)
[ comments invited ]
Recently the Waldo County YMCA staged two River races. The St. George and Paasagassawakeag races have been held every spring for almost 30 years. This year, for the first time ever, the YMCA decided to have the races filmed to not only be shown on area public access channels, but also to provide each race paricipant with a DVD. There was still snow along the river banks and the weather was brisk, but it was a lively event to watch and the one hour program that was produced should be entertaining to see. There were many local participants, and you may just recognize a neighbor. It is wonderful that the Y has provided us with this program and we hope other organizations in our community will do the same.
New approach to community broadcasting
[ comments invited ]
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has announced a new approach and a number of ongoing initiatives to improve its interactions with the community broadcasting sector. The new approach will be more proactive, entail a review of processes and procedures and have a focus on improved information, consultation and transparency.
“This sector is incredibly diverse and its several hundred members vary widely in their size and resources and the quality of their governance arrangements. We have gone back to first principles and are looking for better ways to do business with the sector. The aim is to ensure sector members continue to serve the community while at the same time making the regulator more accessible and more accountable,” said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman.
The first step of ACMA’s new approach to interaction with the community broadcasting sector is the establishment of a new ACMA team, the Community Broadcasting Group (CBG). One aim of the CBG is to interact with the community broadcasting sector and, in particular, its peak bodies in a highly consultative manner.
The CBG’s work encompasses all licence allocations and renewals, complaints and investigations, compliance and enforcement, and the monitoring and review of the codes of practice that govern community radio and community television broadcasting services. A single group dealing with this range of matters will deliver efficiencies and ensure a more consistent approach across the range of issues experienced by the community broadcasting sector. This, in turn, should minimise overlap or delay.
As at 30 June 2007, there were 358 community radio broadcasting services, compared to 274 commercial radio broadcasting services. “This is a large number of community radio broadcasting services. As they obtain access to valuable free-to-air spectrum at little cost, it is important for ACMA to administer the legislative provisions in accordance with the public interest and in the manner intended by Parliament,” said Mr Chapman. —>