Archive for the ‘Internet TV’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/13/08

March 14, 2008

Union Made
by Bunnie Riedel
Telecommunications Consulting
03/13/08

—>  I had to go back and look at the original piece of legislation. Sure, Indiana led the nation by completely de-regulating telecom, including wireless. But if that had been the goal all along, de-regulation of wireless in order to bring all those wireless union jobs to Indiana, why did they have to gut local video franchising? Did CWA jump into AT&T’s pocket because they hated Comcast so much? Did CWA have any idea what the statewide video franchising bill would do to PEG in Indiana? Did they even care?

I guess they didn’t care, but they should have.

Somebody tell me where a union, any union, ever gets coverage on television, much less has its own half hour or hour long television show. The answer is Public access television. Without it there is no union programming. I did a query of access stations and found out that CWA uses Public access facilities and channels across this country. CWA could have its programming on the AT&T system in Bloomington if it wanted, but that’s not going to happen because there are no access channels on the AT&T system in Bloomington.

The firefighters, the nurses, the sheet metal workers, the teamsters, the teachers, the hotel workers, the state employees, the musicians, the mechanics, the railroad workers…you name a union and somewhere in this country they have a show on Public access.

I have no doubt that the CWA prides itself in working for justice. But I guess I just wish CWA would fight a tenth as hard for the survival of Public access as Public access has fought for CWA’s right to be seen and heard. What is missing in this discussion is that CWA needs to be on the side of the access community when it comes to dealing with AT&T or the cable operators, because both CWA and the access community would be eliminated by cable or Ma Bell, given half a chance.   —>
http://riedelcommunications.blogspot.com/
~

Comcast turns off Springs
by Ralph Routon
Colorado Springs Independent
03/13/08

[ 1 comment ]

Nobody seems to know exactly what day it happened.  Certainly there was no announcement or news release, courteously informing the Colorado Springs-area public that our cable company doesn’t really care about this market anymore.  Instead, with the simple flick of a switch and the layoff of one highly visible person, Comcast Corp. apparently hoped nobody would notice. As if we, the legions of Comcast’s 100,000-plus paying customers, never pay attention.

Wrong. We have noticed. We do pay attention. And we aren’t happy.

This could have been all about that layoff. As reported in the March 6 Indy, Comcast eliminated the position of Sandra Mann, who handled the company’s local public relations and, in reality, did so much more. She put a human face on the cable provider’s local presence, smoothing over concerns when Comcast replaced Adelphia in August 2006. She spent nearly eight years going to City Council and committee meetings, providing updates and furthering goodwill there as well as with local civic clubs, nonprofits and countless fundraiser events.

Mann, who spent two decades (1977-96) as a highly popular local TV news anchor before moving into PR work and election to the District 11 school board, had used her expertise in another important way: She developed and organized local programming, first for Adelphia and then Comcast, on the local Channel 2.

Besides her own show and others such as those spotlighting the Better Business Bureau and the Philharmonic, there was the community calendar; Mike Boyle’s restaurant show; coverage of parades as well as other civic events; and all kinds of local political forums around elections.

That channel was a big deal from the start in 2000, but Comcast inexplicably decided neither it nor Mann were worth keeping.  Mann, starting her own consulting firm now, doesn’t want to talk about Comcast or its changes. But this customer will.   —>
http://www.csindy.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A23968
~

Editorial: Attend TV meeting in Martin; push for School Board to air meetings in St. Lucie
TCPalm (FL)
02/17/08

[ 7 comments ]

Excuses, excuses, excuses.
• No one showed up to advocate his position.
• Students’ privacy rights could be jeopardized.
• It’s too expensive.
• Speakers will make political speeches for the audience.
• We’re a top school district so we don’t have to change.

The Martin and St. Lucie school boards have offered almost every excuse in the book for why they shouldn’t televise their meetings. Perhaps the biggest reason why they should televise them is credibility: The board has nothing to hide, right? So why not televise the meetings, educate the public and show it how educational policy and major expenditures are determined?

Indian River County has televised its meetings for years; students generally put together the broadcast. A perfect situation for the board? Not necessarily; this form of Reality TV helps create second-guessers, but informed second-guessers.  Still, broadcasting breeds credibility, transparency and helps to inform people. Isn’t all of this critical in a democratic society?

The good news is that the Martin School Board will discuss airing its meetings at a workshop at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the School Board meeting room, 500 E. Ocean Blvd., Stuart.  Attend en masse. Time to take away excuse No. 1.   —>
http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2008/feb/17/attend-tv-meeting/
~

Letter: Vote yes for taping meetings, Belmont
Linda Frawley, Brian Loanes, David Morse and Greta Olson-Wilder, Belmont
Concord Monitor (NH)
03/13/08

The Belmont High School Student Council once again produced a “Meet the Candidates” program on March 5. It was encouraging to see civic interest and involvement, led effectively with youthful energy, interest and sincerity. The students and their teacher-adviser are a credit to the community, and we congratulate all helping the effort.

Increased citizen access to community issues, decision-making and volunteer opportunities are all at the heart of Warrant Article 5 on Saturday’s Belmont town meeting agenda. Voters will have a voice and choice, deciding whether selectmen meetings should be videotaped for the purpose of cablecasting on Lakes Region Public Access Television.

Nearly all of the other member communities of LRPA-TV use this resource extensively – from including local events on the calendar to airing educational programs and government meetings on other cable channels. Nearly half of Belmont’s households subscribe to MetroCast cable services, with full access to these education and government channels by voters and voters-to-be.

Let’s open our meetings and community to share with residents unable to attend these Corner Meeting House sessions – typically scheduled for 5 p.m. Over the past few years, four major events were successfully videotaped and aired on LRPA-TV. Cablecast information has included a master plan community report, conservation commission presentation of a natural resources inventory and our Old Home Day parade and events. Last year’s “Meet the Candidates Night” was even videotaped by local students, so a broader range of citizens could attend – from home.   —>
http://www.cmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080313/OPINION/803130319/1029/OPINION03
~

Wilson builds its own fiber optic network
by Heather Moore
News 14 Carolina (NC)
03/12/08

The City of Wilson will soon start offering its own telephone, cable TV and internet service. It’s through a new, state-of-the-art, $26 million fiber optic network. Wilson is the first city in the state to offer fiber connections directly to businesses and homes.  “We’re optimistic it’s going to be a superior service at a competitive price,” said Grant Goings, Wilson’s City Manager.

The fiber optic network, recently named Greenlight, will be available to every home and business within the city limits. Crews have installed about 150 miles of fiber optic cable, and the network is about 70 percent complete.  The City of Wilson borrowed $18 million to build the fiber optic network. With interest, Wilson will have to repay $26 million. Wilson’s business plan predicts the network will break even in 12 years and the city will be able to repay the entire debt within 15 years.   —>
http://news14.com/content/headlines/593820/wilson-builds-its-own-fiber-optic-network/Default.aspx
~

Verizon tiptoeing around Boston with FiOS rollouts?
by Darren Murph
engadgetHD.com
03/12/08

[ 7 comments ]

All in all, the Bay State most certainly isn’t hurting for access to FiOS TV, but curiously enough, downtown Boston has yet to be touched by Verizon’s fiber-based services. More specifically, the areas of Boston, Brookline, Somerville, Cambridge, Everett, Revere, Chelsea, Medford, Melrose, Watertown and Quincy have yet to be reached by Verizon’s recent expansion efforts, and for whatever reason, it seems that may be the case for some time to come. According to a response by Boston’s Mayor on the situation, Verizon has “declined the city’s repeated encouragement to enter a cable franchise negotiation, opting instead to slowly build in the suburbs.” Granted, it’s not unusual for the firm to target the outskirts, but it’s certainly not pleasing news for Bostonians holding out for FiOS.
http://www.engadgethd.com/2008/03/12/verizon-tiptoeing-around-boston-with-fios-rollouts/
~

Verizon to New England: Bye-bye
by Robert L. Mitchell
Computerworld
03/13/08

[ comments invited ]

It looks like the Verizon selloff of its Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont landline business to FairPoint Communications is a done deal. All three states have given their approval, with conditions. That deal will have a huge impact on the evolution of high speed broadband in Northern New England.

Ratepayers had little choice. Although FairPoint is not well capitalized to upgrade the network infrastructure, which appears to have deteriorated on Verizon’s watch, at least the company is interested in making an investment here. The question is whether it will be able to make those investments and pay off the massive debt load it will be taking on.

Rate payers had no good options. The best that consumers and businesses could hope for was a deal that left tiny FairPoint, the acquiring carrier, with as little debt as possible. The good news is that Verizon lowered the purchase price by $235.5 million and will contribute another $50 million toward maintenance projects to get the infrastucture (including some 1.7 million land lines) back up to snuff. The bad news is that FairPoint is still taking on a boat load of debt.

If the deal hadn’t gone through, however, it is clear that Verizon would not have made the investments necessary to bring the infrastructure up to where it should be – let alone move it into the 21st century.

Forget high-speed broadband

With Verizon out of the picture, rate payers must face up to the new reality: FairPoint may continue to push out classic broadband, but without a huge investment by ratepayers, true high-speed broadband in Northern New England is a pipe dream. Verizon has sold out to a much smaller player. And the capital that Verizon could have invested to improve that infrastructure is now gone. It’s time to start over.

Verizon’s selloff of its Northern New England business reflects the fact that the market is abandoning the twisted pair telephony infrastructure in rural areas – and the customers who use it. Meanwhile, telephone, cable television and broadband Internet access services are moving onto a faster infrastructure based on fiber and the Internet Protocol. In metro areas and elsewhere in the world those services are surging ahead to speeds of 50 Mbps, 100 Mbps and even 1 Gbps.

Most New England subscribers remain on dial-up, however, with a pledge that FairPoint will bring yesterday’s 3 Mbps DSL to them within the next two years. While metro areas will get “triple play” services that deliver telephone, Internet, and television over those new, high speed connections, Northern New England will be stuck in the Internet stone age. As these new services come online, 3Mbps will be the new dial-up.   —>
http://blogs.computerworld.com/verizon_to_new_england_bye_bye
~

NPC-TV plans for the future
Community station wants to expand local programming
by M. Dirk Langeveld
Sun-Journal (ME)
03/13/08

[ comments invited ]

A local public television station is planning to double its coverage, pending support from Time Warner Cable.  Steve Galvin, station manager for Norway-Paris Community Television, said the station will expand its coverage to West Paris, Oxford, and Harrison.  “The main thing is, we want to get the towns in the school district on our system, so they can get our programming,” said Galvin.

The station serves Norway, Paris, and Waterford. The three towns, along with the three towns approached for extended coverage, are part of SAD 17.  West Paris receives Bethel’s public broadcasting signal, while Oxford receives Great Falls Television out of Lewiston. Harrison gets Lake Region Television.

West Paris resident George Twine presented the issue to selectmen, and the issue was taken to the annual town meeting on March 1.  “After George spoke, we took a straw poll and everyone at the meeting seemed to be in favor of it,” said West Paris town manager John White.  Oxford selectmen voted to pursue the change after a presentation by Twine at their last meeting.  “Harrison was a little hesitant,” said Galvin.  —>
http://www.sunjournal.com/story/256126-3/OxfordHills/NPCTV_plans_for_the_future/
~

Trustees worry new cable policies not enough
by Sarah Cormier
C & G Newspapers (MI)
03/13/08

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — A new set of policies and procedures pertaining to Harrison Township’s community access channel prompted a discussion among board members about how officials can have more control over what is played on the air.  The board approved the new policies with a 5-2 vote at a Feb. 25 meeting. Township Treasurer Darrin York and Trustee James Ulinski both voted against the measure.

The newly adopted rules are for Harrison Township Community Access Television, HTCA-TV, which runs specifically on Channel 18 on Wide Open West, WOW. According to a statement of purpose written in the policies, the point of having a community access channel is to provide “citizens, community groups and nonprofit organizations with the resources to distribute non commercial video programming.”

William Servial, chairman of the township’s cable board, said that the community access channel has been in operation for about 14 months, but due to technical difficulties, no new material has been shown on the air. The only items shown on the public access channel are the same that currently run on the township’s government channel.

However, officials say the channel is ready to run, and now they just need content to air. The new rules will govern what type of material is appropriate to broadcast.“The first step in this process is to get WOW running, and hopefully, people will see some value to it, submit files, and we’ll actually have a real community access channel,” said Servial.   —>
http://www.candgnews.com/Homepage-Articles/2008/03-12-07/JG-CABLEAPP.asp
~

Chamber says no to TV forum
by Jimmy LaRoue
The News Virginian (VA)
03/12/08

[ comments invited ]

The president of the regional chamber of commerce said Wednesday the organization wants no part of a politically charged proposal to televise a candidate forum on the city government access channel.  “We don’t want to be pulled into this political tug of war, and that’s what it is,” said Ben Carter, president of the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce, “because we as a chamber have nothing to gain and everything to lose by allowing that to happen.”  Carter said the chamber has not requested to be involved in forums for Waynesboro City Council or school board candidates.   —>
http://www.newsvirginian.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WNV%2FMGArticle%2FWNV_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173354947712&path=!news!localnews
~

It’s alive! Wolfman Mac brings horror B-movie classics back to local TV
by Susan Whitall
The Detroit News  (MI)
03/13/08

[ comments invited ]

Tucked away on a quiet street in a Warren industrial park, a $14.95 skeleton from Wal-Mart is having a shrieking argument with a plastic plant. The two are sitting in a vintage hearse, with a husky wolfman at the wheel.  “There’s a weed whacker in the trunk!” the skeleton taunts the plant. A violent fight breaks out.

“If you two don’t knock it off, I’m going to turn this car around,” the werewolf warns. Then he grins at the TV camera, howls and delivers his tagline: “Hey kids, it’s time to lock the doors, pop some popcorn, roll out the sleeping bags and watch ‘Wolfman Mac’s Nightmare Sinema.'”

This is Stage 3 Productions, and original, local television is being created as Wolfman Mac, Detroit’s first horror movie host in decades, films a show late on a snowy Thursday.  “Wolfman Mac’s Nightmare Sinema” premieres on TV 20 Friday night at 1 a.m. (technically Saturday morning), with a furry, wisecracking host presenting the best of the worst black-and-white horror movies, as well as demented skits. It’s a return to the kind of local programming that used to be a staple of the TV dial in the early days of the medium in the 1950s and into the ’60s, but was largely dumped by local stations for syndicated fare in the ’80s.   —>
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080313/ENT10/803130366
~

Networked Community Communication Model
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition (MA)
03/13/08

[ comments invited ]

Seungahn Nah’s 2003 paper, “Bridging Offline and Online Community: Toward A Networked Community Communication Model” (see Works Cited) the author surveys literature on community studies from the Chicago School of sociology to social network analysis. He develops a holistic approach to community studies across both online and offline spaces. The author weaves together a range of physical and virtual communication environments to provide a way to study the “community phenomena” (24). In the Introduction, Nah writes

“Given that community in virtual space is also based on the community in physical space, and the two types of community are closely related to each other, we need to review the existing community studies comprehensively in order to understand the “online” community as well as the “offline” community. “(4)

In his Networked Community Communication Model, Nah explains that from this approach “linkage among structure, agent, and computer network can create and expand the concept of community from local based community to global community and integrates them into networked communication environment” (24).

Nah’s model is particularly helpful in looking at the community media center as a specific geographic location within which to study community in a way “in which all kinds of communication pattern are integrated and coexisted” (24).
http://cmediachange.net/blog/2008/03/13/networked-community-communication-model/
~

For the networks, television’s future is online
The launch of online syndication sites such as hulu.com underscore how television companies are using the Internet to leverage their key asset: well-made content.
by Gloria Goodale
The Christian Science Monitor
03/14/08

Predicting the death of network television is a popular pastime in Hollywood. After three decades of audience erosion to cable, the doomsaying has intensified in recent years as video-sharing websites such as YouTube and Facebook have demonstrated an audience of millions for low-budget video.

But it’s still not time to count the Big Five networks out yet, say media watchers. They may have stumbled in the transition to the world of digital entertainment, underestimating audience appetite for consumption in new media beyond traditional TV, but they’re rapidly trying to adapt.

This week, hulu.com a new, ad-supported site launched in partnership with Fox and NBC, showcases both companies’ programming via streaming video. ABC recently launched Stage 9 Digital Media, an online production house for short-form content. CBS has assembled a partnership of some 300 online syndication outlets such as AOL and Joost. And Fox has acquired the wildly successful social-networking website, MySpace. In part, the networks hope their online offerings will spur interest in traditional television programming. But, more than that, the networks want to establish bulwarks in the online universe where they can leverage their primary assets: well-crafted content.

“The model the networks come up with for distribution is going to affect everybody because everyone consumes TV in some way,” says Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University in New York.

That new business model is still very much a work in progress. If network television is to continue to provide big-budget productions to viewers without charge, it must attract enough eyeballs to draw advertisers. Increasingly, though, competition is coming from other forms of online entertainment.

In the networks’ favor: A great TV show can still trounce amateurish YouTube video for sheer entertainment value.   —>
http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0314/p12s02-altv.htm
~

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

Advertisements

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/06/08

March 10, 2008

NATOA Survey: Impact of State Video Services Legislation
Early Results Do Not Evidence Sufficient Competitive Benefits
NATOA.org
03/05/08

Alexandria, VA – The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) today released results of a preliminary survey it conducted among its members to obtain a snapshot of the impact state video services legislation has had to date on communities and subscribers. While state video franchising is still a relatively new concept, the survey posed questions regarding its effects on competition, rates and services, PEG (Public, Educational and Governmental) access, and consumer complaints. Responses came from 14 of the states which have adopted state video legislation. A total of 139 Local Franchising Authorities (LFAs), representing 10 million cable subscribers (15% of cable subscribers nationwide), participated in the survey.

The results of the survey indicate that incumbent cable providers are taking advantage of the change in law, with one third of respondents indicating that the incumbent had abandoned its local franchise for one issued by the state. New entrants are seeking only state franchises. In franchise areas affected by state legislation, 27% of participants report one new entrant, and 6% report more than one new entrant in operation. Thirty-five percent (35%) of LFAs report the new entrant has not built anything; 48% report the new entrant has built out to part of the community; while only 18% report that the new entrant is in the process of or has built out to the entire community.

…Read the Executive Summary of the Survey Here (pdf).
Contact: Libby Beaty, Executive Director, 703-519-8035
http://www.natoa.org/2008/03/natoa-survey-impact-of-state-v.html
~

Middleboro seeks answers from cable companies
by Eileen Reece
Enterprise (MA)
03/06/08

Comcast and Verizon representatives have been invited to meet March 17 with selectmen.  Verizon and Comcast officials have been invited by selectmen to address numerous complaints from residents.  Although Verizon began installing FIOS cable two years ago, selectmen Chairwoman Marsha L. Brunelle said some residents had questions as to when they would receive coverage and selectmen wanted to know when the town would have access to public education and government (PEG) coverage.   —>
http://www.enterprisenews.com/news/x1240624402
~

Video system would cost Taneytown at least $72,000
by Carrie Ann Knauer
Carroll County Times (MD)
03/06/08

[ 2 comments ]

If the Taneytown City Council chooses to purchase its own video system to tape and broadcast city meetings on the county’s municipal channel on Comcast, it can expect to pay at least $72,000.  Tony Hooper, operations manager from the Community Media Center, explained that each bid package included two video cameras, a new audio system for City Hall, two LCD televisions to display presentations and a control board that would allow someone in the building to operate the cameras. The bids ranged from $72,000 to $84,000, with the prices varying for different quality levels of cameras.   —>
http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/articles/2008/03/06/news/local_news/newsstory6.txt
~

Glitch puts hitch in JoCo’s cable television debut
by Finn Bullers
Prime Buzz: Kansas City Star (KS)
03/06/08

[ 2 comments ]

Some local government junkies were disappointed today when they were unable to tune in this morning’s Johnson County commission meeting from the comfort of their own home televisions.  Time Warner cable subscribers were unable to find the commission meeting on Channel 2 after technical and equipment glitches blocked the public access signal from being aired, county officials said. Time Warner covers much of northern and central Johnson County.  But Comcast Channel 7 in Olathe carried the signal, as did the county’s Web site.

The county spent more than $650,000 on technology and remodeling in an effort to better communicate with residents and become more transparent in showing the public how decisions are made. The idea has been kicked around for at least three years.  The problems are expected to be worked out by next week’s meeting.   —>
http://primebuzz.kcstar.com/?q=node/10374
~

Flaherty proposes comment rules
by Bobby Gates
Beverly Citizen (MA)
03/06/08

[ comments allowed ]

Changes to the 15-minute public comment period at the start of each City Council meeting would bar personal attacks — including on City Council members — and political speech supporting or opposing candidates for public office.  Those are among several rules being considered to regulate, and make official, a tradition of allowing the public to speak at the beginning of City Council meetings.  When possible changes were discussed in January, councilors said the most common problem with the public comment period is that speakers do not keep to the time limit.

The proposed rules allow each person to speak up to 2-½ minutes and limit the entire public-comment period to 15 minutes. The time would be filled on a first-come, first-served basis by signing up beforehand with City Clerk Fran Macdonald. The deadline to sign up would be noon on the Thursday before the City Council meeting.  The rules also would prohibit turning the comment time into a question-and-answer period and would limit the topics to issues that are pending before the City Council or are likely to come before the Council.

When Council President Tim Flaherty took over the council’s leadership earlier this year, he proposed moving the comment time to 6:45 p.m., which is 15 minutes before the usual start and before the broadcast begins on BevCam public access television.  But some councilors objected, saying the public time should be included in the meeting and be on TV.  Flaherty then said that the public-speaking time would be included within the meeting, but that he hoped to come up with a set of rules and procedures to handle it.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/beverly/news/x1775725559
~

Chicago Net2 Tuesdays – Starting March 11th
MoveSmart.org (IL)
03/06/08

[ comments allowed ]

Join us, so Chicago can grow more technology savvy social change organizations that benefit our local communities.  Staff and volunteers of non-profits, web innovators, and any individuals pushing for change are encouraged to attend. Come tell us about your effort, your concerns, and what you need and want from a collective of like-minded individuals and organizations.

“Net Tuesday” meetings are a program of NetSquared whose mission is to spur responsible adoption of social web tools by social benefit organizations.  NetSquared is a project of TechSoup (http://www.techsoup.org) the technology place for nonprofits.   —>
http://movesmart.org/WordPress/?p=32
~

FCC Hearing, February 25, 2008
SCAT Staff Vlog (MA)
03/05/08

[ comments allowed ]

An open hearing of the Federal Telecommunications Commission on the future of the Internet at Harvard Law School. Footage of the hearing and testimony of individuals about net neutrality. A project of Free Press and Somerville Community Access Television.
http://www.scatstaffvlog.blogspot.com/
~

Access Somerville and Boston and Cambridge
Why we can’t stop watching cable access TV
by Carmen Nobel
The Boston Globe (MA)
03/06/08

It used to be that the thought of cable access shows garnered visions of shaky cameras, sewer commission meetings, school lunch menus, and that “Wayne’s World” skit from “Saturday Night Live.” We’ve always known the shows were there, we just didn’t think they were good for much.

But in November, the Hollywood writers’ union went on strike, and suddenly, there was a dearth of new material on our favorite commercial stations. So, resourceful couch potatoes that we are, we ventured into the vast world of community television. And lo and behold, we found entertainment.

Thousands of cable access programs are produced in Greater Boston each year. There are news shows, like Boston’s “What’s up in Trinidad and Tobago?”; how-to shows, like Watertown’s “Drawing With Fred”; art review shows, like Cambridge’s “Bitchin’ About Movies”; and yes, hundreds of hours of droning talk shows that double as insomnia cures.   —>
http://www.boston.com/ae/tv/articles/2008/03/06/access_somerville_and_boston_and_cambridge?mode=PF
~

Hungry Critics
by Rob Kendt
The Wicked Stage
03/06/08

[ comments allowed ]

From my erstwhile LA Weekly colleague Steven Mikulan comes an alternately hilarious and horrifying piece about critics who eat, drink, and otherwise embarrass themselves at openings. There’s too much dirt in it to quote much, but this is a typical anecdote:

“I had a classic message on my machine when I was representing a free holiday celebration,” says one longtime publicist. “This somebody asked for backstage passes so he could go into the greenroom, where the refreshments were. And for this, he’d write 300 words on his Web site. He used the word ‘refreshments’ three times.”

Apropos Playgoer’s recent point about the proliferation of under-qualified online amateurs crowding the field, Mikulan sums up the culprit(s) here:

Stuck at the bottom of what is literally a journalistic food chain are the writers whom publicists routinely describe as B-list or “second-tier” critics — reviewers for a vast, unincorporated territory of neighborhood broadsheets, ethnic tabloids, ad-for-review papers, student newspapers, public-access TV and radio programs, vanity zines, theater Web sites, and blogger-critics. This “B-list” has dramatically expanded its theater clout with the Internet, and, while the World Wide Web has democratized such formerly elite realms as political journalism, it has paradoxically reinforced the authority (some would say tyranny) of theater critics by increasing their numbers. The proliferation of reviewers has started a conversation in theater circles (as it has in film) as to who, exactly, is a legitimate critic and whether this proliferation weakens critical credibility.
http://thewickedstage.blogspot.com/2008/03/hungry-critics.html
~

STUDIO ONE: Applications for fall 2008 internships
School of Communication at the University of North Dakota
03/06/08

[ comments allowed ]

STUDIO ONE: Applications for fall 2008 internships are now being accepted for Studio One! UND students are encouraged to check out internship opportunities at http://www.studio1.und.edu or call 701-777-4346. Job descriptions and applications are available on the website. Applications for the fall 2008 semester are due March 19th at 4:30 p.m.

There are several positions available at Studio One including reporter, web designer, photographer, TV production crew, marketing staff, teleprompter operator, graphics and more. Studio One offers credit for students that are interested in the internship. Working at Studio One is a fantastic opportunity to build your resume, learn networking skills and gain professional experience.
http://undscomm.blogspot.com/2008/03/scomm-e-community-week-of-march-10-2008.html
~

Two New Versions of Miro: Sliced by Genre
by Dean Jansen
03/04/08

[ 13 comments ]

We have just launched two new versions of Miro: Food Edition and Christian Edition!  Each of the downloadable players comes pre-loaded with a handful of channels that relate to the respective community. With over 3,500 free channels in the Miro Guide, we think now is the perfect time to introduce a content-centered approach to internet TV.

These players make it really easy for a community to recommend internet TV that is totally relevant to its members. Furthermore, because Miro is free and open source software that empowers independent creators, these players are beneficial to both the viewers and the creators in the community.   —>
http://www.getmiro.com/blog/2008/03/two-new-versions-of-miro-sliced-by-genre/
~

Many restrictions on media coverage of campaign for 9 March general elections
Reporters Without Borders
03/05/08

Reporters Without Borders calls on Spain’s political parties to respect press freedom and to stop imposing conditions that restrict journalists’ ability to gather, process and disseminate news in an independent manner. “Journalists should not be regarded as mere auxiliaries and news should not be regarded as political communication,” the organisation said.  The Spanish media have a long list of complaints about the restrictions imposed on their coverage of the 9 March general elections, ranging from limited access to candidates and bans on recording candidates’ addresses at rallies, to news conferences without questions.

Many Spanish journalists organisations are saying their freedom to report the news is being violated. In particular, they are criticising the control exercised by the two leading political parties, the Spanish Socialists Workers Party (PSOE) and the Popular Party (PP), over the way the press covers their election campaigns. Both state and privately-owned TV stations are allowed to film political rallies but not candidates. “We are puppets,” a journalist who follows PSOE told El País on 1 March.   —>
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=26036
~

Zambia: Media Houses Lobby MPs
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
03/06/08

[ comments allowed ]

Fourteen media organisations have appealed to members of Parliament (MPs) to reject the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI) Bill if it is not made public before being taken back to parliament.

The media organisations have also petitioned the Speaker of the National Assembly Amusaa Mwanamwambwa to order the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Mike Mulongoti to present to Parliament the names of Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) board for ratification.

Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) vice -president, Amos Chanda who was speaking at the media briefing yesterday said the MPs and individuals needed to support the cause for FOI . The 14 media organisations included the Press Association of Zambia (PAZA), Press Freedom Committee of The Post, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) – Zambia chapter, Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA), Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ) and Zambia Community Media Forum (ZaCoMef).

Others were Society for Senior Journalists, Catholic Media Association, PANOS Institute of Southern Africa, Commonwealth Press Union – Zambia Chapter, Southern African Editors Forum – Zambia chapter, Media Trust Fund (MTF) and Media Council of Zambia (MECOZ).

Mr Chanda further appealed to parliamentarians to repeal and amend other pieces of legislation that impinged on media freedom.   —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200803060522.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 – 03/04/08

March 9, 2008

Durham to pay for public access TV
A city-county pact with Time Warner Cable sets a price of $120,000 for 10 months’ programs
by Samiha Khanna
The News & Observer (NC)
03/04/08

City and county leaders agreed Monday to pay Time Warner Cable $120,000 over the next 10 months to air public access programs — shows that used to be aired for free.  The city-county agreement came after more than a year of negotiation between the governments and Time Warner, and it will ensure that city and county government programming continues on cable Channel 8, which they share, and the schools continue to broadcast on cable Channel 4.

But the agreement doesn’t address all local officials’ grievances. Durham County officials have also filed a lawsuit seeking an additional channel, which they say they are entitled to for free under the law.  Both the issue of paying for public access, and the number of channels local governments can use for free, stem from recent changes to cable franchise laws.  In 2006, the legislature shifted cable franchising authority from local governments to the state government.  The transfer in responsibility has changed some of the services Time Warner is obligated to provide to governments, said Deputy City Manager Ted Voorhees.

Under a former local agreement with the city of Durham, Time Warner employees used to produce and air public access TV for free, Voorhees said.  Now that Time Warner’s franchise is granted by the state, the company doesn’t have to meet the requirements of individual contracts with cities and counties, Voorhees said.  Under the statewide franchise, Durham citizens will no longer be able to visit the cable company’s local studios on East Club Boulevard to learn how to operate cameras and edit tape.  Local shows must now be produced independently and submitted to Time Warner to be reviewed, scheduled and aired.

The shift from local to state control has threatened to disrupt a Sunday morning tradition in Durham. For 17 years, a legion of church folk have tuned in to Channel 8 to watch sermons and other inspirational programming, said the Rev. James E. Vaughan, pastor at Abundant Life Assembly Church. For the ill or disabled, televised services, which also appear some mornings and evenings during the week, are a must.  “It’s not just getting your congregation on,” Vaughan said. “Shut-ins get to follow along services with their local congregation so they can continue to feel a part of it. It’s kind of a big deal to them.”   —>
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/980210.html
~

Lansing must fix threat to public access
The Times Herald (MI)
03/04/08

[ 3 comments ]

Flawed cable law paved way for transfer of community programs

No matter how Comcast tries to spin it, the cable provider’s efforts to move some of its channels to a higher digital tier runs counter to the interests of many viewers. More important, state lawmakers bear responsibility for making it easier for Comcast to change its programming.  Adopted in December 2006, Michigan’s “Uniform Video Services Local Franchise Act” was supposed to promote greater competition within the state’s cable TV industry. Instead, the new law relaxed cable providers’ commitment to public service programming  Lansing must correct that error.   —>
http://www.thetimesherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080304/OPINION01/803040327/1014/OPINION
~

Cable providers in Wisconsin seek statewide franchises
The Business Journal of Milwaukee
03/04/08

Five Wisconsin cable and video service providers – Charter Communications Inc., Time Warner Cable, AT&T Inc., CenturyTel and Comcast Cable – have applied for statewide video franchises under legislation passed last year.  AT&T received approval for its franchise from the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions last week, the nonprofit consumer advocate group TV4US Wisconsin said Tuesday.   —>
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/03/03/daily24.html
~

Community Media Strategy Session 3/15
by Gordon Smith
Blog Asheville (NC)
03/04/08

[ 2 comments ]

Asheville area Community Media mavens are gathering again. Our February strategy session produced some excellent ideas, one of which I’ll ask for suggestions about in a couple of paragraphs.  First thing first though. Our next Community Media Strategy Session will take place March 15, 4:30pm – 6:15pm at URTV studios. James Wilson of Talk Asheville will present ideas for our Community Media Wiki at that time. I’ll also put out a rough agenda in a few days and ask for everyone’s input.

If you aren’t on the Community Media email list (which is different from the BlogAsheville mailing list!), just shoot me a message at scrutinyhooligans AT yahoo SPOT cOm. Then I can keep you updated as things happen.  If you haven’t taken the Priorities Survey, take a minute and do that now.

Cross promoting our various media was at the top of folks’ priorities at the last session, and it’s been good to see that a lot of people have been busily linking readers, listeners, and viewers to other media orbits. If you haven’t yet taken the time to shout out to your favorite bloggers, radio hosts, artists, and television personalities, do it today. By pointing Community Media consumers to more of the same, we’ll all become stronger.  Here’s the part where I ask for comments and suggestions:

The last strategy session produced the idea of doing a Media Swarm on a topic, issue, or area. A Media Swarm is intended to draw attention to a specific topic via our various media. It also serves the purpose of making folks more aware of Community Media. There will be ideological agenda involved in choosing the topic. It’ll be up to each person to decide how to address the topic. The inaugural Media Swarm is going to take place this month, and it’s time to decide what we’ll swarm around. Here are the ideas suggested so far in the Priorities Survey:   —>
http://blogasheville.blogspot.com/2008/03/community-media-strategy-session-315.html
~

Cable contract is for five years
City and Charter agree to terms
by Nick Kotsopoulos
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)
03/04/08

Breaking from past practice, the city has negotiated a shorter-term license renewal with Charter Communications for the local cable television franchise.  City Manager Michael V. O’Brien said last night the term of the new deal is five years instead of 10. He contends a shorter-term contract is in the city’s best interest because technology, competition and regulations for the cable industry continue to evolve so rapidly.

He pointed out that competitors such as Verizon have expanded their presence in the cable industry during the past couple of years. He believes Verizon, and other companies, will eventually focus their attention on Worcester.  “The very fact that the city will facilitate the construction of a 20-mile fiber loop, complete with wireless towers, over the next two years will provide for new and exciting options for competition,” Mr. O’Brien said. “It is for these reasons that I believe a shorter term sets the stage for competition, above all else, to improve the range of services and price options for our citizens.”

Charter’s previous 10-year contract with the city expired in January 2007. It was extended six months to July 7, and when city officials failed to complete a new contract before that date, it was extended another six months.  Traditionally, the city has had 10-year contracts with cable franchise holders. But city councilors have urged the city manager to limit the length of this license renewal to no more than five years because of the rapid, ongoing changes in cable technology and competition.  The terms of the new cable contract are as follows:   —>
http://www.telegram.com/article/20080304/NEWS/803040677/1008/NEWS02
~

Port’s new TV studio set for May debut
Newburyport News (MA)
03/04/08

The Newburyport Community Media Center, which will broadcast both Comcast Channel 9 and Channel 10 from its location at 3 Graf Road in Newburyport, is nearing completion and will open to the public in early May.  The Community Media Center, which will also provide programming for the Newburyport schools and the city, is a nonprofit organization formed in 2006. The public will be invited to visit and explore the new facility during open houses planned for May.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/newburyport/news/x1092579736
~

ICTV wins five (count ’em, FIVE) PEGASYS awards for excellence!
by Dianne
All Things Park (NY)
03/04/08

This just in from Peter Johanns, ICTV’s adviser:

ICTV received a total of 5 awards at this years PEGASYS awards for Cablecasting Excellence for the Public Access and Educational Access channels on Time Warner Cable in Tompkins county. Held on February 29, 2008, ICTV was nominated in 7 of the 10 categories.  ICTV received first place awards for B.S. Detectives in the Comedy/Variety category; NewsWatch 16 for the Public Affairs category; and The Race 2 for the Documentary category.

Additionally, The Race 2 and Bombers Football received the highest scores for educational access programming and will be submitted to the Hometown Video Festival, a national competition organized by the Alliance for Community Media held in Washington D.C this July.  (The Race 2 was the highest scoring program among all entrants in this year’s PEGASYS Awards.)

Congratulations to all of the ICTV students who worked hard and contributed to attain this recognition and achievement!  Ditto from the dean: CONGRATULAIONS to you all!
http://allthingspark.blogspot.com/2008/03/ictv-wins-five-count-em-five-pegasys.html
~

Community radio in India set to go global
by Piya Kochhar
OneWorld South Asia
03/04/08

[ comments allowed ]

Steve Buckley is excited by the scope of CR in India and has plenty of wisdom to share from his 25-year love affair with radio that he began in Cambridge, as a pirate broadcaster. Piya Kochhar, co-founder of News Radio India, speaks to him.

Piya Kochhar: Why radio? What draws you to this?

Steve Buckley: Radio is an extraordinarily accessible medium. It’s a medium that’s immediate, easy to use, and low-cost. What I discovered during my pirate broadcasting days, was that it was not so difficult to actually become a radio broadcaster. I mean we didn’t really pay any money to start our radio station. We just cobbled together a few easily accessible bits of electronics, built a transmitter, and went on the air.  So I realised that broadcasting didn’t have to be medium of the elite. It didn’t have to be something inaccessible.  We could actually take control of this media; we could appropriate it for community use. And that’s what really inspired me and continues to do so every time I visit a local community radio project. I see people doing extraordinarily inspiring things.   —>
http://southasia.oneworld.net/article/view/158476/1/5339
~

TV from the Future
Former Hartford Public Access Television maven J. Stan McCauley has launched what he claims is the world’s first broadband television network
by Daniel D’Ambrosio
Hartford Advocate (CT)
03/04/08

[ comments allowed ]

J. Stan McCauley, the former executive director of Hartford Public Access Television and a candidate for mayor in last fall’s election until he was swept away by the Eddie Perez tidal wave, has launched his own television network on the Internet, which he says is a first.  Technically it’s called hypermedia portal alternative television, but you can just call it hpatv5.com, McCauley’s online address. (Have a look.)

McCauley says he had a flash of inspiration for the network soon after he joined the ranks of the unemployed in early December, after more than 20 years at Hartford Public Access Television. The inspiration came while sitting at a traffic light with a friend who was driving the car.  “I thought to myself, ‘What am I good at? I’m good at building small television stations from the ground up,'” McCauley said. “It just hit me all at once, why not do local origination programming and give it a worldwide footprint on the Web.”   —>
http://www.hartfordadvocate.com/article.cfm?aid=6298
~

IFJ Calls for United Nations “Urgent Action” Over Deadly Media Crisis in Iraq
Media for Freedom
03/04/08

The International Federation of journalists today called on the Secretary General of the United Nations to lead new efforts by the international community in defence of journalists and media in Iraq following the death last week of Shihab Al-Timimi, the President of the Iraqi Union of Journalists.

In a letter to UN chief Bang Ki-moon, the IFJ President and General Secretary say that the United Nations must raise its voice to protect journalists and media in Iraq and to encourage more effective action by the government of Iraq and those UN states who have pledged to bring about peace and reconciliation in the country.  “A timely statement of support from the United Nations for Iraqi journalism will show that the international community stands alongside the community of journalists in these dark days,” says the IFJ.

The IFJ, which has also written to Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki, says the UN must support the Iraqi Union of Journalists (IUJ) and their campaign for safety, it must do more to put pressure on governments to defend independent media and it must reinforce efforts through the groundbreaking Security Council Resolution 1738 on journalists’ safety to find and prosecute those who are targeting and killing media workers.   —>
http://www.mediaforfreedom.com/ReadArticle.asp?ArticleID=9916
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/04/08

February 6, 2008

Cable Franchise Hearing is this Thursday !
by Zenaida Mendez
Manhattan Neighborhood Network (NY)
02/04/08

On Thursday, February 7, 2008 all those who support Free Speech, the First Amendment and alternative media need to attend a hearing from 3pm-7pm at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

As part of the Franchise renewal process between the City of New York and TimeWarner Cable, a public hearing will be held to allow NYC residents an opportunity to voice their views and concerns regarding the cable franchise we will all be living with for the next 10 to 15 years. It is extremely important that our public officials hear loud and clear that Public Access provisions are critically important to our community and that continued and expanded support for the needs and interests of Manhattan residents must be included in any franchise agreement that is reached.   —>
http://www.mnn.org/en/cable-franchise-hearing-thursday
~

Cable Hearing Reveal Strong Support for BRONXNET
by Osjua Newton
Lehman College Meridian (NY)
02/04/08

A panel from the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) assembled at Hostos Community College on January 17. They sought public testimony regarding Cablevision, the current cable company in The Bronx, for the first of several hearings throughout the city to discuss cable television franchise renewals.

As Cablevision nears the end of their 10-year agreement with the city to provide service in the borough, the 5-hour hearing was aimed at gathering feedback on four key subjects: first, whether Cablevision has been operating within the terms of its contract; second, whether their signal quality and billing were adequate; third, whether they could meet the community’s future cable-related needs; and last, whether they are fiscally and technologically capable of providing services for future projects.

However, the topic most echoed at the podium was a call to increase funding and support for The Bronx based public access television network, BRONXNET.  “Certainly it was helpful for us to see how the community feels about BRONXNET,” said DoITT panel member Radhika Karmarkar. She added that the topics discussed during this, and future hearings, will be considered during the negotiations.   —>
http://media.www.lcmeridian.com/media/storage/paper806/news/2008/02/04/News/Cable.Hearing.Reveal.Strong.Support.For.Bronxnet-3182355.shtml
~

Naifeh rebuts Bredesen’s AT&T/Cable comments
by John Rodgers (3 comments)
Nashville City Paper (TN)
02/04/08

House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh today appeared to refute comments from Gov. Phil Bredesen that the speaker’s approach to finding a compromise between AT&T and the cable industry over television franchising wouldn’t work.  “I respectfully disagree,” Naifeh (D-Covington) said after being read Bredesen’s comments during a hastily called news conference this afternoon.   —>
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=58715
~

New laws aim to help TV customers get good service
Providers face competition, fines
by Laura Girresch (9 comments)
News-Democrat (IL)
02/04/08

Under two state laws passed last summer, companies can get a statewide license to provide television service — creating competition for local cable companies — and metro-east communities now can use the threat of fines to ensure customers are treated right.  Hoping to make protecting television customers easy, Belleville passed an ordinance last month that gave the city direct power to enforce good customer service, in accordance with the state laws.

One state law, the Cable and Video Customer Protection Law, says local governments and the Illinois attorney general can fine television companies for not telling customers how their rates will change after a promotion, disconnecting service for repairs for more than 24 hours, and only providing service where they can make the most money.  “It gives us an extra avenue to enforce or review or have some leverage to get customers the service they deserve,” Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert said.   —>
http://www.bnd.com/business/story/246478.html
~

Unscripted Ending
The picture gets blurry for public access television.
by Josh Goodman
Governing
02/08

Every Monday evening for more than a decade in Portage, Indiana, Gordon Bloyer stirred up trouble. The middle-aged, mustachioed Bloyer used his 6:30 p.m. television talk show to lambast elected officials in the city of 35,000 on the shore of Lake Michigan. Not only were Portage politicians powerless to cancel the Gordon Bloyer Show — although at times they tried — they also were, in a sense, subsidizing Bloyer’s attacks on them: His show appeared on public access television. “People would get all upset,” Bloyer says, sounding satisfied. “So I figured that’s good.”

Now, Bloyer is up against a foe he can’t beat. AT&T, looking for a fast track into the TV business, recently persuaded the Indiana legislature to move most aspects of cable regulation from the local level to the state level. A little-noticed byproduct of the new law is that independent local voices such as Bloyer’s are being squeezed off the air. In fact, late last year many public access channels in northwest Indiana went dark.

Public access TV now faces a more uncertain future than at any time since its inception in the 1970s. In the past three years, some 20 states have, like Indiana, switched to statewide franchises for cable TV. In the process, public, educational and governmental channels — the so-called “PEGs” — are getting hammered. Many are losing funding or studio space, and in a few places PEGs are being shut down altogether. The wild sandbox that gave political gadflies, aerobics instructors, sex therapists and many others a place to hone their video skills, while entertaining those who dared to watch, may never be the same.   —>
http://www.governing.com/articles/0802tv.htm
~

Leaving Localism Behind
StopBigMedia.com
01/31/08

In the January 7th issue of Broadcasting and Cable, Gene McHugh, general manager of Fox TV station WAGA in Atlanta, is quoted as saying, “We’ve determined that localism is the future for TV stations.” The article reported that WAGA and other Fox TV stations are adding an extra half hour of late night news to their schedules in 2008. More local news, however, may mean little if it is just more of the same sensational journalism and celebrity gossip that dominates both national and local news.

Yet, McHugh’s statement does represent a rare admission that stations could be doing more to serve the local public. Not only could they do more, but people are hungry for it. The statement strikes at the heart of the myth that the junk news that is so prevalent is just “giving people what they want.” McHugh recognizes that the citizens of Atlanta and people across the country are desperate not only for more local news, but also for better local news that addresses the critical issues like health care, the economy, safety, and the environment.

Just two weeks after this article appeared, the Federal Communications Commission took action on a long- overdue localism debate that dates back to the previous chairman, Michael Powell. Unfortunately, the FCC did not come to the same conclusion as Gene McHugh and WAGA. It seems the FCC, whose mission is in part to foster localism, thinks stations are doing just fine. The report, released on January 24th, concludes a proceeding that included six public hearings and thousands of comments from concerned citizens. While the comments submitted and the testimony given overwhelmingly suggest that the American people are dissatisfied with the way their local media are serving their community, the FCC barely acknowledged these complaints in their report. —>
http://www.stopbigmedia.com/blog/2008/01/31/leaving-localism-behind/
~

An FCC watcher’s guide to Super Tuesday
by Matthew Lasar
Lasar’s Letter on the FCC
02/03/08

Super Tuesday is coming on, well, Tuesday. Twenty four states and American Samoa will hold primary elections or primary caucuses for Democrats and Republicans. And while the horse-race watchers obsess over which candidate will be most electable, LLFCC has kept track of their positions on broadcasting and telecommunications related issues.  Of all of the contenders for the Democratic nomination, John Edwards had the most clear and comprehensive set of positions on Federal Communications Commission related matters. Unfortunately, the former United States Senator has withdrawn from the race.

Candidate Edwards repeatedly pledged to strengthen rather than weaken the FCC’s media ownership rules. “Edwards believes extreme media consolidation threatens free speech,” his media page declares, “tilts the public dialogue towards corporate priorities and away from local concerns, and makes it increasingly difficult for women and minorities to own a stake in our media.”  Edwards also promised to strengthen public interest requirements for broadcasters, including disability access requirements. Edwards said that he supports net neutrality. And he assured voters that he would lift restrictions on the licensing of Low Power FM radio stations.

Congressmember Dennis Kucinich, who has also withdrawn from the race, also supported net neutrality and opposed the relaxation of the agency’s media ownership rules. Kucinich has been a strong supporter of locally controlled, public access television and Low Power FM radio.

Four candidates with clear records on the issues remain in the field.   —>
http://www.lasarletter.net/drupal/node/551
~

Prescott considers new channel  on access television (1 comment)
Daily Courier (AZ)
02/03/08

A possible change in the city’s public access television programming and an engineering contract for levee analysis will be among the issues the Prescott City Council will discuss this week….  On the agenda will be discussion and possible direction from the council on the creation of a government channel through the Prescott Community Access Channel, Inc.’s Access13.

City Manager Steve Norwood explained on Friday that officials with Access13 approached him recently with the proposal for adding another access channel for Prescott television viewers.  While City Council meetings and other programs currently air on channel 13, Norwood said the change would move that programming to channel 15. Channel 13 would remain as the channel for other access programming.   —>
http://www.dcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&subsectionID=1&articleID=52166
~

Waiting on FiOS Until It Can Deliver LMC-TV
by Judy Silberstein
Larchmont Gazette (NY)
01/30/08

Less than 24 hours after the Larchmont Village Board approved door-to-door sales of Verizon’s new FiOS (fiber optic) television service on January 7, the salesmen were at our door, and we eagerly signed on. (See: Verizon & Cable Board Agree on TV Franchise Terms and Verizon FiOS Ready for Sale but Not for LMC-TV.) We were lured by the promise of faster broadband, more reliable phone service, better digital picture and lower prices.

There was a hitch – a deal breaker for us. Verizon was not yet ready to provide local access television stations, including LMC-TV, and no one knew when that part of the service would begin. The salesmen and their supervisor had no clue.  Nevertheless, we signed up – having been assured that we could just delay installation until Verizon was ready to deliver LMC-TV.

Unhappily, we learned later that Verizon’s franchise agreement allows four months to conclude whatever process is necessary to enable broadcast of local access stations over FiOS. According to a Verizon spokesperson, the work is a priority – but it’s not easy. The likely completion date is April 10.  And, much to our regret, we learned that pushing off installation of our FiOS television and telephone was also not easy. The system could barely handle a short delay; multiple delays led to chaos…

…But, for us, the biggest problem was the specter of being without LMC-TV for months. Why do we care? For the Gazette, LMC-TV is our back-up for all the government meetings we cover. We rely on the live broadcasts when we can’t be at a session and on the replays when we need to review exactly what was said.

And why should you care? Judging from the number of citizens attending most sessions, very few of you actually turn up at Village Hall or the Town Center or Mamaroneck High School for board meetings. Many more of you – without a rating service, we don’t know how many – watch from home. We try to cover the highlights in our reporting, but if you want all the details, LMC-TV is the only source.  And then there are all the other LMC-TV shows that are hosted by community members and that feature our neighbors and our neighborhood.   —>
http://www.larchmontgazette.com/2008/techtalk/index.html
~

City seeks to regulate its cable TV channel
by Angela Daughtry
News-Leader (FL)
02/04/08

Fernandina Beach – If City Manager Michael Czymbor has his way, the city’s local public access channel will have a new regulatory policy.  Czymbor has asked city commissioners to consider adopting a Public, Educational, and Government Channel Broadcasting, or PEG, policy for the channel the city has with cable television franchisee Comcast.  The PEG policy would designate what types of programs the city would allow to be broadcast. Any religious, political or commercial shows would have to pay Comcast for airtime and would not be allowed on the city’s public access channel.

“Our quandary is that we don’t have any rules and regulations,” Czymbor told commissioners at a Jan. 22 commission meeting. He pointed out that if the city allows churches to have free programming, it must also allow any organization, no matter how controversial, to run programs on the channel.

Commissioner Ron Sapp said the progression of public access cable “has been interesting to watch.” He noted that the cable company used to be “equal access,” providing free equipment and a studio for the public to air its own shows. “Now the taxpayers have to provide the equipment,” he said. “The First Amendment didn’t apply to Comcast, but it applies to us.”

Commissioner Bruce Malcolm asked Czymbor if there had been a problem with misuse of the channel. Czymbor answered that the channel had not been misused but without the PEG policy, the city would have to broadcast any program, “whatever the organization’s mission.”  He added that he thought the city should be doing “a lot more programs that would interest the general public,” such as tours of Egans Creek Greenway and the lighthouse.

Commissioner Ken Walker said he could not understand why the channel hasn’t been used more, but to “keep some form of civility to the channel we have to adopt some sort of rules.”  Sapp noted there has been community access programming since the early ’70s, with “no conflict, no controversy.”  “If there begins to be a concern, then we start to look at that,” he added. “So why pass some exclusionary kinds of rules?”   —>
http://www.fbnewsleader.com/articles/2008/02/04/news/00newscitycable.txt
~

Town television offers new programs this month
Greenwich Post (CT)
02/04/08

In February, Greenwich Community Television Channel 79 will feature three programs on topics of public interest this election year: climate change, civil rights and equal education.

“The Economics of Climate Change: Risk, Ethics and a Global Deal,” a lecture by Lord Nicholas Stern, is part of The Walter E. Edge Lecture series at Princeton University…
…“Jim Crow’s Last Stand:  The Struggle for Civil Rights in the Suburban North,” a lecture by Thomas J. Sugrue, was given at Case Western University in 2007 as part of its Cityscapes Lecture Series…
…“A View From the Top:  A Conversation with Former Governors About Abbott v. Burke,” a 2007 program featuring former New Jersey governors Brendan Byrne, Jim Florio and Donald DiFrancesco, was held at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.   —>
http://www.acorn-online.com/news/publish/greenwich/28465.shtml
~

Seeing is believing — or is it?
by Rick Siefert (1 comments)
The Red Electric
02/03/08

—>   Last week two Media Think colleagues (Joan Rutkowski and Matt Stockton) and I presented a televised discussion about television advertising.  We examined four ads for the above products in some detail.  In the course of the Metro East cable access program, “Community Hotline,” we considered several questions:

Who made these ads? How were they made and at what cost?  For whom were they made?  What devices were used to appeal to the “target audience”?  How successful were the ads in appealing to the audience?  What were the ads NOT telling viewers that they needed to know about the product.”

One hour wasn’t enough time to do justice to the questions or the answers, but we made a start. (The program will be rebroadcast, and I’ve listed the times below if you are interested in seeing what we had to say.)

The ability to “read” visual images critically (yes, I know, words are also visual images) is a necessity in our media-saturated culture. The field of media literacy tries to address that need. Media Think, one of dozens of groups around the country, is lobbying to make media literacy a “life skill” and a required subject in our schools.  Without the skill, we will be increasingly vulnerable media messages aimed not at our minds but at our emotions and basest instincts—never mind the cost to us, our society or the planet.

As I’ve done my own critical thinking about our on-air ad analysis, I wish we had shared some key concepts of media literacy and applied them to the ads.  Better late than never.  You can find varying lists of these concepts, but here are the ones that the Alliance for a Media Literate America (AMLA) circulates. After each. I’ve included my own parenthetical comments in hopes of giving you a sense of the concept’s significance.   —>
http://theredelectric.blogspot.com/2008/02/seeing-is-believing-or-is-it.html
~

Kenyan Expatriates Access Live African Television Coverage of Crisis in their Homeland
by Howard Lesser
VOA News
02/04/08

A leading broadcaster of African television over broadband internet has noticed a surge in the number of Kenyan viewers and others around the world avidly following disturbing political developments in Kenya.  Africast-TV streams real-time and archived programming over the internet from more than 40 public and independent channels in 25 African countries to subscribers in 50 countries, who can also sign up to watch it on their television sets.  From its US headquarters in Westport, Connecticut, founder and CEO John Sarpong says that the contentious campaign and its violence-filled aftermath has stirred more than 120-thousand anxious new viewers to tune in, looking to fill a void in global media coverage of Africa.   —>
http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/2008-02-04-voa4.cfm
~

Broadcasters, cable operators blasted for bottom-line approach to content
The Canadian Press
02/04/08

GATINEAU, Que. – Actors, directors, writers and producers described Canadian private broadcasters as greedy capitalists who care little about Canadian programming, as week-long hearings on the future of domestic television programming began Monday.  “Our problem in this country is the broadcasters who have been demonstrating a slavish devotion to lowest common denominator U.S. shows and simulcast them at bargain-basement prices,” said Richard Hardacre, president of ACTRA, the Canadian writer’s guild.

The comments came at a news conference in conjunction with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission hearings, which are examining recommendations to change the way Canadian-produced television and films are financed.  The federal regulator will be hearing arguments throughout the week on a proposal that would divide the $288 million fund essentially into two streams – one for commercial shows paid for by private broadcasters, and another supported by the government to produce culturally significant programming.   —>
http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5h9GJLN0K4Oxy0PZVNvs1MrTFm4pQ
~

Survey: More Internet Users Watch Web TV Than Cable VOD
20% Of Internet Users Watches A Show A Week On The Web
by Todd Spangler
Multichannel News
02/04/08

Internet users are more likely to watch TV shows on the Web than access cable video-on-demand services, according to a survey by research firm Solutions Research Group.  The survey found that about 20% of Internet users in the United States said they watch TV episodes on the Web every week, compared with 14% who use a cable operator’s VOD.   —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6528505.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 – 01/30/08

February 1, 2008

Public Access TV in the Digital Age: Alliance Testifies Before House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet
Alliance for Community Media
01/30/08

The Alliance was represented by today by Ms. Annie Folger, Executive Director of the Midpeninsula Media Center. Ms. Folger’s remarks addressed the difficulties faced by Public, Educational and Government Access (PEG) communities across the country. Many communities are seeing threats to their PEG facilities posed by video providers unwilling to meet the public interest needs required of them in exchange for use of the public rights of ways.

Millions of dollars have been spent by telephone and cable companies in the past two years on ad campaigns and lobbying to influence state cable franchise laws in 17+ states. The FCC has overruled Congress, assigning itself powers that Congress conferred on local communities.

According to Ms. Folger, “This chaos is being used to dismantle PEG support and to damage channel quality and accessibility. We welcome competition. But it cannot be used to gut PEG Access provisions that have provided direct service to the local community.”

Ms. Folger’s testimony made special example of AT&T’s blockage of closed-captioning for PEG channels on its U-Verse system— a function which is found on all of its commercial channels. At DeAnza Community College in Ms. Folger’s home town, this policy results in the inability of hearing impaired students to view classes which they need to improve their lives.

According to Alliance Executive Director, Anthony Riddle, “AT&T’s practice is not the only bad act by a video provider, but their willingness to sacrifice the needs of disabled students in a race for profit certainly makes them the poster child of corporate irresponsibility.”

Another issue raised was the “channel-slamming” engaged in by Comcast. Channel slamming is the practice of relocating PEG channels from desirable locations to inaccessible or unfamiliar “wilderness” locations on short notice and without consulting the communities involved. Additional purchases or steps may be required of viewers to continue viewing PEG channels. This practice isolates the PEG channels and tends to decrease viewership.

Many PEG centers have moved into digital technology for production and transmission. PEG centers are fully engaged in migration to an integrated digital environment when allowed. The primary challenge for PEG access is not digital technology, but how cable providers— whether traditional cable operator or telephone company— provide PEG signal quality, functionality, channel placement and funding support.
http://www.ourchannels.org/?p=116
~

Ce n’est pas la science, c’est l’art!
by Bunnie Riedel
Telecommunications Consulting
01/30/08

I do have a passion for two things, Science and Art. Science because I am in awe of those fifty pound brains that can figure out the solar mass of a black hole or the structure and functions of the GNAT superfamily of acetyltransferases; and Art, because I can’t draw anything more complicated than a stick figure and I’m a big fan of Salvador Dali. Ergo I was a wee bit fascinated to find out that Comcast really employs Art, much more than Science, when figuring out what to carry on the analog Basic Tier of Service.   —>
http://www.riedelcommunications.blogspot.com/
~

Public access advocates hoping to hold on to cable channel
by Joe Lawlor
The Flint Journal (MI)
01/30/08

He’s a slouching, white-haired government critic who shouts out of your television set and shakes his hands to make a point.  But Bob Leonard, the former Genesee County prosecutor, no longer appears on Comcast Channel 17.  Public access advocates have reason to hope, though, as recent Michigan court decisions temporarily stopped Comcast from moving public access channels to the 900s as the cable giant undergoes a digital conversion.

Leonard said moving to the 900s would significantly reduce his audience if he ever gets back on the air.  “If you’re going through the TV channels on your clicker, you might stop on 17 and say, ‘There’s that nut again. Let me watch for a few minutes.’ But who the hell is going to make it to channel 950? They’ll never get there,” said Leonard, who suspended production after Comcast closed its public access studio in December.

Public access programs produced at independent studios can still appear on Channel 17.  And while David Cohen, Comcast’s executive vice president, did not indicate whether the company would consider abandoning plans to move the public access channels to the 900s, he did apologize before a U.S. Congress subcommittee on Tuesday.   —>
http://www.mlive.com/business/index.ssf/2008/01/public_access_advocates_hoping.html
~

Comcast promises to fix community access channel issue
Associated Press
Detroit News (MI)
01/29/08

WASHINGTON — Comcast Corp. apologized today for the way it handled a proposed shift of community access programming in Michigan that would force customers to get converter boxes or new TVs to continue to watch local government meetings and high school football games.  Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and congressional Democrats criticized Comcast and AT&T Inc. for giving the public, educational and governmental programming, or PEG programming, what they termed “second-class” status.

“PEG programming deserves first-class treatment, not second-class billing,” said Dingell, D-Dearborn.  Dingell sought answers after government and consumer groups complained about Comcast’s plan to move the programming into the 900-level digital channel range in Michigan, part of a larger transition that cable companies are undergoing from analog to digital services.

David L. Cohen, Comcast’s executive vice president, told the panel that “in retrospect, we failed to communicate adequately our goals and to work cooperatively with our local partners to produce a ‘win’ for everyone.”  “That is not the way we want to do business — in Michigan or in the rest of the country — and I want to apologize for that,” he said.

Cohen said Comcast was “now engaged in friendly, and what I am sure ultimately will be fruitful, discussions” with Michigan officials, including Dearborn Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr., who also testified before the committee’s Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.  O’Reilly said he was hopeful that the parties could reach an agreement that would be “ironclad” for consumers.   —>
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080129/BIZ/801290460/1361
~

Letter to Tennessee PEG from TATOA
SaveAccess.org
01/30/08

Texas Association of Telecommunication Officers and Advisors (TATOA)
P.O. Box 1088, Austin, Texas 78767
January 22, 2008

Dear Tennessee colleagues:

I understand that you are considering legislation that would undo the current system of local franchising for cable television services in favor of a state-issued certificate for new entrants such as AT&T. Because Texas is frequently referenced by proponents of this legislation (such as AT&T and “astroturf” groups like TV4US) as a “success story” for state-issued franchising legislation, we felt it would be important to correct some popular misconceptions about our experience in the Lone Star State.

While there are those who suggest that usurping the traditional role of local officials in approving local franchises (which include anti-discrimination provisions, customer service standards and the carriage of public, educational and governmental channels) has showered the state of Texas with benefits without any costs whatsoever, the reality is in fact quite different.

For starters, video prices have not decreased anywhere near the 25 to 50 percent suggested by telephone companies. In fact, nearly every video provider operating in Texas has raised its prices in the past two years. This includes AT&T and Verizon, the major proponents of Texas SB 5. AT&T has raised the prices it charges for U-Verse, and Verizon has raised its rates for FiOS twice in the past year and a half, including a most recent price hike of 11.6 percent, leading one major analyst to comment that “the increase should serve as a reminder (in regulatory circles) that the forces driving price increases are not limited to a ‘lack of competition.’*”

Furthermore, in May 2007 the Texas Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors released a survey of cable rates from more than two dozen municipalities throughout Texas. Our results showed that in the more than two years since Texas passed SB 5, the vast majority of Texas residents have witnessed only further increases in the rates they pay for video service from both incumbent operators and new entrants like AT&T and Verizon.

Two and a half years since Texas passed SB 5, AT&T U-Verse service has been deployed in only parts of San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and Austin. Within those regions, we have little to no assurance that low- and middle-income neighborhoods will ever receive service, since state-issued franchise legislation exempted new entrants from anti-discrimination (or “build out”) obligations. We are not permitted to require AT&T to serve all residents or all income categories, and have no access to AT&T’s deployment plans. In short, we have little ability to protect low-income residents from discrimination that would deny them the benefits of competition to which their wealthier neighbors get access.

On top of these alarming trends, PEG channels have been put at risk of going dark. On January 5, 2006, Time Warner under its state-issued franchise dropped the City of San Antonio public access channel based on the argument that the City failed to provide eight hours of daily programming as required by SB5. It took 6 months of negotiations to get the channel back on the air. And when customers suffer from poor customer service or technical problems and place a call to their local municipality for help, state-issued franchise legislation prevents local officials from enforcing any customer service standards whatsoever.

As the first state in the nation to have state issued franchising, we have perhaps the best vantage point to assess the legislation’s strengths and weaknesses. Two and a half years later, there is little evidence of widespread investment throughout the State, competition or price cuts, and much evidence that the role of local officials in protecting consumers has been undermined.

Since day one, we have wholehearted endorsed the prospect of increased competition from telephone companies entering into the video business. Grande Communications has been successful in providing competition to Time Warner since the 1990s and Verizon received a franchise from the City of Keller and began offering its FIOS there before SB5 was passed. There is no evidence that local franchising is standing in their way of providing competition.

Many thanks for your consideration of our experiences, and best of luck in the 2008 legislative session.

Sincerely,
Margaret Somereve, TATOA President
* Bernstein Research, 11/20/2007
http://saveaccess.org/node/2132
~

Why the Airwaves Auction Matters to Progressives
by Tim Karr
Huffington Post
01/30/08

Believe it or not, we’re eight years into the 21st century and more than half of the people in America have either no Internet access at home or are stuck on dial-up. In the meantime, countries in Asia and Europe have outpaced us with faster connections at far cheaper prices.  This situation is unacceptable, but there’s still reason to hope that we can regain our spot as a world leader in Internet services. Much of this rests on the outcome of a complex airwaves auction that began less than a week ago.   —>
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/timothy-karr/why-the-airwaves-auction-_b_83979.html
~

Provisions DIY: Miro’s TV Democracy
by Gareth
Signal Fire
01/30/08

When I wrote my book Leo Laporte’s Guide to TiVo (which was really Gareth Branwyn’s Guide to TiVo — I wrote the book, he got his picture and name on the cover), I titled one of the chapters “DIY Network Programming.” I realized that, with TiVo’s ability (especially a hacked Series 1 TiVo) to search through the TV guide data and record only the shows you wanted, you were basically constructing your own TV channel out of all the content available, using Google-lite searches. Miro is that same technology, but applied to all of the video content of the Internet and it’s cross-platform, free and open source.

Miro, which was first named Democracy, was created by the Participatory Culture Foundation. It works on Windows, Macs, and Linux machines. The really amazing thing about it is that it can scoop up pretty much any video content across the Web, from YouTube, Google Video, and mainstream TV content online, to BitTorrent (peer-to-peer file sharing) to any video content that’s attached to an RSS feed, anywhere in cyberspace. I love the way it so seamlessly integrates mainstream commercial content, P2P content, and amateur content so that they all carry the same weight. Democratizing, indeed. The mission of the Participatory Culture Foundation is to bring the power to create, distribute, and view Internet TV to anyone who wants it. It’s TiVo meets Public Access TV meets Google… or something like that. It’s your next download.  Here to download Miro.   —>
http://wiki.provisionslibrary.org/blog/
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/12/08

January 13, 2008

Comcast too quick
by David Ashenfelter
Grand Rapids Press (MI)
01/12/08

Comcast Cable poorly handled the decision to change the channels for its public access, education and government (PEG) programming. That includes the rushed effective date — it begins Tuesday after only 60 days’ notice — to the company’s failure to consult with local government and school officials about the switch to the digital format.

Officials should delay the move, especially knowing that the change will mean an additional cost on those who currently don’t have the equipment to view the new channels. The PEG channels serve significant civic participation purposes, allowing people to view city and school board meetings. Comcast has shown a lack of common courtesy to those it serves. The public deserves much better.

…U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote Comcast of his concerns. A congressional hearing is now planned for Jan. 29 to look at the evolving ways cable operators are offering PEG services and whether they’re consistent with the Communications Act and Congress’s intent. That will be helpful to the process. —>
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/base/news-2/1200122128152460.xml&coll=6
~

Suit may block channel move
Comcast plans to move the public, education and government channels from their current locations in the double digits to the 900s.
by David Panian
Daily Telegram (MI)
01/11/08

Beginning Tuesday, Comcast viewers who check channels 20, 22 and 23 for local information might have to instead check channels 902, 915 and 916. Yes, channels in the 900s. Comcast customers with a converter box — the kind required to subscribe to digital channels, including premium channels like HBO — or a digital television will have no problem watching the local public, educational and governmental (PEG) channels, as they are called, after Comcast converts them to a digital format.

However, those who only get Comcast’s basic or expanded basic service will need to get a converter box if they like to check those channels for information such as trash collection dates and important phone numbers and educational programming from the Lenawee Intermediate School District. Comcast will provide one box per household for free for one year, but additional boxes will carry a rental fee. After one year, subscribers will have to pay for all of their boxes.

That is, unless a federal judge in Detroit issues a preliminary injunction against the move, as requested in a lawsuit filed Friday. The city of Dearborn, Meridian Township near Lansing and a Comcast basic tier subscriber from Haslett sued Comcast in U.S. District Court in Detroit, seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Comcast moving the channels from their current locations.

The lawsuit claims requiring a converter box would negatively affect the poor and elderly who cannot afford the rental fee and violates local franchises and federal law related to cable television. “There is no significant harm to defendants from maintaining the status quo,” the suit reads. “Defendants, or their parent, continues to provide the PEG channels as part of the basic service tier in most of the country, and the maintenance of the status quo merely continues that predominant practice.”

…The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, chaired by Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, also plans to call a hearing involving representatives of the cable industry, PEG programmers and others regarding how PEG services are offered, committee spokeswoman Jodi Seth said. Dingell, an author of the Communications Act that regulates the cable industry, raised concerns about Comcast’s decision to move the PEG channels in a letter to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

“Your intent to charge consumers as much as an additional $4.20 a month per television set to receive PEG channels is plainly inconsistent with Congressional intent that PEG channels be made available ‘at the lowest reasonable rate,’” Dingell wrote. “While I am sympathetic to your desire to provide additional services to your customers, it is important that you do so without denying my constituents reasonable access to the important programming provided by PEG channels and without treating PEG channels differently from local broadcast channels when both are required by statute to be part of Comcast’s basic tier of service.” —>
http://www.lenconnect.com/articles/2008/01/12/news/news01.txt
~

Show Your Support for Public Access in the Bronx
by Clarisel
Puerto Rico Sun (NY)
01/11/08

On January 17, the City of New York will hold a public hearing to discuss upcoming cable franchise renewal in the Bronx. BronxNet is the public access TV station and media center, serving the borough’s residents, students and public service organizations. Support BronxNet and community development through media.

When: 3-7 p.m. January 17, Hostos Community College — Repertory Theater, The East Academic Complex Building, 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx For more info, call (718) 960-1181.
http://prsun.blogspot.com/2008/01/in-mailbox-show-your-support-for-public.html
~

Creative Citizenry Through Community-Based Media: Jan 14, 2008, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
by Cathy Suroviak
Pacific University (OR)
01/11/08

Ms. River Branch, candidate for a tenure-track position in Media Arts, will lecture on “Transforming Visual and Aural Landscapes: Creative Citizenry Through Community-Based Media” on Monday, January 14, 2:30 to 3:30 in the Library Conference Room. —>
http://www.pacificu.edu/calendar/detail.cfm?CALENDAR_ID=3493
~

Coming soon to your living room: Do-it-all TVs
by Etan Horowitz
Orlando Sentinel
01/12/08

In the next few years, televisions are going to become more than a place to watch shows and movies. They will also serve as digital concierges. Home televisions will provide access to news and information — as well as thousands of photos, songs and videos — regardless of whether that content resides on a home computer, the Internet or an iPod.

The Consumer Electronics Show, which ended here Thursday, was full of television sets able to do all sorts of things: display photos and movies from a digital-camera memory card, connect to the Internet to play videos or access information, serve as an iPod dock, and more.

The trend is driven by manufacturers’ desire to tap into the popularity of other forms of digital entertainment and by a demand from consumers for an easier way to manage their growing arrays of photos, music and videos. It’s also recognition of the popularity of broadband Internet, wireless home networks and large, flat-screen televisions that often hang on the wall like artwork. —>
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment/tv/orl-tvnet1208jan12,0,7809510,print.story
~

CES 2008 Key Take-aways
by Shelly Palmer (1 comment)
Huffington Post
01/11/08

—> I could write a book about what I saw this week, but it all really falls into a few bullet points:

* Interoperability and simplicity were still not on display at CES.
* WirelessHD is here, sales will follow.
* CE manufacturers are committed to giving consumers easy ways to access content from the public Internet in a lean-back environment.
* Moore’s law is out the window as applied to storage capacity (which it was never meant to describe anyway).
* Wireless networks are more important than ever.
* Fragmentation of consumers by CE distribution platforms will overwhelm and immediately undermine content providers capacity to efficiently distribute.
* CE companies across the board have absolutely no idea that they have no idea about the financial structure of advertiser-supported media.
* If you can imagine an electronic device, it was probably on display at CES 2008.

…Everyone was also showing their version of OTT (over the top) IP-video-enabled TVs. These could be television sets with Ethernet connectors or wireless connectivity built-in, like the LG and Pioneer sets or, with a complete operating system and unique user interface like Sony’s Bravia Internet enabled sets. Sony has a content delivery schema and the system features video from major networks and even Media 3.0 with Shelly Palmer. Yep, we signed a distribution deal for our daily videos with Sony too.

The biggest problem with all of these OTT Internet plays is interoperability. There simply isn’t any. Video formats, advertising schemas, methodology and work flows all vary wildly from manufacturer to manufacturer. So, in practice, everything you are seeing is really only a specific solution under a specific set of circumstances. In other words, everyone is trying to sell their own separate ecosystem – this is truly unfortunate.

Perhaps the key take-away for CES this year is the overwhelming need for a set of standards for advanced media and video distribution. The CE industry needs to offer content distributors and consumers a comprehensive, interoperable set of technology solutions. Nobody is really going to be able to use this stuff at scale unless it all works together.

… Perhaps my favorite thing at the show was a new phone from Motorola called the Z-10. It has a complete video production and post-production studio built in. You can shoot stills or video at 3.2 megapixel resolution, edit (including transitions, music, narration, graphics, etc.) and then distribute (using the very well written Shozu software) your finished video to your YouTube account or to all of your accounts MySpace Video, Veoh, Vimeo, Revver, Flicker, etc. by just hitting one button. We’ve been talking about this kind of video production device for years, but to actually hold a working model in your hand is amazing. And, you can even use it to make a call. —>
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shelly-palmer/ces-2008-key-takeaways_b_81138.html
~

outside the box #135
Media Monarchy
01/12/08

here ( is the latest episode of “outside the box,” hosted by alex ansary. it was originally broadcast by portland community media on january 3, 2008.
from alex ansary: Alex discusses the recent allegations of vote fraud at the new hampshire primaries with Vicki Karp.
and here is the latest episode of “outside the box” on we the people radio network from january 12, 2008.
http://mediamonarchy.blogspot.com/2008/01/outside-box-135.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 – 01/11/08

January 12, 2008

[ Editor’s Note:  More and more press outlets are following blogs’ example by enabling comments on their stories.  Beginning with this issue, “Clippings” will show the number of comments at the time of our publication in parentheses behind the author’s name. Even where no comments are indicated, readers should know that many publications allow them nonetheless.  Whenever you have something to add, we encourage you to participate if possible. The more presence you can give to community media concerns, the better.- rm ]


Lawsuit filed to block Comcast channel moves
by David Ashenfelter
Detroit Free Press (MI)
01/11/08

The city of Dearborn and Meridian Township near Lansing sued Comcast cable in federal court in Detroit today to block a plan that would move local access channels up the dial on Tuesday and require non-digital basic subscribers to get digital converter boxes to continue receiving those channels.  “They are taking away a service that should be provided to subscribers,” said Deborah Guthrie, Meridian Township cable coordinator, after the suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.   —>
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080111/NEWS01/80111082/0/NEWS01
~

Comcast channel changes opposed
Bill in the works would force return to original format
by Christy Arboscello
Detroit Free Press (MI)
01/11/08

Michigan lawmakers are crafting a bill to reverse Comcast’s plan to exile public access programming from the low-numbered stations to digital-only channels positioned in the 900s.  State Reps. Tory Rocca, R-Sterling Heights, and Steve Bieda, D-Warren, are drafting the bill, which is to go before the Legislature next week. Although it won’t be introduced until after the cable provider’s Tuesday switch, if approved, the bill would require Comcast to revert to the original format.   —>
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080111/NEWS04/801110318/1001/NEWS
~

Comcast switch may limit GR’s election coverage
Grand Rapids Press (MI)
01/11/08

GRAND RAPIDS — Jon Koeze, administrator of the city’s cable television access Channel 26, does not score big ratings on most evenings.  Now he is afraid a switch by Comcast cable will ruin one of his biggest nights of the year Tuesday. Comcast’s channel changes planned for Tuesday  City cable subscribers who look for city results from Tuesday’s presidential primary election will not find them on Channel 26.  That is because Comcast is moving its public, educational and government channels to Channel 915 that same day.  Unless viewers have a converter box from Comcast or own the latest digital-compatible television, they will not be able to tune into Channel 915, Koeze said.

“People are going to tune into our channel, and it won’t be there,” said Koeze, who has been cable-casting election results on Channel 26 since 1998.  City Clerk Terri Hegarty said she is bracing for Comcast complaints once voters find out they cannot see the city results Tuesday night.  “I’m very concerned,” she said, adding she rarely sees an election night party where the city’s cable channel is not being watched.

Also disappointed is Jose Capeles, a junior at Central High School and student producer of television shows on Grand Rapids Public School’s educational station.  Capeles, who is working on an issues-oriented program that appears on Channel 27, said his parents and many of his friends will not be able to see his work when Comcast moves the programming to Channel 902.  “Our TV is an older model. It’s as old as me,” said the 17-year-old.

John Helmholdt, a spokesman for Grand Rapids Public Schools, said dozens of parents and students will miss out on viewing student programming, school board meetings and other programs the school system sends out over Channel 27.  Comcast is supposed to be partnering with the school’s public access channels, but most school officials learned of the switch by reading the newspaper, Helmholdt said.

The switch also is affecting the schools’ and city’s ability to use public access channels in their own facilities.  Though the city and schools have numerous televisions that are tuned to the public access channels for internal use, Comcast is offering them only one converter box per building.   —>
http://www.mlive.com/elections/michigan/index.ssf/2008/01/comcast_switch_may_limit_grs_e.html
~

Co-owner fears fate of HomeTown TV
He is concerned Channel 19 won’t survive if Comcast pushes it to digital cable
by Chris Sikich (6 comments)
Noblesville Ledger (MI)
01/11/08

Irv Heath switched to satellite TV a while back after being assured he would still receive all of his local channels.  But when the longtime Noblesville resident and businessman switched on his TV, he couldn’t find HomeTown Television Channel 19. “I told them to cut my service,” he said. Heath, 89, went back to cable.

Owned since 2002 by Rick and Nancy Vanderwielen and City Councilman Roy Johnson and his wife Judi, the station based in downtown Noblesville serves about 48,000 people in Hamilton County — none in Sheridan or Carmel — and about 2,000 in Tipton.  Rick Vanderwielen is concerned about HomeTown Television’s future under Comcast, which took over from Insight here Jan. 1.   —>
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080111/LOCAL/801110357/1015/LOCAL01
~

Fulton County investing in public-use studio
by D.L. Bennet
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
01/11/08

In an age when anyone with a hand-held video camera, editing software and a computer can produce clips for the Internet, Fulton County has decided to invest $175,000 to create a public-use TV studio.  Officials hope the investment will jump start a little-used public access cable training program that’s cost $134,000 over the past two years but trained just five potential producers.

County officials say the program’s gotten so little use because Comcast cable didn’t promote it and the company’s Chamblee studio was too far away for most potential users. Officials hope a new studio in south Fulton will spark interest.  “I think it was a great idea,” said Commissioner Bill Edwards, who’s district in south Fulton will house the county’s television production studio. “There is a need. And I think you will see more usage.”   —>
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/northfulton/stories/2008/01/11/cable0113.html
~

Still No Agreement for Villages/Verizon Franchise
Public Hearing Produced No Immediate Results
by Wendy Karpel Kreitzman
Manhasset Press (NY)
01/11/08

The Great Neck/North Shore Cable Commission’s Dec. 20 public hearing has yet to produce the 15 required signatures for the commission’s franchise agreement with Verizon. The 15 villages — Great Neck, Great Neck Estates, Great Neck Plaza, Kensington, Kings Point, Lake Success, Russell Gardens, Saddle Rock, Thomaston, Flower Hill, Munsey Park, North Hills, Plandome, Plandome Heights and Plandome Manor — all had quorums at the public hearing, but at this time, all 15 villages must approve the franchise agreement before it is finalized and some villages held over their hearings until their January meetings…

First, Cablevision broached the subject of funding for PATC (public access television), and how Verizon will use a “per subscriber” method, which, he said, will produce an unpredictable income. Cablevision, he said, “would be unlikely to do this.”  Cablevision also raised the issue of interconnection, stating that Verizon only wants to pay the costs to “plug in,” to interconnect, and does not want to pay for what Cablevision already has in place.  And Cablevision also said that there is no “enforceable commitment” from Verizon regarding the “build-out,” actually providing lines to provide the service. The process is slated as taking up to five years, with no exact timetable for any areas.   —>
http://www.antonnews.com/manhassetpress/2008/01/11/news/verizon.html
~

Fremont nears end of cable contract negotiations
Cost of new Exeter-Fremont line pegged at $26K
by Katleen D. Bailey
Rockingham News (NH)
01/11/08

The Town of Fremont is nearing the end of contract negotiations with Comcast, the town’s cable television provider.  The Fremont Cable Access/Contract Renewal Committee held a public hearing on the new contract Thursday night…  The committee’s intent is to expand the services offered by Cable Channel 22 to include live broadcasts of town meetings and events. The channel currently offers a bulletin board and taped rebroadcasts of meetings.   —>
http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080111/NEWS/801110325/-1/NEWS
~

Town works to bring local access TV to AT&T’s new service
Greenwich Post (CT)
01/11/08

AT&T has begun to install their television service in portions of Riverside and Old Greenwich. At this time, AT&T’s “U-Verse” service does not carry Greenwich’s government access channel.  However, Channel 79 has already begun the process to have government access carried on AT&T’s U-Verse service in the near future. As this is a new service in Connecticut, Greenwich will most likely be the first government access channel to be carried.   —>
http://www.acorn-online.com/news/publish/greenwich/27501.shtml
~

Cable franchise fee hike good for city
by Mark Looker
Modesto Bee (CA)
01/11/08

The Modesto City Council is to be commended for raising the cable TV franchise fee from 3 percent to its full legal limit of 5 percent. It is an action the council should have taken years ago and reflects a common-sense approach to fiscal responsibility.

Likewise, it is hoped the council will act wisely in implementing the new state cable law known as the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act. In doing so, the council would fulfill the city’s strategic plan to “provide equal access to local public television for all sectors of the community.” It is a goal that is shared equally by the public, government and education communities.
http://www.modbee.com/opinion/letters/story/176923.html
~

For-profit TV ads might violate law
Spots on Oak Island public access are questioned
by Shannan Bowen
Star News (NC)

The town of Oak Island uses a public access channel to broadcast town meetings and announcements, but there’s a chance that advertisements showing up on the channel violate federal laws.  Town Attorney Brian Edes said he is investigating the matter and hopes to have an opinion early next week on whether the public access channel is allowed to run advertisements.

Former Mayor Helen Cashwell said she made a complaint in December to the Federal Communications Commission stating that a local salesman was selling advertising on Channel 8, the town’s public access channel.  The FCC responded that federal rules prohibit announcements that promote the sale of goods and services of for-profit entities in return for consideration paid to the station.

According to FCC rules and regulations, “no promotional announcements on behalf of for-profit entities shall be broadcast at any time” on noncommercial educational television stations.  But it is unclear whether Oak Island’s Channel 8 falls under the category of educational TV stations…    —>
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20080111/NEWS/801110412/-1/RSS
~

Hillary Clinton’s Lobbyist Driven Telecom Plans
by Matt Stoller (49 comments)
Huffington Post
01/10/08

Excuse me for a second while I delve into something substantive.  I’ve written about Obama’s transformative proposals on media and contrasted them to Hillary Clinton’s ‘Connect America’ plan to expand broadband access, which is based on a private-public partnership model called Connect Kentucky.  Well, it turns out that Connect Kentucky is basically a fraudulent front group funded by government grants set up by telecom interests to advance their legislatve agenda and lie about internet access.  And what Clinton wants to do is spread it nationwide.   —>
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-stoller/hillary-clintons-lobbyis_b_80990.html
~

Clinton And McCain On Globalization, Technology
by Mary Hayes Weier (5 comments)
InformationWeek
01/10/08

The morning after the Iowa caucus results, I shared with you what Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama are saying about technology and globalization. The focus has shifted over to Hillary Clinton and John McCain after the results in New Hampshire’s primary. Here’s what those presidential candidates have to say about those topics…

Clinton also laments the U.S.’s comparably poor deployment of broadband.

“Under the Bush administration, the country that invented the Internet has slipped to 25th in the global rankings for broadband deployment. In order to accelerate the deployment of sophisticated networks, Hillary Clinton proposes that the federal government provide tax incentives to encourage broadband deployment in underserved areas. She also proposes financial support for state and local broadband initiatives. Various municipal broadband initiatives are under way around the country to accelerate the deployment of high-speed networks. The initiatives are useful for education, commerce, technology development, and the efficient provision of municipal services.”   —>
http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2008/01/clinton_and_mcc.html
~

Cable Customers Leaving For Internet TVs? If Price Is Right
by Wayne Friedman (2 comments)
Media Post’s TV Watch
01/11/08

Will TV consumers abandon cable systems for Internet-capable TV sets? This all seems like a big jump; but remember, entertainment consumers saunter.  Cable operators used to fear that the satellite distributors would be their biggest threat. To a lesser extent, the immediate threat comes from phone companies-backed IPTV and IPTV-like programming services.

Now, for some cable customers there are too many programming choices that aren’t used often enough, and high monthly prices — $100 and more. All this has forced some angry people to consider options like leaving the traditional TV distribution system behind.

At the CES, many companies indicated they would like to take up the slack. SlingMedia talked up technology that would take content from the Internet and send it to any TV screen. Sony, Sharp and Panasonic are making televisions where you can directly plug in an Internet connection.   —>
http://blogs.mediapost.com/tv_watch/?p=856
~

MEDIA-THAILAND:  Interference Mars Community Radio
by Lynette Lee Corporal, Asia Media Forum
Inter Press Service
01/11/08

BANGKOK (IPS) – Pride evident in his voice, Weerapol Charoenthum expressed his satisfaction with ‘Maung Loei’, a community radio station run by the youth of the north-eastern Thai province of Loei.  The station is among about a dozen that are part of Loei Community Networks, whose concept entails using radio as a means to teach children how to be responsible citizens and gives adults a way to “listen to what the children have to say” about different issues, explains Weeraphol, coordinator of the networks.

“Community radio has opened up communication channels for people and although we continue to face problems such as lack of funds, we are quite happy with what we have done so far,” Weerapol said in a lecture on community radio this week at Chulalongkorn University here.  “There is no question about the desire of local communities to express themselves through small media. It is a global phenomenon. But this is complicated by challenges coming from different sides, including changes in technology, that we don’t see the future clearly,” explained Prof Drew McDaniel, director for international studies of Ohio University.

Flourishing in the years following the media reforms provided in Thailand’s 1997 constitution, community radio became quite popular during ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s administration.  Years later, these local stations continue to experience birthing pains brought about by challenges posed by licensing, funding, programming goals — and freedom of expression.   —>
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=40752
~

Vegan Caesar Salad
Food World Guide
01/11/08

—>   Enter Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero (of public access television’s Post Punk Kitchen with their recently released, and much acclaimed, vegan cookbook – Veganomicon.   —>
http://foodworldguide.com/main/vegan-caesar-salad-2103/
~

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