Archive for the ‘Kevin Martin’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/10/08

March 11, 2008

Sevierville BOMA among opponents of AT&T proposal
by Derek Hodges
The Mountain Press (TN)
03/10/08

[ comments allowed ]

That vote was conveyed to state lawmakers representing the area and was done immediately following a request from AT&T representative Dennis Wagner that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen support the move.  It was Wagner’s second appearance before BOMA; both times he got a negative reaction. Mayor Bryan Atchley said he expects the board’s opinion won’t change.

“Cities across the state have taken the position that it is not unreasonable to ask AT&T to follow the rules as they have applied to the other companies for 25 or more years,” Atchley said. “It is a little more difficult for them, but it’s not something they can’t do.”  Atchley says the current system does not inhibit competition. To illustrate that, he points out the city itself is studying the idea of offering cable service. The very fact the city can do it shows state laws don’t limit where cable companies can offer their services, Atchley said.  Further, the mayor said city leaders have other concerns. Chief among them: losing franchise fees and local channels…

While Sevierville city leaders may not be pleased with the proposal, AT&T has offered compromises that seem to have appeased established cable companies, which started out as the bill’s biggest opponents.  The sticking point for the cable companies was not that the move will introduce competition, but that the first bill didn’t give cable companies the same statewide franchise license. However, a provision has been added to the bill that would allow for equal treatment.

With that compromise, the cable companies seem resigned to accept what they now see as an inevitability.  “It’s the will of the General Assembly that they’re going to have that law in place after this session,” said Nick Paulis, state director of government relations for Charter Communications. “At the end of the day, what we want is a level playing field.”   —>
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19376352&BRD=1211&PAG=461&dept_id=169689&rfi=6
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County’s legislators support change to help AT&T
by Derek Hodges
The Mountain Press (TN)
03/10/08

[ comments allowed ]

“I’ve gotten more correspondence from voters on this one issue than I have about anything else since I got elected,” State Sen. Raymond Finney, R-Maryville, said. “I’ve been amazed at just how strongly people feel about this.”  State Rep. Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville, notes Finney wasn’t in Nashville as officials debated the creation of an income tax, an issue that drew response from every corner of the state. Still, Montgomery said he, too, has gotten a lot of response on AT&T’s proposal to allow state-issued cable franchising.

“I have had a lot of citizens call me, write me and talk to me about this,” Montgomery said. “Most of them have been in favor of the change. The way we do cable now, it’s like saying we’re only going to allow one grocery store to operate in Sevier County. It doesn’t really make sense for them to go to every county for licenses when they’ve got the ability to serve the whole state. At the end of the day, we have to listen to both sides of the issue and decide what’s best for the 80,000 people living in Sevier County.”   —>
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19376349&BRD=1211&PAG=461&dept_id=169689&rfi=6
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[ Here’s an article on a community’s cable franchising process that spends more than the usual amount of time on PEG access and related concerns. – rm ]

Town specifies its cable needs
by Donna Boynton
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)
03/10/08

[ 4 comments ]

GRAFTON— The town has advanced in the cable licensing process with Verizon, issuing a detailed report outlining the town’s needs weeks ahead of schedule.  The Board of Selectmen initiated licensing proceedings with Verizon New England Inc. in October, and Verizon submitted an application for a cable license Nov. 29.

The Issuing Authority Report approved by the Board of Selectmen last week is the town’s response to Verizon’s initial application and is a detailed account of what the town’s needs are, according to Robert Hassinger, chairman of the Cable Advisory Committee. The committee worked to draft the report with Town Administrator Natalie T. Lashmit.

The report was due March 21. Verizon now has 30 days to respond to the report, and then the negotiating period begins. The Board of Selectmen approves and issues the license.  If negotiations are successful, Verizon cable services could be offered in Grafton in the fall, said Mr. Hassinger.

The specifications in the report are based on the existing license with Charter Communications, in keeping with the legal requirement to negotiate “on a level playing field.” The report also recognizes that some of the terms of the Charter contract are outdated, such as the needs of the public access TV channels, and contains additional specifications.  Mr. Hassinger said Verizon’s recently completed negotiations with Westboro will serve as a model for how Verizon and Charter can work together.

Grafton’s pact with Charter is seven years old, and the town has initiated the renegotiation process with Charter. That process is different from the licensing process with Verizon.  The town has told both Charter and Verizon that, among other things, it will need a new, larger cable studio and new equipment.

The Issuing Authority Report also states that the town is interested in a 10-year contract, though the town can be flexible on that term. Verizon initially indicated it was interested in a 15-year contract, Mr. Hassinger said  The report states the town will need one-time payments of $375,000 for public access capital for the 10-year license or $562,500 for a 15-year license. The new cable studio is among the capital needs.

The report also asks that Verizon support public, educational and government access programming, also known as PEG access, by providing at least three channels. The report asks Verizon to detail how those channels will work in concert with those already provided by Charter. Additionally, the town asks Verizon to define how digital cable will affect PEG access broadcasts, given that current PEG access programs are broadcast in analog format.

The town also is asking that Verizon keep existing channels at the same channel numbers, making it more convenient for subscribers and the public, as well as a detailed explanation of the packages to be offered to subscribers.

In addition, the town is requesting detailed explanations of the construction, installation and overall subscriber network. Verizon is being asked to offer free service and outlets to the municipal buildings and the schools, and free or discounted Internet service to those buildings.

The report also discusses the town’s need for a fiber-optic institutional network, or I-Net, for high-speed data, video and voice transmission. The existing I-Net was built in 1983 and is outdated and unreliable. That service will be for all town buildings, including the Community Barn on Wheeler Road, which is often used for municipal purposes.  The report notes that the School Department is particularly concerned with having the ability to broadcast from the high school, and having the capability to offer archived, “on demand” educational access programming.   —>
http://www.telegram.com/article/20080310/NEWS/803100550/1101
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Cable Deals, cont’d
by Jeff
Wormtown Taxi (MA)
03/10/08

[ comments allowed ]

Grafton is not at all like Worcester when it comes to the process of negotiating with a cable company. Today’s article in the T&G describing the current point in that process between Grafton and Verizon certainly illustrates that.

Where the process in Grafton is transparent and easily understood, the so-called process in Worcester is thoroughly opaque and pretty much in the secretive hands of only one person (the city manager). Where the concerns of the public access, educational, and government access channels are an important and openly addressed issue in Grafton, any specific attention on the PEG channels in Worcester appears to have been completely downplayed in any public discussion, and apparently omitted from the contract so that the city can use whatever funding they get for whatever they feel like spending it on… whenever they feel like spending it.

I sincerely hope that the city will, at some point, allay my fears that the community access TV station in Worcester is on the chopping block. I look forward to some point in Worcester’s new cable contract faux process that will reveal what so far has been hidden, …namely, what the community access station has to look forward to over the next five years of this new contract with Charter, as well as what lies beyond.

Quite frankly, the utter lack of any definitive public utterances from City Hall on this particular subject has reached the point where I, for one, find this whole thing mostly (and very offensively) indicative of there being something to hide.    —>
http://www.wormtowntaxi.com/2008/03/cable-deals-contd.html
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Siouxland Community Media gives students hands-on training
by Earl Horlyk
Sioux City Journal (IA)
03/10/08

[ comments allowed ]

Moments before he was due to go on the air, Tony Ullrich discovered he couldn’t read the TelePrompTer.  “Lemme see your eyeglasses,” he motioned to Tonya Woehler.  “We share everything around here,” Woehler, a volunteer member of the skeletal television crew, joked. “Even eyewear, apparently.”  Welcome to public-access television.  And welcome to Siouxland Community Media.

Started in 2006, Siouxland Community Media produces programming that is either produced or sponsored by local nonprofit organizations or individuals. It can be seen by CableONE subscribers in Sioux City, North Sioux City and Sergeant Bluff daily from 6 a.m. to noon and from 8 p.m. to midnight.  The programming can also be accessed on YouTube.

“Things like this have a way of happening on ‘Series Night,'” production manager Ben Rouse said of the eyeglass snafu. “I see things are just going according to plan.”  “Series Night” is when the production company tapes Ullrich’s weekly “Focus On The Community” as well as the monthly “Extension Connection” (also hosted by Ullrich and sponsored by Woodbury County’s Iowa State University Extension Office), “It’s Someone You Know,” produced by the Council On Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence and “Workers Have Rights Too,” hosted by labor activist Dick Sturgeon.

“This is our marathon night,” noted Deanna Dirks, who’s acting as the evening’s technical director. “This is when we tape the shows back to back to back.”  For not-for-profit organizations such as the domestic violence council, free or reduced-rate exposure on cable public access has proved to be invaluable.  “Our marketing budget is getting tighter all the time,” development director Brooke Goodwin said. “Knowing that our organization has a regular TV presence has been very exciting.”

So has the Internet exposure.  “Knowing that folks from around the world can access our videos on YouTube is a little bit nerve wracking,” Goodwin admitted, “but it certainly helps us to get our message out.”  For Siouxland Community Media, it’s important to give nonprofit organizations the tools they need to produce programming.

Equally important to Rouse is the company’s commitment to providing his all-student crew with the nuts-and-bolts experience of television production.  “We’ve had students from both Morningside College and Western Iowa Tech Community College,” he explained. “We’ve even had kids from East High School seek us out for internships.”   —>
http://www.siouxcityjournal.com/articles/2008/03/10/news/top/02bfa4b4346666b886257408000504ac.txt
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Postal inspectors in Chicago target scams with public-access TV show
by Jeff Coen
Chicago Tribune (IL)
03/10/08

[ 1 comments ]

In a bid to counter the growing number of fake-check scams, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago is branching out to a new medium: public-access television.  Inspectors plan to air a new show at least each month offering advice to consumers. “Don’t Fall For It” will be hosted by Tom Brady, the inspector-in-charge for Chicago.  The agency launched its new effort this month on CAN-TV, focusing the first show on what investigators say is the leading scam in Chicago. The scams involve con artists sending out counterfeit checks, trying to persuade victims to wire back part of the money before realizing the checks have bounced.

Postal inspectors are producing the show inexpensively at their Chicago headquarters in a studio they typically use to make in-house training videos. They hope to reach a new audience as they try to educate the public.  “Whatever we can do to put the scammers out of business is what I want to do,” Brady said.   —>
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-postal-tv-showmar10,1,1206369.story
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Local TV show sheds light on mental illness
UU minister conducts mental health ministry via public access TV (CA)
by Jane Greer
uuworld.org
03/10/08

Kathryn Lum was describing what it was like as a person with mental illness to first feel the positive affects of medication. “I remember for the first time lying in bed feeling like I had just been thrown up on the shore,” she told the cameras. “I had been shipwrecked and the waves had been crashing over me and I had been struggling to keep afloat. Then I found myself on the beach and resting. Feeling peace for the first time.”

Lum, who has schizoaffective disorder, was a guest on a new public access cable TV program called “Mental Health Matters—Alameda County,” which debuted last fall. The show is trying to counter the stigma and prejudice often attached to mental illness by talking with people who actually suffer from various conditions as well as with family and loved ones who live with them.

The monthly TV show is the brainchild of the Rev. Barbara Meyers, a UU community minister associated with Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fremont, Calif. As a community minister, Meyers’ work takes her outside the church and into the community. Her own particular ministry centers on mental health issues. “With as many as 20 percent of the populace living with a mental health problem at any one time, there is a lot of needless suffering that could be alleviated with more information and understanding,” she wrote in a press release for the show.

The series of 30-minute programs is broadcast on Comcast public access channels in Alameda County, Calif. The first show focused on the stigma frequently attached to mental illness. Succeeding programs have been devoted to suicide, schizophrenia, recovery, bipolar disorder, and African American mental health. Each show concludes with a list of resources for people interested in finding out more.   —>
http://www.uuworld.org/news/articles/102032.shtml
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Journalism in the Hands of the Neighborhood (PA)
by Noam Cohen
New York Times
03/10/08

PHILADELPHIA — “We are uncomfortable with the term ‘citizen journalism,’ ” said Todd Wolfson, 35, a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the organizers of the Media Mobilizing Project in Philadelphia. “We prefer the term ‘community journalism.’ ”

Citizen journalism has become the faddish name for the effort to encourage regular folk to use the Internet to report the news directly, but Mr. Wolfson had a point: many of the people whom his organization and an immigrant rights group, Juntos, are teaching to make video reports for streaming on the Internet are not citizens. Many are not even legal residents.  The hope, however, is that they can be journalists.

The classes are supported by a $150,000 news challenge grant from the Knight Foundation in Miami, which is donating a total of $25 million over five years “for innovative ideas using digital experiments to transform community news.”   —>
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/10/technology/10link.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
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We’re Not All ‘Citizen Journalists’
by Sara Melillo
McCormick Media Matters (MN)
03/10/08

[ comments allowed ]

—>   The Media Mobilizing Project isn’t the only initiative trying to train and disseminate news from community members and ethnic media. Check out Twin Cities Daily Planet (www.tcdailyplanet.net), an MTF grantee, which has been training and disseminating content from ethnic and community media in the Twin Cities for several years. The Daily Planet’s recently re-designed Web site features some new multimedia options and its network of contributors continues to grow.
http://mccormickmediamatters.blogspot.com/2008/03/were-not-all-citizen-journalists.html
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Report from the Queens hearing of the Broadband Advisory Committee
by Joshua Breitbart
Civil Defense – a weblog (NY)
03/10/08

[ 2 comments ]

The NYC Broadband Advisory Committee held its fourth public hearing on Monday, March 3, at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. Much thanks to Joly MacFie of the New York Greater Metropolitan Area chapter of the Internet Society for documenting the hearing. His detailed summary and a full audio recording is available on the ISOC-NY website (scroll to the bottom for the audio).

The highlight for me was when former Senator Larry Pressler, who authored the 1996 Telecommunications Act said, “If it is found that in New York City the spectrum and the broadband is not totally out there, that would be a tale that needs to be told.” Indeed.

Councilmember Brewer asked him a question about E-Rate, the federal program to fund Internet access in schools and libraries, and he agreed that it needs to be revisited. As it is now, the federal government tightly restricts E-Rate funds so they can’t even be used to cover access for administrators; they can’t pay for necessary hardware or training; and they can’t support public access, even though schools pay for bandwidth to be available 100% of the time while school is only in session about 15% of the time. In other words, E-Rate is easy money for the big Internet service providers.

If the BAC, or even just Brewer, is pondering reforms to federal policy, that is an extremely positive development. To date, very few municipal broadband task forces have addressed themselves to this area, even though there are many current regulations that hamstring their efforts to improve local infrastructure and expand high speed Internet access. Any worthwhile municipal broadband plan must include policy reform at the federal level.   —>
http://breitbart.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/bac-in-queens/
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FCC chief Martin hasn’t lost focus on cable
by Paul Davidson
USA TODAY
03/10/08

[ 2 comments ]

WASHINGTON — If Kevin Martin, the Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is smarting from bruising battles last year with fellow commissioners, Congress and the cable industry, he’s showing no signs of it.

Last November, commissioners of both political parties accused him of concealing key information that undercut his push for a finding that could have led to sweeping regulation of the cable TV industry. Following other complaints that Martin doesn’t give commissioners enough time to vote on certain proposals, a House committee launched an investigation into whether the agency conducts its business openly and fairly.

Generally known as a shrewd consensus-builder, Martin seems undaunted by the ruckus. And he still has the cable industry in his sights. In an interview, he said he’s determined as ever to do something about soaring cable TV prices. And he says the agency doesn’t need to pass new rules to crack down on Comcast (CMCSA) if it determines the cable giant unfairly impedes Internet traffic.  “Working with all the commissioners is always difficult and always challenging,” the soft-spoken 41-year-old says of the turmoil as he sips tea. “But you always have to regroup and say, ‘OK, how do we now try to move forward?’ ”

As for criticism about his communication style, Martin, whose tenure could be in its final months with a new president taking office next January, says he’s not “doing anything differently than what any other chairman has done.”  Still, in recent months, Martin has arranged daily meetings between his staff and those of commissioners and started publicizing agenda items three weeks before a meeting. Previously, an agenda came out a week before the meeting.   —>
http://www.usatoday.com/money/media/2008-03-10-fcc-martin_N.htm
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/14/08

February 17, 2008

AT&T’s TV plans don’t click, advocates say
Changes to public channels worry Media Center, city
by Becky Trout
Palo Alto Online (CA)
02/13/08

[ comments allowed ]

Within months, AT&T Inc. plans to begin offering television service in Palo Alto over phone lines, introducing a new format for local programming that has the cable experts at the Midpeninsula Community Media Center and City of Palo Alto concerned.

When AT&T introduces its television service — called U-verse — public, educational and government (PEG) channels will have a lower resolution and be harder to find than its commercial channels, Community Media Center Executive Director Annie Folger said.  “They don’t want to spend the money,” Folger said…  Among the problems, Folger said, the programs are hard to get to and the shows only fill one-quarter of the screen. It can be blown up to fill the entire television, but then appears blurry, she said.

All PEG channels are available on AT&T’s Channel 99, Peterson explained.  Viewers click “OK,” which triggers a list of cities to appear, according to AT&T documents. After scrolling through the cities, and selecting one, viewers than select which PEG channel they wish to watch.

Folger said the Channel 99 menu takes 45 to 90 seconds to load and burdens viewers with scrolling through dozens of city names.  “You’ll have to be very, very motivated and extremely patient to actually find the channel you are looking for,” Folger said…

Comcast also doesn’t approve of AT&T’s PEG format.  Vice President of Communications Andrew Johnson said AT&T’s Channel 99 plan violates PEG regulations.  “We certainly hope the new competitor will be forced to operate under the same rules and regulations,” Johnson said Monday.  He said Comcast has no plans to change its delivery of PEG channels.   —>
http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?story_id=7708
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Editorial: Comcast Cable changes channels again
The Journal Newspapers (MI)
02/14/08

[ comments allowed ]

After apologizing for a widely criticized attempt to move PEG (Public Education and Government) channels out of range of most viewers, officials from Comcast Cable tried another approach on Friday.  They told members of the Conference of Western Wayne that they were trying to do them a favor.

The criticized change was to move PEG channels to the 900 range, where they would be seen in digital high definition. Everything would look better, according to Comcast officials, and it preceded a mandated change that would happen in a year or so anyway. Plus, it would allow the company to remain competitive with satellite dish services, which already provide more digital programming than most cable providers.

The problem with it was that it would leave some 400,000 customers unable to view the channels, since most televisions are not capable of accessing the channel—without a digital converter box, anyway. That box, which initially would be provided for free, would ultimately cost customers an additional $4 a month.

Not surprisingly, the members of the Conference of Western Wayne were unconvinced by this new line.

Representatives from other video franchises were on hand, too.  Throughout this public relations debacle, they have taken the right approach. They’ve sat back and watched the reaction to the Comcast move, probably to see if they should give it a shot or not. The answer? Not yet.

Competition will remain an important part of this emerging industry. In theory, that was the goal of the state wide video franchise legislation when it was introduced and approved last year. It just hasn’t worked out to the benefit of residents, yet, and that’s been our concern all along.   —>
http://www.journalgroup.com/Opinion/7002/comcast-cable-changes-channels-again
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Bill provides for cable channel compromise
by Scott Spielman
The Journal Newspapers (MI)
02/14/08

[ comments allowed ]

Legislation has been introduced that will keep Public, Educational and Government (PEG) channels available to all cable viewers—for now.  House Bills 5693 and 5667 would address a recent proposal from the Comcast Cable company to move those channels up into the 900 range—and out of easy access to hundreds of thousands of cable subscribers….

House Bill 5693 would amend the act to dictate that cable providers must keep their government channels available to subscribers without requiring them to need additional equipment.  —>

[ There is a very serious confusion taking place here and elsewhere, no doubt being promoted by the cable industry.  The story goes on to say, “HB 5667 would make the stipulation that it is only until February, 2009, when federal mandates require all cable to be digital, anyway.”

However, there is *no* federal mandate requiring cable to be digital in February 2009.  It is *broadcast* television that is facing this DTV transition deadline.  Cable operators’ plans to convert to digital are driven entirely by economics, and have nothing to do with any federal requirements.  – rm ]
http://www.journalgroup.com/Belleville/6974/bill-provides-for-cable-channel-compromise
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Is Public TV In Peril?
by Todd Morehead
Columbia City Paper (SC)
02/14/08

[ comments allowed ]

—>   Lost in the fray, so far, have been the implications for public television. Some large cable companies are using the digital transition as a means to remove public television channels from their basic cable packages and are lobbying for legislation that may remove license fee funding for those channels.

Late last month, John Dingell (D-Mich.) went before the congressional Commerce Telecommunications Subcommittee in response to cable giant Comcast’s actions in his home state. The hearing centered around the public, educational and governmental (PEG) channels in Michigan that were slated to be removed from basic cable packages, since the company switched to an all digital format.   PEG channels consist of public access programming, cover local government and schools—like the Columbia city council meetings that Time Warner Cable airs locally on channel 2 and the Richland school district information aired on channel 12.

In Michigan, Comcast planned to bump the PEG channels—still broadcasting in analog until next year—up near the 900 channel range thus making them no longer accessible to the general public and only available to subscribers of the more expensive digital cable service tier, an action that would have effected an estimated 1.3 million viewers…

Nancy Horne, president of the S.C. Cable TV Association, says PEG channels in South Carolina should continue to be available to all cable subscribers, both basic and high end.  “Our state law requires that PEG channels be carried on the lowest tier [or subscriber package] available to the consumer,” she says. “So, you might get a PEG channel with a high number, but it would still be carried through the basic tier.”

According to Horne, under the state law there is no requirement for PEG support. Before the law was passed, individual PEG channels may or may not have made agreements with the cable company and the local or municipal franchising authorities. If those deals included support for PEG channels prior to the 2006 bill, those contracts should be honored until they expire, according to the new legislation.         http://www.columbiacitypaper.com/2008/2/14/is-public-tv-in-peril
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Editorial: County Board meetings on TV
by Terry Davis
Hutchinson Leader (MN)
02/14/08

[ comments allowed ]

Showing public meetings on TV is good for democracy. McLeod County has an opportunity to make sure taxpayers never miss a single meeting.  The Hutchinson Community Video Network will begin taping and showing McLeod County Board meetings starting next week. That’s good news for taxpayers who want to see how county decisions are made.

The tapings are a generous gesture by HCVN, which has agreed to do the tapings on a trial basis for six months. It will cost a good deal of money for Hutchinson’s local public access channel to send an employee to each board meeting.

We believe the county should pay HCVN for its costs. And we believe the tapings should continue indefinitely beyond the initial six months.  That should not surprise anyone who has read this page for the past several years. Repeatedly, we have asked the County Board to set aside money for the taping to its meetings. Repeatedly, the board has chosen to ignore our recommendation…

— Almost every other major public body in our region is already demonstrating its transparency to taxpayers. Almost every county surrounding McLeod County — Stearns, Kandiyohi, Renville, Sibley and Carver — videotape their meetings for taxpaying viewers at home. The Hutchinson City Council and District 423 School Board wouldn’t think of conducting a regular meeting without having the public access television cameras there.   —>
http://www.hutchinsonleader.com/news/opinion/editorial-county-board-meetings-tv-6614
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Town of Ulster Steps Up to the Plate
by Richard Cahill
Cahill on Kingston (NY)
02/14/08

[ 11 comments ]

Blaber News and Commentary has broken a huge story concerning Public Access Television. Nick Woerner, the Supervisor for the Town of Ulster, announced earlier this evening that he is proposing to the Town of Ulster Board that $5,000.00 be given to save public access!!!  This is wonderful news. Kudos to Nick Woerner and the Town of Ulster for their generosity and sense of public duty.

Jim Sottile and the Common Council did not step up, but the Town of Ulster did. Perhaps now Kingston will recognize its part and do the right thing.   —>
http://cahillonkingston.blogspot.com/2008/02/town-of-ulster-steps-up-to-plate.html
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Augusta: Cable costs rankle clients
by Keith Edwards
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel (ME)
02/14/08

City councilors grilled the “cable guy” recently over Time Warner’s rate increase and other concerns… Through the franchise agreement, Time Warner pays the city about $200,000 a year, half of which funds a multimedia program at Capital Area Technical Center. The remainder helps cover the cost of broadcasting City Council and other meetings, and some goes into the city’s general fund, according to City Manager William Bridgeo.   —>
http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/news/local/4763821.html
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Cable access group reports latest findings
East Oregonian
02/13/08

[ comments allowed ]

Pendelton – The local cable access task force will discuss its latest findings on creating a public access television channel for Pendleton at 3 p.m. Thursday in the administrative Conference Room at city hall, 500 S.W. Dorion Ave.  The city council approved the task force in November last year to examine how a public access channel would function for Pendleton.    —>
http://www.eastoregonian.info/main.asp?SectionID=13&SubSectionID=48&ArticleID=73207&TM=26493.6
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BITV Says Budget Dispute Will Suspend Programming
by Tristan Baurick
The Kitsap Sun (WA)
02/14/08

[ 3 comments ]

Coverage of local government may soon disappear from TV screens across Bainbridge Island.  The public access station Bainbridge Island Television announced on Thursday it may suspend its cable and Internet coverage of city meetings. BITV and the city are deadlocked over the conditions for renewing a service contract that ended Dec. 31. BITV wants a larger share of cable fees to fund expanded and basic services. The city says it’s cash strapped and plans to reduce its financial support for the station by 10 percent.   —>
http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/feb/14/bitv-says-budget-dispute-will-suspend/
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Eshoo Takes Martin to Task Over Cable Policies
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Defends His Treatment of Industry at House Hearing
by John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable
02/13/08

Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin defended his cable-regulation policies in a House hearing Wednesday after Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) peppered him with a list of what appeared to her to be anti-cable efforts.  She said she did not know what cable had done to enrage Martin but they needed to have a conversation about it, sounding like a schoolteacher telling a student he did not get along well with others.   —>
http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6532120.html?rssid=193
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Cox Communications Can Put Leased-Access Channels on Digital Tier
Leased Access Programmers Association President Charlie Stogner Disagrees with FCC Order
by John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable
02/14/08

[ 2 comments ]

The Federal Communications Commission concluded that Cox Communications can place the content of leased-access programmer RETV (Real Estate TV) on its digital tier.  That’s according to Charlie Stogner, president of the Leased Access Programmers Association, who said he received an e-mail to that effect from the FCC Thursday.

Stogner had been pushing the FCC for a response to the complaint, which was filed in March of last year, but it was not the response he was looking for. He said he wants the commission to reconsider the decision.  According to a copy of the order Stogner supplied to B&C, the FCC concluded that because Cox’s New Orleans system has more than 50% digital subscribership, it does not violate the leased-access rules.   —>
http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6532683.html?industryid=47170
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Fans of open access not optimistic on 700MHz auction results
by Thomas Wilburn
Ars Technica
02/14/08

[ 6 comments ]

Meeting in a panel for journalists and Senate staffers in Washington DC, open network advocates expressed their apprehension in the days leading up to the completion of the FCC’s broadcast spectrum auction. That auction, which covers 62MHz of broadcast frequency in the 700MHz band, comes as television broadcasters are vacating their analog channels for the federally-mandated transition to digital, which must occur by 2009. Two of the channel “blocks,” labeled the C and D blocks, will be licensed on a national basis—Block C with open access requirements—making them very interesting to companies looking to build or expand high-speed wireless broadband services.

“We feel like the 700MHz auction was probably the most significant event at the FCC in the decade, and certainly the most significant spectrum auction in history,” said Ben Scott, Policy Director for Free Press, “and yet most citizens are clearly unaware that it happened at all. In fact many citizens are unaware that the public owns the airwaves.”

Attempting to summarize the argument for open-access regulations in the auction, Michael Calabrese, Vice President for the New America Foundation, reiterated the markers of an open network, as originally stated by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps: pricing that does not include connection charges and which is cheaper for non-subsidized devices; fast, cheap, and independent equipment and software certification; no lock-in; the ability to use third-party applications and access any legal Internet content; and no prioritization or degradation of traffic, as Comcast sometimes does with P2P traffic.

Gigi Sohn, President of Public Knowledge, took a slightly more optimistic view of the upcoming auction results. She noted indications that a larger array of diverse bidders have likely been involved, thanks to the anonymous bidding that prevents collusion and back-room dealing. However, Sohn was also critical of events that had taken place during the auction of the smaller D block of frequencies, and drew attention to allegations of misconduct and conflict-of-interest. Congress and the FCC must investigate, she said, and pointed out that since the reserve price for that auction was not met, the opportunity exists to do so before it is put up for sale again.   —>
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080214-fans-of-open-access-not-optimistic-on-700mhz-auction-results.html
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Media watchdog sends appeal to Samak
Bangkok Post
02/14/08

The Europe-based Committee to Protect Journalists has written to new Prime Ministeer Samak Sundaravej, urging him to “right the wrongs of your predecessors” by protecting freedom of the press.  The CPJ note said it was apprehensive that the Samak administration was getting off on the wrong foot.  The letter said:

“We were alarmed to learn that earlier this month your office announced plans to establish a task force charged with monitoring the ‘news balance’ of the broadcast media. CPJ is concerned that the task force’s creation could presage a return to the previous government’s order to broadcasters to report only positively about its administration and threats to censor any news reports it deemed critical or seen as a threat to national unity or security.”

But Robert Dietz, the Asia Programme Director, wrote that it hopes that Mr Samak and his administration will protect the media, including the 3,000 community radio stations across the country.  “In light of the damage successive administrations have wrought upon Thailand’s tradition of press freedom, your government has a unique opportunity to right the wrongs of your predecessors and, in the process, firmly re-establish the country’s credentials as a proudly democratic nation,” it concluded.  The full text of the CPJ letter is here.
http://www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_news/breakingnews.php?id=125942
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Even Without Technology Youth Media Thrives
by Sharese Bullock and Rhea Mokund
Youth Media Reporter
02/14/08

[ comments allowed ]

In May of 2006, while presenting at a conference hosted by what some consider the top university (Harvard) in the country, the question that makes the list of “most dreaded in youth media” was asked to virtual audience of mostly graduate students and young people.

“Why would youth media organizations be necessary in this age of technology? Young people now have access to the means of production at home—doesn’t this make youth media organizations redundant?”

It was not the last time the question has been asked about the relationship between youth media and developing technologies. To begin to address this question as a field, we must first examine the precise concept of what youth media is. In the growing pantheon of youth media scholarship fine distinctions exist, but at its core, youth media is a process of engaging young people in an artistic enterprise that is based in young people’s experience and exploration of the world. Young people endeavor to carve a space for real participation in the public sphere, and forge more balanced meaningful relationships with the larger community—skills necessary for successful participation in civil society.

No young person exists in isolation. Regardless of the means of transmission, youth media practitioners create an infrastructure of support, bringing layered expertise and insight to the practice of educating youth media producers…

[ lengthy report follows, leading to this conclusion – rm ]

When asked to justify our existence, “Why would youth media organizations be necessary in this age of technology?” we can simply and confidently reply, “Well, Yes.” Youth leading peers through the multi-leveled process of creating media—from premise to post production and ultimately exhibition and distribution—integrates each aspect of interactive modeling. Youth media processes extend far beyond the technology tool itself—determining the need for youth media organizations to preserve and facilitate these cultural practices. Indeed, technology is not the end goal, but rather the means of greater expression for young people defining next decade of collective learning.   —>
http://www.youthmediareporter.org/2008/02/even_without_technology_youth.html
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Interview: Salome Chasnoff | Beyondmedia
by Ingrid Hu Dahl
Youth Media Reporter
02/14/08

[ comments allowed ]

Beyondmedia Education is a Chicago-based 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to collaborate with under-served and under-represented women, youth and communities to tell their stories, connect their stories to the world around us, and organize for social justice through the creation and distribution of media arts.

Recently, Chicago Public Television station WTTW’s Image Union refused to air Beyondmedia Education’s award-winning documentary Turning a Corner, claiming that the content is inappropriate. As part of the award, Turning a Corner was to be screened on WTTW’s Image Union program. Created in a media activism workshop with members of Prostitution Alternatives Round Table (PART)—15 women who had been street-level sex workers in Chicago—the film recounts their battles with homelessness, violence and discrimination and provides insight into Chicago’s sex industry. Beyondmedia Education recently won the Chicago Reporter’s John A. McDermott Documentary (short) Film Competition for Turning a Corner. WTTW’s refusal to air the program cites the sensitive subject matter—sex workers in Chicago—as the reason for their decision.

In response, and due to other recent events that have challenged access to free press in Chicago (including Loyola’s takeover of WLUW and the buyout of the Chicago Reader and the firing of key writers) on January 17th Beyondmedia Education organized a meeting at Columbia College for community and independent media makers to come together to build a media justice plan for action addressing issues of censorship, inequality in media access, and the increasing corporate control of media in Chicago.

In January, YMR interviewed Salome Chasnoff, Executive Director of Beyondmedia.

YMR: In your own words, please discuss the important issue of community access to public media as it relates to the youth media field.   —>
http://www.youthmediareporter.org/2008/02/interview_salome_chasnoff_beyo_3.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/13/08

February 17, 2008

Bush asked to use Olympics to push for media freedom
AFP
02/13/08

Reporters Without Borders, a global media watchdog, on Wednesday called on US President George W. Bush to use his attendance of the Olympic Games in Beijing to push for press freedom and other democratic reforms in China.  Bush should “push for change and urge the Chinese authorities to release political prisoners and end censorship,” Lucie Morillon, director of Reporters Without Borders USA, told a forum in Washington where the group’s annual report was released.  “This could be an important part of his legacy,” she said, referring to Bush’s last year in office after being first elected in 2000.

The annual report said 2007 was a tough year for the media with 87 journalists killed, the highest since 1994.  Eighty-two journalists, Internet users and bloggers are currently imprisoned in China, according to Reporters Without Borders.  Chinese authorities promised “total press freedom” when awarded the Olympic Games, which will officially open on August 8, “but none of their promises were kept,” Morillon said.  Chinese journalist He Qinglian, author of “How the Chinese government controls the media,” told the forum that even journalists who wrote on health and pollution issues were not spared in her country.  “The government is shameless. China is not a respectable member of the international community,” she said.   —>
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5irUNO7Nis-3k2Sttpn2tds1cir2g
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Hope may be dimming for public access TV
by Alicia Petska
The News & Advance (VA)
02/13/08

[comments allowed]

The possibility of lending city support to Lynchburg’s public access station is still on the table, although City Council unanimously approved a contract that could have the channel off the air as early as this week.  On Wednesday, Ward II Councilman Ceasor Johnson said he was willing to champion community television’s cause during this year’s budget hearings if there was interest in keeping the programming.  He made no promises of success, though, noting the city was facing a tight financial year.  “Kaine, he’s got a $1 billion loss right now,” Johnson said, referring to the state’s budget deficit. “That trickles down to local government and everyone’s going have to tighten their belts. I don’t know what people will be willing to do for public access.”

City Manager Kimball Payne, who’s finishing his budget proposal now, told council members at Tuesday’s meeting that support for public access will not be included.  At the meeting, City Council unanimously approved a new franchise contract for cable provider Comcast. Under the terms of that deal and in compliance with recent changes to state law, Comcast will no longer be required to support local public access programs, which run on Channel 7.  Hosts still have the right to broadcast their programs, but will now have to pay to produce them – a possibility that could spell the end of Lynchburg’s 30-year public access  tradition.   —>
http://www.newsadvance.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=LNA%2FMGArticle%2FLNA_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173354602451&path=!news!archive
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New Lynchburg cable franchise drops public access
by Alicia Petska
The News & Advance (VA)
02/13/08

[comments allowed]

Lynchburg City Council has unanimously approved a new cable franchise contract that drops support for public access programming.  Council, which previously voted against stepping in to save the city’s public TV station, did leave the door open for possible city funding in the future.  Ward II Councilman Ceasor Johnson asked that the issue be brought up again during this year’s budget talks, which kick off next month.

Prior to council’s vote, which was cast Tuesday night, 15 people came forward during a hearing to speak in support of public access. Lynchburg’s had public access TV since 1978.  In the past, its been supported by the city’s cable provider, currently Comcast. Changes to state law approved in 2006 no longer require companies to carry that burden.
http://www.newsadvance.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=LNA%2FMGArticle%2FLNA_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173354593364&path=!news!archive
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Mayor leans toward state licensing on cable TV
by Andy Sher
Chatanooga Times Free Press (TN)
02/12/08

[1 comment]

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said Monday he is “basically comfortable” with legislation that would create a statewide cable licensing process although he noted he will need to see final language before making a definite commitment.  “I know a lot of maneuvering, a lot of writing and rewriting is going on and so when I see the final bill we’ll decide,” Mr. Littlefield said. “But right now I’m basically comfortable with AT&T’s latest proposal.”  Mr. Littlefield’s comments came as he and mayors from Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville visited with House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, and Gov. Phil Bredesen on a variety of issues.   —>
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2008/feb/12/littlefield-leans-toward-t-state-cable-fight/
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League of Women Voter Returns – LWV discusses internet issues
by Kara O’Connor
Stamford Times (CT)
02/13/08

The Connecticut League of Women Voters gathered at Ferguson Library Monday to discuss the openness of the Internet.  In June 2007 the LWV began a state-level study on the emerging media issues, their relevance to democracy and the importance to Connecticut residents.  Cheryl Denson, the vice president for public affairs and Carol Young, the vice president for communications put together a presentation on the collected data for the members of the LWV.  “You don’t have to be an Internet wiz to care about this issue,” said Denson. “The media has changed so much in the 21st century, there is a whole array of electronic media that we all depend upon.”

The LWV spoke about three different issues; Internet neutrality, universal Internet access for Connecticut and community access TV and public affairs programming. The LWV asked their members if they agreed or disagreed with these three issues.  There are three levels of the LWV, the local, the state and the national level and all three levels conduct studies, according to Yara Burnett the President of the Connecticut LWV. These particular issues are state-level studies.   —>
http://www.thestamfordtimes.com/stamford_templates/stamford_story/292808632528005.php
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Medway officials fuming over Comcast contract
by Aaron Wasserman
Milford Daily News (MA)
02/11/08

Comcast has overcharged its 3,600 cable subscribers in town about $150,000 total in the last 10 years for a station manager who did not exist, said Selectman John Foresto yesterday.  Additionally, negotiations with Comcast on a new 10-year cable contract with the town have stalled, Foresto informed selectmen at their meeting last night, in part because the town wants a settlement for the $150,000. He is leading the talks for the town.

The current contract expires Feb. 22. It will not affect subscribers’ cable service, said Foresto, but will determine how much money the town receives to run its public access channel and studio at the high school.  The main hurdle is how much Comcast contributes for those operations. Verizon, in a 10-year contract negotiated last September, paid about $160,000 for equipment and gives 4 percent of revenue to the town for public access – costs it passes on to consumers, Foresto said. The town wants Comcast to agree to the same conditions, but the cable company wants to tie its payment entirely to revenues, Foresto said.   —>
http://www.milforddailynews.com/homepage/x1282062004
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City Receives $300,000 in Comcast Payment
Decatur Tribune (IL)
02/12/08

The City of Decatur recently received almost $300,000 in payments from the local cable company to help maintain local cable service and provide residents better access to government and the community.  City staff in recent months successfully negotiated a new cable franchise agreement with cable provider Comcast after years of delay from Insight, the city’s former provider.  Terms of the agreement call for Comcast to pay about $750,000 over the next 10 years to fund public programming in addition to its regular access fee. The city on Feb. 4 received a payment of $296,500, which includes a portion of the franchise fee and a payment of $75,000 as part of the settlement agreement with Comcast.

“Staff from day one has realized the importance of television and video in providing useful information to the public in this day and age,” said City Manager Steve Garman. “We fought very hard with Insight to make sure that they would provide funding for this service for our residents, city government and the school district and Comcast has been exceptional to work with as we’ve moved forward with the specifics of this agreement.”   —>
http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?show=localnews&pnpID=469&NewsID=876290&CategoryID=7026&on=1
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On Radio: Independent Bellevue station turns 35
Variety of music, local news, keeps KBCS-FM going
by Bill Virgin
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (A)
02/13/08

[2 comments]

As a radio station manager and programmer, Steve Ramsey knows all about the distractions that “take me away from our signal.” He’s got an iPhone, and through his computer and an Internet connection, he can listen to a friend’s station in California.  So what will motivate listeners to tune in to a small radio station such as KBCS-FM/91.3, out of all the media choices — or distractions — available?  Ramsey believes the answer is a combination of the latest technology and an old-fashioned radio model. “We’ve focused pretty intently on making KBCS the community radio station for Seattle,” he says.

As it marks its 35 birthday this month, KBCS, based at Bellevue Community College, seems to be having some success with that combination. Ramsey, KBCS’ general manager, says the station’s weekly audience has been growing.  Although dwarfed by such noncommercial/public-radio stations in this market as KUOW-FM and KPLU-FM, KBCS-FM still manages to draw enough listeners to show up in the quarterly ratings tables (behind the two NPR stations, KEXP-FM and KNHC-FM in fall quarter, according to the Radio Research Consortium).

KBCS hopes to build on that by rolling out new technology. This year it started an audio archive featuring programs from the previous two weeks that can be streamed an hour at a time, as well as a real-time playlist.  Next up is its digital transmitter, which the station hopes to have operating by the end of this summer. That will enable KBCS to use HD technology’s capabilities to provide three channels of programming — two for KBCS itself, the third a student-run channel tied to a curriculum program to be developed with BCC.

But lots of stations boast the same technology. What will set KBCS apart, Ramsey says, is its community focus, with a rich mixture of specialty music programs (featuring everything from vintage jazz to bluegrass, zydeco and Hawaiian) and public-affairs programming (nationally syndicated as well as local).  The local content is produced by about 200 volunteers who come through the station each month. KBCS has built that army of volunteers with training courses through BCC’s continuing education program to turn almost anyone into a radio producer.  “What I tell my students is, that piece of music you’re in love with, listeners can access from 10 different sources,” Ramsey says. What makes them and KBCS unique is their ability to weave that piece of music together with others, as well as conversation and information, “to tell a story.”   —>
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/tv/351195_radiobeat14.html
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MEDIA-INDIA:  Community Radio Stifled With Red Tape
by Keya Acharya
IPS
02/13/08

BANGALORE – Aspiring community radio operators from various parts of the country are complaining of long delays, frustration and bureaucratic red tape in obtaining licenses to run radio stations.  Following a landmark Supreme Court judgment in 1995 that declared airwaves to be public property for public good, members of civil society organisations as well as United Nations agencies such as UNESCO and UNDP held several consultative meetings to expand the eligibility criteria for community radio.

In 2006, the Indian government amended its broadcasting rules to allow independent radio operators set up non-commercial, community-based stations in rural and urban areas.  But the new rules do not allow community radio stations to network with one another and limited broadcast range; no news content is allowed and only five minutes per hour is allowed for advertisements.

“The low 100-watts capacity is fit only for a 10-km distance while urban community radio does not come about because of a lack of frequency,’’ says Stalin K, founder-member of a networking organisation called Community Radio Forum and of the Drishti Media Collective in Gujarat.  The radio frequency allowed by the government in urban areas has to be shared with commercial FM radio, wireless and cell phone operators, leaving community radio with very little frequency bandwidth to operate.

“It is clearly better to have specific frequencies to be allocated for community radio, like other countries such as Thailand or the United States,” says Stalin.  Steve Buckley, Asia-Pacific president of the World Association of Community Radio, (AMACR) says Australia has an active and lively tradition of community-based radio, while Indonesia follows as actively despite political upheavals.  The Philippines too has active community-radio, but with legal constraints, says Buckley.

In India, the Community Radio Forum, a network of NGOs in community radio had been advocating for some years for the Indian government to free the airwaves, still under State control, in spite of the Prasar Bharati Act 1990 which set up an ostensibly independent broadcasting corporation in India.  Though the government had intentions of allowing 4,000 community radio stations by 2008, no operators have yet been given licenses to broadcast. Seven community radio stations have been given a ‘letter of intent’ by the government to operate, pending final approval.   —>
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=41174
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North Carolina Democrats Go After FCC Chair Kevin Martin
by Matt Stoller
OpenLeft.com
02/13/08

[1 comment]

There’s some really interesting news on the open internet front.  First of all, FCC Chair Kevin Martin is now under genuine political attack.  He’s been setting himself up for a political run with his current tenure at the FCC for some time, buttering up powerful industries and acting as a Bush loyalist.  And so this criticism from the North Carolina Democrats is a big deal.  “The North Carolina Democratic Party today filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Office of the Inspector General to obtain a detailed list of Chairman Kevin Martin’s recent travel.”   —>
http://openleft.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=03D3B5D31C0E661A436F43E3F69DEC25?diaryId=3899
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He’s Had Enough of You
FCC’s Copps Wants His Media Smaller, Newsier — and Less Cluttered With Ads
by Mya Frazier
02/11/08

[2 comments]

It’s Jan. 12, 2007, in Memphis, Tenn., and Mr. Copps, preaching to the proverbial choir of nearly 3,500 self-described “media-reform activists,” proceeds to tell them what taxpayers get for that half trillion: “Too little news, too much baloney passed off as news. Too little quality entertainment, too many people eating bugs on reality TV. … Too much brain-numbing national playlists. Too little of America, too much of Wall Street and Madison Avenue.”

It’s not the kind of fiery rhetoric you’d expect from a 38-year Washington insider with a job title that can basically be summed up in one word — bureaucrat. Is this the same guy who dons a suit and tie each day and heads to a rather boring and morose building that wouldn’t look out of place in the middle of an office complex in, say, suburban Iowa?

Worthy adversary

Yes, but it’s also likely that few things keep Rupert Murdoch and Sam Zell up at night more than the prospect of Michael Copps becoming FCC chairman. Unlike Chairman Kevin Martin, Mr. Copps surely would not be a friend to Big Media.  So far, as one of only two Democratic commissioners — outvoted at practically every turn by three Republicans — he’s had little ability to actually push his vision of “media democracy” and has instead been limited to writing scathing dissents and firing up activists outside the Beltway. But it’s been an effective strategy nonetheless.

“He has been, by far, the most effective FCC commissioner in a minority role that I have seen in 37 years of working with the FCC,” said Andrew Schwartzman, president-CEO of the Media Access Project, which has fought media consolidation via the courts. “I have never seen anyone play a bad hand as well as he has.” He added: “I would hate to be in a poker game with him.”

Come 2009, the new president will appoint his or her own FCC chairman. And a Copps appointment would give him power to set the agenda, block media mergers with some help from Congress and overhaul the license-renewal process for broadcasters, a process he has called “slipshod.” (He proposed shortening the eight-year cycle to three in a New York Times editorial last year.) In other words, every three years the likes of Messrs. Murdoch and Zell would be asked if they were serving the public interest and should keep their broadcast licenses.   —>
http://adage.com/article?article_id=124973
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ACA: A La Carte Would Be Status Quo
Group Says Many Content Providers Already Offer This Option
by Ted Hearn
Multichannel News
02/12/08

[comments allowed]

Big cable programmers shouldn’t have a worry if the Federal Communications Commission adopts so-called wholesale a la carte rules because many content owners claim they make their channels available in that manner today, the American Cable Association said Tuesday.  “Many programmers say they already offer channels on a stand-alone basis. ACA’s proposals would simply codify this practice, and give a remedy in case stand-alone channels were not offered on reasonable terms,” ACA told the FCC in a filing. “As programmers and broadcasters claim they already do this, they should have no legitimate objection to the [FCC’s] incorporating this into its regulations.”

ACA – which represents 1,100 cable companies with 8 million customers – has been battling Viacom, The Walt Disney Co. and other big programmers for many years on the wholesale distribution of cable programming. Small MSOs complain that the bundling of channels, also called tying, forces them to buy more programming than they want and pass along unwanted costs to unhappy consumers.   —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6531815.html?nid=4262
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Academic Community Takes a Long Look at Archival Project
by Avi Webb
Chabad.org News
02/13/08

For an academic body studying the nexus between religion and the media, a Chabad-Lubavitch archive and production outfit have become something of a test case of how a Chasidic Jewish community has embraced modern technology to document and preserve its modern legacy.

At their regular gathering in late December, 20 members of New York University’s Working Group on Jews, Media and Religion examined Jewish Educational Media, which controls an archive of 4,000 hours of audiotapes and video footage of the Sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory, and the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, dating back to the 1920s.

In its research, the working group – part of the university’s Center for Religion and Media – struggles with a conspicuous gap in available resources. Chasidic communities tend to hold out against technological advances, making it difficult to find documentation of their early growth in America. Until recently, the consensus was that, save for a burst of activity in the 1990s among young Jewish artists who took up various mediums to explore several Chasidic communities from the outside looking in, documentary evidence of such group’s early development in the United States was lacking.

Then Jewish Educational Media embarked on a preservation effort called “The Living Archive,” which over the past two years has attracted the interest of academics and such bodies as the National Endowment for the Humanities.  “There is absolutely nothing to compare with the video and audio documentation of a religious Jewish community that [JEM] has collected,” said Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, a professor of performance studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a co-convener of the religion and media working group at NYU.   —>
http://www.chabad.org/news/article_cdo/aid/637543/jewish/Looking-Ahead-in-Preserving-the-Past.htm
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Brookline Access TV show mixes current events with hometown humor
by Neal Simpson
Brookline Tab (MA)
02/13/08

[comments allowed]

You can call him the Jon Stewart of public access television.  For more than a decade, Mike Sallen has bought his own brand of political humor to the Brookline airwaves. Although the production has gotten smaller over the years, Sallen and two friends still meet every Monday night to poke fun at politicians and tease celebrities on “The Fun Show.”  “We’re having a good time,” said Sallen, a Thorndike Street resident. “We’re trying to get people to sit back and have some fun.”

A former public school superintendent, Sallen launched his TV career in 1997 with a black-comedy skit show called “Shorties” that involved props, costumes and a rotating cast of actors. The show was scrapped when the station changed studios.   “The Fun Show,” which airs live every Monday at 7 p.m., is a much simpler production. Sallen rarely leaves his chair, and his two co-hosts, actor Archer O’Reilly and radio journalist Kevin McNicholas, read from paper scripts in their lap.

The highlight of the show is Sallen’s scripts, which O’Reilly introduces each week as a production of the “BATV Unrehearsed Thespian Society.” O’Reilly and McNicholas rarely see the script before Sallen hands it to them minutes before the show.  “What Mike loves to do is put words in my mouth that I would never on earth have said,” said O’Reilly, Sallen’s neighbor on Thorndike Street.  “The Fun Show” starts each week with playful banter between the three men. Then, when Sallen signals, they begin to read, taunting each other and trading snappy responses that are never more than a few words long.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/brookline/fun/x182025778
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannls.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/26/08

January 27, 2008

Live Blogging during PEG Congressional Hearing
Free Press Action Network
01/25/08

On Tuesday, Jan. 29 [at 1:00 PM], the Free Press Action Network will hold a live-blogging session during the congressional hearing, “Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) Services in the Digital TV Age”.

Activists and community leaders will be discussing the hearing as it unfolds.  Listen to the Audio Webcast and add your comments below.   —>
http://www.freepress.net/actionnetwork/node/401
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City to ask Legislature to revisit Sunday alcohol sales, annexation expansion
by Robert DeWitt
Tuscaloosa News (AL)
01/26/08

Issues ranging from Sunday alcohol sales to extra-territorial zoning will be topics for discussion Monday when the Tuscaloosa City Council meets with members of the Tuscaloosa County legislative delegation.  City Council members will sit down with 10 legislators who represent portions of Tuscaloosa County to discuss its legislative agenda over breakfast at the Jemison Mansion. The city will ask legislators to tackle issues it lacks the power to address…

…The city opposes any blanket statewide franchising for video delivery systems. The law currently requires cable television companies to obtain franchises from cities. Now telephone companies and others are developing alternative delivery systems.  City officials want these companies subject to the same franchising regulations, Maddox said.  “If the telephone companies can provide cable service, they should have to enter into a franchise agreement like the cable companies,” he said.   —>
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20080126/LATEST/690624097/-1/NEWS03
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If you value public access TV, speak up
Bainbridge Island Review (WA)
01/26/08

Do you watch Bainbridge Island Television?  More precisely, do you watch it for programming besides the City Council meetings?  It’s neither a flippant question nor an idle one. BITV’s  regular viewership is surely amongst the questions in play as the station management and the city wrangle over revenue from a cable franchise agreement and other sources.

As reported Wednesday, station manager Scott Schmidt wants BITV to get a bigger slice – actually, the whole pie – of the approximately $190,000 in franchise fees paid by Comcast to the city for the right to do business on Bainbridge Island. BITV presently gets about $120,000 of that revenue, and half of the $54,000 generated by a dollar-per-month surcharge to subscribers to support public access programming. The balance disappears into the city’s general fund, although some of the money is earmarked for better lighting, cameras and other improvements to the chambers from which public meetings are broadcast.

Schmidt says the station needs more money to pay for services either requested by the city itself (adding a second channel; providing online “streaming” of council meetings) or the community at large. Some of the planned programming is Schmidt’s own inspiration, like the weekly news program BITV hopes to roll out in April. While it’s ambitious, it’s not unprecedented; back in the early 1990s when Texas-based Northland Cable still held the island franchise, news was actually integral to the programming. At one point the station boasted a three-person news team and showed footage from local events almost daily. The presentation could be somewhat clunky; we remember a rash of broadcasts in which colors swirled around like a light show at Bill Graham’s Fillmore. But despite the technical limitations, “Northland Cable News” showed the possibilities of local access television and laid the groundwork for today’s programming. Schmidt believes a new, more professional news show would attract both viewers and – at least as important – underwriting dollars from local businesses.

Thinking back 15 years, it is remarkable how far what was then known as “Bainbridge Island Broadcasting” has come. Modern equipment and a dedicated studio on High School Road mean new opportunities to learn videography. Volunteers contribute countless hours to support daylong programming. City Council coverage has grown into the station’s bread and butter, the point at which the interests of station, city and community most clearly intersect.

Yet in some ways, its profile is unchanged. Schmidt says some people still come into the office thinking they can pay their cable bill. (You can’t; BITV and Comcast are separate entities.) It’s also no easier to gauge what the viewership really is. Schmidt approached the Nielsen folks about tracking the ratings but found costs were prohibitive. With no way to precisely measure just who’s watching, and how often, now’s the time for Bainbridge Island Television viewers to speak up on behalf of the station.

Do you like what you see on our local access station? Do you even watch? What’s the value to you? We’d like to hear from viewers on that point. As their contract negotiations roll on, we suspect BITV and the city would, too.
http://www.bainbridgereview.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=96&cat=48&id=1145744&more=0
~

The Winds of Change
Potential Reform of FCC Could Go in Many Directions
by Ted Hearn
Multichannel News
01/28/08

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is shining a spotlight on FCC chairman Kevin Martin’s management of the agency. (See “Watching the Martin Watch,” page 18, Jan. 21, 2008).  But it hasn’t been made clear to him precisely why.

The basis of the investigation has been stated only in vague terms. And there could be something of a public payback involved: Committee chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) is evidently upset that Martin gave the public just 28 days to review the FCC plan to relax the newspaper-TV station cross-ownership ban.

But there is always more than meets the public eye when the winds of change blow in. Privately, Dingell has heard repeatedly from regulated industries — including cable operators and programmers — that Martin has failed to state proposed rules in clear terms, producing a process that lacks transparency and due process.

“I think time is overdue for a serious look at the reform of how the FCC conducts itself,” National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow told reporters in December. “I think everybody recognizes that there is something different about how the [Martin] FCC conducts its business.”

In 2007, an annus horribilis for cable at the FCC, Martin at least twice demonstrated his fondness for hide-the-ball tactics. He gave no indication in June that he planned to slash rates that programmers pay cable operators to lease time, and he gave no indication that he supported allowing the NFL Network and other independent programmers to haul cable operators before an FCC-authorized arbitrator to settle their disputes without even a finding of discrimination by cable operators.

Now, Martin is trying to impose wholesale a la carte regulations on cable programmers, forcing The Walt Disney Co. and Viacom to sell their channels at individual prices. That could mean price regulation by the FCC, if Heritage Foundation analyst James Gattuso is right that wholesale a la carte mandates can’t work without government price controls. Since that’s the case, programmers are wondering if Martin plans to regulate wholesale a la carte prices but, as he’s done in the past, hasn’t told anybody.

Cable’s frustration with Martin has made an issue of how the agency is run. From Dingell to Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller (W.Va.) on the Democratic side to Rep. Joe Barton of Texas on the Republican side, attention is now focused on how much power does and should accrue to an FCC chairman, an unelected bureaucrat with the ability to inflict pain on selected opponents, almost with impunity.

NCTA’s McSlarrow goes so far as to call for the FCC to be turned into a forum that adjudicates complaints, with its rulemaking authority taken away in five years.  Rockefeller has indicated support for structural reform, perhaps reducing the five-year terms of commissioners and refocusing its mission toward consumer protection.  But, as the following examples illustrate, reforming the FCC is not a simple task.   —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6525874.html
~

The Other India and Media
Mainstream Weekly
by Suhas Borker
01/26/08

—>   We know about BPL—Below Poverty Line—but let us also know about Below Media Line—BML. The poor, oppressed, marginalised millions in this country are Below Media Line. If the media does not look at 840 million Indians who do not have more than Rs 20 a day or is not concerned about their future, it is abetting a “Second Partition”,4 which will burst forth like a tsunami of agony and pain, engulfing the whole country. It will be more dehumanising than the one 60 years ago.

Many see it as a wake-up call to the so-called present National Media to connect with the voiceless. To rise above the glitz and razzmatazz of film stars, fashion shows and elitist gizmos that unwrap on advertising which mocks the poor for their poverty, is a choice now. The people’s movements and grassroots organisations which represent the Other India are anyway going to move on regardless. And with them will be a new emerging media—an inclusive media empowered by new technologies encompassing community press, radio, TV and web. It may take some time to link up. Mainstream media or alternative media? It will be the media of the Other India of 840 million Indians.   —>
http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article518.html
~

Decision to Shut Down AZN Television a Huge Loss to Asian American Community
PRNewswire
01/26/08

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) today expressed disappointment at the decision by Comcast to shut down AZN Television in April this year, calling it a big loss of yet another important venue through which the American public can learn more about Asians and Pacific Islanders through community-specific news and entertainment.

While understanding that this was primarily a business decision, AAJA lamented the fact that the demise of AZN is the second big blow to the AAPI community in less than six months. In October last year, KQED in San Francisco discontinued its nationally syndicated public radio program, “Pacific Time,” developed to provide news about Asia, Asian American communities and connections across the Pacific Ocean. Like “Pacific Time,” AZN offered broad education through broadcast and online media.

In many ways, “AZN is to the Asian American community just like Univision is to the Latino and BET is to the African American communities, respectively,” said Rene Astudillo, AAJA executive director. He added that AAJA “has partnered with AZN in many ways to ensure that more Asian Americans are given the opportunity to use their journalism and new media skills to enhance the delivery of news and information to the American public.” AAJA’s most recent partnership with AZN involved internship opportunities for students to post journalism-style news and editorial commentary on the network’s Web site.  Astudillo said that AAJA is happy and ready to offer its resources to Comcast and other broadcast networks to develop major programming specifically addressing issues and stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.    —>
http://sev.prnewswire.com/publishing-information-services/20080126/CLSA01026012008-1.html
~

University of Miami: February 26-68
We Media Forum to Explore and Celebrate Innovation in a Connected Society
PR-USA.net

More than two hundred thought leaders, social entrepreneurs and media pioneers are expected to gather next month in Miami, Fla., for the fourth-annual We Media Forum and Festival from February 26 to 28. The two-day event, organized and produced by iFOCOS, the Reston, Va.-based media think tank, will bring together leaders from across industry sectors to jumpstart innovative thinking and new media ventures.  For more details and to register, go to: www.wemediamiami.org.

“We Media is not just an industry conference. It’s a knowledge-sharing network. It’s about being inspired,” says Dale Peskin, co-founder of iFOCOS, which also organizes the We Media Community, an online network of companies and individuals.

The University of Miami School of Communication is co-hosting the conference, which kicks off with a reception on Tuesday night. The Associated Press, an iFOCOS global partner, is sponsoring the conference, along with Washington.Post.Newsweek.Interactive, Reuters, NewsGator, Topix, Humana and AARP. Additional media sponsors include BlogHer, the Association for Alternative Newsweeklies, Daily Me, the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet, LatinVision Media, PaidContent.org, SourceForge, and the Innovators Network.   —>
http://www.pr-usa.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=61176&Itemid=9
~

French Media Reforms
by Rizwan Ghani
American Chronicle
01/26/08

Reportedly, President Nicolas Sarkozy has decided to reform French media. The media shakeup details include scrapping up of Arabic and English languages services of Channel 24 and restricting the Channel to French language, only. The reports show that French National TV will be disallowed annual advertisements worth 800 million Euros.

Keeping French as the only language on Channel 24 in presence of Arab and handful of other minorities in France will add another item to the minorities discontentment list. In wake of 2007 standoff with minorities Paris could used state media to develop better relations with minorities instead of doing away with programs in other languages on Channel 24.

The independent observers are waiting for details of planned shakeup but there is a consensus that the direction of changes does not bode well for the media independence. It is believed that French media´s coverage of Sarkozy´s Egypt tour may have precipitated the reform plan. Otherwise, also there is a growing perception that it is the start of love-hate relationship between Sarkozy and French media.   —>
http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/50291
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-3650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/21/08

January 22, 2008

Colorado House of Representatives gets new TV channel
by Kathryn Dailey
The Reporter-Herald (CO)
01/21/08

The Colorado Channel launches today, giving viewers the opportunity to watch the Colorado House of Representatives during session…
• On cable: Comcast Cable TV channel 165
• On Comcast On Demand: For the first year Comcast will provide a limited version of the service. The proceedings will be delayed one week.
• Online: Visit the Colorado Channel Web site at http://www.coloradochannel.net.
—>
http://www.reporterherald.com/news_story.asp?ID=14458
~

Officials to consider going into cable TV business
by Jeff Farrell
The Mountain Press (TN)
01/20/08

The city of Sevierville will ask Sevier County Electric System to consider going into the cable television business.  During the annual retreat in Kingsport for the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and city staff, Alderman Barry Gibbs asked about the possibility of providing cable service in the city.  That may not be so easy, a spokesman for privately owned Charter Communications says.  After some discussion, aldermen asked city staff to draft a resolution asking the electric system to study the feasibility of starting a cable franchise.

“I’d be real interested,” Gibbs said. “There’s an awful lot of public service opportunities.” That would include the opportunity to broadcast events like BOMA meetings.  It’s not unheard of for public utilities to start cable franchises; the city of Morristown did so in 2005, officials noted.  The Sevier County Electric System is owned by the city of Sevierville. City Administrator Doug Bishop said the agency already has technicians, utility poles and other equipment, and the county could have the population density to support the project.  “It seems like the numbers will run really strong,” he said.   —>
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19215856&BRD=1211&PAG=461&dept_id=169689&rfi=6
~

Mount Olive may get cable channel
Cablevision agreement would include public access spot, tech grant
by Meghan van Dyk
Daily Record (NJ)
01/21/08

The township would gain its own public access channel and a $25,000 boost to kick-start production if an ordinance authorizing a Cablevision franchise renewal is approved at Tuesday’s township council meeting.  The ordinance, passed unanimously by the council on its first reading last week, renews the nonexclusive Cablevision franchise that expired last year amid Verizon’s bid for a statewide franchise.

Under the franchise, Cablevision would create an exclusive Public, Educational and Governmental access channel for the township and offer a $25,000 technology grant — $7,000 up front and $2,000 a year for the next nine years — to be used for technology at the township’s discretion.  “The high school has a full-blown studio,” municipal business administrator Bill Sohl said. “Once the franchise is adopted, we will work out arrangements with them.”   —>
http://www.dailyrecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080121/COMMUNITIES34/801210305/1005/rss01
~

City Eyeing Public Access TV Options
Santa Clarita has a year to figure out a way to save public channel.
by Katherine Geyer
The Signal (CA)
01/21/08

The city of Santa Clarita will spend the next year figuring out how to continue providing programming on its public access channel thanks to a 2006 state law that relieves cable companies of the responsibility of operating a public access studio beginning in 2009.  Santa Clarita’s franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable Inc. ended Jan. 2 as a part of a state law allowing cable companies to franchise with the state instead of individual cities.  Beginning in 2009, the operation of the Public, Education and Government Channel — or Channel 20 — will be the responsibility of the city.   —>
http://www.the-signal.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=52839&format=html
~

Decatur looks to formalize its cable contract with Comcast
by Mike Frazier
Herald & Review (IL)
01/21/08

The Decatur City Council will vote Tuesday on a cable franchise agreement with Comcast.  Insight Communications and Comcast in recent weeks completed an agreement to divide their partnership involving cable systems in the Midwest. Under the deal, Comcast assumed ownership of cable systems serving customers in Decatur and other communities in Illinois and Indiana.

The Decatur City Council in November approved a new cable franchise agreement with Insight Communications.  Under the agreement, the city will receive about $750,000 to go toward public programming over the next decade and will recover legal fees used to iron out a new agreement.

Mayor Paul Osborne said to his knowledge the details of the agreement with Comcast are essentially the same as those with Insight.  The city had been negotiating a cable franchise agreement with Insight since an agreement expired in 2003.  The city council rejected an earlier proposed franchise agreement because it lacked adequate funding for public access programming, among other shortcomings, council members said.   —>
http://www.herald-review.com/articles/2008/01/22/news/local/1029482.txt
~

Donations bring computers, books, basketball tourney to schools
by Shawn Regan
Eagle-Tribune (MA)
01/21/08

—>  The computers from Haverhill Community Television are part of an ongoing effort to bolster technology at the high school. The city’s public-access television station has also promised $100,000 to equip the high school’s new television studio with a state-of-the-art control room including production computers and cameras. The station is holding the money until the new studio is built, said Darlene Beal, executive director of Haverhill Community Television.   —>
http://www.eagletribune.com/punewshh/local_story_021103247?keyword=secondarystory+page=0
~

Operators Opt For Calif. Oversight
Broadcast Newsroom
01/21/08

(Multichannel News) _ Operators big and small have taken advantage of California law allowing operators to replace local franchise terms with state oversight.  The state franchising law went into effect last year, but included terms that did not allow incumbent operators to drop their local franchises until Jan. 1 of this year.

New providers AT&T and Verizon Communications gained state authorization from the state Public Utilities Commission last March. Incumbents began applying in September, with Wave Broadband the first to earn state approval. Other small operators to apply have been Cableview Communications, serving Esparto, and Northland Communications, serving Mt. Shasta.

Comcast has been granted state authorization for most of its major markets, including cities and counties in its San Francisco Bay area cluster. Time Warner Cable got state regulatory authority for its systems in Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County systems, among others. Cox Communications was authorized for San Diego city and county and its one Los Angeles city franchise, as well as San Marcos.  Charter Communications was granted state oversight for its major system, Long Beach, as well as other properties in the state.
http://dtv.broadcastnewsroom.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=283112
~

Cable fee eyed by Abbottstown Borough
by Melody Asper
Evening Sun Correspondent (PA)
01/21/08

The Abbottstown Borough Council is considering signing a contract with Comcast Corp. so the municipality can receive a franchise fee.  That might add a bit to borough coffers, but it would come out of residents’ pocketbooks.  Councilwoman Debbie Shearer originally proposed the fee, noting Comcast’s cable lines already go through the borough but the borough does not get any financial benefit.  “Our borough has never received a franchise fee from Comcast and we are losing out on a good bit of money, even though their wires are running through the town and a lot of residents are connected,” Shearer said.

Shearer said Comcast predicted the 5 percent fee would equate to revenues of about $700 per month, or $8,400 per year.  The borough would also get free Internet service if it entered into the franchise contract. Currently, the borough pays $49.95 per month for Comcast Internet service.  However, if franchise fees are put into place, Comcast then adds that amount to each resident’s bill, Shearer said.  Shearer said that if a 5-percent fee were enacted, it would add $1.25 to a resident’s $25 bill, or $2.50 for someone who has a $50 Comcast bill.   —>
http://www.eveningsun.com/localnews/ci_8033509
~

Oceola Officials Postpone Wireless Livingston Approval
WHMI (MI)
01/21/08

Oceola Township has decided to stay out of the “Wireless Livingston” plan for now. The program intends to blanket the county with free wireless internet access by the end of 2008. Township Supervisor Bill Bamber says it came to the board’s attention that a significant source of revenue comes to the township through cable franchise fees. However a new state law says cable companies wouldn’t have to pay the fees if any other internet service provider in the area doesn’t. Bamber says the township isn’t against the Wireless Livingston project; they just want to make sure it doesn’t rush into anything they may end up regretting. (JM)
http://www.whmi.com/news/article/article5745.php
~

Cable to FCC: We Find Your Lack Of Faith Disturbing
Comcast investigation sparks new complaints…
by Karl  (18 comments)
Broadband Reports
01/21/08

Kevin Martin’s indecency campaigns, the set-top box waiver dispute, his pro-telco franchise reform push and, most recently, the capping of ownership limits already had the cable industry complaining that the FCC boss had it out for them. With the FCC’s recent announcement that they’d be investigating Comcast’s traffic shaping practices (even if we’re not sure anything will actually come of it), it’s apparently time to dial-up the rhetoric.

“There is an agenda from a Republican chairman that is anti-free market and anti-competitive,” Kyle McSlarrow, president of the National Cable and Telecommunication Association tells The Times of Trenton. “It is disturbing.” The FCC disagrees, insisting Martin’s campaign is about helping consumers. “Our focus is not on the welfare of a particular industry, but the welfare of consumers and insuring they receive the benefits of competition in the form of lower prices, more choice and better services,” says an FCC spokesman.   —>
http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Cable-to-FCC-We-Find-Your-Lack-Of-Faith-Disturbing-91167
~

Texas Community Media Summit Website
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition
01/21/08

The Texas Community Media Summit is taking place on March 1 this year at UT at Austin…  The website (built on Drupal) caught my attention because of how the content in the left sidebar is laid out. After the list the contents, including overview, summit agenda and other details, the site provides a list of TX community television stations followed by a list of TX vloggers, and TX community and free radio stations. It is great to see community television stations and vloggers highlighted next to each other within the context of community media in TX.   —>
http://cmediachange.net/blog/2008/01/21/texas-community-media-summit-website/
~

Schmashmortion In Schmacago
by Margaret Lyons (21 comments)
The Chicagoist (IL)
01/21/08

Tomorrow marks the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, so anti-choice protesters marched downtown yesterday and Trib editorial board members wrote syndicated columns calling abortion “evil”.  But there are pro-choice activists working throughout Chicago and Illinois, too, and today’s Trib has a story about the the Chicago Abortion Fund, a group that helps poor women pay for abortions. The CAF also works to destigmatize abortion by holding “leadership groups” and launching a public access TV show. There’s also the Midwest Access Project, which “envisions a society in which integrated, comprehensive reproductive health care is fully accessible to all.”
http://chicagoist.com/2008/01/21/schmashmortion.php
~

Watchdog journalism the key, seminar told
by Achara Ashayagachat
Bangkok Post
01/21/08

As mainstream media outlets in Asia struggle with corporate and state control, watchdog or citizen journalism has emerged as a powerful new movement in recent years, leading Filipina journalist Sheila Coronel said yesterday. Globalisation and market forces have opened up Asian media since the 1980s like never before. The introduction of television sets in Asian households and, later, the availability of the internet has had both good and bad impacts on journalism, said Ms. Coronel, director of Columbia University’s Centre for Investigative Journalism,  She was speaking at an East-West Centre conference on ”Changing Dynamics in the Asia Pacific” yesterday.   —>
http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/22Jan2008_news07.php
~

Pakistan’s Geo News, Geo Super back on cable
Khabrein.info
01/21/08

KARACHI: People have enthusiastically welcomed resumption of Geo News and Geo Super transmissions on cable.  A ceremony held in Geo offices at I.I. Chundrigar Road Monday, which was attended by hundreds staff members of the television network.  People from various walks of life have welcomed restoration of Geo News transmissions on cable. The students of Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad have said Geo News returning back a key progress towards access to information in the country.   —>
http://www.khabrein.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11380&Itemid=88
~

Visual artists on copyright reform
Visual and media artists join forces with fellow creators in developing copyright platform
CARFAC
01/21/08

In anticipation of revisions to the Canadian Copyright Act, Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC), le Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec (RAAV) and our affiliates have been working to prepare a platform document as partners in the Creators’ Copyright Coalition (CCC).  Highlights of the platform for the visual and media artists community will include:

1) Ratifying the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty (WCT), which includes allowances, where necessary, to protect both the rights of users and creators;
2) Improving compliance and recognition of the Reproduction Right;
3) Improving compliance and recognition of the Exhibition Right;
4) Amending of Canadian Copyright Act to include droit de suite, or resale right;
5) Reinforcing and expanding the licensing responsibilities of copyright collectives in the digital environment;
6) Extending protection and reaffirming creators’ Moral Rights;
7) Affording photographers, printmakers and portrait artists the same rights as other visual and media artists.
—>
http://www.carfac.ca/2008/01/visual-artists-on-copyright-reformles-artistes-visuels-et-le-droit-d%E2%80%99auteur/
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/14/07

December 15, 2007

Is Junk Media Making You Sick?
StopBigMedia.com
12/14/07

YouTube video from StopBigMedia.com
http://stopbigmedia.com/
~

Massing the Media
by Bill Moyers
Bill Moyers Journal
12/14/07

Publishing conglomerates have been buying up local newspapers for more than thirty years, but they’ve been prohibited from buying radio and TV stations in their home towns. The FCC is poised to relax this rule within the month. This week, the FCC went before the Senate Commerce Committee to discuss media ownership rule changes that Chairman Kevin Martin has been advocating, hoping to push through by December 18. Martin explains:

“This proposal would allow a newspaper to purchase a broadcast station – but not one of the top four television station – in the largest 20 cities in the country as long as 8 independent voices remain. This relatively minor loosening of the ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership in markets where there are so many voices and sufficient competition would help strike a balance between ensuring the quality of local news gathering while guarding against too much concentration.”

Yet after 6 public hearings on proposed changes, the latest in Seattle on November 9 that lasted until 1 in the morning, public opinion appears to be overwhelmingly opposed to relaxing the rules. “We told you a year ago when you came to Seattle…What part of that didn’t you understand?” stated area resident Susan McCabe at the hearing.

* Watch the Senate Commerce Committee FCC hearing, 12/13/07
* Watch the House SubCommittee FCC Hearing, 12/5/07
* Watch the full Seattle hearing here, 11/9/07

Three days after the Seattle hearing, Chairman Martin released this Op-Ed in THE NEW YORK TIMES, which further stresses his desire to push through changes, despite public opinion.

Commissioner Michael Copps, one of the two Democrats in the minority on the FCC, continues to speak out vigorously against the impending rule changes vote:

“What we have here is an unseemly rush to judgment, a stubborn insistence to finish the proceeding by December 18th, public and congressional opinion be damned. When overwhelming majorities of citizens oppose this, when members of Congress write to caution us every day, and when legislation to avoid a nine-car train wreck is being actively considered on Capitol Hill, I think the FCC has a responsibility to stop, look and listen. The stakes are enormous.”
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/12142007/profile2.html
~

Villages’ and Verizon’s Franchise Agreement Set for Public Hearing
by Carol Frank
Great Neck Record (NY)
12/14/07

—> Verizon will pay a franchise fee of 3 percent of gross revenues. The definition of gross revenue is the broadest which is permitted under present federal law, and also includes a provision which will incorporate any future changes in federal law. Present federal law does not permit franchise fees to be paid on Internet service or telephone service, even if they are provided by use of the same cable used for cable television service.

Verizon will provide free connection and basic service for one service outlet at each public building location listed in Exhibit A of the franchise in each village.

Verizon will provide the ability to cablecast alphanumeric programming, and taped and live television programming, from each village hall, from the Public Access Television location, and from each school district, the public library, and park district. The ability to provide live programming from these various locations will commence within a period of time stated in the respective Exhibits D, upon request from the local entity. Alphanumeric programming will be available, via Internet connection, from day one, and taped programming will be available from day one with programs to be physically delivered to the PATC office in Lake Success.

Verizon’s system will be designed for interconnection with other Verizon systems in neighboring communities, and other cable companies operating in the villages. Verizon will deliver the Town of North Hempstead access channel to each subscriber in each village, and will deliver the school, library and park district programming to each unincorporated area within those respective districts.

Verizon will provide nine channels for public, educational and government access programming. One channel will be reserved for fulltime use by the Public Access Television Corporation, one for the Great Neck Public Schools, one for the Manhasset Public Schools, one for the Great Neck Public Library, one for the North Shore public libraries, one for the Great Neck Park District and one for the North Shore park districts. In addition, there will be one channel shared by the Great Neck villages, and one shared by the North Shore villages.

Verizon will also make various payments in support of the public, educational and governmental access programming operated or supervised by the Public Access Television Corporation (PATV). A payment of $300,000 will be made for that purpose, within sixty days after the franchise is approved by the Public Service Commission, and an additional $150,000 will be paid for that purpose one year later. In addition, Verizon will pay PATC 1 percent of gross revenues, in addition to the 3 percent paid to each individual village, to be used for PEG support purposes. Verizon will also pay PATC $2.12 per subscriber per month for the first five years of the franchise, and $2.40 per subscriber per month for the next five years. —>
http://www.antonnews.com/greatneckrecord/2007/12/14/news/verizon.html
~

A cable pioneer steps down
by Mike Hughes
LSJ Blogs (NY)
12/14/07

One of the pioneers of local cable-TV is stepping down today (Friday, Dec. 14). Darryl Burgess has his final edition of “Required Viewing” at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 16 of Lansing’s Comcast system. When you say “cable star” these days, people might think of anyone from Miley Cyrus to James Gandolfini. In the early days, however, guys like Darryl were a key.

His “Required Viewing” went on the air in 1979, the same year as ESPN. That was a year ahead of MTV and the USA Network, four years ahead of the Disney Channel, nine ahead of TNT, 13 ahead of the Sci Fi Channel. The cable universe was open; so were people’s schedules…

Now that’s getting harder, he says. De-regulation has set in: Comcast is planning to cut out use of the Lansing editing facilities; public-access producers will have to do shows on their own, send them to Southfield and eventually see them on an obscure, digital channel. So he’s wrapping it up, at least for now. The final show is at 7:30 p.m. —>
http://noise.typepad.com/mike_hughes/2007/12/a-cable-pioneer.html
~

Enter ‘Dark Vault’ to explore history of television
Press & Sun Bulletin (MI)
12/14/07

“The Dark Vault Of Public Domain” is a locally produced program showcasing classic feature-length movies, cartoons and assorted short subjects selected from a collection spanning more than 80 years of cinema and television. The show, which debuted this fall, airs from 10 p.m. to midnight Saturdays on TimeWarner cable channel 4, the public access channel. The show, an homage to the classic character-hosted monster movie shows of the 1950s and ’60s, is introduced by local radio personality Uncle Pete (aka Pete Letkiewicz), a veteran of more than three decades of radio announcing. He has hosted “The Uncle Pete Show” on WHRW, 90.5 FM, since 1981. —>
http://www.pressconnects.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071214/ENT/712140307/1017
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
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Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/10/07

December 11, 2007

Regulators Fight FCC’s 90-Day Shot Clock
Montgomery County Files Appeal
by Linda Haugsted
Multichannel News
12/10/07

Local regulators across the country challenged the Federal Communications Commission’s so-called “90-day shot clock,” calling it an abuse of power, and the agency’s latest order clarifying its application of the rule has also been appealed in court.  The FCC released a Second Report and Order on Nov. 6, which detailed what franchising rules in the March 5 First Report and Order should also apply to incumbent cable TV operators.

For instance, the latest order states that the 90-day time frame does not apply to incumbents at the time of refranchising because as a current operator, a company can continue to deliver service even if negotiations run long. Therefore, prolonged talks are not a barrier to the provision of service.

But Montgomery County, MD., on behalf of other challengers of the FCC rules on franchising, appealed the latest order in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Dec. 6. The county’s appeal asserts that the most recent order “exceeds the FCC’s statutory authority, is arbitrary and capricious and violates the Fifth and Tenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution,” among other legal claims.

These are similar to the abuse of regulatory discretion claims made in the challenge to the original, March 5, franchising order. That legal challenge is still pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District.
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6511254.html
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Criticism of the FCC’s chairman is widely aired
‘Lone operator’ is said to keep plans from colleagues and manage the agency ineffectively.
by Jim Puzzanghera
Los Angeles Times
12/10/07

The Federal Communications Commission’s monthly meetings are scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. Under Chairman Kevin J. Martin, the trains don’t always run on time, and recently they’ve come close to veering off the rails.  On Nov. 27, for instance, the FCC was slated to consider controversial proposals dealing with potential new cable TV regulations and increasing women and minority ownership of broadcast stations. Journalists, lobbyists and spectators waited as the five commissioners on the fractious panel wrangled over the issues eight floors above. When they finally showed up for the public session — nearly 12 hours late — the few spectators remaining had front-row seats for the sniping and accusations that are threatening to become hallmarks of FCC meetings.

Critics usually blame Martin, a soft-spoken Republican known as a political tactician who has accomplished the rare feat of being criticized by all four of his fellow commissioners. He is also facing a congressional inquiry into the FCC’s procedures and allegations of flawed research studies, suppressing data, ignoring public input and holding hearings with minimal notice.

“The FCC appears to be broken,” Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said during a hearing last week. Congressional Democrats’ growing frustration with Martin could hinder his agenda. Last week, for example, a Senate committee passed legislation to delay Martin’s planned vote this month on loosening media ownership rules.

In an interview, Martin said he was under fire for trying to force the FCC to deal with controversial topics. “It’s not unusual for there to be tension in trying to work them out.”

FCC employees and people who frequently deal with the agency said tensions were bogging down the panel. Reviews of corporate mergers and sales frequently stretch longer than the six months the agency aims for. Critics have complained that important issues — such as the 2009 transition to digital television and reforming a fund that subsidizes phone and Internet service for low-income and rural residents — are taking a back seat to bickering.  “There’s budding upheaval here if some of these abuses don’t get addressed,” said an FCC official who requested anonymity to avoid irritating Martin.   —>
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fi-fcc10dec10,0,4815390.story?coll=la-home-center
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What cable competition bill, poised for passage Tuesday, may mean for consumers
by Brian E. Clark
WisBusiness.com
12/10/07

When the Chibardun Telephone Cooperative considered offering cable television services in Rice Lake six years ago, it backed off the plan because of a city requirement that it serve all of the 9,000-person community within 18 months.  “We couldn’t make that commitment,” said Rick Vergin, CEO of the 70-employee company.  But if the state Assembly approves legislation dubbed the cable competition bill (AB 207) on Tuesday and Gov. Jim Doyle signs it, Vergin says his company will begin offering service early next year to Rice Lake.

Adam Raschka, a spokesman for Rep. Phil Montgomery, R-Green Bay, said he expects the legislation to pass without amendments. Montgomery is the lead proponent of the Assembly bill.  “It’s been discussed at length,” Raschka said of the legislation, which ends existing deals with local governments and cable companies. Those agreements would be replaced by a state-wide franchise costing $2,000 annually.  “We are confident the Assembly will concur with the Senate version,” he said of Tuesday’s planned floor session.

But critics of the legislation remain. Among them: Jim Zellmer, who runs a small real estate software firm in the Madison suburb of Fitchburg. He says the bill is flawed because it lacks consumer protections and fails to require telecommunications companies to lay fiber optic cable to homes and businesses. Zellmer and other critics also say they doubt if it will lead to more competition…

Barry Orton, a UW-Madison professor, said he’s concerned the bill will leave parts of Wisconsin underserved.  “I know they say ‘the market will take care of it,’ but I worry that there will be some poor areas of Milwaukee or south Madison, for example, that will be ‘red-lined,’ with this new law,” he said.

Zellmer, who blogs on telecommunications and other issues at Zmetro.com, said he sees “no evidence that the dominant Wisconsin ‘telcos’ have an interest in implementing a modern, widespread fiber network to the home.  “Pervasive fiber benefits everyone – schools, government, residential and business users, but they aren’t going to build it,” argued Zellmer, who owes the predicted telecommunications victory on this legislation to a huge lobbying effort.  “Meanwhile, around the world and in other U.S. communities, fiber installation continues,” he said. “It will take decades for Wisconsin to catch up, once it starts.”

According to author Bruce Kushnick’s book, “$200 Billion Broadband Scandal,” – cited on Zellmer’s blog – the U.S. telecommunications companies have failed to live up to promises they would install fiber to 86 million households by 2006.  Kushnick said that agreement was part of the deal worked out in the 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act. “They asked for and were given some $200 billion in tax cuts to pay for it.  “But the Bells didn’t spend that money on fiber upgrades,” he said. “They spent it on long distance, wireless and inferior DSL services.”   —>
http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=112681
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Bright House Makes Waves In Government Television
by Anthony McCartney
The Tampa Tribune (FL)
12/10/07

Some television viewers who want to watch government programming will have to pay a little extra to tune in beginning Tuesday.  The move affects Bright House Networks subscribers who do not have a digital television or cable service that requires a converter box. They will have to pay $1 a month for a digital converter to watch several government, education and public access channels. The channels also will be moving on the channel lineup, no longer occupying a lower tier of channel numbers.  The new lineup will be as follows:   —>
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/dec/10/me-bright-house-makes-waves-in-government-tv/
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Time to upgrade Channel 26
by Dave Hardesty
Tracy Press (CA)
12/08/07

—>   I recommend engaging a service provider that deals with live and indexed on-demand video services, such as can be seen by viewing http://elkgrove.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3, Elk Grove’s city Web page; or http://stockton.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=4, the Web page for the city of Stockton.

With an initial investment of about $20,000 and a re-occurring expense of roughly $10,000 per year, money already available via the funding from the Cable Franchise Agreement and defrayed costs incurred by having city-paid employees do the job, the city of will be positioned to join cities like San Francisco, San Carlos, Palo Alto, Brentwood and Sacramento, offering residents live and on-demand streaming Internet video.   —>
http://tracypress.com/content/view/12600/2244/
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Media center puts focus on nonprofits
by Erica Kritt
Carroll County Times (MD)
12/08/07

The Community Media Center is making it easier for residents to give to those in need in Carroll County.  All this month, 48 of the county’s nonprofits are being spotlighted on Channel 19, the county’s TV channel. The eight hourlong programs, which will run every day of the week for the rest of the month, were filmed Friday at the Community Media Center.  “We’ve been doing it for nine years,” said Marion Ware, executive director of the CMC. “It started off as a Christmas party and it’s just gotten bigger.”   —>
http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/articles/2007/12/08/news/local_news/newsstory5.txt
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An “Honest” Mistake in Greece?
by stlo7
Rochester Turning (NY)
12/04/07

Well – another day another op-ed piece that makes you spit out your coffee.  I’d argue many of these op-eds are actual health and safety issues as it seems I’m continually spitting out my breakfast as I read the daily drivel.  Two words I don’t want to see in the same sentence – let alone referring to the same event “on advice from the district’s attorneys” and “honest mistake”

So let’s review the editorial. Here is my take.  A school board member urges voters to vote a particular way. This is either illegal in some degree or, as the op-ed says, prohibited. So the school board member urges a vote a certain way, the incident is caught on tape. Attorney’s are consulted and the offending (to the school board) video is deleted. The offending school board member apologizes and all with well with the world. Oh, we should be reasonably concerned that the school board who doesn’t have to tape these meetings might get the opportunity for greater abuses because there is a move to take these responsibilities from a local independent agency currently taping these meeting. The Fed rules are stricter.  Where to start.   —>
http://rochesterturning.com/2007/12/04/an-honest-mistake-in-greece/
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Celebrating everyday women
by Cindy Cantrell
Boston Globe (MA)
12/09/07

While working as a realtor for 22 years, Dacey Zouzas of Chelmsford said she was consistently inspired by tales of personal and professional perseverance from the women she met. So when she saw an ad looking for volunteers to produce public access shows a year and a half ago, Zouzas (left) became a television host and producer in order to share their stories.  “I wanted to do something to celebrate these everyday women who are working and raising families, and moving forward no matter what cards they’ve been dealt,” she said. “I wanted to bring their voices front and center.”

Since launching “Dacey’s Divas” through Chelmsford TeleMedia in June 2006, Zouzas has broadcast 40 episodes. Guests have included businesswomen, politicians, philanthropists, leaders in education and nonprofit organizations, athletes, musicians, artists, and survivors of cancer and other illnesses.   —>
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/12/09/celebrating_everyday_women/
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For Ewa Today
Hawaii House Blog (HI)
12/10/07

That’s the title of Rep. Cabanilla’s weekly public access television show on Olelo, ch. 54. It airs every Sunday at 7:00 p.m. For the month of December, the show will focus on the Toll Road concept.
http://hawaiihouseblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/for-ewa-today.html
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New bill would stop FCC’s cable regulation attempt
by Nate Anderson
Ars Technica
12/10/07

What happens when a large and powerful US industry decides that it doesn’t like a law? Simple: it works to change that law. AT&T has had notable success this year at pushing legislation for state governments to bypass local controls and give the company a statewide video franchise. Not to be left out, cable has mounted a lobbying offensive of its own in the wake of the FCC’s attempt to regulate the industry. The effort is now paying fruit in Washington.

Late last week, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced HR4307 (PDF), the “Consumer Freedom of Choice in Cable Act.” It’s not clear why this name was chosen, since the bill’s main text is under fifty words long and simply repeals the 70/70 rule so loathed by cable. Does that make you, the consumer, feel free to choose?

The 70/70 rule came out of a 1984 cable law that largely deregulated the industry. That law said that the FCC could exert broad authority over the cable companies should they ever pass more than 70 percent of all US households, and should more than 70 percent of those households actually subscribe to cable. No one doubts that the first threshold has been reached, but there is substantial uncertainty about the second one.   —>
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071210-christmas-comes-early-for-cable-bill-would-gut-7070-rule.html
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The 700 Club – Minus Two
by Jim Barthold
Cable360.net
12/10/07

Comcast and Time Warner Cable have withdrawn from next month’s mortgage-the-future bidding war for 700 MHz spectrum, thereby squelching a pretty good theory about how cable operators could blanket their serving areas with WiMAX and deliver an in-franchise mobile wireless play using 700 MHz spectrum.

Ostensibly, the two biggest MSOs pulled out because that multi-billion-dollar swath of spectrum they bought as part of SpectrumCo, along with Cox Communications and (at the time but not now) Sprint Nextel, will cover their mobile needs. Beneath the surface, it’s also likely the two cable behemoths, who surprisingly broke stride with Cox on this, didn’t want to get into a bidding war with the deep pocketed telcos and their newfound gadfly friend Google.

While it sort of makes sense for Comcast and Time Warner to back away, and it sort of makes sense for Cox to stay in, it’s puzzling why Google, which has a lot of money but no networking sense, wants to play at all.   —>
http://www.cable360.net/technology/news/26962.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org