Archive for the ‘low power FM’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/09/08

April 11, 2008

AT&T-COMCAST PEG side-by-side demo
swoccstudios – Southwestern Oakland Cable Commission (MI)

[ comments invited ]

A side-by-side comparison of AT&T PEG channel and Comcast PEG Channel. Shows the length of time to change channels from a broadcast to a peg channel. [ Also compares AT&T’s U-Worse image quality to Comcast’s ~ rm ]

AT&T won’t say where it’d offer TV if bill passes
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)


Despite lobbying for a bill to start offering television services and compete with cable, AT&T will not say where it would offer those services if legislation were approved. “For competitive reasons, the company does not outline those plans,” said Bob Corney, an AT&T spokesman. “But, our goal is to try to get our product to as many customers as possible as quickly as possible.”

…The ambiguity about where AT&T would offer its services is just something that comes with state-issued franchising, said Stacey Briggs, the executive director of the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association, which had lobbied against the bill before signing off on the compromise. “I think that’s just the difference between the state process and the local process where local governments are losing control over where AT&T goes,” Briggs said. —>

A Snowy Transmission
by Tomas Dinges
411 Productions (TX)

[ comments invited ]

A snowy transmission: Public access television threatened, by Tomas Dinges

Just weeks after Patsy Robles and her 15-year-old daughter stepped into the studio of San Antonio’s Channel 20 during the summer of 2004 they were on TV, a channel-surf away from the major networks. Motivated by a desire to “counteract negative media stereotypes of youth,” Robles, an accountant, learned to produce television. Soon, belly dancing, 10-year-old mariachi players and 16-year-old news anchors describing the impact of Hurricane Katrina on young people could be seen by anybody with a basic subscription to Time-Warner cable in the San Antonio area.

This was public access television. For almost two years their show, “411,” appeared four times a month. However, in late 2006, the studio shut down, and the channel went dark. “I was totally shocked,” said Robles, who said she was given no warning of the move. “I didn’t even know if the channel was coming back.”

What happened to her and other access producers in San Antonio was a harbinger of things to come in others towns and cities where cable lines lay. Last year, 21 production studios in Indiana and Michigan were closed. Funding for public access programming is expected to dry up entirely during the next five years in Ohio, Florida, Missouri and Wisconsin, according to the Alliance for Community Media, an advocacy group that organizes public access channels across the country.

The closings resulted from new statewide franchise contracts, which eliminated the longtime obligations of cable providers to local communities in 17 states. Public access television has existed in the past because of “its close connection to the local community,” said Anthony Riddle, executive director of the Alliance for Community Media. Established by Congress in 1973, the Public, Educational and Governmental channels were a trade-off for company use of public land to run cables and make a profit. They would be available for local groups and individual citizens to use in whatever manner they wished–sort of a modern-day electronic public sphere.

Now, “the telecommunications companies are not connected to the public that they serve,” said Riddle. “There is no accountability on a state level.” Instead of having to negotiate new agreements with thousands of municipalities across the country, the cable and telephone industries heavily lobbied state legislatures for permission to strike the simpler statewide agreements. Local communities had no leverage. As a consequence, said Riddle, cable companies are out to make new rules or “take an interpretation of the rules to shut down an access center.” —>

Black Evil Television, Low-Power FM Neighborhood Radio, and the Congressional Black Caucus
by Bruce Dixon
Black Agenda Radio


A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce Dixon.

Even when corporate black radio does not ape the content of “Black Evil Television” it consistently fails the legal tests of serving local needs with local content and broadcasting in the public interest. Legislation is now in the Congress to open up licensing for hundreds of new low-power FM neighborhood radio stations in cities and towns across the nation. Though all three presidential candidates, along with Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress are co-sponsoring… the Low-Power FM Neighborhood Radio bill (HB 2802 & SB ) relatively few members of the Congressional Black Caucus are among them.

Click the flash player below to hear the audio of this Black Agenda Radio commentary. Broadcasters and others desiring an MP3 copy should visit the Black Agenda Radio archive page here. —>

Two young women journalists working for indigenous community radio station in Oaxaca ambushed and shot
Reporters without Borders

[ comments invited at Corrugated Films: ]

Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked by the fatal shooting on 7 April in Putla de Guerrero, in the southern state of Oaxaca, of Teresa Bautista Flores, 24, and Felicitas Martínez, 20, two women journalists working for La Voz que Rompe el Silencio (“The Voice that Breaks the Silence”), a community radio station serving the Trique indigenous community. “Although there is so far no evidence that these two women were killed because of their work as journalists, their murders will be traumatic for all of Latin America’s many community radio stations, which are too often ignored or despised by the rest of the media and by governments,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“We are conscious of the risks run by the press in Oaxaca state, where the political climate continues to be tense, where two journalists were killed in 2006 at the height of a period of social unrest, and where other community media have been attacked,” the press freedom organisation continued. “We hope the investigators quickly establish the circumstances and motives for this double murder and catch those responsible. And we join their community in paying tribute to the two victims.”

La Voz que Rompe el Silencio was launched by the Trique indigenous community in San Juan Copala (in the west of Oaxaca state) on 20 January, a year after the locality was granted administrative autonomy. The community appointed Bautista Flores and Martínez to manage and present the radio station, which is dedicated to promoting indigenous culture.

The two young women were returning from doing a report in the municipality of Llano Juárez in the early afternoon when they were ambushed and, after being threatened with abduction, were finally shot with 7.62 calibre bullets of the kind used in AK-47 assault rifles, Reporters Without Borders was told by CACTUS, an organisation that supports indigenous communities. Investigators found 20 bullet casings at the scene. Three other people were wounded in the shooting – Jaciel Vázquez, aged 3, and his parents. —>

Independent radio reclaims the airwaves
“If you don’t have access and ownership and control of a media system, you really don’t exist,” said Loris Taylor, of Native Public Media.
by Michelle Chen
Straight Goods (Canada)

[Editor’s note: As the CBC public broadcasting system suffers the death of a thousand cuts, Canadians should pay attention to what US communities have learned about the importance of radio, especially, for building communities, delivering local news, and providing public space for airing issues of vital public interest.]

A mother’s voice stretched over the air to a son spending the holidays in a Virginia prison: “Keep your head up. I love you. Just do what you gotta do to survive.” The hushed message was one of dozens featured on Calls from Home, a project of Mountain Community Radio in Kentucky. Each December, the call-in program helps families of prisoners reconnect through holiday shout-outs, aired on stations across the country.

As broadcast conglomerates narrow radio’s political scope, activists are recasting the medium to once again empower underserved communities.

Since the first mass broadcasts crackled over the country’s airwaves in the 1920s, radio has defined itself as a democratic medium, providing communities that have few resources — from inmates to immigrant workers — a conduit for news and civic communication. But today, media activists say commercialism has reduced a vital institution to an industry of white noise. In response, alternative radio projects and media-justice movements have emerged to resuscitate a flagging public sphere. —>

Columbia College Chicago/Community Media Workshop
New America Media

[ comments invited ]

NAM and the Community Media Workshop at Columbia College Chicago hosted an event with the Centers for Disease Control on the importance of flu shots with Chicago area ethnic media in November 2007, and are joining forces again for an ethnic media workshop on investigative reporting with IRE in Chicago May 17-18th.

Ethnic Media Practice Serious Journalism at Risk of Peril
by Kenneth Kin
New America Media

[ 1 comment ]

Editor’s Note: Practicing the first amendment in America can be hazardous to your health, especially if you work in the ethnic media sector, according to editors at a New America Media-sponsored conference on ethnic media and freedom of expression in Los Angeles this week.

The First Amendment may have guaranteed the promise of a free press, but for ethnic media reporting on their own communities that can be as perilous as covering a war zone. In ethnic enclaves where the power of protest is mightier than the pen, it takes a combination of physical courage, mental perseverance and sometimes even the willingness to risk one’s own life to practice journalism.

A diverse group of leading editors from ethnic news media gathered in Los Angeles on April 7 to share accounts of threats they had received from their own communities. The roundtable discussion, “A Challenge for Ethnic Media: When Coverage Provokes Threats from Your Own Community,” was co-hosted by New America Media, the California First Amendment Coalition, USC Annenberg’s Institute for Justice and Journalism, CSU Northridge’s Center for Ethnic and Alternative Media, The Society of Professional Journalists-Greater LA Chapter, UCLA’s CCC (Campus Computing Council), California Chicano News Media Association (CCNMA) and other media advocacy groups.

Journalists, editors and publishers of ethnic media told harrowing tales of having been boycotted, protested, sued, harassed, and physically threatened by members of their own communities who wanted to dictate what the ethnic news media could and couldn’t cover. —>

S. F. event and national symposium in D. C. to counter mis-information on Venezuela
by Jonathan Nack

[ comments invited ]

“The level of openness and participation in the community media in an inspiration. From what I witnessed, the democratization of the media in Venezuela flies in the face of practically everything I read about Venezuela in U. S. corporate media.”

SAN FRANCISCO – Mainstream media outlets have run many stories recently criticizing freedom of the press in Venezuela, but have ignored the story of the explosion of community radio and T.V. Greg Miller and Sean Kriletich explore the burgeoning community media movement spreading across Venezuela in their film, “La Revolucion Comunicativa: community radio and t.v. on the rise in Venezuela.” —>

New Hope For Press Freedom With Election Upset
The Malaysian


The Malaysian government’s unprecedented losses in national elections last month will hopefully provide the long-awaited drive for media reform, say Malaysia’s Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA). —>

Somerville Cares About Prevention (Part 1)
SCAT’s Vlog! (MA)

[ comments invited ]

On March 26 Somerville Cares About Prevention, a City of Somerville agency, held its 5th Annual Community Addiction Speakout at Somerville Community Access Television. The program featured a panel of experts on teen alcohol and opiate addictions, including two teens in recovery who shared their stories. SPF100, the youth group that promotes positive choices, showed their video about the problem of adults giving youth access to alcohol.

Public access channel opens up its mics
Ventura County Star (CA)

Ventura’s public-access channel will hold “Open Mic Days” where people can sit down in front of a camera and say what’s on their minds for three minutes, organizers said. Participants must live, work or go to school in Ventura. Individuals will be responsible for their remarks and will have to sign a waiver releasing Community Access Partners of San Buenaventura, or CAPS-TV, from liability. The segments will be compiled into shows titled “What’s On Your Mind, Ventura?” and “What’s On Your Mind, Ventura — After Dark.” —>

Chicago IMC Public Access TV Show Coverage of 5th Anniversary Antiwar Direct Actions
by Chicago Indymedia Collective
The War Stops Here

[ comments invited ]

ON THE SHOW THIS MONTH: Complete coverage of the 2008 Chicago Peace Protests during the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq.

M20 Civil Disobedience and Arrest, Federal Plaza, Chicago – March 20, 2008, 7 activists, including Kathy Kelly, perform civil disobedience action at Federal Plaza, downtown Chicago, resulting in arrest. This was one of many actions in Chicago to mark the 5th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Produced by Fred Hickler.

Chicago Anti-War Protest 2008 – Video by CIMC and Labor Beat. —>

Cable Access Talk Show Spreads Positive Message
Northland’s News Center (MN/WI)

[ comments invited ]

“Well, howdy there, you buckaroos! Welcome to Late Night With Don!” is how Don Yoder introduces his show. Look out “Tonight Show” and “Late Night With David Letterman”. This is “Late Night With Don” hosted by Superior native Don Yoder which airs at the same time as the network’s late shows.

Yoder doesn’t think his cable access talk show is a competitor to the big boys of evening television. “I think it is an alternative I have. I don’t get up here and make fun of actors or actresses that are going through difficult times in their lives.” says Don Yoder. Don is a Marine Corps veteran and country and gospel singer who is back in the Northland after many years away. His show is taped in Proctor and airs there and in the Twin Ports weeknights at 10:30 pm on cable access TV.

After two months of production, the show is catching on. “The public reaction is good. People like to see local programming and I think it fills a void we’ve had in public access in this area and I think it’s a fun show to work on.” according to Peter Luke who runs Proctor’s cable access TV channel…

How to do a show on Proctor Trac 7 TV: You can be the Creator/ Producer and Director of your own Video show. You call the shots, you write the format of of your show and you edit the show. Whether you Produce the show In-Studio or on-Location, you have access to the latest Video Production Equipment. Call: Peter Luke, Cable TV Coordinator at (218) 628-6283 for more Information!

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media


Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/06/08

January 7, 2008

Ron Paul’s Town Hall Forum in New Hampshire

As a sort of protest to being excluded from Sunday’s Fox News Republican Forum, Ron Paul held a live town hall event broadcast on C-SPAN and live on his site.  Here’s a report from

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Shut out of a GOP presidential candidate forum sponsored by Fox News, Ron Paul staged his own televised town hall meeting today in which he fielded questions from undecided voters two days before the key primary election here.  The Lake Jackson Republican congressman faced a range of questions from the audience of about 100 people in the public access television station several miles from where four other presidential contenders were to later participate in the Fox debate.   —>

Fox News excuse to keep out Ron Paul / Duncan Hunter…rubbish
by James Chang

While watching the Fox News Republican forum in New Hampshire which featured candidates Rudolph Giuliani, John McCain, Romney, Huckabee, and Fred Thomson, their excuse in saying that the studio could not fit in Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter is absolutely ridiculous.  I bet you can get a bigger roundtable to fit Paul and Hunter with the other candidates. That studio is quite large enough to accomodate the both of them. Make a better excuse, Faux News.

Fox News’ reasoning in selecting candidates that have double-digit numbers in the opinion polls is flawed when you look at Giuliani and Thompson. It must be selective polling they are taking into account.  Kudos to the New Hampshire GOP for withdrawing their sponsorship of the forum.

But Ron Paul did not go away quietly.  The congressman staged his own televised town hall meeting today in Manchester where he fielded questions from undecided voters two days before the key primary election there. He faced a range of questions from the audience of 100 people in the public access television station several miles from where four other presidential contenders were to later participate in the Fox debate.   —>

Salina, Kan., sets standard for access television
by Emilie Rusch
Columbia Missourian

Community Access Television of Salina, Kan. — 300 miles west of Columbia — isn’t the biggest or the busiest public-access center in the country, but it’s proving public access can be successful and valuable.  Scooter Frakes and Tom Colby, welders from a town about 30 minutes from Salina, came to the access center with big dreams. They wanted to produce a 13-episode season of “Hartland Traditions,” a Kansas-centric look at hunting, and eventually take it to the national level.

Producers of other hunting shows get all excited when they talk about hunting opportunities in Kansas, Frakes said, but none are based there. Plus, he and Colby were looking for a way to raise awareness of youth hunting events.  “When we were trying to figure out where we’d find the space to do this, we stumbled upon (public) access,” Colby said. “Without the knowledge they have here, we’d be so far behind.”

Before they found public access, Frakes and Colby were relying on home video cameras. Now they can borrow professional-grade cameras, and they’ve even taken the mobile production truck out to a few events, including a Big Brothers/Big Sisters trip to a local shooting range.  “To be able to capture it on video and show the organization and who’s there and kids enjoying themselves, that’s pretty powerful,” Colby said.  “And for parents, to show what organizations are doing, instead of them just saying, ‘Oh god, there’s guns. We’re not going.’”

More staff, programming

In the 9½ years that David Hawksworth has manned the helm in Salina, he’s seen full-time staff grow from four employees to seven. That has allowed the station to offer more staff-produced programming for the government and education channels and to better support and develop volunteers’ skills.

Salina’s model is one the folks who run Columbia Access Television, which has struggled with shoestring budgets over its first three years, would like to move toward. They’re hoping the City Council will see the need and vote as early as Jan. 22 to boost and solidify CAT’s funding through a five-year contract.

“In an age where funding is less certain, you have to provide something that’s of service to the community,” Hawksworth said. “If there are important things going on and volunteers aren’t covering it, we as an access center have a responsibility to produce that.”  “We’re here to provide that mechanism for those people that have a voice in the community. The more we can help people to find that voice and develop that voice, the better off everyone is,” Hawksworth said. “We were able because we had enough support from the city.”   —>

A way to record, broadcast events
by Stan Musick
The Reporter (CA)

As the new year begins, many parents will be trying to balance the kids’ schedules and their own to make life go as smoothly as possible.

They will be busy with work and the kids, and may have little time to enjoy their kids’ activities or sports events. The kids grow and progress, and much is missed. Before parents know it, their children are graduating and moving on with their lives. It’s soon a memory, mostly of getting their children to and from activities and volunteering behind the scenes instead of how their kids looked or acted during them.

Vacaville Community Television, which operates Public Access Channel 27, wants to help change that.  We would like to help record and broadcast their moments so you can relive them with your children. Kids like to talk about their activities and wish parents were there to watch them. Recording the events keeps the family in the action while it’s happening, and great memories can be relived when your kids have their kids.

Every team or activity usually has at least one person recording his or her own child at every event. If the shot were widened to include a few more kids, it could become a home movie that highlights the camera operator’s kid and records the action as well. If more cameras are used to record the event, even more kids can be shown.

Once these recordings are made, Vacaville Community Television can show them, or have volunteers at the station download and mix the recordings. The original recordings will be returned, and a broadcast of the event can be shown on cable TV Channel 27 for everyone to watch. Families can record the event for free during broadcast, or make a donation to VCT for a personal DVD dub.

At your child’s next event, ask the parents if anyone has a camcorder. Find a few people who already record their kids, or would if they had the equipment and were shown how. Try to get a couple of people as back up. Then call me at 334-3126 or e-mail me at when you identify those people.

This year, let’s enjoy seeing your kids grow up before your eyes. Ask around and get a parent or two to join the fun. You kids will have surprising results from this, too, try it and you will thank us.

Howell Officials Unhappy With Comcast Local Access Change

At its meeting Monday night, the Howell City Council will discuss a decision by Comcast to remove the city’s community access television channel from its current spot, effective Jan. 15, and move it to a channel in the 900’s. It’s part of the digital TV revolution, and requires those wanting to view the local municipal government channel to have a converter box. —>

AT&T to roll out U-Verse this week in Metro East
by Tim Logan
St. Louis Post Dispatch (MO)

U-Verse is coming to Illinois.  AT&T will turn on its much-ballyhooed video service for the first time in the state on Monday, launching home installation in 17 Metro East communities from Cahokia to Troy and bringing another dose of competition to the region’s television market.  It’s the latest step in AT&T’s gradual rollout of U-Verse, an Internet-based service the company says brings more features and functions than traditional cable. And it comes less than a month after the telecom giant brought video to the St. Louis market on the Missouri side of the river.  Now it’s jumping the Mississippi, entering Illinois through the Metro East.   —>

VIDEO — Meet The Candidates for State Representative
by Ed
Help Bring Public Access TV Back to Swampscott (MA)

Recorded at Temple Emanu-el, Marblehead, MA., January 6, 2008.  The order of speaking is Ehrlich, DeGenova, Blaisdell, Barry, Archilla. Thanks to Temple Emanu-el for holding this event and for their friendliness, generosity and openness in allowing me to record it, even though, as usual, I showed up at the last minute, and they didn’t know who I was.

This is just the candidates closing statements. I will submit the entire event to LynnCAM TV 3, and Marblehead TV 10. (Swampscott’s channels 15 and 16 are off limits to the public, as you know! They’re for government use only, and in the case of Channel 16, government non-use).

Dracut: Local Youth Appears on Program
by Rocco Colella
Boston Globe (MA)

A Dracut freshman was featured on the nationally syndicated news program “Teen Kids News” last week. Tyler Dumont, a 14-year-old student at Lowell Catholic High School, submitted a sample tape featuring pieces he edited about the Boston Duck Tours and an indoor-skydiving facility. In addition to his camera work, Dumont participates on Dracut cable access television, running his own program, “Kids World.” He plans to attend Lyndon State College in 2012. “Teen Kids News” airs Sundays on WMUR-TV (Channel 9) at 10:30 a.m. and WCVB-TV (Channel 5) at 11:30 a.m. For more information on the program and transcript information, visit

Holliston: Verizon Public Access on Tap
by Calvin Hennick
Boston Globe (MA)

Local Verizon FiOS television subscribers should have access to local programming this month, Town Administrator Paul LeBeau said. The company began offering cable TV service in town this fall, but so far it has not broadcast local-access programming, including public meetings. The deadline for the company to carry the local content is Feb. 19, but LeBeau said the company appears to be on track to offer the programming sometime this month.

One radio station, two communities
Cape Verdeans, Haitians broadcast concerns and hot sounds
by Milton J. Valencia
Boston Globe (MA)

BROCKTON – The dance-hall rhythm of steel drums and bass that pounds the radio airwaves these days in Brockton emanates from a dimly-lit office building in the city’s Montello section. The studio’s computers are secondhand, and the only sound proofing is an old door. But the makeshift accommodations don’t matter, because the music is good, and it seems everyone is listening.

Haitians call the sound “compas,” and Cape Verdeans know it as “zouk.” Whatever the label, the small radio station seems to have channeled a sense of camaraderie between two of the largest immigrant groups in the Brockton area.  “This is why, through music, we understand each other,” said Djovany Pierre, the owner of Brockton Heat, on 96.5 FM.

The unlikely collaboration between Haitians and Cape Verdeans has created the hottest radio in the city. Brockton Heat is a low-powered radio station that began broadcasting about a year ago and is still seeking an operating license from the Federal Communications Commission; an application was filed in October. And yet its popularity has already catapulted it from an Internet stream to a recognized voice of authority in this melting pot of a city.   —>

Documentary celebrates musical legacy of folk singer Margaret MacArthur
A ‘Waltz’ for Margaret
by Susan Green
Burlington Free Press (VT)

In an era when Britney Spears can dominate the news, the quiet modesty of a Margaret MacArthur is likely to go largely unnoticed by the popular culture.  The folksinger and folklorist, who died at age 78 in May 2006, spent most of her life tapping into a more enduring culture. While raising five children in an 1802 Marlboro farmhouse, she somehow found time to immerse herself in musical traditions that span centuries and traverse continents.

Apparently no place, though, inspired this ardent “songcatcher” as much as the state where she took up residence exactly six decades ago. That devotion was already evident in her first album, recorded for the Folkways label in 1962: “Ballads of Vermont.”

MacArthur’s significant contribution to the genre is conveyed in “Margaret’s Waltz,” an award-winning new documentary by Rebecca Padula of Hinesburg. The 90-minute film, which chronicles two 2007 tribute concerts, will screen on Jan. 18 in Burlington.  “I never knew Margaret well,” explains Padula, who is a performer in her own right and channel coordinator at Lake Champlain Access Television in Colchester. “I was more of a fan.”

Nonetheless, she didn’t hesitate when asked to tape the two shows produced in Marlboro and Middlebury last March by folk impresario Mark Sustic of Fletcher. “He said it might be a cool, documentary kind of thing,” Padula, 37, recalls.  “I was determined to document it in some way,” says Sustic, who befriended MacArthur in the 1970s. “In my mind, this was a continuation of Margaret’s legacy of documenting folk music, as well as a way for people who couldn’t be there to enjoy the concerts.”

The idea to give the project even more of a flourish, with archival material and interviews, came from Dave Richardson. He’s a veteran of the legendary Boys of the Lough, some of MacArthur’s oldest and dearest pals. The Celtic band played at both performances.  On camera, Richardson remembers how they would stop at MacArthur’s home in between gigs around the country during the early 1970s to share music, “eat great food, drink their homemade beer and everything was wonderful.” She later toured with them in the Scottish Highlands. “Margaret’s Waltz” is a title Padula borrowed from an instrumental number the Boys often perform.

Maine-based Gordon Bok is another folk luminary on stage and in the film. Ditto for Pete and Karen Sutherland of Vergennes. Three of MacArthur’s grown children, who regularly accompanied her, also join in the festivities.  “One of the highlights of this experience for me was to hang out as everyone was jamming,” Padula acknowledges.

Despite much wonderful humor and some breathtaking musicianship, the proceedings harbor a sense of loss. MacArthur’s death came within a week after she was diagnosed with a rare brain affliction called Jacob Kreutzfeld Disease, according to Sustic. The concerts were part of Events for Tom, an ongoing benefit series he has organized since his young son succumbed to leukemia in 2001.

British-born Tony Barrand, a southern Vermonter perhaps best known for his “Nowell Sing We Clear” holiday extravaganzas but now battling multiple sclerosis, sings heartily as ever from a wheelchair. He delivers a melody, written by Malvina Reynolds of “Little Boxes” fame. It describes a neighbor’s baby being born while Barrand and longtime musical cohort John Roberts were driving her to the hospital from MacArthur’s farm.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/28/07

December 31, 2007

Editorial: Is cable TV law really needed?
Commercial Appeal (TN)

When it was making the rounds in the Tennessee General Assembly last spring, a bill dealing with cable television franchising was jokingly dubbed “the Lobbyists Full Employment Act.”  The legislation would have allowed cable companies to get statewide franchising authority, which means they wouldn’t have been required to negotiate separate agreements with individual cities and counties.

The Competitive Cable and Video Service Act, as it was officially known, earned its nickname because so many high-powered lobbyists were involved in arguing the bill’s pros and cons. Even though the legislation didn’t win approval this year, AT&T Inc., the bill’s primary supporter, wants the debate to resume next year.  However, based on what’s been happening across the border in Mississippi, it’s fair to question if that would be a good use of Tennessee legislators’ limited time.   —>

A big year for the IT guy
Issues forced techies to the forefront in 2007
by Steve Lord
The Beacon News (IL)

GENEVA — The IT guy has long ago shed the nerd image and become the VIP of the office.  And in 2007, at least in the Fox Valley, the people who run Information Technology took it one step further and stepped out from behind the door to the server office, becoming a public face themselves.

No one personified that more than Pete Collins, IT guy for the city of Geneva. Whether lobbying for a fair law governing cable and Internet video, helping get a deal for free wireless Web service or turning on the city’s webcasts of City Council meetings, Collins was certainly no quiet guy behind glasses and a pocket protector.  “I’ve got a cool job,” he says. “And to me, part of the job is I’m supposed to stand up and fight for the city.”   —>,2_1_AU28_FACES_S1.article

Neighborhood Public Radio mixes up art and radio
by Reyhan Harmanci
San Francisco Chronicle (CA)

Every now and then since 2004, while scanning the lower end of the FM spectrum in certain parts of the Bay Area, it’s been possible to cut through the static and hear something unexpected.  You might have heard a raucous noise band performing live, or a teenager interviewing another teenager about life in Hunters Point, or a roundtable of artists discussing their work, or a man-on-the-street-style interview done on the street, all courtesy of NPR.

That’s not NPR as in National Public Radio, but, rather, a conceptual art project and mobile pirate radio station called Neighborhood Public Radio.  The loose collective, headed by artists Lee Montgomery, Michael Trigilio and Jon Brumit, typically sets up in an art gallery with little more than a banner, booth, microphone and transmitter and a rough schedule of hyper-local programs aimed toward maximum neighborhood participation…

Neighborhood Public Radio will be in New York City beginning in March for its three-month residency as part of the Whitney Biennial, but thanks to the Internet, you can listen to its broadcasts live or dig into its archived offerings.   —>

Cooking show keeps pastor busy
by Doug Zellmer
The Northwestern (WI)

Inspiration comes in many forms, and for Rev. Paul Stephens growing up meant spending time in the family kitchen.  Stephens, who lives in Omro, didn’t know it at the time, but his knowledge of how to cook from his early years has paid off in a cooking show he hosts on Oshkosh Community Access Television.   —>

Congratualtions Global Voices Online on such a wonderful initiative!
by David Sasaki
Global Voices

The inaugural group of Rising Voices citizen media outreach projects have given us new and powerful voices from communities that previously were rarely seen participating online. Last month we put out a call for new citizen media outreach proposals, of which five would be selected to join our current projects based in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, India, and Sierra Leone.

In total we received 63 project proposals from over 35 different countries. Although the quantity of applications was less than the 142 we received in July, the quality and innovation that stood out throughout all of this round’s proposals made the selection process far more difficult. The overwhelming response to the latest Rising Voices grant competition is, once again, a testament to the global enthusiasm for citizen media from rural Uganda to Orthodox communities in Israel, from the mountains of Guatemala to the working class neighborhoods of Serbia.

The five grant winners are representative of the innovation, purpose and good will that Rising Voices aims to support:

Youth Media Consultative Forum in Nakuru, Kenya   —>
Iran Inside Out: A Videoblogging Initiative   —>
Bloggers Desde la Infancia (Bloggers Since Infancy) – Uruguay   —>
Bringing Malagasy Forumists to the World of Citizen Journalism – Madagascar   —>
Diary of an Inmate – Jamaica   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/25/07

December 31, 2007

Local Groups Petition FCC to Stay Ruling on Video-Franchise Reform
Broadcast Newsroom

Local franchise authorities, including the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, have asked the FCC to stay its Oct. 31 decision extending to incumbent cable operators essentially the same video-franchise reforms it gave telco video providers  in an earlier ruling.

In a petition for the stay and reconsideration of the decision, the local government groups “more than a half dozen of them, including the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors” argued that the commission failed to preempt “most-favored nation” clauses (which specify that the a new entrants can’t get better terms than the incumbent) or to base its decision on “appropriate economic impact analysis.” The groups further pointed out that they had filed a lawsuit against the initial decision granting franchise relief to telco video providers.    “In the absence of a stay,” they said in the FCC filing, “petitioners’ members will be irreparably harmed.” The governments have said that the FCC decision will “severely restrict the ability of local governments to protect their citizens, rights-of-way, community channels, and public safety networks.”

They argue in the request for a stay that by not preempting existing most-favored nation clauses, the commission “upended the franchise negotiation process.”   —>

The good FCC
by Matthew Lasar
Lasar’s Letter on the FCC

On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission, by a bare majority, voted to lift its over three decade old prohibition against an entity owning a newspaper and a television station in the same market. Most FCC watchers will now shift their visors to Congress and the circuit courts, where media reform activists will doubtless turn in a bid to reverse this ruling.  But the agency also made four important decisions this month and last that deserve a second glance, not only because they could have an impact on broadcasting, but because they illustrate the extent to which the Commission can promote measures that clearly serve the public interest—when it wants to.

Low Power FM…
Diversification of broadcast ownership…
Cable subscriber caps…

Local Network’s Warnings About TV Unheeded
by Louise Thompson
Tampa Tribune (FL)

Regarding the Tribune editorial, “Bright House Snubs Public Good” (Our Opinion, Dec. 13):

In this editorial about Bright House Networks moving local government channels to the 600 tier, you neglected to let your readers know that their own local public access channels have also been moved from Bright House channels 19 and 20 to digital channels 949 and 950 or Outer Mongolia on the TV channel lineup.  To view Tampa Bay Community Network’s programs, which are produced by the local community, Bright House subscribers who don’t currently have digital boxes, will have to rent them for $1 per month.  Or, perhaps, and more likely, make the switch to Verizon FIOS, where they can still view Tampa Bay Community Network on channels 30 and 36.

It is on TBCN that viewers can watch alternative news programming like Democracy Now and Free Speech TV, learn (in both English and Spanish) how to access nonprofit and government services, enjoy University of Tampa sports, take in a sermon or local band, “attend” (via TV) local community events and, perhaps most importantly, watch local debates and political forums that may help them vote in the right people come November.

As we previously told your editorial board, there is no question that our legislators made a huge error when they passed the so-called Consumer Choice Act of 2007, which your paper supported.  As our governor suggested when he signed the bill last May, it needs to be amended to protect the public, education and government channels. Hopefully, that will happen.

And, just maybe, then the county’s Board of County Commissioners, which eliminated residents’ free speech rights on cable when they de-funded the people’s channel, will come to its senses and restore their constitutional rights by reinstating TBCN’s budget.  As your own editorial pointed out in a different context, why would anyone want to “slam shut a wonderful window of public access”?

Daytona may televise more public meetings
by John Bozzo
Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)

Forget about those premium movie channels.  Mayor Glenn Ritchey is considering expanding the city’s telecasts of public meetings on Channel 99.  “There’s a lot of people who can’t get to meetings because of their work schedule or they can’t because of their health, or any reason,” he said.  City Commission meetings began airing on the Bright House cable channel last Jan. 10 after the company provided the city with $300,000 to equip the commission chambers to televise discussions.

“Anything that takes place in the commission chambers — Planning Board, Code Enforcement Board, redevelopment boards, Economic Development Advisory Board — anybody who meets in the chambers, we’re already set up to televise there like we do for the City Commission,” Ritchey said.  The mayor plans to nail down additional costs, such as for employees to operate the equipment, before bringing the issue to the City Commission, possibly Jan. 16.  “The whole thing is to make our government more accessible,” Ritchey said.

Other commissioners appear to like the idea of televising city advisory board meetings, but cost might be an issue.  “I don’t know what the costs are yet,” Commissioner Rick Shiver said. “I like the concept a whole lot.”   —>

PVT wants to enter Carlsbad cable market
by Stella Davis
Current Argus (NM)

CARLSBAD — Artesia-based PVT Networks is seeking a long-term, non-exclusive cable franchise agreement with the city of Carlsbad.  If the Carlsbad City Council approves the agreement, PVT will begin building its multi-million fiber optic network in Carlsbad that, when completed, will offer residents cable television with a “local flavor,” said Terry Mullins, PVT marketing director.

“What we are planning to do is build a fiber network in phases,” Mullins said. “The network will be capable of delivering video, TV cable, local telephone and extremely high-speed Internet for businesses and residences.”  PVT offers video/telephone, video/cable, data Internet, landline and cell phone services to residents in North Eddy County and other rural communities north of Artesia.

“We hope to get the city’s support on this,” Mullins said. “We offer cable TV with a local flavor in Artesia that offers high school sporting events, community theater productions and other community functions. We  also offer the standard channels and special packages and other quality products. The people in Artesia like to see the local stuff on cable and we have received a lot of favorable comments from them. We believe Carlsbad would also like to have the local cable channel, in addition to the standard channels.”   —>

Council adopts public access TV policy
by Dick Broom
Bar Harbor Times (ME)

The Town Council last week adopted a policy governing use of the public access cable television channel, which the town controls.  The policy states that programs distributed on the Public Access System “may be intended for any purpose and may include information, entertainment or the expression of points of view without limitation unless prohibited elsewhere in this document.”  Content that is not allowed includes:

• Advertisements or information concerning lotteries or games of chance;
• Advertising designed to promote the sale of commercial products or services;
• Solicitation of funds;
• Material soliciting or promoting unlawful conduct;
• Statements, pictures or sound that violate town, state or federal laws including those related to obscenity, defamation, slander and libel;
• Sexually explicit material.

The administrator of the Public Access System must be notified if a program contains adult language, images or situations.  “At the sole discretion of the administrator, this material may be cablecast outside of prime time child viewing hours,” the policy states. “Such programs would be cablecast between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.”  Steve Cornell, the town’s technical systems administrator is designated as the Public Access System administrator.   —>

‘Interviews with the Veterans’ public access program lets former GIs tell their stories
by Andrew Schroedter
Chicago Tribune (IL)

Like many in his generation, Larry Littel preferred not to talk about what he saw as a member of the California National Guard during World War II.  Littel, 82, said not even his family heard stories about gun fights in the Pacific Islands or the men he saw wounded and killed.  “I didn’t talk about it for 50 years,” said Littel of Evanston. “But you know, there’s a 1,000 of us dying every day. In 10 years, you won’t know we were around.”

Rushing to capture the stories of Chicago-area veterans before it’s too late is part of what motivates Gerry Boguse to produce his “Interviews with the Veterans” program, broadcast on local public access in 28 communities on the North Shore and in the northwest suburbs.  Since the first show in May 2004, Boguse has filmed 65 interviews with 55 veterans like Littel, who served in World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars.  “I’m not glorifying war,” said Boguse, 47, a programming/government access coordinator with the Evanston Community Media Center. “I’m here to record history.”   —>,1,5951320.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Rhode Island gets a lot more FiOS TV
by Darren Murph

Wondering what Verizon was going to get you for the holidays? If you find yourself a resident of the Ocean State, the answer could be FiOS TV access. Reportedly, the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carries granted Verizon licenses just this week to operate cable TV services in Charlestown, Cranston, Foster, Hopkinton, Johnston, Narragansett, North Providence, Providence, Richmond, Scituate, South Kingstown and Westerly. Apparently, Verizon had secured a license to operate in Service Area 6 earlier this year, but just now got approval on Areas 2, 3 and 8 covering the locales mentioned above.   —>

Verizon FiOS coming to more Westchester communities
by Sean Gorman
The Journal News (NY)

OSSINING – Several more Westchester communities are moving closer to sealing deals to provide Verizon cable television to their residents.  Last week, Briarcliff Manor, the town of Ossining and Sleepy Hollow signed agreements with Verizon, the company said.  Elected officials in New Castle and the village of Ossining last week voted to give cable franchises to Verizon, but they have yet to reach final agreements.  Verizon has been working to provide its FiOS television services in a market long monopolized by Cablevision.

“I think they (residents) like the idea of competition,” said New Castle Supervisor Janet Wells. “They have felt that when there’s only one franchise, it’s hard to get the service they would like, and also I think people are hoping that it (cable services) will be less expensive.”  The town was still trying to work out some technical concerns with Verizon, such as whether events and meetings held at the library, community center and other buildings in town could be simultaneously broadcast live on both the Verizon and Cablevision systems, said Town Administrator Gennaro Faiella.

In Ossining, the village board last week voted 5-0 to approve a resolution authorizing Village Manager Linda Cooper to sign a deal with Verizon.  “It’s very important, we believe, that the competition exists,” Ossining Mayor William Hanauer said last week.  At that meeting, Verizon officials had committed to speeding up their timetable for paying $62,500 to the village for cable equipment for public access television, Hanauer said.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/17/07

December 17, 2007

Learning to Love PEG Channels
by Geoff Daily

Last week I wrote a post entitled “Learning to Live Without PEG Channels (And Loving It!)” that attempted to broadly convey a narrow point about the limitations of cable systems and the possibilities of Internet systems for the delivery of PEG content.  Admittedly, I wrote this post focusing only on a small area of a much larger and more complex issue, and in doing so committed the cardinal sin of not acknowledging the other complexities that exist, causing what I’d hoped could be a rallying cry to instead appear like a dismissive rebuttal of the current paradigm.

Luckily for me, the responses to my post were thorough, informative, and enlightening, expanding my understanding of some of the issues at hand, and sparking my interest in learning more about the opportunities and challenges of these vital societal resources.  I’ve begun an information gathering process in an attempt to prepare for an extended conversation about local community media over the coming weeks and months.

But for now, I wanted to circle back and flesh out a bit more some of the basic ideas expressed in that first post.   —>

Quiet, please! Locals on air
An Anne Arundel radio station grows into a community voice
by Nicole Fuller
Baltimore Sun (MD)

The weekly local political roundtable is in full swing and the discussion is heating up: The farmlands of southern Anne Arundel County are fading. People trying to escape sprawl are being pushed out to West Virginia. Soil erosion and nutrient runoff are polluting and degrading the bay.  “The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, are you listening?” asks Erik Michelsen, one of the impassioned voices at tiny 97.5 WRYR-FM radio in Churchton.

Michelsen’s show hits the airwaves for an hour on Saturday mornings, and Charles “Big Daddy” Stallings, a Baltimore blues artist, presses lips to his harmonica on Tuesday nights. Carol Bennett, the station’s resident fortuneteller, offers love advice Mondays.

All of it finds a home on the low-power community radio station that broadcasts from the second floor of a strip mall, over a Domino’s Pizza.

Funded through listener donations and local businesses, the no-frills nonprofit station is staffed solely by volunteers. In a nod to these everyman radio amateurs, taped to the walls are signs instructing, “Speak directly into the microphone” and “On Air SSSHHHH!!!!!”

Though its 100-watt signal reaches only from the Eastern Shore to Annapolis, it streams on the Internet at and reaches around the world – but many of its personalities will say they are perfectly content to play for a minuscule local audience.  Who needs ratings when your wife is listening?

“That’s not what we do,” says Robb Tufts, the station manager and a producer. “What we do is we provide a voice to our community. As far as ratings go, that’s not our game; our game is giving our community a voice.”  The grass-roots citizens group South Arundel Citizens for Responsible Development launched the station – whose call letters stand for “We aRe Your Radio” – in 2002, after the group won two high-profile land-use battles.   —>,0,5360401.story

FCC Chairman Martin Proposes Local Boards of ‘Good and Great’
by Fred Johnson

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is indulging in one of the FCC’s oldest, time honored traditions: making a lot of noise about “localism” and local programming, while creating policies that are destined to have the opposite effect.

As part of his efforts to have the FCC adopt rules that would relax the 32-year-old ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership, Martin proposes that, “Licensees should establish permanent advisory boards in each community (including representatives of underserved community segments) with which to consult periodically on community needs and issues,” and, that “The commission should adopt processing guidelines that will ensure that all broadcasters provide a significant amount of locally oriented programming.”

There is something very curious about a proposal to have our local broadcast license holders create local advisory boards, just now — particularly since it is coming from the FCC, an agency that has for the last 20 years charted new terrain in the land of regulatory capture.

So what’s the problem, surely we are all for more local programming? And surely requiring broadcasters to take advice from local communities is desirable, what could be the downside? Well perhaps a great deal.   —>

Comcast local access shift riles viewers
Community TV channels to move, require $4 a month digital box after 1st year.
by Christina Stolarz
The Detroit News (MI)

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — When it comes to television, Loretta Jasniak is proud to say she’s picky.  The Clinton Township resident is “disgusted” about all the sex and violence on TV nowadays. So, for entertainment, her remote control often lands on Animal Planet or Comcast channel 5 for the latest about her local government, community activities and emergency updates.

But next month when Comcast moves its public, educational and government channels from lower-numbered channels to somewhere in the 900s, her preferred viewing options will be even more limited. That is, unless Jasniak — and other analog customers — sign up for a special converter box that will cost about $4 a month after the first year.

“I have no intention of paying Comcast any more money than I do now,” said Jasniak, 79, whose basic cable bill is about $44 a month. But “if we don’t get this stupid box, we have no way of knowing what’s going on in our township. I’d be out in the dark without that. This is terrible. It should remain the way it is.”

Residents aren’t alone in their complaints about the switch. Community officials throughout Metro Detroit — such as Clinton Township, Warren, Sterling Heights and Dearborn — are up in arms over a state law that will allow the cable conglomerate to change the public access channel lineup. The move will take effect Jan. 15 when Comcast begins offering those channels in digital format.

Local officials are upset because they feel that viewership of community programs — that widely include council meetings, high school sports, library activities, senior citizen events and hobby shows — will plummet once the programs are hidden in the 900 range. In Sterling Heights, the government channel will move from 5 — its home for more than 20 years — to 915.   —>

Qwest calls off cable TV plans for Portland
by Mike Rogoway
The Oregonian

Qwest Communications International Inc., which won city permission just last month to offer cable TV service in Portland, called off those plans today after the company’s new CEO called IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) unsuitable for Qwest. Here’s a statement from the company’s Oregon office:

“When Qwest began the cable franchising process with the City of Portland, we were investigating an IPTV cable service deployment.  However, after further evaluation, Qwest does not plan to deploy IPTV cable television service but, instead, will continue to offer that capability through our partnership with DirecTV.”   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 11/05/07

November 6, 2007

AT&T gets to write its own telecom rules
by State Senator Kathleen Vinehout
The Tomah Journal (WI)

A man from Eau Claire called this week. He was suspicious by a post card that came in the mail. “AT&T wants me to ask my senator for competition in cable. Don’t they really want something else?” He was looking for direction.  Here is what’s behind the stories being spun.

When you write the rules, you win the game. This week in the Senate, the fight will be over the rules governing the delivery of cable TV, internet, and telephone services for the foreseeable future. What kind of companies will get to compete? What rights will consumers have? Will local government have a say? At stake are billions of dollars.  The battle is over “video franchising,” a bill that would change the way cable and video companies operate. According to news stories, the bill was written under the supervision of AT&T attorneys in Washington, D.C., and has been introduced in numerous other states across the country.

What are some of the rules that AT&T wants?

* No meaningful community input.
* Minimal standards for quality.
* No future provisions for community access television.
* Loopholes to avoid serving low income and rural communities.
* Fewer consumer protections.
* No provisions for service to schools or other public buildings.

The bill as written, gives AT&T the power to do just about anything is wants, without consequences or the public having a say. This is the “competition” AT&T advertises on television and in direct mail across the state.

…This week I will offer the Illinois model as a substitute amendment on the floor of the Senate. We need the same political determination in Wisconsin. And we need to put protections into law because cable companies and AT&T cannot be trusted.

Lobbyists for AT&T told me that they want to continue to offer “charity” and provide service to public places like fire and police departments and schools but they don’t want the requirement in law. In Michigan, however, when providing public cable services became optional, the cables were cut to police departments, fire stations and local government. And there was no recourse.  That is why who writes the rules makes a difference.

Editorial: Headlong into the murk of media
The Seattle Times

The Federal Communications Commission must slow down. Nothing good can come from squeezing major changes to the laws that govern media ownership by year’s end.  FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wants a vote on media-ownership rules by Dec. 18. Never mind that the FCC has not held its required sixth and final hearing on media ownership. That hearing is now scheduled for Seattle on Nov. 9.

Expect the hearing to be a rushed affair. An FCC hearing to explore how broadcasters are serving communities was announced at the same time as the Seattle media-ownership hearing. The broadcaster — or localism — hearing was finalized the night of Oct. 24, giving the public only five business days to prepare. The localism hearing was not only degraded by its timing, but also by its venue. The hearing was tagged onto the end of a regularly scheduled FCC meeting on Halloween.

There is no logical reason for Martin to be in such a hurry other than to work something out for the sale of media conglomerate Tribune to Chicago developer Sam Zell. Zell wants the deal to go through by the end of the year. He also wants the deal to include Tribune’s television stations, many of which operate in the same cities as its newspapers.   —>

Copps, A Liberal Voice On The FCC, Knows How To Get His Message Out
by Jim Puzzanghera
Los Angeles Times

His dark suits. His wing-tipped shoes. The nearly four decades he’s toiled in the nation’s capital, including the last six years on the Federal Communications Commission.  Everything about Michael J. Copps screams bureaucrat — until he opens his mouth.  Copps, a Democrat whose crusade against media consolidation has helped make him Hollywood’s public-policy enemy No. 1, is more proselytizer than pencil pusher.

The public airwaves, he says, are filled with “too much baloney passed off as news.” The Republican-led FCC is so lax that “unless you’re a child abuser or a wife beater, it’s a slam-dunk” to renew a TV station license. “Our country is paying a dreadful cost for this quarter-century fling with government abdication and media irresponsibility,” he said this year.

Copps’ ability to distill the complexities of media ownership into plain English and fire up crowds like a revivalist preacher helped derail an industry push in 2003 to loosen restrictions on owning broadcast stations.  Now, as the FCC prepares to tackle the volatile issue again, with Chairman Kevin J. Martin proposing a vote on new rules by the end of the year, the 67-year-old former history professor is reemerging as a hero to the firebrands fighting media consolidation.  In a city where officials speak in bland pronouncements, blurring their message with acronyms and jargon, Copps stands out like high-definition TV.   —>,1,6721866.story?coll=la-headlines-business-enter&ctrack=1&cset=true

Ignoring Cantwell and Inslee, FCC rushes to conclude nationwide ownership debate in Seattle
FCC to Conclude Nationwide Public Debate on Media Ownership in Seattle
Chairman ignores request from Cantwell/Inslee, provides just five business days’ notice
by Jonathan Lawson
Reclaim the Media

On Friday afternoon, Chairman Kevin Martin of the Federal Communications Commission announced that the FCC will hold the last of six official hearings on media ownership on November 9, at Seattle’s Town Hall. The hearing, announced just five business days in advance despite a request from Senator Cantwell and Congressman Inslee to give at least four weeks’ notice, will be the only chance for Northwest residents to weigh in on proposed changes that would dramatically alter both national and local media landscapes. A significant proposed change would allow one media company to consolidate a town or city’s newspaper, TV and radio station under single ownership, and single editorial control.

“It’s appalling that the FCC would schedule a hearing of such importance with so little public notice,” said Jonathan Lawson, Executive Director of Reclaim the Media. “The FCC needs to hear from rural people, Native Americans, immigrants, working people and others who often get sidelined both in the media and in public debates on the media. Unfortunately, Martin’s disrespectful timing says to these same communities, ‘we don’t care what you think about the media.'”   —>

The full Commission comes to Seattle
by Geov

The “Commission,” in this case, is the Federal Communications Commission, and if this sounds familiar, it’s because it is.  Twice before — on March 7, 2003, and just last year, on November 30, 2006 — hundreds of area residents jammed auditoriums to testify overwhelmingly in opposition to a Republican-dominated FCC’s attempts to further weaken ownership limits on broadcast television and radio properties. In each case, the crowds testified only before the two Democratic commissioners; the three-person Republican majority was MIA.

But those crowds were broadly representative of a national movement for media democracy that in only a few years stymied former FCC Chair Michael Powell’s deregulation bid, preserved net neutrality, and stopped a telecommunications lobby “reform bill” widely expected to pass the Republican Congress in 2006. In last year’s hearing, local testifiers against deregulation spanned an unlikely ideological range, from Reclaim the Media’s Jonathan Lawson to Seattle Times owner Frank Blethen, from KVI Radio host John Carlson to UW President Mark Emmert.

This time, FCC Chair Kevin Martin, architect of the latest (big) industry deregulation scheme, is bringing the whole Commission to town to “prove” to them that Seattle really doesn’t care all that much about this arcane stuff. Which is why, despite the entreaties of local Congresspeople (who wanted four weeks), he has given exactly five business days’ notice for this unprecedented local hearing. The hearing was announced late in the day Friday, November 2, timed for the least-read and -viewed news time of the week. The hearing itself will also be on a Friday night, from 4-11 PM November 9 at Town Hall, 8th & Seneca near downtown Seattle.   —>

Urban LPFM Soon?
by Ernesto Aguilar
Rolas de Aztlan: KPFT/Pacifica/Media Notes

Here’s the take from the Prometheus Radio Project. The issues is an interesting one. Though doubtful for a full Senate vote soon, the idea of LPFM in major cities captures the imagination. The impact of such things on the signal of KPFT and other stations, as well, is intriguing. Current protections ensure broadcasters’ spectrum on the dial gets minimal interference; LPFMs, most note, will interfere with stations in some cases. However, for now, it’s a fascinating dialogue, for sure.   —>

Comcast contract still bogged down
by Jason Graziadei
Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror (MA)

Comcast, the national cable television and internet service giant, has rebuffed nearly all of the town’s demands in the ongoing negotiations for a renewed television contract.  Nantucket’s 10-year contract with Comcast expired in March, and the town accepted an offer to continue its current service until a new contract is agreed upon.  The Cable Television Advisory Committee (CTAC) has spent the last two years attempting to solicit public input regarding cable service and has continued to review a draft of the proposed new contract from Comcast.

The committee’s requests for a 5 percent surcharge to fund public access stations, a senior citizen discount, to maintain the on-island Comcast office as well as an extension of areas where the cable service is available, have all been removed from the most recent contract proposal from Comcast.  “They’re really not negotiating,” CTAC chairman Gene Mahon said at Tuesday’s committee meeting. “They’ve basically said ‘no’ for no reason.”   —>

ACI recognizes outstanding firms with VIVA Awards
New Mexico Business Weekly

The Association of Commerce and Industry of New Mexico honored six organizations this year during its VIVA Award ceremonies.  VIVA stands for vision, investment, vitality and action. The awards recognize New Mexico businesses that demonstrate a unique vision or corporate philosophy, as well as investment in their employees and communities.

… Edit House Productions LLC also received kudos for its growth from a home-based business to an enterprise with anticipated revenues of $1 million this year. The company operates Rio Rancho’s two public access television stations and creates an open, family environment that offers “just a little more” to customers, according to ACI.

Lecture to Explore Community-Based Media In People’s Movement in Oaxaca, Mexico
Allegheny College (PA)

Assistant Professor of Communication Arts River Branch will present a public lecture titled “From Protest to Movement: Community-Based Media in Oaxaca, Mexico.”  On June 14, 2006, at 4:00 in the morning, roughly 2,500 armed troops entered the Zocalo, the heart of Oaxaca City. For several hours, police drove the protestors, a peaceful group of unarmed teachers, from the square. Late in the morning, the teachers fought back and reoccupied the Zocalo. Today the city remains in turmoil.  “Deaths, disappearances, detentions and on-going acts of state-sanctioned violence mark Oaxaca’s struggle,” said Branch. “What shifted the events of June 14, 2006 from being one of the many crimes for which the people charge Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz into the spark for a popular people’s movement?”

Branch will explore the pivotal role played by community-based media within the people’s movement of Oaxaca. She argues that community-based media provided the essential vehicle for organizing, inspiring and informing the people of Oaxaca.  “Recognizing this, the state targeted and continues to target the individuals working within and the mechanisms of the community-based media network of Oaxaca — brutally beating and killing journalists and photographers and destroying community radio stations,” said Branch. “A vibrant, courageous and creative stand marks the people’s response.”

Branch will show footage she shot during the summer of 2007 in Oaxaca and discuss the expanding definitions and practices of community-based media as they develop in concert with the people’s movement of Oaxaca.   —>

The Fast Lane and the Dirt Path: Corporate Media, Democracy and the FCC
by Paul Schmelzer
Minnesota Monitor

[Audio ]

In “Rich Media, Poor Democracy,” communications scholar Bob McChesney wrote about how democracy tends to be the first casualty in the collision of big media and big money. As keynote speaker at the Nov. 3 Citizen Media Forum put on by Twin Cities Media Alliance, he continued the theme in a discussion about “journalism’s freefall” and the challenges and triumphs of the fledgling media reform movement, which has grown exponentially since he founded its top advocacy group, Free Press, in 2002. One of the biggest feathers in the movement’s cap is the massive public campaign in 2003 that stalled the Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to relax media ownership rules. Another is the halting of attempts to ban “network neutrality,” the policy that ensures all web users, regardless of wealth or influence, get equal access.

But both of these successes are again facing threats. Under new chair Kevin Martin, the FCC is scrambling to relax longstanding rules governing media consolidation. It announced, with only one week’s notice, that the final public hearing on media ownership will be held in Seattle this Friday, Nov. 9. By year’s end, the Commission may change the provision that prevents the same company from owning both a TV station and newspaper in the same town. And net neutrality remains under fire, thanks to the telecommunications and cable industries that want to replace an equal-access Internet with a two-tiered scheme that McChesney calls a “fast lane” and a “dirt path.”

On Saturday, he spent a few minutes discussing these important policy crises and their impact on democracy.   —>

Habermas blows off question about the Internet and the Public Sphere
by Howard Rheingold
Smart Mobs

I recently asked Jurgen Habermas in a public forum what his current opinion is about the state of the public sphere, now that the broadcast era has been supplanted by the many-to-many media that enable so many people to use the Internet as a means of political expression. He blew off the question without explanation, and a little further investigation into the very sparse pronouncements he has made in this regard has led me to understand that he simply does not understand the Internet. His ideas about the relationship between public opinion and democracy and the role of communication media, and the commodification and manipulation of political opinion via public relations, are still vitally important.

But I think it’s important now to build new theories and not simply to rely on Habermas, who is signalling his ignorance of the meaning of the changes in the infosphere that have taken place in recent decades. He did his part in his time, but the ideal public sphere he described — a bourgeois public sphere dominated by broadcast media — should not be taken as the model for the formation of public opinion in 21st century democracies. Some background on my interest in this subject and Habermas’ personal opinion follows. And then I’ll briefly describe my recent encounter with the man himself.

When I wrote The Virtual Community in 1992, the most important question to me was whether or not the advent of many-to-many communication via the Internet would lead to stronger or weaker democracies, more or less personal liberty, which led me to the work of Jurgen Habermas on what he called “the public sphere.” —>

Ethnic social networking sites
by Qilan Zhao
Masters of Media – University of Amsterdam

It is no longer a matter of signing up for a social networking account, but rather choosing one from the existing social networking sites. Major social networking sites such as Facebook or Myspace have secured their position in the market. But according to the online competitive intelligence service, Hitwise, two ethnic social networking sites, (ranked 4) and (ranked 19) made up the list of top 20 Social Networking sites from January to February 2007. Ethnicity forms a solid basis on which niche online communities may thrive. For this matter I want to look at three ethnic social networks,, and with the following questions in mind:

– How do ethnic social networking sites contribute to an imagined community?
– What is the value-added of these ethnic social networking sites?

The emergence of niche social networking sites may arise from our need to build a community with people we do not personally know, but who we feel affiliated with, or as Benedict Anderson articulates:

it (the nation) is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion… In fact, all communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined (Anderson 1991).    —>

Can American blogging beat fascist trends?
by Subroto Roy
Indian & Pakastani Friends of Ron Paul

Ms Naomi Wolf has given a persuasive argument in The Guardian and elsewhere, including her new book and on the radio, to suggest the USA has been headed in a fascist direction. And of course whatever America does today, at least some other countries will follow tomorrow. About ten years ago, I gave a public lecture on “Transparency and Economic Policy”, which now appears at my main blog and is republished here. I think Ms Wolf’s analysis is excellent but unduly pessimistic for reasons I had outlined in that lecture. What we have seen since then too is the growth of blogging itself — and that is an antidote to fascism and totalitarianism.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 10/13/07

October 14, 2007

Redefining Media: Media Democracy and Community Radio
A CKUT 20th Anniversary Event
October 19th-21st, 2007
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec

Keynote Presentation: Lecture and Book Signing with Amy Goodman
“Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, & the People Who Fight Back”

Sessions include:
Building a Low Watt Transmitter
Canadian Media and The War on Terror
Anti-Oppression and Community Radio
Know Your Radio Rights
Community Radio Around the Globe
Indigenous Radio
Tools for Independent Journalists
Community Radio in Canada
Women in Community Radio
Interview Techniques
Community Radio and the CRTC
Smut in the Studio
Recording and Editing 101

On today’s radioshow: Community Radio CKUT’s 20th Anniversary Conference
by Paul Riismandel

Montreal, Quebec’s community radio station CKUT is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a conference focused on Redefining Media: Media Democracy and Community Media – . Gretchen King from CKUT’s Community News Department will be my guest on today’s mediageek radioshow to talk about the conference and the station’s unique approach to serving its community.

Tune in live at 5:30 PM CDT (6:30 EDT) on community radio WEFT 90.1 FM if you’re in the Champaign, IL area, or tune in to WEFT’s live webstream if you’re connected to the internets anywhere in the world.  An archive of the program will be posted to the radioshow page by midnight Sunday night.

Cable bill comes due
by Morgan Cook
Columbia Missourian

The city of Columbia filed a lawsuit against cable provider Mediacom in an effort to recover $1.34 million in unpaid cable franchise fees and support for the city’s public access channel.  The city is seeking $93,105 in underpaid franchise fees dating from 2001 to 2004 and $1.5 million in support for Columbia Access Television dating from 2001 to 2007.

As of September, cable providers are required by the city to pay 5 percent of their gross revenue in franchise fees in return for use of the public right of way. The rate was previously set at 3 percent.  Support for CAT was simply underpaid, according to the city. It estimates that Mediacom has only paid CAT $163,220 since 2004.

In a list of affirmative defenses filed by the court, Mediacom lawyer Ronald Hack stated that the city misinterpreted the franchise agreement and should not be allowed to ask for more money after accepting earlier support. Further, the city’s attempt to extract the money retroactively prevents the company from passing costs on to consumers.   —>

Randy Luallin is running for the position as Louisville mayor
by Randy Luallin (CO)

—>   Another cherished right of our people is freedom of speech. Chuck Sisk by his actions and inaction has attempted to rid our community of Public Access Television. Inaction by not standing up to Comcast in retaining the same requirements for providing Public Access Television in exchange for use of the Public Right of Way in the new franchise agreement. His actions of reducing the allocation of PEG fees for Public Access Television and giving the money to the Government Channel for use in remodeling the City Counsel chambers. This has made the survival of free speech for any citizen via Public Access Television in jeopardy. This must also be remedied.

TV giants lock horns with Microsoft and Google over white space wireless play
‘God made those airwaves for us’
by Cade Metz
The Register

The heads of America’s four largest television networks have joined forces to oppose a plan that would stream high-speed internet access over unused TV airwaves. And in doing so, they’re taking aim at one of the great oddities of the modern tech industry: a partnership between Google and Microsoft.  A coalition of big-name tech companies – including Dell, HP, Intel, and Philips as well as Google and Microsoft – is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow the use of personal computing devices that transmit data over the country’s television “white spaces” – portions of the TV spectrum that aren’t used for broadcasting.

Local TV stations have already launched a public attack on the plan, claiming that white space devices will interfere with their signals, and now, the nationwide television networks that piggy-back on these stations are joining the fray.  This week, Broadcasting & Cable reports, the big wigs who control ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC sent a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, urging him to slap down Google, Microsoft, and the rest of the White Spaces Coalition. They even went so far as to say that white space devices will scar the American airwaves forever.   —>

Mobile MUSE – OPEN CALL – Community Generated Media
by David Vogt
Mobile MUSE (Canada)

In anticipation of public engagement potentials related to the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Mobile MUSE Network is launching its third major development program (MUSE3).   MUSE3 will focus on community generated media (CGM)” to activate “live space” potentials – building technologies and toolkits to enable communities to use mobile, internet, and large public display media for collective expression and celebration.  Over the next two years MUSE3 will engage with a set of communities to develop and showcase these technologies.

Media companies, arts groups, community leaders, researchers and other visionaries are invited to provide concise project proposals by November 15th, 2007.  Please review our Open Call for further details.

The age of citizen programming is upon us
by Alan Moore
Communities Dominate Brands

We all know about YouTube ( YouTube the folk culture of the 21st Century – On steroids), and some of us will know of Current TV ( Democratising TV. The Al Gore way ), some of us will know that major disasters often are now suported by Citizen reporting. Hurricane Katrina – The London 7th July bombings ( London bombings: Citizen Journalism arrives to TV ) – 911 and of course the recent atrocities in Burma . An article entitled Citizen-produced TV programs coming of age by Yomiuri caught my eye today.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media