Archive for the ‘media consolidation’ category

Death. Resurrection? A Timely Meditation on US Corporate Media

March 21, 2008

Are US Media Violating the 1st Amendment?
by Fatin Bundagji
Arab News
03/21/08

[ comments invited ]

Last week Arab News printed in the “Letters to the Editor” column a letter by Ms. Lin Hansen Petro from Portland, Oregon, commenting on my article, “Peace & Stability: Pre-requisites for Reform” (March 7). Ms. Petro wrote that while writing her article, “Fatin Bundagji conveniently forgot, as Arab writers usually do, that the US was attacked by Arab terrorists which led to retaliatory action in the Middle East and out of America. All those glorious outreach programs she was describing that America used to do would still be in effect and there would be no war waging at the moment if the radical Arabs kept their opinions and hatred of American policies in the academic or political arena… the majority of Americans are getting pretty fed up with handling out billions of dollars in aid, education, medical care, technological advancements, and religious tolerance and so on to a world of egocentric ingrates”.

Ms. Petro has every right to her opinion. But as a citizen of a nation built on the values of liberty, equality and justice; a nation that regards a free press to be as important as its three independent arms of government, Ms. Petro also has the right to an accurate and unbiased media beaming into her home on a daily basis. This basic American right, the right to a free press, she, and most American citizens are systematically denied.

To most average hardworking and law-abiding Americans, their view of the international community is severely shortsighted and impaired. It is a worldview that is craftily fine-tuned, filtered and controlled by media outlets that are biased in favor of the sources that fund them.

In his article “None dare call it Censorship”, Jack Douglas, a retired professor of sociology from the University of California, writes: “All serious and intelligent journalists today know that the US government has massive media management brigades to carefully control what Americans see and, thus, what they are very likely to believe about things of which they have no direct experience, such as high-level politics, finance and foreign affairs. They also know that the government is extremely effective in secretly censoring the news by using devices such as ‘embedded reporting’ in nations like Afghanistan and Iraq which the US government invades, occupies, and governs. (If you do not know what ‘embedded reporting’ is, I strongly advise you to ‘Google’ it).”

Today, almost all media in the US are owned by for-profit corporations that by law are obliged to put the profits of their investors ahead of all other considerations. This goal of maximizing profit both jeopardizes the practice of responsible journalism and violates what the founding fathers of the US Constitution paid in blood to preserve: A free press — a free press that is protected by law in the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights; a free press that is regrettably being compromised by the elite on a daily basis.

The reasons for this compromise may vary but at the core, is the need for power and control. Power and control by US corporations, advertisers, and official agendas to name but a few. FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting), a US national media watch group. states that not only are most US major media owned by corporations, but that these corporations are becoming larger and fewer in number as the bigger ones absorb their rivals thereby reducing the diversity of media voices and putting greater power — and a narrow debate — in the hands of few.

According to FAIR, most of the income of for-profit media outlets does not come from the audiences, but rather from commercial advertisers who are interested in selling products to that audience. This gives corporate sponsors influence over what people see and read and all in favor of information that does not criticize the sponsors’ products or discuss any corporate wrongdoing.

As for the official agenda, FAIR states that despite the claims that the press has an adversarial relationship with the government, in truth US media generally follow Washington’s official line. This is particularly obvious in wartime, foreign policy coverage, and with domestic controversies. The owners and managers of dominant media outlets generally share the background, worldview, and income bracket of political elites.

Top news executives and celebrity reporters frequently socialize with government officials; and the most powerful media companies routinely make large contributions to both major political parties, while receiving millions of dollars in return in the form of payments for running political ads.

For true democracy to work, people need easy access to independent, diverse sources of news and information. The last two decades the US has seen a record corporate media consolidation. Whereas in the 1980s there were more than 50 media outlets nationwide, by 2000 they shrank down to a mere 6.

Big money buys big media and at the expense of the 1st Amendment. But luckily for the average American, the story does not have to end here. Independent news and media outlets are actively working at preserving a balanced coverage of the news so as to give the American public a broad and multidimensional aspect of what is being covered. FAIR, the one I mentioned above, is one of them, and Democracy Now is another. In addition, there are many more available online, and they are increasing in number and in national reach.

I urge Ms. Petro to Google “US media watchdogs” to empower herself to learn firsthand of whatever she chooses to be informed on.

This is her right, and I have to add her responsibility to her country, and to the world at large.

She may not know it, but by the sheer power and might of her country, any opinion she forms, however innocently, will by default affect the lives of millions of people in countries she may never have heard of.

I will conclude my article with a quote from Lee Atwater who masterminded media bias back in the 1980s and who created the most powerful Republican Media Propaganda Grand Strategy for controlling US pubic thinking. On his deathbed he said, “my illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: A little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The ’80s were about US acquiring wealth, power, and prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn’t I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn’t I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don’t know who will lead us through the ’90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul.”
http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7&section=0&article=108071&d=21&m=3&y=2008

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/19/08

March 21, 2008

City Council Moves Closer To Backing AT&T Bill
Littlefield Says He Welcomes Cable TV Competition
The Chatanoogan (TN)
03/18/08

The City Council is moving closer to backing a bill sought by AT&T allowing it statewide franchise rights leading to development of a cable TV system. The council heard an endorsement from Mayor Ron Littlefield, then directed that a resolution of support be prepared for later action. Mayor Littlefield said some concerns he had about the bill appear to be cleared up. —>
http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_124164.asp
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CBC to release TV broadcast as high-quality, no-DRM BitTorrent download
by Cory Doctorow
Boing Boing
03/18/08

[ 18 comments ]
[ 31 comments at original post site: Michael Geist – 2nd link below ]

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is about to follow Norway’s NRK and become the first major North American broadcaster to release one of its shows as a DRM-free torrent:

“Sources indicate that the CBC is set to become the first major North American broadcaster to freely release one of its programs without DRM using BitTorrent. This Sunday, CBC will air Canada Next Great Prime Minister. The following day, it plans to freely release a high-resolution version via peer-to-peer networks without any DRM restrictions. This development is important not only because it shows that Canada’s public broadcaster is increasingly willing to experiment with alternative forms of distribution, but also because it may help crystallize the net neutrality issue in Canada.

“The CBC’s mandate, as provided in the Broadcasting Act, requires it to make its programming “available throughout Canada by the most appropriate and efficient means.” Using BitTorrent allows the CBC to meet its statutory mandate, yet with ISPs such as Rogers engaging in non-transparent traffic shaping, millions of Canadians may be unable to fully access programming funded by tax dollars. If the CBC experiment is successful, look for more broadcasters to do the same and for the CRTC to face mounting pressure to address net neutrality concerns. ”
http://www.boingboing.net/2008/03/18/cbc-to-release-tv-br.html
http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2767/125/
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FCC Debates Open Internet at April 17 Stanford Hearing
Free Press
03/19/08

Today, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it will hold a second public hearing on the future of the Internet on April 17 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. The Stanford hearing promises to bring consumers and producers of innovative online content together to educate the FCC about the future of video on the Internet. The field hearing is also linked to the FCC’s ongoing investigation into the blocking of legal content by Comcast and other Internet service providers. At the first hearing last month at Harvard, Comcast admitted hiring seat-fillers, blocking interested citizens from attending the event.

Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, which coordinates the SavetheInternet.com Coalition, issued the following statement: “Just as the Internet benefited from widespread public participation, so will the debate over its future. The hearing at Stanford — the birthplace of our Internet economy — gives Web innovators a chance to weigh in on the policies that will shape the industry for a generation.

“We look forward to working with the FCC to ensure that all interested parties are accommodated. With the future of the Internet at stake, no one should be shut out of the conversation. At this defining moment in the Internet’s history, the threat posed by would-be gatekeepers like Comcast is very real and getting worse. Open Internet policies are urgently needed. We hope this important hearing will lead to immediate and accelerated action at the FCC.” —>
http://freepress.net/node/37696
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Clearing the air on digital TV converters
by Jonathan Takiff
Philadelphia Daily News
03/19/08

Last week’s column scooped the nation with the first hands-on review of low-cost, digital TV tuners/converters. These set-top boxes will become essential to receive over-the-air TV on older, pre-digital television sets next year, after broadcasters are required (on Feb. 17, 2009) to shut off their analog signals. Not surprisingly, I got a flood of reader comments and questions. Today, let’s deal with some of them…

Q: I’ve got cable TV. Some of my sets are hooked up to cable boxes, others just use the TV’s cable-ready tuner to receive non-scrambled cable channels. Will I be able to connect one of the new digital boxes to a cable line to bring in digital TV channels?

A: There’s been a whole lot of concern and misinformation about cable TV reception after the Feb. 17, 2009, conversion/cut-off. Locally, I’ve heard stories of Comcast phone reps telling customers they MUST upgrade to a digital cable box or they won’t get any TV signals come 2009.

THAT’S JUST NOT SO!

It is true that cable companies are eliminating as many analog channels as they can – even public access channels – by moving them to a digital transmission “tier” that requires an upgraded cable box and higher monthly fee for reception. This is being done because digital signals use much less bandwidth, so cablers can increase the number of channels they offer on a system.

But at the urging of the Federal Communications Commission, cable companies have committed to continue delivering an essential core of local broadcast stations to customers in a down-converted fashion that can still be tuned by an old, analog cable box or directly by a cable-ready TV, for “at least three years,” Comcast senior executive David L. Cohen assured me. —>
http://www.philly.com/dailynews/columnists/jonathan_takiff/20080319_Jonathan_Takiff__Clearing_the_air_on_digital_TV_converters.html
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Marlboro council meetings to air on cable TV channel
by Rebecca Morton
News Transcript (NJ)
03/19/08

Sometime in the near future, residents are expected to be able to watch Township Council meetings from the comfort of their own home. Council members adopted an ordinance on March 6 that will allow municipal cable channel 77 to broadcast regular or special public meetings. Channel 77 is available for Marlboro residents who subscribe to Cablevision for their cable television service.

Prior to the adoption of the ordinance on March 6, the local cable television ordinance prohibited council meetings from being broadcast. The municipal channel has aired special events and public information from the township and from the Marlboro K-8 School District, including notification of school closings. Having council meetings aired on the local access channel was one of 50 goals set by Mayor Jonathan Hornik in his 100- day plan upon taking office Jan. 1. —>
http://newstranscript.gmnews.com/news/2008/0319/Front_Page/004.html
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Assessing success in the FCC’s 700MHz auction
by Marguerite Reardon
CNet News
03/19/08

[ 10 comments ]

The Federal Communications Commission generated $19.6 billion in the 700MHz spectrum that ended Tuesday, but the true success of the auction will take months or even years to assess. There’s no question that the auction, which began on January 24, was a monetary success for the government–it raised a record $19.6 billion in 261 rounds of bidding. During a conference call with reporters Tuesday after the bidding closed, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said the 700MHz auction was the most successful auction the agency has ever conducted, raising more money than all previous auctions put together, excluding the Advanced Wireless Services, or AWS, auction in 2006.

“The $19.6 billion generated by the auction nearly doubled congressional estimates of $10.2 billion,” Martin said. “All other 68 auctions conducted by the FCC in the past 15 years collectively generated a total of only $19.1 billion in receipts. Even with open-platform and aggressive build-out obligations, each of these blocks sold for more than AWS-1 blocks with comparable bandwidth and license areas.”

Despite the obvious financial success of the auction, it will be a long time before it’s clear whether the FCC was successful in achieving some of its broader policy goals, such as creating a more open wireless marketplace and a nationwide interoperable public safety wireless network. —>
http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9897722-7.html?tag=newsmap
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Redrawing the Map
Consolidation Continues to Change Cable’s Local System Landscape
by George Winslow
Multichannel News
03/17/08

Despite efforts by the Federal Communications Commission to put limits on the footprint of cable companies, the impact of consolidation and clustering continues to redraw the Multichannel News list of the 100 largest cable systems. Several Insight Communications systems have disappeared into nearby Comcast divisions and the large cable operators continue to consolidate some of their divisions into larger groups. Time Warner Cable, for example, has 22 systems on this year’s list, down from 31 in 2005. As a result, only 88 systems from last year’s list appear this year with the same name and a similar footprint. —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6541250.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 – 03/07/08

March 10, 2008

Regular channels on AT&T sought for community access
by George Moore
MyRecordJournal.com (CT)
03/07/08

HARTFORD – Public television officials and others argued before the state legislature Friday that AT&T should be required to offer community access and government television as regular channels in its new U-verse television service.  AT&T’s new “internet protocol” television service plans to offer all of the state’s local community access stations under a drop-down menu accessed from a single channel, 99.

Community access officials said it would take as long as a minute to find a community access program and that the signal quality would not match that of commercial stations.  Officials discussed AT&T’s new service as a part of hearing on a bill before the General Assembly’s Committee on Energy and Technology.

The U-verse presentation of community access programming “looks like YouTube on TV,” said Jennifer Evans, production manager for West Hartford Community Television. The law, she said, should “insist that public access be delivered at equivalent capacity.”
http://www.myrecordjournal.com/site/tab1.cfm?newsid=19372062&BRD=2755&PAG=461&dept_id=592708&rfi=6
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Schedule for Durham’s public access shows
The News & Observer (NC)
03/07/08

[ comments allowed ]

For nearly 20 years, church folk in Durham have been broadcasting their sermons and ministries on cable Channel 8.  You might have caught the story Tuesday on the city and county’s agreement with Time Warner cable. The news, essentially, is that due to changes in cable franchise laws, the city and county will now have to pay $12,000 a month for public access programming to be aired. These are shows that used to be broadcast for free in Durham.

In tomorrow’s issue of The Durham News, you’ll read more about how ministers have used the public airwaves to spread The Word.  Meanwhile, here’s a schedule of the variety of shows coming up this weekend. We couldn’t fit the schedule in the newspaper.   —>
http://blogs.newsobserver.com/bullseye/index.php?title=schedule_for_weekend_church_shows&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1
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VT Edition Interview: Tim Nulty & Bill Shuttleworth on the East Central Vermont Community Fiber Network
by Jane Lindholm
Vermont Public Radio
03/06/08

Town Meeting voters in more than 20 towns, from Montpelier to Windsor, gave overwhelming support to the East Central Vermont Community Fiber Network on Tuesday. The broadband project is a subscriber-based service that would be supported by residents and the non-profit ISP ValleyNet. The network would offer high-speed internet, telephone, and cable services. VPR’s Jane Lindholm speaks with ECFiber Chairman ,Tim Nulty, and Vermont Telecommunications Authority Executive Director, Bill Shuttleworth about the next step for these towns, and what their approval means for other broadband projects across the state.
http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/79638/
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Police, fire officials join for community TV show
Marin Independent Journal (CA)
03/07/08

[ comments allowed ]

The Novato police and fire officials are joining forces with the city’s public access television station to air “On the Scene,” a community awareness show.  The first show is set for production next week, said Liz Greiner, Novato police department community services officer. The topics will be varied, from child car-seat safety, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, disaster preparedness, bicycle safety and smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.   —>
http://www.marinij.com/marin/ci_8498457
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Weston Speak Up is on television
by Kimberly Donnelly
The Weston Forum (CT)
03/07/08

Want to hear what’s on the minds of Westonites? Tune in to Cablevision Channel 79 and find out.  Weston’s Speak Up 2008, the League of Women Voters of Weston-sponsored event that took place in February, will be streaming this weekend on the town’s public access television station.  Tune in anytime, Friday afternoon, March 7, through Sunday evening, March 9. Speak Up 2008 will be playing on a continuous loop.

The 16th annual Speak Up featured town and state officials answering questions from the public in an “anything goes” question-and-answer format.  Topics ranged from school start times, the status of the Revson baseball fields, the future of a town cemetery, and the possibility of a community center in town, among others.  Speak Up 2008 is also available online at www.aboutweston.com.
http://www.acorn-online.com/news/publish/weston/29940.shtml
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Film About Coney Island Wins High School Film Prize
by Ben Badler
Kinetic Carnival – The Coney Island Blog (NY)
03/07/08

[ comments allowed ]

First place in Tuesday night’s BK 4 Reel competition – in which local high school students submitted 2-3 minute videos depicting ‘their Brooklyn’ – went to Park Slope teen Derek Garcia, for his film about taking the F train down to Coney in the wintertime.  Tied for second place were Shalik Wilson for his film about life in Bushwick’s Borinquen Houses, and Axel Lindy for his film about sneaking out at night to hang out on the Brooklyn Promenade.  All three films will be shown on the BK 4 Reel program and Brooklyn Community Access Television.
http://kineticcarnival.blogspot.com/2008/03/film-about-coney-island-wins-high.html
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[The subject is a documentary film, “King Corn”…]
by Lulu McAllister
Lulu’s User-Friendly Guide to San Francisco (CA)
03/07/08

[ comments allowed ]

My good friend Elizabeth Carroll has become a local talking head on San Francisco Public Access television!… Here is a clip of Liz’s debut on a show called SF Live. The subject is a documentary film, “King Corn”, and her guests are from an organic garden organization in the city:   —>
http://blueyedlu.blogspot.com/2008/03/my-good-friend-elizabeth-carroll-has.html
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Letter: Veto the FCC’s Big Media Handout
by Alexandra Russell, Free Press
Missoula Community Radio
03/07/08

Dear Missoula Community Radio,

Congress can overturn the FCC’s bad rules to further consolidate local media.  Veto the FCC’s Big Media Handout   Now’s your best chance to stop media consolidation in Montana.  The Senate introduced legislation earlier this week that would reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to let the nation’s largest media companies swallow up more local and independent news outlets.  Congress has just 60 legislative days to pass this bill. By acting now, you can help make it happen:   —>
http://mcrfm.wordpress.com/2008/03/07/veto-the-fccs-big-media-handout/
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ACTION ALERT: Senators Seek to Overturn New FCC Media Ownership Rules
by Dibya Sarkar
The Community Bridge Blog (KS)
03/07/08

[ comments allowed ]

A bipartisan group of senators today introduced a resolution to stop regulators from easing media-ownership rules in the nation’s 20 largest cities.  They fear the Federal Communication Communications (FCC) rule would leave newspaper readers, radio listeners and TV viewers with fewer choices. Several consumer groups are challenging the rule in federal court.

The “resolution of disapproval” was introduced by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., along with 13 Democratic and Republican co-sponsors  to stop the FCC from implementing the new rule that the agency approved in December. The FCC published the cross-ownership rule in the Federal Register on Feb. 21.

“When nearly half of the people in this country are told that in their cities and towns the media will get the green light to consolidate, they will not be happy,” said Dorgan in a release. “The proposal would also create a greatly relaxed approval process for newspapers to buy TV stations in any U.S. media market and spur a new wave of media consolidation in both large and small media markets.”   —>
http://communitybridge.blogspot.com/2008/03/action-alert-senators-seek-to-overturn.html
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The FCC & Censorship: Legendary Media Activist Everett Parker on the Revocation of WLBT’s TV License in the 1960s for Shutting Out Voices of the Civil Rights Movement
Democracy Now!
03/06/08

JUAN GONZALEZ: We take a look now at the only time a television station had its license revoked for failing to serve the public interest. It was in the 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi. TV station WLBT had its license revoked for attempting to squelch the voices of the civil rights movement of the time.

The station first came under scrutiny by the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ. The Office was founded and headed up by media activist Everett Parker. He identified WLBT as a frequent target of public complaints and FCC reprimands regarding its public service. Parker filed a “petition to deny renewal” with the FCC, initiating a process that eventually got the station’s license revoked by a federal court and had far-reaching consequences in American broadcasting.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Everett Parker joins us now in our firehouse studio. He has been a media activist for more than six decades, currently an adjunct professor of communications at Fordham University. He’s ninety-five years old. Welcome to Democracy Now!   —>
http://i4.democracynow.org/2008/3/6/the_fcc_censorship_legendary_media_activist
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Community TV faces blackout
by Sally Jackson
The Australian
03/06/08

Community TV stations would close before the end of the year unless the federal Government moved quickly to guarantee their digital future, the sector warned yesterday.  Perth’s Access 31 and Brisbane’s Channel 31 were most at risk, said Andrew Brine, general manager of Access 31 and president of newly-formed peak body the Australian Community Television Alliance.

The five capital-city stations announced yesterday they had split from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia and joined forces in ACTA to more effectively lobby the Government.  “There are over 300 community radio stations and only five community TV stations (in the CBAA),” Mr Brine said.  “We were to some degree getting lost in the mix and we felt as a sector we would be better doing it by ourselves.”

While the commercial and public TV networks were already simulcasting in analog and digital ahead of the switch-off of the analog signal in December 2013, community TV was marooned on the analog signal, with no government plan or funding to go digital. Uncertainty over the stations’ future was deterring program-makers and sponsors, and audiences were dwindling as viewers migrated to digital TV sets, Mr Brine said.

“Perth has lost on average 12,000 viewers a month over the last year or so (and) 90 per cent of it would be because of digital take-up,” he said.  “For Brisbane and Perth especially it is stretching the ongoing viability of the services. Unless there is something done in terms of a digital future for us, within a year we will lose one or two services.”   —>
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23325518-5013871,00.html
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Media Watchdog Calls for More Pressure on China Over Human Rights
by Tendai Maphosa
NewsVOA.com
03/07/08

With just five months to go before the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, there has been increasing scrutiny of China’s foreign policy as well as its human rights record. The media watchdog group, Reporters Without Borders has issued a statement saying it has not seen any evidence that human rights and freedom of expression have improved in China. Tendai Maphosa has more in this report from London.   —>
http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-03-07-voa58.cfm
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The Pearson Foundation and the Jane Goodall Institute Form Digital Arts Partnership
Relationship To Support Institute’s Roots & Shoots Global Youth Program
CSRwire
03/07/08

The Pearson Foundation today announced commitments to support digital arts and environmental and humanitarian education for youth around the world. Pearson Foundation President Mark Nieker made the announcement at the WNET/Thirteen and WLIW21’s Teaching & Learning Celebration in New York City alongside renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE.

The Pearson Foundation announced that the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) has joined the Digital Arts Alliance, a consortium that promotes digital arts in K-12 education through fully funded and staffed programs that deliver technology and curricula directly to schools and community centers nationwide. The Pearson Foundation is the founding partner in the Digital Arts Alliance. Other members include Nokia, Adobe, The National Academy Foundation, and the American Red Cross.

The Pearson Foundation and JGI will kick-off their partnership at Jane Goodall’s Global Youth Summit in Orlando, Fla., on Earth Day, April 22, 2008. Working through the Digital Arts Alliance, the Pearson Foundation will introduce digital film making, media strategies and leadership skills to 100 young people from around the world attending the summit. In addition, the Pearson Foundation will give participating youth the tools they need to create video messages about their commitment to making a difference in the world, and to share these short films with each other and the thousands of youth participating in its other programs.

The Pearson Foundation has also committed to bring its digital media curriculum to Roots & Shoots groups in five locations around the world. Roots & Shoots is JGI’s environmental and humanitarian youth education program. By extending youth engagement beyond the summit itself, the Pearson Foundation is creating a global dialogue among young people regarding the critical issues facing our planet.

“Dr. Jane Goodall embodies the idea of global youth education, and Pearson shares her passion for inspiring young people around the world and for giving them unique learning opportunities,” said Nieker. “By providing digital technology to the Institute’s Roots & Shoots program and Jane Goodall’s Global Youth Summit this April, Pearson Foundation supports the spirit of environmental and humanitarian learning with a world leader in this field.”

“In the Internet age, technology is critical to advocacy, which is why we are so excited about our partnership with the Pearson Foundation,” said Goodall. “Like the Pearson Foundation, we support the use of digital arts for youthful self-expression. Working together, we hope to empower young people around the world to address the issues facing their communities and, ultimately, create the next generation of leaders.”   —>
http://www.csrwire.com/News/11316.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 – 02/27/08

February 27, 2008

Verizon still not carrying BCAT
by Patrick Ball
Bedford Minuteman (MA)
02/27/08

[ comments allowed ]

Bedford Community Access Television programming might be the best it has ever been, but Verizon subscribers wouldn’t know it because they can’t watch the PEG Access programming they pay for.

“I want my BCAT,” is a complaint often heard by Bedford Community Access Television’s Executive Director Madeleine Altmann. “Now that BCAT is getting a lot more popular, and it’s 24 hours, people are bumming,” she said.  Bedfordites are disappointed because Verizon, eight months after becoming Bedford’s second cable provider, is still not carrying the town’s PEG Access channels broadcast from BCAT.

A technically separate but intrinsically related issue is that Verizon has also failed thus far to connect its FiOS to the PEG access points of origination – Town Hall, Bedford High School, the Bedford Free Public Library, the Town Center building and First Church of Christ, Congregational – on the Town Center campus.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/bedford/homepage/x374196492
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More TV Choice and Competition Near for Residents of Abington, Mass.
TMCnet
02/26/08

[ comments allowed ]

Residents of Abington are a major step closer to having another choice for their cable television services, thanks to a newly approved agreement authorizing Verizon to offer its FiOS TV service via the most advanced all-digital, fiber-optic network straight to customers’ homes… The Board of Selectmen in Abington granted a cable franchise Monday (Feb. 25) to Verizon, paving the way for video choice for approximately 5,000 more Massachusetts households…

The Abington franchise agreement contains provisions for the network’s future growth; financial support and capacity for educational and government access channels; cable service to government buildings; and other important benefits to the town, including insurance, indemnification and enforcement protections.   —>
http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2008/02/26/3292479.htm
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They’re Back! Prometheus Asks Court to Vacate Ownership-Rule Change
Group Says Decision Was Arbitrary and Capricious and Beyond the FCC’s Authority
by John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable
02/26/08

[ comments allowed ]

As promised, anti-media consolidation activists asked a federal court to throw out the Federal Communications Commission’s recent media-ownership decision.  Media Access Project Tuesday filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on behalf of Prometheus Radio Project and in opposition to loosening the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules, which the FCC did Dec. 18.

Tribune already took aim at the cross-ownership rules in a separate suit against an FCC decision granting it waivers from the rules — it asked for more regulatory relief than it got. But it is coming at the agency from the other direction: It saw the decision as a chance to try to get the cross-ownership ban lifted entirely by the courts.

MAP was instrumental in getting the FCC’s 2003 ownership-rule rewrite remanded to that court in the first place when it represented Prometheus in a filing to block that deregualtory effort. The result of that, after years of legal maneuvers and rule reviews, was eventually that December 2007 decision to loosen, but not lift, the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules. But there is more for MAP to like in the rule rewrite this time around.

The group supported the FCC majority’s decision not to loosen the local TV or radio ownership caps. “We are going to be very supportive of some of the things the commission did,” MAP president Andrew J. Schwartzman said. But loosening newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership was not one of them and it made that clear in no uncertain terms. In its petition, the group called the decision “contrary to law” and “otherwise arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion and in excess of statutory authority.”  MAP asked the court to “vacate, enjoin and set aside the report and order and order such other relief as may be just and proper.”   —>
http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6535600.htm
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Voices for the voiceless: Young Latinos are speaking out on air
by Ali Reed
Medill Reports – Northwestern University (IL)
02/27/08

A group of Chicago Hispanic teenagers say they are tired of how underrepresented their community is in mainstream media.  They have turned their frustration into action and are now vocal journalists on a mission to provide a voice for the underrepresented.

These youth, or “producers” as they are called at work, get their voices heard on the radio for an hour every Monday through Thursday evening.  They are volunteer journalists at Radio Arte, 90.5 FM, a nonprofit Latino public radio station based in Pilsen. The 10-year-old station has made a place for teen producers since it was founded.  “Our voices are oftentimes disenfranchised by larger public media and commercial media,” said Silvia Rivera, general manager of Radio Arte.  “So what we’re trying to do in our small slice of the world is to try to be as representative as possible of our community.”

Radio Arte’s small slice of the world covers a 14-mile broadcast radius stretching southwest from Pilsen, an area with more than 500,000 residents.  Each year a group of 30 youth journalists, ages 15 to 21, are chosen from applicants for the station’s 10-week training program. They learn to write, research, interview and hone their on-air delivery skills.   —>
http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=79597
~

Missing: Minorities in Media
by Laura S. Washington
In These Times
02/26/08

[ 3 comments ]

In the wake of racial upheaval, the 1968 “Riot Report” concluded the media had to improve its coverage of Black America. Has it?

America was burning. The riots unleashed by the April 4, 1968 assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. were terrorizing cities across the nation.  Chicago was no exception. Warner Saunders got a desperate call from WLS-TV, the local ABC affiliate. They needed blacks on the air, and they needed them now. So Saunders, who was a community activist and executive director of Chicago’s Better Boys Foundation, signed up as co-host of a hastily arranged television special, “For Blacks Only.”

The special, which aired in 1968, snared such high ratings that the station gave it a regular slot and kept it going for 10 years. Saunders eventually became a full-time reporter. Today he’s the top news anchor at Chicago’s NBC station.

Saunders’ foray into TV news came weeks after President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Kerner Commission report declared, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.”  The report, also known as “The Riot Report,” released 40 years ago this month, was a response to the urban riots of the late ’60s. Blacks, outraged over poverty and racism, took to the streets and shook up America’s powers that be.

The commission produced an exhaustive look at media coverage of communities of color and responded with a key recommendation: if the United States hoped to cool down the searing anger in its inner cities across the nation, it must do a better job of covering African-Americans.  The report’s authors slammed the media, writing, “the journalistic profession has been shockingly backward in seeking out, hiring, training and promoting Negroes.”

Four decades later, there has been undeniable progress. Our cities are no longer burning. Yet in many ways, we are running on ice.   —>
http://www.alternet.org/rights/77789/
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Is it finally time for a national broadband policy?
by Carol Wilson
Telephony Online
02/20/08

There seems to be a consensus growing that the U.S. should (finally) have a national broadband policy. Now the question is, what will that policy include?

I think now is the best possible time to start answering that question, and here is why: We are in the midst of a presidential election campaign that promises to be hard-fought, and one of the major issues will be the U.S. economy. There is nothing more central to our economic problems than the ability to have true broadband access everywhere, and to make it affordable to consumers and businesses alike.

I’m far from the first person to say this. As manufacturing jobs have increasingly gone overseas, what is replacing them? Supposedly we have become a service economy, but digital communications enables service jobs to be shipped abroad as well, as many in the customer service and software development industries know all too well. The only way to ensure that the U.S. workforce remain employable is to give that workforce the best possible tools in the digital age, and that starts with broadband.   —>
http://telephonyonline.com/broadband/commentary/national-broadband-policy-0220/
~

Williamstown faces broadband, water, tax break issue at Town Meeting
by David Delcore
Times Argus (VT)
02/26/08

[ comments allowed ]

—>  Among the forward-looking items on the Town Meeting Day warning is a proposal to enter an inter-local contract with other area communities for the purpose of establishing “a universal, open-access, financially self-sustaining broadband communications system.” That system would provide residents of participating communities with services ranging from high-speed Internet access to telephone and cable television.   —>
http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080226/NEWS02/802260346/1003/NEWS02
~

Social Media Challenge: Telling a life story
by Jake McKee
Community Guy
02/26/08

[ 7 comments ]

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my grandmother recently passed away at the age of 83. During the festivities (and I do use that word specifically… we are, and she was Irish Catholic, after all), I volunteered to take Grandma Pat’s photo albums and some other keepsake books home to archive digitally. The theory went, if I took them, I could scan them so they could be easily reproduced for all six kids to do what they wanted with the content.

Pat was nothing if not an organizer, and so I find myself with a wealth of wonderful, decades old content, including recipes, household tips collection, photos, and baby books. I’ve been thinking a lot about the opportunities that this content presents when combined with the tools that exist both on my Mac and on the Web.  Honestly, I’m a bit overwhelmed.

The most obvious solution goes something like this:

* Scan the photos
* Upload the photos to Flickr, allowing family members to comment on each photo
* Use iPhoto to create a slideshow, then export the slideshow to a DVD or Web video
* Share the Web video on YouTube or Blip.tv
* Send an email to friends and family alerting them that the photos and videos are live.

The thing is, I want to do more than simply digitize the content, and hope that someone leaves a comment on the public version. I want to do something with the content…. and more importantly, I want my family and her friends to do something too. I want stories to be told. I want to create opportunities for her kids and grandkids to share their own memories, photos, videos. I want to involve the extended family (which again, Irish Catholic – no small feat).

So I turn to you, my internet social media friends. What processes & methods (technical or otherwise), software, Web apps, or anything else would you suggest? How can I use the tools at hand to help me tell stories as vibrant as she was and always will be?   —>
http://www.communityguy.com/1384/telling-a-life-story/
~

Code4Lib 2008: The Internet Archive
by Nicole Engard
Blogging Section of SLA-IT
02/27/08

[ comments allowed ]

What a great way to open a conference like Code4Lib.  The first keynote was presented by Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive.  Brewster started by reminding us that the reason he was there talking to us and the reason he is working on the Internet Archive is because the library metaphor easily translates to the Internet – as librarians we’re paid to give stuff away!  We work in a $12 billion a year industry which supports the publishing infrastructure.  With the Internet Archive, Brewster is not suggesting that we spend less money – but that we spend it better.

He started with a slide of the Boston Public Library which has “Free to All” carved in stone.  Brewster says that what people carve in stone is take seriously – and so this is a great example of what libraries stand for.  Our opportunity now is to go digital.  Provide free digital content in addition to the traditional content we have been providing.  I loved that he then said that this is not just a time for us to be friendly together as librarians – but to work together as a community and build something that can be offered freely to all!

He went on to say that what happens to libraries is that they burn – they tend to get burned by governments who don’t want them around.  The Library of Alexandria is probably best known for not being here anymore.  This is why lots of copies keeps stuff safe. Along those lines, the Internet Archive makes sure to store their data in mirror locations – and by providing information to the archive we’re ensuring that our data is also kept safe and available.  This idea of large scale swap agreements (us sharing with the Internet Archive, us sharing with other libraries, etc) in different geographical regions finds us some level of preservation.

How it started — The internet archive started by collecting the world wide web – every 2 months taking a snap shot of the web.  Brewster showed Yahoo! 10 years ago – ironically a bit of data that even Yahoo! didn’t have – so for their 10 year anniversary they had to ask the Internet Archive for a copy of what their site looked like!  He showed us the first version of Code4Lib’s site and exclaimed “Gosh is that geeky!” because it was a simple black text on white background page.

While it may have seemed a bit ambitious to archive the web, the Wayback Machine gets about 500 hits a second.  And it turns out that the out of print materials on the web are often just as valuable as the in print information on the web.  People are looking for the way things were for historical or cultural research reasons and this tool makes it possible.   —>
http://sla-divisions.typepad.com/itbloggingsection/2008/02/code4lib-2008-t.html
~

TV coverage is factor in Southington BOE venue decision
by Jason R. Vallee
MyRecordJournal.com (CT)
02/27/08

[ comments allowed ]

SOUTHINGTON – When the Board of Education meets tonight, it will be asked to determine whether to continue meeting at the John V. Pyne Meeting Center or consider moving to Town Hall. The decision is based on what would most effectively allow the board to improve the quality of its cable broadcasts, and the panel appears to be leaning toward technological changes rather than a physical move.  Three weeks ago, Southington High School Television Coordinator Rit Campbell said the district made a broadcast conversion from VHS to DVD format. The conversion, in which Cox Cable replaced all public access equipment with digital simulcast technology, immediately helped improve the video quality by 80 percent, though sound has remained a problem.   —>
http://www.myrecordjournal.com/site/tab1.cfm?newsid=19339338&BRD=2755&PAG=461&dept_id=592708&rfi=6
~

Midterm
by Erin Semagin Damio
Erin Semagin Damio
02/27/08

[ comments allowed ]

—>  Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a vegan living in Brooklyn, New York, offered her own solution. In 2006 she started a public access cooking show called the Post Punk Kitchen. In an interview with Gothamist magazine, she described the show, which she cohosted with Terry Hope Romero, as a response to the lack of vegan cooking shows on Food Network. Today, episodes of the show are available on Google Video. Moskowitz’s easy-to-make vegan cupcakes and other delicious dishes have earned her the distinction of “America’s Most Popular Vegan Chef” in her Barnes and Noble biography. She and Romero have written three bestselling cookbooks, including Vegan With A Vengeance, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and Veganomican. She also maintains a website, which includes forums and her own blog.   —>
http://ensd113.blogspot.com/2008/02/when-lauren-ulm-of-boston-started.html
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/25/08

February 26, 2008

FCC Online Digital Television (DTV) Conversion Workshop for People with Disabilities – Feb. 28
by Darrell Shandrow
Blind Access Journal
02/25/08

[ comments allowed ]

Marlaina from ACB Radio reminds us all about an upcoming FCC workshop (Feb. 28) covering the impact of the impending digital television (DTV) conversion on people with disabilities.  This subject arose on my show this evening, and i promised to post this far and wide. Here is a copy of the e-mail I received from Jill Pender of the FCC regarding their upcoming workshop on conversion from analog to digital tv.  Let’s keep asking why our video description has not been restored. Or, when might we expect it to be restored.   —>
http://blog.blindaccessjournal.com/2008/02/fcc-online-digital-television-dtv.html
~

Iraq Vets Against the War organize the second Winter Soldier: March 13-16
by Leslie Dreyer
Art Threat
02/25/08

[ comments allowed ]

Mark your calendars and organize a screening in your community. Let this Winter Soldier gathering March 13-16 in Washington D.C. be the most observed and talked about event this year.  The four-day event will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan – and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans’ health benefits and support…

For those interested in watching or organizing around the proceedings at Winter Soldier, there will be a number of ways to watch and listen to the event.
* Live television broadcast via satellite TV, accessible through Dish Network as well as public access stations that choose to carry our broadcast – Friday and Saturday only
* Live video stream on the web – Thursday through Sunday
* Live radio broadcast via KPFA in Berkley California and other Pacifica member stations – Friday through Sunday
* Live audio stream via KPFA’s website – Friday through Sunday   —>
http://www.artthreat.net/2008/02/iraq-vets-against-war-organize
~

GH leaders unhappy with cable project
Muskegon Chronicle (MI)
02/25/08

GRAND HAVEN — Telecommmunications giant AT&T is making good on promises to deliver competition in the cable television market to West Michigan this year by proposing franchise agreements with area governmental units.  But not everyone is happy about it.

The company has sent letters to local governments in West Michigan requesting franchise agreements for delivering television service over its fiber optic and telephone lines.  Under a 2006 state law backed by phone companies AT&T and Verizon, the agreements are a take-it or leave-it proposition. Local governments have 30 days to accept the terms laid out by AT&T or risk having an agreement imposed on them without receiving any franchise fees.

In Muskegon and Oceana counties, AT&T is not the historic telephone company. In these Verizon Communications communities, similar requests to provide television services are not being made at this time, a Verizon official said.

In Holland, Mayor Al McGeehan said he was “very angry.”  Grand Haven City Manager Patrick McGinnis said the 2006 state law limits local control over public rights of way.  “We were adamantly opposed to it. And when I say ‘we,’ I mean the people of the state of Michigan. It was a real bad deal,” he said.   —>
http://www.mlive.com/news/chronicle/index.ssf?/base/news-6/1203952516283700.xml&coll=8
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Congressmen seek media coverage of Asian vote
India Post
02/24/08

Several Members of Congress have sent letters to CNN and MSNBC to highlight the lack of coverage of the Asian American and Pacific Islander vote during the 2008 presidential campaigns. In the letter, Members of Congress said, “We are deeply concerned that the lack of coverage of Asian voters in the 2008 presidential race by media unfairly suppresses a growing and significant political constituency. We request a meeting to discuss these matters.   —>
http://indiapost.com/article/usnews/2145/
~

Task force approves proposal from public access programming
Group plans to take ideas to city council
by Phil Wright
The East Oregonian
02/25/08

[ comments allowed ]

A city task force examining how a public access channel would function for Pendleton has approved a proposal to launch government and education programming.  The city council created the task force in November 2007. The task force members include Councilman John Brenne, chamber of commerce Executive Director Leslie Carnes, Pendleton Arts Councilman Jack Sanders and Pendleton residents Peter Walters, Ben Talley and Robert Tally, who manages Internet technology systems for Blue Mountain Community College…

Channel 5 is the Pendleton area’s public access channel. Charter primarily uses to deliver product advertisements.  Task force members recently visited Richland CityView Cable 13, the public cable access channel of the city of Richland. CityView provides free programming and coverage of public meetings. From what the task force learned, it created a proposal to deliver initial programming.

The proposal calls for education and local government programming six hours a day, from 3-9 p.m. That would include 4 1/2 hours of the Classic Arts Showcase, a free cable television program featuring classic arts, including musical and ballet performances. A scrolling calendar noting public meetings and events would fill the other 90 minutes, with the scroll running in 30-minute segments.

The chamber would generate and control the calendar scroll and BMCC would download and transmit programs to Charter. The rest of the day would be public access and whatever advertisements Charter would run. The proposal also calls for the Pendleton Arts Center Board to appoint and oversee a local access channel advisory committee, which could include representatives from the Pendleton Public Library, BMCC, the Pendleton Center for the Arts and possibly city government.

The task force plans to bring its proposal to the city council’s March 4 meeting.  But, before that, members said they still have some bridges to build, including who would handle the work at BMCC, which Tally estimated could come to about 4 hours per week at the start.  He suggested two BMCC audio-visual technicians could handle it, but he would have to mull that over with the college’s human resources department. That’s because wages could run as much as $80 per week, or about $4,000 per year. Benefits could add another $2,000.  Sanders said he would approach the city, the Pendleton Chamber of Commerce and the Umatilla-Morrow Education Service District to contribute funds.

City Councilwoman Marjorie Iburg said this beginning level seems “pretty doable,” but to really move forward, the right person needs to head up this process. And finding that person could take some time, she said.  While locals would handle the government and education side, City Attorney Pete Wells said Charter would run the public access side.  Well said at City View, the public access side is independent of the government and education side, which is also how the task force wants to start.   —>
http://www.eastoregonian.info/main.asp?SectionID=13&SubSectionID=48&ArticleID=73872&TM=64865.39
~

Our 20th Anniversary Membership Drive
WCTV Journal (IN)
02/25/08

[ comments allowed ]

2008 marks the twentieth anniversary of Whitewater Community Television serving Richmond and Wayne County. It has been a tremendous journey, starting with just a couple of VHS decks and some borrowed cameras, growing to the full broadcasting facility with editing suites and a three-camera studio that we enjoy today.

From just a few programs on one channel, we have grown to more than sixteen hours a day of original, first-run programming across three channels, airing more than 75 programs a week and supporting more than 40 local producers. Richmond currently enjoys the third largest public access television operation in the state of Indiana.

Along the way we became a critical source for local information in Wayne County, offering gavel-to-gavel coverage of city and county government meetings, educational programs and sporting events from area high schools and colleges, election results and weather alerts and more, as well as acted as an outlet for local producers to provide their own original content to the public.   —>
http://wctvjournal.blogspot.com/2008/02/our-20th-anniversary-membership-drive.html
~

PAC 14 preserves Shore history
by Brice Stump
The Daily Times (MD)
02/24/08

[ 1 comment ]

SALISBURY — History will go high-tech soon, as Public Access Channel 14 launches a campaign to digitally capture the Shore’s present and past.  In an unprecedented venture, PAC 14 has garnered the support of more than a dozen history-oriented organizations to preserve Delmarva’s past on video using the best of today’s electronic technology.

Called Digitizing Delmarva’s Heritage and Traditions, the project is being developed by Mike Goodson, manager of PAC 14, in conjunction with Salisbury University and the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council and other historical organizations.  Alarmed that much of Delmarva’s oral history by older residents in particular is being lost, Goodson appealed to various group to support the undertaking. “Time is working against us. Our people, places and traditions are fading away before our eyes. In some cases our history is being washed away with the tides,” he said. “Time is not on our side.”

From the lives of watermen, artists and ball players to farmers recalling days of homemade sausage, scrapple and hams, Goodson and others want to save the charm and history of the old Eastern Shore.  Under Goodson’s direction, PAC 14 has created a temporary part-time position that will deal exclusively with the production of “historical videos.”  Tom Taylor, author and videographer, will handle production assignments now through July. By July, Goodson hopes that DDHT, as administered through Salisbury University, will have a SU history graduate on staff to continue the project.   —>
http://www.delmarvanow.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080224/LIFESTYLE/802240335
~

TV show focuses on mental health issues
Fremont minister Barbara Meyers hosts local cable program
by Andrew Cavette
The Argus (CA)
02/25/08

The Rev. Barbara Meyers sat in a makeup chair Wednesday night in the corner of a small, public-access cable-TV studio, ready for her show to start.  Meyers, a minister for the Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, is the host of “Mental Health Matters,” a program shown in the Tri-City area and other parts of the East Bay.

Cecelia Burk, who volunteers her cosmetological talents for the show, touched up Meyers’ cheeks before letting her rejoin the small group of enthusiastic Bay Area residents buzzing around the studio’s equipment. They adjusted the cameras, fixed the lighting, checked the sound, and then the show began.

After working for IBM for 25 years, Meyers went back to school and, in 2004, earned a master’s degree in divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley. Her ministry focuses on mental health issues.  One day Paul Clifford, a member of Meyers’ congregation, approached her about a project.  At the time, Clifford was producing another public-access cable-TV show and thought Meyers should produce a program about mental health. Clifford loaned Meyers his crew and his studio time to do a pilot episode.

In that episode, Meyers talked about the stigma attached to mental illness. It was recorded last March.  “I got a fair number of people who told me they had seen it,” Meyers said after the show premiered. “I could see that it was something positive.”  She recruited a crew from her congregation, some of whom have someone in their family with a mental illness or have mental health issues themselves. Other crew members simply want to learn more about television work.

Gwen Todd, a member of Meyers’ congregation,produces her own public-access cable-TV show for Toastmasters International and had contacts with Comcast in Fremont. When she heard Meyers’ idea for the show, she offered her services.  “It’s a very good show and is very much needed,” Todd said. “The crew is getting a lot better as we all develop our skills.”   —>
http://www.insidebayarea.com/argus/localnews/ci_8357715
~

Community access TV programming
Post-Bulletin (MN)
02/26/08

[ comments allowed ]

Belau Report:  A proposal to expand Mayo Civic Center, how it would be paid for and community benefits will be discussed by Brad Jones, executive director of the Rochester Convention and Visitor’s Bureau; Donna Drews, executive director of the civic center; and Dennis Hanson, president of the Rochester City Council, on the Belau Report at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on Charter Cable channel 10.
http://news.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?a=330094&z=2
~

BOF & BOS Meetings on Metrocast Channel 22
by Wtfd Nuc Sailor
Waterford Political Blog (CT)
02/25/08

[ comments allowed ]

According to today’s, February 25, 2008, New London DAY Public Access TV Schedule the February 12, 2008 Board of Finance Meeting will be on Metrocast Channel 22 Thursday, FEB 28, 2008 at 7:00 PM.  This meeting was relatively short for BOF meetings.  The February 19, 2008 Board of Selectmen meeting will be on Channel 22 on Friday, FEB 29, 2008 also at 7:00 PM.  This is the meeting where the BOS approved $95,000 for architect design services for the Municipal Complex Phase II.   —>
http://waterford.ctlocalpolitics.net/?p=189
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Viewers could be seeing more of Fort Erie council
by Ray Spiteri
Niagara Falls Review (Canada)
02/24/08

There is a growing number of citizens with an active interest in local government.  Town council is taking notice.  Elected officials recently approved a report asking staff to take steps to broadcast council-in-committee meetings on TV Cogeco and to investigate the feasibility of broadcasting real-time council and council-in-committee meetings online for future budget deliberations.

Regular council meetings, held every second and fourth Monday of the month, are televised by the local network, however, council-in-committee sessions, held on the first and third Mondays of the month, are not.  Coun. Bob Steckley, who has been pushing for such an intiative since he was elected at the tail end of 2006, said broadcasting all of council’s meetings will provide citizens more of an opportunity to see their elected representatives at work and make politicians accountable to the public.  “It’s nice to see that we are investigating the possibility of this because it will enhance the openness of government and public access to how we conduct our business,” he said.   —>
http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=915311
~

Brooklyn Paper, Daily News, Brooklyn Eagle, Courier Life at Reporter Roundtable
mcbrooklyn (NY)
02/25/08

[ comments allowed ]

BCAT (Brooklyn Community Access Television) brings us what promises to be a rousing Reporter Roundtable today at 1 p.m. (also Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and more showings Thursday and Friday).  In this episode, editor Gersh Kuntman of the Brooklyn Papers is joined by Jotham Sederstrom of the NY Daily News, Sarah Ryley of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Tom Tracy of Courier Life. The panel discusses Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s recent State of the Borough address, Atlantic Yards, Super Tuesday in Brooklyn, the Gowanus canal development and residential parking permits.
http://mcbrooklyn.blogspot.com/2008/02/brooklyn-paper-daily-news-brooklyn.html
~

York public TV an outlet for free speech
Pennsylvania Nonbelievers
02/25/08

[ comments allowed ]

If you are in the York area, try out the local public access station, Comcast channel 16 for a selection of Atheist, Humanist and free thinking opinions.  Here is the link to the station. White Rose Community Television Check out the schedule and tune in!
http://panonbelievers.blogspot.com/2008/02/york-public-tv-outlet-for-free-speech.html
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The FCC, Mickey Mouse & Media Cross-ownership
by Norman Horowitz
Huffington Post
02/25/08

[ 2 comments ]

The FCC has now done the “dirty deed” of eviscerating the long standing Cross Ownership rules. I looked back on something I wrote on the subject over five and a half years ago and decided to “re-issue” it.  The “they” who control the system in this regard who are to serve in the public interest, serve only in the interests of the mega media companies, and lest we forget, the interests of the incumbent administration.  How sad for our country.

The FCC, Mickey Mouse & Media Cross-ownership – July 23, 2002
A former senior FCC staff member told me years ago that virtually all FCC rulings are based on the politics of the issue rather than the merits of the issue. I believe that this is a fair assessment, and I have seen nothing that the FCC does as being in the public interest.   —>
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norman-horowitz/the-fcc-mickey-mouse-m_b_88285.html
~

[ Here’s is a very detailed look at Verizon’s FiOS services, with performance comparisons with cable modem service from a number of US Cities. – rm ]

Verizon FiOS Installed: Macintosh Compatible, Free and Fast
by Adsense Turkiye
Photoshop & Adsense – Art of devil free blog
02/25/08

[ comments allowed ]

FiOS on MacsWell Verizon FiOS Internet became available in my town in New Jersey and I had it installed last week. I ordered the 15MB/2MB (15MB downstream, 2MB upstream) package in our home. Since the Internet is probably more important to us than TV, air, and maybe even food sometimes this was a big decision. Well not that big really, since our cable modem service provided by Cablevision’s Optimum Online has not exactly been great. No matter what the cable company claims about speed our experience was never all that good. More about this later as I will compare Cablevision’s Optimum Online and Verizon FiOS Internet.   —>
http://artofdevil.blogspot.com/2008/02/verizon-fios-installed-macintosh.html
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/12/08

February 16, 2008

LWV urges ‘neutrality’ on access to Web sites
by Wynne Parry
Stamford Advocate (CT)
02/12/08

The state League of Women Voters reached out to its members last night in a discussion at the Harry Bennett Branch of the Ferguson Library, asking them to consider supporting the position that Internet service providers not interfere with users’ ability to access Web sites.  The issue, known as “Net neutrality,” was one of three the league put before members of its newly revived Stamford chapter. If approved, the league will formally adopt these positions.

“Internet service providers should not serve as gatekeepers,” said Cheryl Dunson, advocacy director of the state league. “If you get online, you should have access to the full and entire scope of the Internet.”  In other words, the Christian Coalition Web site should load as fast as Planned Parenthood…

League representatives also asked members to endorse the position that government should encourage efficient and affordable high-speed Internet access, including free access at libraries and other public buildings…

The league is also considering a position that community access television must be protected.  New legislation allowing phone companies to compete with cable companies to provide cable service may affect community access channels, according to Carole Young-Kleinfeld, the state league’s vice president of communications.   —>
http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/local/scn-sa-nor.internet3feb12,0,1371935.story
~

County Board meetings to be shown on cable TV
by Jorge Sosa
Hutchinson Leader (MN)
02/12/08

[comments allowed]

Hutchinson Community Video Network will soon add a new reality show to its lineup — the McLeod County Board meetings.  County Commissioner Sheldon Nies said the County Board supports telecasting of their meetings, with HCVN’s help, beginning Feb. 19.  The local cable channel already airs Hutchinson City Council meetings, but HCVN Board Member Barry Anderson said the channel received many requests to see the County Board in action.   —>
http://hutchinsonleader.com/news/county-politics/county-board-meetings-be-shown-cable-tv-6550
~

Mayors meet with Bredesen, lawmakers
State of economy discussed during courtesy visit
by Bonna Johnson
The Tennessean
02/12/08

[comments allowed]

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, along with the mayors of Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga, made a courtesy call to Gov. Phil Bredesen and legislative leaders Monday.  “We went in to talk about the interest of the cities and to see if there is anything we can do to help the governor and basically talked about the state of the economy,” Dean said.

Dean said he did not talk to the governor about any issues specific to Nashville.  But outside the governor’s office, Dean did talk with reporters about his position on a few state issues….He is staying neutral in the battle between AT&T and Comcast on cable franchising.  “We’ll see what happens before we take a position,” he said. Without taking sides though, he said, he is “generally pro competition.”   —>
http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080212/NEWS0201/802120351/1009/NEWS01
~

There’s Nothing Mainstream About the Corporate Media
by Harvey Wasserman
Huffington Post
02/11/08

[19 comments]

As we stumble toward another presidential election, it’s never been more clear that our political process is being warped by a corporate stranglehold on the free flow of information. Amidst a virtual blackout of coverage of a horrific war, a global ecological crisis and an advancing economic collapse, what passes for the mass media is itself in collapse. What’s left of our democracy teeters on the brink.

The culprit, in the parlance of the day, has been the “Mainstream Media,” or MSM.  But that’s [the] wrong name for it. Today’s mass media is Corporate, not Mainstream, and the distinction is critical.  Calling the Corporate Media (CM) “mainstream” implies that it speaks for mid-road opinion, and it absolutely does not.

There is, in fact, a discernable, tangible mainstream of opinion in this country. As brilliant analysts such as Jeff Cohen, Norman Solomon and the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) organization have shown, the “MSM” is very far to the right of it.   —>
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harvey-wasserman/theres-nothing-mainstrea_b_86157.html
~

Flashback to 2002: Is U.S. Big Media Still Brainwashing Us?
Pepperspray Productions’ “Indymedia Presents”
blip.tv
02/12/08 (?)

[comments allowed]

In the last few years many Americans have come to believe that the war in Iraq is wrong.  Fewer it would seem, have the same opinion about the war against Afganistan.  You decide.  Let’s go back with US Representative Jim McDermott.   —>
http://blip.tv/file/663263
~

Nonprofit journalism on the rise
At a time of layoffs and budget cuts at traditional newspapers, foundations and donors are funding new journalism ventures.
by Randy Dotinga
Christian Science Monitor
02/12/08

San Diego – The police chief’s rosy crime statistics were a lie, it turned out. The councilman who urged water conservation was discovered to use 80,000 gallons a month at his home, more than five of his colleagues put together. And the school board president, according to an investigation, spent a full third of his time out of town and out of touch.

The Voice of San Diego, a nonprofit online media outlet, doesn’t have enough journalists to field a softball team. Yet it has managed to take on the powerful with the panache of a scrappy big-city paper.  It provides “the best coverage of city politics that we’ve had in years,” raves Dean Nelson, a journalism professor at San Diego’s Point Loma Nazarene University.

The success of the tightly focused Voice, which relies on donors, offers a ray of hope for a troubled industry. Plagued by shrinking circulations and advertising, newspapers are shedding staff and downsizing their offerings. Even the pages have gotten smaller.  By contrast, several nonprofit newspapers – though rare and often tiny – have sprung up in recent years both online and in print, funded largely by foundations and individual donors.  The strategy of nonprofits like the Voice “may be one of the ways to preserve the integrity of journalism,” says Mr. Nelson.   —>
http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0212/p03s01-usgn.html
~

When A Bunch of People Become Community
by Jim Benson
Evolving web
01/10/08

[comments allowed]

No matter how far removed my daily life gets from Urban Planning (I was a real-life urban planner for about 20 years), it still amazes me how I’m still right in the middle of it. Today on Twitter, Shel Israel sent out a note about a great post by Laura Fitton called “Twitter is my Village.”  Her posts cover the basic aspects of community.  Transportation, Culture, Commerce, and Continuity.   —>
http://ourfounder.typepad.com/leblog/2008/01/when-a-bunch-of.html
~

ITP in Wikipedia
by Jon Swerdloff
Swerdloff Version 5.0
02/12/08

[comments allowed]

I have had a lot of people ask me – “Swerdloff” they say, because that’s what people call me, “Swerdloff, what the hell are you doing?” And I say “I’m at ITP!” and they say “um OMG WTF ITP?” or they say “What’s that” depending on whether it’s an IM or an in-person thing. Invariably, I point them to the ITP website and then describe a project or two or three if they still don’t get it. Maybe a fourth if they ask “what do you plan to do with this degree, exactly?”

I try metaphor – “It’s art for technologists” “technology for artists” “We’re building the future” “Second wave technologies built on things we tear up” “Hogwarts for hackers” or as Clay described it to me yesterday, “the center for the recently possible” which I like.

It’s very difficult going to a not-product-based incubator, a space that’s not art school but aims at artists, that’s not engineering but aims at engineers, and that’s not really definable. Particularly when you are studying identity! Also when your friends are lawyers, writers, bankers, bloggers, and other -ers that are easily defined.

I’ve copied and pasted the Wikipedia entry on ITP, strangely listed within the Tisch School page. I say strangely because despite having space there and sharing elevators (hello ladies of the drama department…) we really don’t interact with them much. Doubly ironic, since we’re the Interactive telecommunications program, and we don’t interact. Get it? Not in the 10,000 spoons way… ok shut up.  So, I reproduce this here for your pleasure. With luck, it’ll start to give you a sense of what I’m doing. And as you can see, after many years away – I’m back.

Tisch School of the Arts – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:  “The Interactive Telecommunications Program is a pioneering graduate department focused on the study and design of new media, computational media and embedded computing under the umbrella of interactivity.

“Founded in 1979, the origins of the program date back to 1971 when George Stoney and Red Burns created the Alternate Media Center (AMC). ITP grew out of the work of the AMC, and set the stage for the experimentation which would follow as well as the informing spirit of collaboration, and the ongoing emphasis on crafting social applications and putting the needs of the user first. A pioneering center for application development and field trials, the AMC initially focused on exploring the then-new tool of portable video made possible by Sony’s introduction of the Portapak video camera.”   —>
http://www.swerdloff.com/blog/?p=351
~

Better Than Free
by Kevin Kelley
The Technium
01/31/08

[72 comments]

The internet is a copy machine. At its most foundational level, it copies every action, every character, every thought we make while we ride upon it. In order to send a message from one corner of the internet to another, the protocols of communication demand that the whole message be copied along the way several times. IT companies make a lot of money selling equipment that facilitates this ceaseless copying. Every bit of data ever produced on any computer is copied somewhere. The digital economy is thus run on a river of copies. Unlike the mass-produced reproductions of the machine age, these copies are not just cheap, they are free.

Our digital communication network has been engineered so that copies flow with as little friction as possible. Indeed, copies flow so freely we could think of the internet as a super-distribution system, where once a copy is introduced it will continue to flow through the network forever, much like electricity in a superconductive wire. We see evidence of this in real life. Once anything that can be copied is brought into contact with internet, it will be copied, and those copies never leave. Even a dog knows you can’t erase something once it’s flowed on the internet.

Copy-Transmission

This super-distribution system has become the foundation of our economy and wealth. The instant reduplication of data, ideas, and media underpins all the major economic sectors in our economy, particularly those involved with exports — that is, those industries where the US has a competitive advantage. Our wealth sits upon a very large device that copies promiscuously and constantly.

Yet the previous round of wealth in this economy was built on selling precious copies, so the free flow of free copies tends to undermine the established order. If reproductions of our best efforts are free, how can we keep going? To put it simply, how does one make money selling free copies?

I have an answer. The simplest way I can put it is thus:

When copies are super abundant, they become worthless.
When copies are super abundant, stuff which can’t be copied becomes scarce and valuable.

When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.

Well, what can’t be copied?

There are a number of qualities that can’t be copied. Consider “trust.” Trust cannot be copied. You can’t purchase it. Trust must be earned, over time. It cannot be downloaded. Or faked. Or counterfeited (at least for long). If everything else is equal, you’ll always prefer to deal with someone you can trust. So trust is an intangible that has increasing value in a copy saturated world.

There are a number of other qualities similar to trust that are difficult to copy, and thus become valuable in this network economy.  I think the best way to examine them is not from the eye of the producer, manufacturer, or creator, but from the eye of the user. We can start with a simple user question:  why would we ever pay for anything that we could get for free? When anyone buys a version of something they could get for free, what are they purchasing?

From my study of the network economy I see roughly eight categories of intangible value that we buy when we pay for something that could be free.   —>
http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/01/better_than_fre.php
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2660
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/04/08

February 6, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaving Localism Behind
StopBigMedia.com
01/31/08

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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