[ UPDATE: EVENT POSTPONED DUE TO IMPENDING SNOWSTORM ! ]
A Broadband Forum for Western Massachusetts
Federal, State & Local Perspectives on Broadband as an Essential Infrastructure for Community Health & Economic Opportunity
Saturday March 1, 2008: 8:30 am – 3:30pm
Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, Northampton, MA
Hosted by Senator Stan Rosenberg, Representative Stephen Kulik and the Western Massachusetts Legislative Delegation
MA Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development
FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Robert McDowell
Sharon Gillett, Mass. DTC Commissioner
Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray
U.S. Congressman John Olver
U.S. Senator John Kerry
While there is no charge for attendance, we ask that you pre-register. —>
AT&T bill holds key to future
by Ed Kimbrell
Daily News Journal (TN)
[ 4 comments ]
For the past few weeks, behind closed doors at the state Capitol, American Telephone and Telegraph, Comcast cable, the Tennessee Municipal League, and selected legislators have been trying to forge a tortured compromise about the Internet’s future in the state. First, a bit of history. When cable came to the state, it was required to offer universal service and to obtain a franchise from each town or city it served. —>
PSAs in production at Elm Creative Arts
by Dani McClain
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
[ comments allowed ]
Students in Dexxie Bankhead’s fourth-grade class at Elm Creative Arts School have been working with MATA Community Media this year to produce educational spots for broadcast on public access. If you haven’t caught their latest foray into the world of multimedia arts, titled “Saving Our Oceans & Lakes,” tomorrow night may be your last chance. Check out Channel 14 Friday at 8:30 p.m. for a lesson in the effects of rainwater runoff and student interviews with Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District officials.
Today in class, the fourth-graders critiqued a video on school desegregation, which they produced with the help of Jonathan Rovetto, education project manager at MATA. They also continued work on their next PSA, which focuses on cruelty in the classroom. One group wrote a theme song, complete with a hook that goes: “Bullying is not okay, and it’s not alright / Bullying is not okay, and it’s impolite.”
Rovetto said the curriculum he uses with elementary-aged students includes how to operate digital video cameras, make stop motion animation, and edit audio to create soundtracks. This year, MATA is producing programming with about a dozen Milwaukee schools, including Golda Meir Elementary, Ronald W. Reagan College Prep, South Division High School, Milwaukee High School of the Arts and the James Madison Academic Campus.
Ex-Firehouse Converting To Community TV Center
New York City Funds Help East Harlem Gain Neighborhood TV Production
by Kent Gibbons
[ comments allowed ]
Manhattan Neighborhood Network has begin converting a 124-year-old former firehouse into a media center with live broadcast and production studios, editing studios and a training center for the community’s youth. MNN, a non-profit group that operates four public, education and government (PEG) channels on Time Warner Cable and RCN, obtained $5 million in tax-exempt funding from the New York City Industrial Development Authority and an $850,000 grant from Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer for the project.
MNN executive director Dan Coughlin said the facility – a four-story red-brick building that once was home to Engine 53 – is expected to complete its transformation into a community media center by early next year.MNN Firehouse Rendering “With the support of the cable industry that finances us and local government, we’re bringing technology to Harlem, we’re bringing technology to local neighborhoods,” Coughlin said. —>
Regional cable station focuses on high school sports
by Allen Gregory
Bristol Herald Courier (VA)
NORTON – High school sports is a lifeblood in Southwest Virginia. Successful teams inspire pride in residents and provide an avenue of dreams for small school athletes. Since the late 1980s, Ernie Benko and his resourceful crew of helpers have spotlighted the heroes and highlights of Mountain Empire athletics via the world of community access cable. “We’re in this for the kids,’’ Benko said. “We’ve covered at least 15 state championship games in basketball and football. Parents are very pleased that we take an interest in their sons and daughters.’’
Benko is a veteran of the still emerging business. He serves as the owner-operator of Norton-based Appalachian Regional Community Television, a popular outlet which evolved from RaBen and Gateway Television Broadcasting. “ARC TV is a true community access channel in Russell County and part of Wise County,’’ Benko said. “We also offer programming to WKPT DT3, Scott County, Honaker and surrounding areas.’’
And area athletes are appreciative of the attention. High school games are shown on a tape-delay basis on ARC. “It’s fun to watch yourself on TV, and I know that my grandparents really enjoy it,’’ said Chris Fraley, a two-way All-Group A selection in football at Powell Valley. Residents in the coalfield counties can watch game replays almost every Wednesday during football season. —>
Cable Franchise Renewal Coming Up
Several Council Members Have Negative Opinions of Comcast;
Kent: ‘I Don’t Think We Should Renew’
by Tony Rutherford
Cable companies operate within a city on the authority of a franchise granted by said city. In fact, you pay a few bucks a month to administer the franchise fee. The franchise for Comcast Cable (successor to Adelphia) comes up for renewal in April, according to Dr. Calvin Kent at the Monday night City Council meeting. He wants to form a committee to explore all the complaints that have been received about the service. Pricing, selections within various tiers of service, and failure to properly televise council meetings like their predecessor are just some of the complaints…
The councilman also believes that the franchise should be required to deliver a better quality televised council meeting than having just one unmanned, wide shot camera in the chamber. Along similar areas, “They need to maintain and update the public access channel which I don’t think is unreasonable compared to other cities.” —>
Newbury officials blast Comcast, cite lack of public programming
by Victor Tine
Newburyport Daily News (MA)
The town is being short-changed by cable TV giant Comcast on its public access programming, according to the chairman of Newbury’s Cable TV Advisory Committee. Chairman Paul Daubitz and committee member Douglas Packer told selectmen this week that they have been “stonewalled” in efforts to get Comcast to put up adequate funding for local programming.
Newbury’s latest 10-year contract with Comcast expired in October 2006, and the town and company have been attempting to come up with a new agreement. “We don’t feel that Comcast is negotiating with us in a meaningful way,” Daubitz said at a Tuesday evening “public ascertainment hearing” aimed at learning what local services residents want and need.
With heavy, wet snow falling outside, only one local resident made it to Town Hall for the hearing, but selectmen Chairman Vincent Russo said he would accept public comment for another 28 days, which works out to March 25. No one from Comcast attended.
Daubitz said the company closed its Newburyport studio and referred Newbury instead to its Amesbury facility, which he said was inconveniently located. He also said Comcast offered to budget only one-half of 1 percent of its Newbury-derived revenue to fund local programming, while Newburyport receives 4 percent.
The Cable Advisory Committee is interested in telecasting local meetings, such as those of the Triton Regional School Committee, and generating original programs. Comcast officials have told the committee that Newbury residents are not interested in raising their cable bills to pay for local programming, Packer said. —>
Comcast may get competition
by Christopher Ruvo
The Intelligencer (PA)
[ comments allowed ]
Comcast could soon have competition in Quakertown. Borough officials are talking to Verizon about bringing cable service to the Upper Bucks borough. Comcast is currently the borough’s only cable provider. “We had one meeting with Verizon in January and I told them probably the first or second week of March we’d be able to start negotiating a franchise agreement,” said borough manager/Police Chief Scott McElree.
Comcast would continue to serve the town too. In fact, the Verizon talks come on the heels of a new 12-year franchise agreement the borough is poised to strike with Comcast. The deal would provide for two channels that the borough and Quakertown Community School District could broadcast on. —>
Council Votes to Give BITV Larger Portion of Franchise Fees
by Tristan Baurick
The Kitsap Sun (WA)
[ comments allowed ]
The cameras will keep rolling at City Hall. In a rare move, the City Council on Wednesday stepped into a contract negotiations dust-up and awarded more money than city staff had initially offered to Bainbridge Island Television, a public-access station providing an annual 1,000 hours of local government programming.
The pay boost raises the city’s initial offer of $108,000 to $175,000 and ensures BITV will have enough money to keep cameras trained on the island’s public officials. City staff and BITV had been deadlocked over 2008 funding since late last year. BITV, which was aiming for no less than $194,000, had warned earlier this month that it would pull the plug on city coverage unless an agreement was reached.
BITV director Scott Schmidt said the council’s decision will keep many services alive but will lead to cutbacks in staffing, Internet services and coverage hours. “It’s a hopeful and workable solution,” he said. “But now we do a reality check about how we much we can provide.” Schmidt had hoped the city would turn over the full $194,000 in franchise fees it collected last year from the Comcast cable company. Coming almost $20,000 short of that goal means BITV will likely cut two of its five staff positions and end the live content streaming feature on its Web site. —>
Notes from Board Work Session, 2/25/08
by Jennifer Abell
Ready, Willing and Abell (MD)
[ 4 comments ]
—> Better utilize educational television station to include regular programming and promotion of Charles County Public Schools. Improve content and frequency of programming. This could include, but should not be exclusive to, the addition of televised Board meetings. Develop a lending library of tapes for those without access to cable television. Consensus was that this goal has been completed and will no longer appear in this document. —>
New episode of Rowlett on the Move now on cable TV and DVD
Pegasus News (TX)
[ comments allowed ]
The new episode of “Rowlett On The Move”, hosted by Mayor John Harper is now airing on RTN16, the City’s cable access channel, and is available for check out on DVD at the Rowlett Public Library and for purchase at the City Secretary’s Office at City Hall for viewing at home. City Council Work Sessions and regular Council Meetings are also available on DVD.
The current episode of “Rowlett On The Move” features an interview with City Manager Craig Owens and covers topics including economic development efforts, transportation issues, capital improvement projects, and a new type of city budgeting being proposed for the fiscal year 2008-09 called Budgeting for Outcomes. This month’s program also features an interview with Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Todd Gottel as he addresses economic development efforts underway in Rowlett. All RTN16 programs are produced by the City’s Communication Department. Below is a program schedule: —>
“Culinary Concepts” on a TV near you
by Michelle Nepton
Martha’s Vineyard Times (MA)
[ 2 comments ]
When Chef Kyle Garell of Catch at the Terrace at the Charlotte Inn moved to the Vineyard last year, he found something that would excite any chef: an abundance of local seafood. But he also found locally raised beef, sheep, chickens, and greens. And like any chef would, he seized the opportunity to make something of these fresh, local ingredients.
During his busy summer months, Kyle spends most of his time as the chef du cuisine of Catch at the Terrace, a fine-dining establishment in Edgartown, where he trains under chef-owner Christopher Parsons. This winter, he is keeping almost as busy in his own kitchen. Kyle has been creating “Culinary Concepts,” a cooking show broadcast on MVTV, the local public access television station that allows members of the community to produce and broadcast their own material. —>
Open source TV (CO)
by Adrienne Russell
Pop + Politics
[ comments allowed ]
While sites like YouTube are making history by catering to the mass craving to create and distribute amateur video, regular old television— a decade into the internet era— is still pretending the web is basically a form of Sunday newspaper: mostly good for advertising and reprinting schedules. Sorry but American Idol voting is the very definition of faux participation.
Denver Open Media, however, has a bold vision of the future of TV. Every aspect of its public access television station is participatory. The organization lends out equipment and offers low-cost classes on making and uploading video. Open Media members make all the station’s programs. Shows that garner the most votes from viewers are rewarded with the best broadcast time slots. Viewers can also text-in ratings and comments, which appear onscreen in realtime. —>
Funding for community television to triple
by Zvi Lavi
[ 1 comment ]
Knesset’s Economics Committee, Finance Ministry agree to boost government funding for community television, decide to nearly triple it. Agreement to stand until 2010.
The Knesset’s Economics Committee and the Finance Ministry have reached a compromise regarding government funding for community television. Government funding of public-access television stands to nearly triple – from $250,000 a year to $830,000. Both the Treasury and the committee have decided to back a proposal by MK Orit Noked (Labor-Meimad), calling for five percent of the money paid by the cable and satellite companies for their various franchises and royalties to be used to fund community broadcasting services.
Noked initially proposed an amendment to the Media and Broadcasting Law, calling for annual funding of no less than $1.4 million – until 2010 – when the cable and satellite companies are to renegotiate their franchises and royalty deals. Should the payments turn out to be lower, Noked suggested the Treasury make up the difference.
Initially against the amendment, the Finance Ministry eventually compromised on tripling the existing budget, providing Noked pull her bill. Noked agreed to the move “providing the new budget will not be a part of any cutbacks made in the government’s budget.”
Community television is defined as “a public interest” by law. In 2000, a committee appointed by then Communications Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer recommended the broadcasts be backed by an annual budget of $4 million. Despite agreeing with the committee’s recommendations, the budget was later set $1.07 million; and has decreased steadily until 2006, when in was set at $220,000.
The Cable and Satellite Council, which is a subdivision of the Second Authority for Television and Radio, will be charged with funneling the money made available as a result of the compromise, to each of the 10 community broadcasting services operating in Israel. Community television broadcasts, which are run by hundreds of volunteers – mostly teenagers and members of the elderly community across Israel – is available on channel 85 on both cable and satellite.
The politics of media development
by Fackson Banda
Thought Leader – Mail & Guardian (Africa)
[ comments allowed ]
The term “media development” might remind many people in South Africa of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA). Well, the term has become a buzzword in international media financing. My aim here is to draw upon a talk I gave in 2007 at the Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership/Konrad-Adenuer-Stiftung conference for media executives held in Cape Town. By so doing, I seek to indicate the key “media development” initiatives that have unfolded since the report of the Commission for Africa was issued in March 2005. More importantly, I wish to specify the “politics” associated with the concept of media development.
Although the concept of media development is certainly not new, it has attracted much attention in the past couple of years, resulting in the formation of such entities as the African Media Development Initiative (AMDI), the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) and so forth. The AMDI has since merged with the Strengthening African Media (Stream) consultative process to create an African Media Initiative (AMI).
The AMI is in its inchoate stages, with the express brief of consolidating the AMDI and Stream media-development recommendations into a bankable technical report that can be used to lobby governments, donors and the private sector to support the growth of media institutions across Africa. At the centre of these initiatives are: the BBC World Service Trust (AMDI); the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Stream) and Internews (GFMD). Unesco is also involved in developing indices to measure media development, but I did not focus on it during my Cape Town talk, nor will I do so here.
As I have already suggested, the concept of media development is not new in Africa. The very existence in South Africa of the MDDA clearly demonstrates the fact. But it is evident that the meanings attached to the concept are not fixed. In some instances, the term is used to connote the intellectual and spiritual growth of the media, as when the World Association for Christian Communication calls its journal Media Development; in other cases, it is used to refer to the economic-infrastructural development of the media, as when donors pour huge sums of money into purchasing new computer technology for media houses, especially during election times.
Increasingly, the concept is being interpreted to indicate much more than the above. It is being viewed as the totality of all support mechanisms for the growth of media institutions into vibrant agents of social and political change in democratic and undemocratic polities.
The recent resurgence of interest in media development is generally associated with the report of the Commission for Africa. The commission was set up in 2004 by the then British prime minister Tony Blair. But it would be a mistake to stop there; the media and communications landscape in Africa has been undergoing major changes, signalling the need and presenting opportunities for a concerted initiative to take advantage of such changes in favour of strengthening media institutions. —>