Archive for the ‘municipal programming’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/01/08

May 2, 2008

EAS: Act locally, think regionally
by Thomas G. Robinson
CedMagazine.com
05/01/08

As cable communications systems have evolved from solo headends to master headend and hub configurations and then to regional super headends, the concept of the local emergency override seems to have gotten lost in the complexity of it all.

The original local emergency overrides go back to the glory days of cable franchising when cable operators touted them as being a critical component of an emergency notification system that would set their system’s capabilities apart from others desiring to cable unwired areas, thus being part of the reason for choosing them over another franchisee. A number of these promises were kept, and emergency override systems were put into place to either override the audio, or audio and video, and allow the emergency operations directors of local franchising authorities to take over the cable system for a brief period of time and notify subscribers of local alerts. This could include hazardous materials spills on a highway within the franchise area or ruptured gas lines in a specific subdivision. As government access channels came on line, subs could then be directed to turn to those for more information.

Over time, a number of things happened to alter the way in which these systems were able to be utilized. First, digital cable channels were developed and added to the lineup. The way that they were encoded and distributed presented new challenges for modifying systems which had been developed for overriding analog channels.   —>
http://www.cedmagazine.com/Article-In-The-Loop-050108.aspx
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The cancellation of Channel 36
Policy debates and high school sports could soon fade to black.
by Patt Morrison
Los Angeles Times (CA)
05/01/08

It’s the channel you probably channel-surf right past on your way from Discovery to CNN.  Its production values can look a little … lean. “Desperate Housewives” no doubt spends more on its backstage buffet line than it costs to operate this little local channel for a whole year.

Tonight, other cable channels will air something called “Britney’s Secret Childhood” and reruns of “Law & Order” and “Family Feud.” Cable access Channel 36 will explore the future of Broadway downtown, and what Proposition 98 means. On Friday, as you’re flipping through the lineup looking for a pro baseball game, Channel 36 will broadcast the local high school slugger-fest between Cleveland and Chatsworth. Fox lets you decide whether to vote for Syesha or Brooke on “American Idol”; Channel 36 shows the debate between Bernard Parks and Mark Ridley-Thomas, so you can decide who to vote for for L.A. County supervisor, a post that represents more people than do the senators from 14 U.S. states.

Whoops — we interrupt this programming announcement for a de-programming announcement. Los Angeles is pulling the money plug. Unless the City Council overrules the mayor’s budget choices, come July 1, Channel 36 as we know it will go dark.  Not that there’s much budget to cut. The 16 hours of programming a day, seven days a week — school sports, public policy talks, long-distance for-credit college classes and a lot of repeats if you missed anything the first time — cost the city $555,000. (Channel 36 raises another $320,000 itself, mostly from hiring out its production services.)

That $555,000 comes from cable TV companies, not taxpayers. Back in 1984, the city boldly demanded funding for public access channels as a condition of handing out those rich, rich cable franchises. That show of nerve now generates $25 million a year.  About $3 million goes to Channel 36’s more production-intense sister station, Channel 35. If some of the faces on 35 look familiar, it’s because they’re often the mayor’s or council members’, in public meetings and on chatty shows about the work they’re doing. They’re on so often that their political opponents have complained that Channel 35 is like one big, free campaign commercial.

The Monday morning that the mayor released his budget, Carla Carlini, the general manager of Channel 36, was nervous. The city nearly whacked Channel 36 four years ago, and the city’s red ink is a lot more crimson now.  “I looked at it online,” she told me, “and literally froze.” Her budget was zero. “I printed it out, I looked at it again — at that point I picked up the phone and called [the agency that supervises the channel] and said, ‘Am I reading this correctly?’ and they said, ‘Yes.’ ”   —>
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-oe-morrison1-2008may01,1,3119514.column
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AT&T will start offering public access TV on U-verse system
by Luther Turmelle
New Haven Register (CT)
05/01/08

An AT&T Inc. executive indicated Wednesday that the debut of local public access television channels on the company’s U-verse system is imminent.  “It will occur sooner, rather than later,” said John Emra, AT&T’s regional vice president of external and legislative affairs. Emra said that at least one provider will appear on the system in the initial launch, with others to appear in coming weeks and months.

Emra declined to identify which public access provider would be first to launch on the system, which has been operating in the state for 17 months without offering any such programming.  “We are working closely with a number of providers to bring them on board,” he said. “Some of those providers serve a number of towns.”

Speculation among those who work in the public access community is that the first provider to launch on U-verse will be Sound View Community Media of Bridgeport. The company provides public access programming for cable television customers in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Milford, Orange, Stratford and Woodbridge.  But while company President Thomas Castelot acknowledged that Sound View is negotiating with AT&T to be carried on U-verse, any suggestion that an agreement is imminent is “premature,” he said.

Contrast Sound View’s experience with that of Wallingford’s Government Access Television.  Scott Hanley, who manages the government access channel, said AT&T hasn’t had any contact with Wallingford since Mayor William Dickinson Jr. made an initial overture to the company.  “We know that Wallingford has a fair number of (U-verse) customers, but at this point, we’ve heard nothing,” Hanley said.

U-verse is AT&T’s Internet-based challenge to cable television in the state and is operating in parts of 40 communities and 135,000 households.  Local public access channel advocates in some of those communities have criticized AT&T, saying that a portal, or “PEG platform,” that U-verse subscribers will use to view community-based programming will be substandard compared to what’s available from cable providers in terms of picture quality and accessibility.   —>
http://www.nhregister.com/WebApp/appmanager/JRC/BigDaily;jsessionid=5QftLZnVpyydvBDTDlVSdT9LgphBDsgpGC8yjgQnmm7THq1ymGjg!289188298?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_article&r21.pgpath=%2FNHR%2FBusiness&r21.content=%2FNHR%2FBusiness%2FHeadlineList_Story_1982738
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Cable Companies Fight For Franchise
by Ben Hogwood
Queens Tribune (NY)
05/01/08

Cable franchises are up for renewal this year, and one Queens councilman wants to make sure customers receive better service before the City signs any new contracts.
“With the cable franchises for Cablevision and Time Warner up for renewal for the first time in 10 years, we must wisely use this opportunity to protect consumers and hold Big Cable to higher standards,” said Tony Avella (D-Bayside), the chair of zoning and franchises for the City.

In addition, the City is seeking bids from all possible companies that can offer services to every residence, and already it appears consumers may have another option. The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) reached an agreement with Verizon Tuesday for a citywide cable television contract. The proposed agreement must still be approved by the City’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee, which is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the topic May 20.   —>
http://www.queenstribune.com/news/1209661473.html
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Column: School board meetings — where and what time?
by Bob Fasbender
Tomah Journal (WI)
05/01/08

[ comments invited ]

The Tomah Area School District Board of Education is seeking your input on where and when you feel board meetings should be held.  Currently all Tomah School Board regular monthly meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month beginning at 7:30 p.m. at various schools throughout the year. The board is investigating the possibility of making some changes to the regular monthly board meeting schedule.

The first change they are considering is moving the starting time to 7 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m. Secondly, they are considering discontinuing the “traveling” board meeting schedule. For many years the board has rotated the location of their monthly meeting so that they get into all of the schools at least once a year. They are considering the possibility of holding all regular board meetings at the former WTC building to be renamed the Robert Kupper Learning Center (RKLC), located at 1310 Townline Road in Tomah. They would continue to hold the May meeting in the Tomah High School library because this is the meeting where the retirees are recognized and usually attracts a large number of people.

Part of the reason for looking at a change in meeting location is because the board feels that more people watch the board meetings on cable (the PEG Channel and the Hagen Sports Network) than those who appear at the meetings. Secondly, anyone who has attended the meetings knows that the acoustics in the gymnasiums is marginal and makes it very difficult to hear and record. It affects the quality of the videotape that is being broadcast on cable. By holding the meetings in the former WTC building, the district can address the sound problems with the acoustical ceiling tiles and speakers in the ceilings. This will result in better sound for those who watch the meetings on cable and for those who are in attendance.   —>
http://www.tomahjournal.com/articles/2008/05/01/opinion/02fasbendercolumn.txt
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Public Forum on Philly WiFi
by twolfson
Philly Future (PA)
05/01/08

Media Mobilizing Project, Temple School of Communications and Theatre and a bunch of co-sponsors are hosting a public forum on the future of Philly WiFi on June 3rd at Temple. The forum will host a diverse panel of speakers, while including an open space for participants to speak about the future of the wireless Internet initiative.   —>
http://www.phillyfuture.org/node/6220
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How community TV spends its night of nights
by Daniel Ziffer
theage.com (Australia)
05/01/08

The Antenna Awards are community television’s Logies and last week they were celebrated with just as much passion and style. A crowd of several hundred tramped another red carpet, clinked champagne flutes and crammed into a Federation Square theatre to discover the winners of television’s other night of nights.  Nominees for best program included The MS Show, a series about multiple sclerosis, The Goin Ballistyx Snow Board Show, animated children’s program Play Kool and Let’s Go Bird Watching.

The winner was sustainable-lifestyle show Making The Switch, which also took out best lifestyle program and the award for best editing.  Presenter of the show’s 26 half-hour episodes, Lisa Corduff, says the community sector has room for anyone with a message. “I had never really made TV before and I was given the opportunity to research and present and produce.   —>
http://www.theage.com.au/news/tv–radio/how-community-tv-spends-its-night-of-nights/2008/04/30/1209234934185.html
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Time Warner to shed stake in cable operation
by Thomas Mulligan
Los Angeles Times
05/01/08

Answering Wall Street’s calls for a slimmer and more focused company, Time Warner Inc.’s chief executive said Wednesday that the cable system operator in which it holds a majority stake would become a completely separate entity.  Jeffrey L. Bewkes did not spell out how and when the split-off of Time Warner Cable Inc. would be accomplished.  Bewkes said that he was “very optimistic” about the prospects for the cable business but that “we just believe that the two entities would ultimately be more valuable if separated.” Time Warner owns 84percent of Time Warner Cable, a portion of which was spun off into a separate public company that began trading last year.

Time Warner has long been talked about as a possible deep-pockets buyer of Bethpage-based Cablevision Systems Corp. But there has never been a formal offer and stock analysts yesterday said it was too soon to know if the Time Warner spinoff would affect possible acquisitions, including one involving Cablevision.   —>
http://www.newsday.com/business/ny-bztime0501,0,4960948.story
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What’s Next for Time Warner Cable?
by David Lee Smith
The Motley Fool
05/01/08

It was a busy day for Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), the second-biggest player in the cable industry. And the major event for the company wasn’t, as you might expect, its quarterly results, but rather the fact that we now know that it’s about to leave its parental nest.  So, let’s look quickly at the company’s results for the quarter before discussing its future.   —>
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2008/05/01/whats-next-for-time-warner-cable.aspx
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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 – 04/28/08

April 29, 2008

[ Here’s what you call one of them ‘anecdotal’ reports of the positive effects of PEG access programming.  Just as with our friendly smiles and “good morning” greetings to strangers, sometimes we never know the positive effects our actions have.  Stories like this are among the reasons we’re driven to keep these channels alive and flowing. ~ rm ]

Why Bother?
by Amy Gates
Crunchy Domestic Goddess
04/28/08

[ 25 comments ]

This evening as Jody and Ava were out running an errand for me, I attempted to cook dinner while balancing a miserable Julian (due to his four canine teeth coming in at the same time) on my hip. After much fussing (on Julian’s part, not mine), I took a break from cooking, sat down on the couch, flipped on the TV and, hoping to make the poor boy feel a bit better, nursed him.

In skipping through the channels it became clear to me why I rarely watch TV (with the exception of The Office, LOST and occasionally Oprah). There was nothing on. I stopped on the local public access channel long enough to hear someone talking about global warming. My interest was piqued so I lingered.

It turns out it was a woman reading Michael Pollan’s recent New York Times article “Why Bother?” For those of you unfamiliar with Pollan, he is the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food – neither of which I have read yet, but I’ve heard great things about both.

“Why Bother?” is a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’m nowhere near the point of throwing in the towel with regard to the things I do to help the environment, but after reading an article like ‘Enjoy life while you can’ – Climate science maverick James Lovelock believes catastrophe is inevitable, carbon offsetting is a joke and ethical living a scam and watching a YouTube video (which has since been taken down) about Monsanto, you might start to get a little jaded and wonder if all of your efforts are in vain. At least that’s where I’ve been at.

Pollan’s article “Why Bother?” was exactly what I needed to hear (and then read in full on the web since I missed the first half of it on TV) to help lift me out of my funk and I highly recommend you read the whole thing. Here’s just a bit of it.   —>
http://crunchydomesticgoddess.com/2008/04/28/why-bother/
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Davis criticizes Senate cable bill
by Matthew Penix
St. Tammany News (LA)
04/28/08

[ comments invited ]

Parish President Kevin Davis has joined Slidell city officials in hurling objections at a Senate bill that would provide a statewide-only franchising agreement for cable operators entering Louisiana, a move critics said would increase local cable fees for consumers.  Senate Bill 422, authored by Sen. Ann Duplessis, D-New Orleans, was modified this week to adhere to requests by the Louisiana Municipal Association to scale back the bill. But critics such as Davis still said the bill amounted to a slap in the face for local municipalities.

The bill, aimed to garner more competition from cable providers entering the state, would nix the roughly 400 so municipalities statewide from entering their own non-exclusive franchise agreements with cable providers. Instead, cable companies would adhere to one set of rules, dictated by the state, concerning how municipalities will earn taxes collected from the companies using their right of ways to set up infrastructure.

For instance, St. Tammany Parish and its municipalities collect franchise fees from cable providers, typically a 5 percent fee on total revenue generated in the area, to use for infrastructure or governmental needs. The fee is paid in exchange for those cable providers to use the publicly owned right of ways to set up cable lines and more.

Under the bill, those local agreements would be nixed. Instead of brokering 400 agreements, the interested companies would now broker only one deal, a move 14 others states have already initiated, and one that would attract more companies who don’t want to deal with the headache of brokering numerous deals, Duplessis said. Already AT&T has pumped $400 million into Louisiana’s communications infrastructure in hopes the bill passes, Duplessis said. That figure could not be confirmed as of deadline.   […]

But Davis, in a recent memo, blasted the bill, saying cable companies will be allowed to “cherry pick” which citizens they will serve according to their business model.  “I fully support more and better choices for cable television,” Davis said. “This bill, however, will not provide the competition that we all want.”

According to the National Association of Telecommunications Officers & Advisors, consumers in states that have enacted state-level franchising laws have seen their video service bills go up 8 to 50 percent, depending on the level of service, Davis said. In Texas, which enacted its franchise legislation in 2005, nearly every video provider increased its prices, he said.   —>
http://www.thesttammanynews.com/articles/2008/04/28/news/doc4815dad281a76874331234.txt
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House passes compromise AT&T bill
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)
04/28/08

[ 6 comments ]

The state House overwhelmingly passed a compromise bill this evening that AT&T says it needs to start offering television programming in Tennessee to compete with the cable industry.   —>
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59852
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Cable Bill Passes House
by Cara Kumari
WSMV Reporter Cara Kumari
04/28/08

[ comments invited ]

I’m driving back to the station from doing my live shot about some TennCare changes, but I popped into the House session to listen to the debate on the cable legislation. (I use the term “debate” loosely.)

You’ve probably heard at least something about the cable bill or seen the nonstop commercials on TV.  This basically allows any company (AT&T for now)  who wants to enter the cable game in the state to bypass local franchising and get their permit from the state.  Lawmakers tout the increase in choices this legislation will bring the cable consumer.  Realistically, they say, don’t expect to see a huge drop in cable prices.

Anyway, the “debate” on the House floor today consisted of several of the main sponsors thanking 10 to 12 people each who made this bill happened.  Then it was a quick vote of 92-2 (with 2 not voting) and then a huge round of applause.

To give you an idea of how intense the lobbying has been on this whole issue, here’s a quip from one lawmaker after it passed: “Well, now all of the lobbyists can officially go on vacation.”  No word on whether or not those commercials will ever stop airing, though.
http://carakumari.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/cable-bill-passes-house/

Election round-tables available on-line
by Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Inside Politics (CA)
04/28/08

[ comments invited ]

Televised election round-tables with June 3 primary candidates for Assembly Districts 14 and 15, the two races for the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and a debate on Propositions 98 and 99 are now posted on-line at the Contra Costa Times’ politics page.  I moderated the six, half-hour segments on April 23 and they will air on your local public access television station starting May 5. (I’ve posted the air date schedule below or you can visit http://www.contracostatv.org.)

The sponsors organized and paid for the production of the shows at no cost to the candidates. Sponsors include: Contra Costa Times, League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley, Contra Costa Council, Contra Costa TV, Contra Costa County Election Department, Comcast and the East Bay Community Foundation.  To save you a few clicks, I’ve also embedded the links to the shows here.   —>
http://www.ibabuzz.com/insidepolitics/2008/04/28/election-round-tables-available-on-line/
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BVBL and 9500Liberty Debate On Television
by Greg L
Black Velvet Bruce Li (VA)
04/28/08

[ 33 comments ]

I was invited last week to join George Burke (who is also the Chairman of the 11th District Democratic Committee) on Fairfax Public Access television for a program on “Inside Scoop Virginia” this Sunday.  To my surprise, “documentarian” Annabel Park of 9500Liberty showed up to argue the other side in what was billed as a program on new media and the immigration debate, but ended up focusing mostly on the Rule of Law Resolution.  I think I held my own fairly well against two others that certainly wanted to argue that the Rule of Law Resolution is a bad idea, and the way it turned out the vast majority of callers to this local Fairfax County program ended up agreeing with me.

The first caller was from “Mona” who called in from California, apparently viewing the program on the internet.   —>
http://www.bvbl.net/index.php/2008/04/28/bvbl-and-9500liberty-debate-on-television/#more-2310
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Council: ‘We gotta work together,’ keep listening
by Craig Peterson
Lake County News-Sun (IL)
04/28/08

[ comments invited ]

WAUKEGAN — The City Council took no formal action last week on censoring audience time from its meetings, but every alderman addressed the issue during alderman’s time.   —>
http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun/news/918724,5_1_WA28_WAUKCOUNCIL_S1.article
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Show and tell
If Houston school district officials want to improve community relations, televise board meetings
Editorial: Houston Chronicle (TX)
04/27/08

[ 6 comments ]

During a hard-fought campaign last year to pass a bond issue, Houston Independent School District officials were lambasted by opponents for failing to get community input for the spending plan. The issue of school consolidation and some closings in mostly minority neighborhoods generated a voter backlash that nearly defeated the referendum.  HISD Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra says the district is working on initiatives to improve communications with the public. “Last fall as we did our bond issue,” the superintendent said, “the biggest message to us was ‘you’re not communicating, and when you do, it’s too late. It doesn’t mean anything.’ ”  […]

Although HISD has a fully staffed and equipped audio-visual capability with a public access cable channel at its disposal, the district board remains one of the few elective bodies in Houston that does not televise its meetings. Although the board recently moved its public sessions from 3 p.m. to a more accessible 5 p.m., airing the sessions on cable would allow a much bigger audience to acquaint itself with district policy.   —>
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/5734627.html
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AT&T still not definite on U-verse here
by Jeff Richgels
The Capital Times (WI)
04/28/08

[ 14 comments ]

AT&T is looking to hire 200 more technicians to install and service its U-verse TV service, which now is available to more than 200,000 homes in the Milwaukee, Racine and Sheboygan areas.  But even though the jobs include positions in south central Wisconsin, indicating that U-verse may be offered here in the near future, the company still isn’t saying when the Madison area might get U-verse.   —>
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/283540
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Parent Event: Are Your Kids Safe & Smart Online?
by Elliot Margolis
Midpeninsula Community Media Center (CA)
04/28/08

The Media Center is sponsoring a presentation for parents who want to keep up with what kids are doing online and acquire tips to keep them safe and smart internet-users. Patty Page, from the Common Sense Media Volunteer Speaker Bureau will present a media-rich, interactive program in the Media Center’s TV studio on Monday, May 19th beginning at 7:30. Doors open and light refreshments are available at 7 PM at 900 San Antonio Rd. in Palo Alto, near the 101 freeway.  […]  The 90-minute presentation and discussion will be videotaped.   —>
http://midpen-media-center.blogspot.com/2008/04/parent-event-are-your-kids-safe-smart.html
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Denver 8 TV Announces Updated Online Programming Site
by Jeanne Robb
Congress Park Neighborhood News (CO)
04/28/08 [?]

Denver 8 TV, the city’s Municipal Access Television channel, has launched an improved web site where users can find live programming of the channel and a rich archive of video programs recorded by Denver 8. The programs available include all meeting coverage of Denver City Council, numerous press announcements, community forum coverages and all the weekly and monthly programs produced by the channel.  —>
http://congressparkneighbors.org/WordPress/?p=22
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Director changes channels: WCAC head hired to lead NewTV
by Jeff Gilbride
Daily News Tribune (MA)
04/28/08

[ 11 comments ]

Robert Kelly, executive director at Waltham Community Access television for the last 18 years, has accepted the same position at NewTV, Newton’s cable access station.  Kelly said Friday he will start his new job on May 12. His last day with WCAC-TV will be May 9.  Kelly said because of his long tenure at the Waltham station he had “mixed emotions” when he applied for the position in Newton. But Kelly said the opportunity of working at a larger organization in a larger community was too good to pass up.   —>
http://www.dailynewstribune.com/news/x2124113393
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International Summit for Community Wireless Networks: May 28, Washington DC
MuniWireless
04/28/08 [?]

The New America Foundation is holding its International Summit for Community Wireless Networks (IS4CWN) on May 28 – 30, 2008 in Washington, DC. The summit is co-hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) at its downtown headquarters. The event will bring together community wireless networking developers working to build universal, low-cost wireless broadband networks around the world. This year’s Summit will focus on how these networks can better serve their target populations, the policies needed to support broader deployment of community wireless systems, and the latest technological and software innovations.
http://www.muniwireless.com/2008/04/28/international-summit-community-wireless-networks-washingto/
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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 – 04/25/08

April 28, 2008

Verizon TV proposal needs tuning
by Juan Gonzalez
New York Daily News
04/25/08

[ 8 comments ]

Telecom giant Verizon has finally submitted its long-awaited proposal for a competing cable television franchise for New York City.  If you live in the Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens and you’re eager to ditch Time Warner or Cablevision, take a number.

Verizon plans to offer its FiOS TV service to virtually all Staten Island and nearly 60% of Manhattan residents by the end of this year, according to a copy of the company’s proposal obtained by the Daily News.  On the other hand, FiOS will be available to less than 10% of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens this year. Most people in those boroughs won’t be able to buy it until at least 2011.   —>
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2008/04/25/2008-04-25_verizon_tv_proposal_needs_tuning.html
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Commission to tweak cable access agreement
by Steve Bandy
Marshall News Messenger (TX)
04/25/08

Some minor tweaks in an agreement contract between the city of Marshall and First United Methodist Church will allow a non-profit group established by the church to operate the second public access cable channel.  The city’s cable-TV franchise agreement with Charter Communications calls for Charter to provide one channel free of cost for public, educational and governmental information. Charter considers this channel to be channel 20, which is operated by the city as a governmental information channel, Assistant City Manager Janet Cook told commissioners Thursday night.

“Under the franchise agreement, Charter also must provide a second channel at our request or at the request of an approved non-profit institution,” she said. “Charter may charge for the use of that channel.”  Charter operated the second channel — channel 19 — for a number of years, but notified the city in January that its staff would no longer be available. On March 15 Charter ceased operation of channel 19.  “They told us there will not be a charge for someone else to operate the channel,” Ms. Cook said.

The city began seeking proposals for the operation of the second public, educational, governmental (PEG) channel in mid-February.  “One proposal was received from First United Methodist Church,” Ms. Cook said. “The church proposes to incorporate a non-profit ‘The Marshall Channel’ to operate the channel.”   —>
http://www.marshallnewsmessenger.com/news/content/news/stories/2008/042608_cable.html
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Comcast Expects Automatic Franchise Renewal
by Bernice Paglia
Plainfield Plaintalker (NJ)
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

When Comcast of the Plainfields’ 10-year city franchise ends in 2009, the company will invoke a 5-year automatic renewal, a representative told the Cable Television Advisory Board Thursday.  Charles Smith III, director of Government and Community Affairs for Northern New Jersey, told the board, “Comcast will exercise that option. That’s the way we look at the franchise.”  […]

While the Comcast franchise is running out, Verizon has gained state approval to hold franchises in many communities, including Plainfield. Smith said that when Verizon’s ability to serve customers reaches 60 percent of the Plainfield market, franchise fees will double from 2 percent to 4 percent due to state legislation. The city currently receives as much as $120,000 in franchise fees to operate the city’s local origination channel.

But while officials wrested the commitment for two local channels from Comcast in the past franchise renewal, the implementation has been spotty. Only one channel, based in City Hall Annex, is currently operating. A studio built at Maxson Middle School has languished.

Besides the operational aspects of the local channels, programming was another topic addressed by the board. Much of the local channel’s content is public service announcements and outside programs such as Democracy Now and White House Chronicles, but Public Information Officer Jazz Johnson said consultant Parris Z. Moore has launched a pilot program called “Hello Plainfield” and has several more in the works. They include “Plainfield at Work,” about day-to-day city activity on behalf of its citizens; “Plainfield Profiles,” about interesting residents; and “Plainfield Update,” a news format program.  […]

Board members asked Johnson when the City Council meetings would be televised. Johnson said Channel 74 was ready to record the meetings, but the council was holding off.   —>
http://plaintalker.blogspot.com/2008/04/comcast-expects-automatic-franchise.html
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Grand Rapids budget crunch could cost workers, raise parking, court fees
by Jim Harger
The Grand Rapids Press (MI)
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

GRAND RAPIDS — City Manager Kurt Kimball said the city can balance its budget and spend $1.6 million more on street improvements in the fiscal year beginning July 1.  But that means the city’s 1,700 employees and 470 retirees will be asked to pay more for their health care coverage. It also means higher parking fines and court fees.  […]

The $123 million spending plan also eliminates $355,000 in general local revenue sharing for charities and trims the city’s subsidy to the Community Media Center by $86,000.  Although he expects an outcry, Kimball said the city no longer can afford gifts to local charities after seven years of budget-cutting.  “I didn’t think that pot of money should be a sacred cow,” he said.   —>
http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/04/grand_rapids_budget_could_cost.html
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County budget $7M short of requests
Wicomico officials work to keep finances within constraints
by Greg Latshaw
The Daily Times (MD)
04/25/08

[ 1 comment ]

SALISBURY — One hard truth is already clear to Wicomico County Council members a week into reviewing next year’s budget proposal.  Charged with making further reductions, the council on Thursday continued scrutinizing a preliminary draft that is 2 percent smaller than last year. County Executive Rick Pollitt’s $129.6 million budget is about $7 million short of department requests from education, Public Safety, county employees and PAC-14 — the county’s public access television station.  […]

As department heads continue to defend their budgets, one popular area nonprofit has already taken a hit.  PAC-14 won’t be celebrating its 10th anniversary with a funding increase.  Pollitt’s proposal adds no extra dollars this year, dismissing a $79,600 department request. That means PAC-14 is set to again receive $131,000 in county funding, an amount that makes up about 60 percent of its operating budget, according to station manager Mike Goodson.   —>
http://www.delmarvanow.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080425/NEWS01/804250301/1002
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CATV wants to sign up Mandan
by Gordon Weixel
Bismarck Tribune (ND)
04/25/08 (repeat of 4/24 story, but with comments)

[ 8 comments ]

When Community Access Television makes its pitch to the Mandan City Commission about televising meetings, it will be more about forming a partnership with Bismarck than numbers of cameras and when the reruns will air.  On Tuesday, CATV’s Mary Van Sickle will respond to the Mandan City Commission’s request for a proposal to cablecast commission meetings. But what Van Sickle will present is an opportunity for Mandan to join with Bismarck in funding of CATV.   —>
http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2008/04/25/news/local/154129.txt
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St. Louis TV
by Diane Meyer
Respublica (MO)
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

The city of St. Louis utilizes the public access channel on cable tv to promote events and inform residents of what is happening.  While the rest of us in the metro area do not have this broadcast, it is possible to get a feel for what is going on by checking STLTV on the web.

St. Louis is doing something many local cities should do, using as much public technology as possible to reach the most people.  The STLTV website is colorful and inviting and contains many of the videos broadcast on cable access.   Why more cities aren’t doing something like this is puzzling.  Maybe there is a feeling that the public access channel won’t attract viewers, but if there is local programming done well with frequent additions, people will watch.  And, to continue this on a “tv web page”, well, this seems so obvious.   —>
http://respublica.typepad.com/respublica/2008/04/st-louis-tv.html
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SCAT News
by Jason McIntos
The Gameshelf (MA)
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

For folks with access to cable TV in Somerville, MA, I’ll be appearing on an upcoming episode of Inside SCAT, a new show about stuff going on around the community access TV station that helps me produce The Gameshelf. The show airs Tuesday evenings at 7:30 on channel 3. I’m on either next Tuesday or the week after, depending upon how quickly stuff gets edited. Hurrah for community access TV!

I also got a chance to meet Danny Martinez, a Somerville High student who produces a weekly live TV show about video games called S’Ville Games. It airs every Tuesday at 3:30, and features call-in segments. Give it a watch, if you’re in town!
http://gameshelf.jmac.org/2008/04/scat-news.html
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Paramilitaries threaten priest who runs community radio station
Reporters Without Borders
04/25/08

Reporters Without Borders is worried about death threats made in the past 10 days against Catholic priest Rafael Gallego, the manager of Ecos de Tiquisio, a community radio station in Tiquisio, in the northern department of Bolívar, and the leaders of other civil society organisations in the region.  The threats were made in two email messages signed by the Black Eagles, a branch of the paramilitary alliance known as the United Self-Defence Groups of Colombia (AUC), which has a strong presence in Colombia’s northern departments.

“Community media such as Ecos de Tiquisio play a very important role in local life in Bolívar and are very popular with the local population,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Black Eagles are using these threats to both intimidate the station’s personnel and undermine their credibility, with the aim of consolidating their own influence in a region wracked by armed violence. We urge the Bolívar departmental authorities to protect Father Gallego and all of the station’s personnel.”

The Network of Community Radio Stations of the Mid-Magdalena Region (AREDMAG), of which Ecos de Tiquisio is a member, reported in a 16 April release that death threats had been made against representatives of several regional organisations including Father Gallego in a message signed by Commander Camilo Mora of the Northern Block of the Black Eagles.  It referred to them as “military targets”and announced an “annihilation plan” in which they would be “exterminated one by one.”   —>
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=26711
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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 – 04/24/08

April 28, 2008

Killing TV Softly — Lone Star Public Access Survives, Barely
by Nathan Diebenow
The Lone Star Iconoclast (TX)
04/15/08

What if there was a television channel on which you could watch whatever you wanted? Anytime throughout the day, the content from his station would follow your heart’s desire. You have a pension for the history of your town. It’s on. Need to feed your obsession about belly dancing? It’s on. Try a planning and zoning committee meeting on for size. It’s all available with a click of your remote control.

Now, let’s take it a step further. What if you had the power to show just about whatever you wanted on this channel? Your church’s annual Easter egg hunt, your advocacy for veterans’ health benefits, and even your teen’s high school football game are all part of a string of endless possibilities.

Here’s the thing: this special channel and many others exist, and chances are your cable provider and city have teamed up to give you them. Surprised? Well, the concept was invented and implemented in the early 1970s. It’s called public access television.

But if you don’t act soon, public access might disappear from your screens.   —>
http://www.lonestaricon.com/absolutenm/anmviewer.asp?a=2672&z=237
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Panel backs TV bill
by Michelle Millhollon
The Advocate (LA)
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

A Senate panel advanced legislation Wednesday that would allow telecommunications companies to get a statewide franchise to offer television service.  Proponents of Senate Bill 422 said the legislation would offer consumers better service, new technology and competitive prices  Opponents said the bill would strip local governments of the franchise authority they currently wield.

The bill would not impact Baton Rouge, at least as far as AT&T is concerned.  Although AT&T is backing the bill, the telecommunications giant reached an agreement last month with the Metro Council to offer television service in East Baton Rouge Parish.  U-Verse — AT&T’s package of fiber-optic cable TV, telephone and high speed Internet service — will be available in 18 to 24 months at a cost of $44 to $154.

The statewide franchise legislation is similar to a bill that former Gov. Kathleen Blanco vetoed last year because of concerns about the bill’s impact on local governments.  At the outset of Wednesday’s committee meeting, Sen. Ann Duplessis, D-New Orleans, warned that the debate would be limited to six speakers on each side of the issue.  “We’re not going to hear all 50 cards,” she said of the requests submitted to the committee by people wanting to speak.   —>
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/politics/18098514.html
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AT&T, Cox: Our favorite flavor is Cherry/Red
by Mike Stagg
Lafayette Pro Fiber (LA)
04/24/08

[ 3 comments ]

This week’s edition of the Baton Rouge Business Report contains an informative story about the spirited battle that EATEL is waging against Cox on the eastern edge of the privately-held cable giant’s central Louisiana market footprint.  One comment that immediately jumped out was that the competition between EATEL (with its superior fiber network) and Cox (with its very deep corporate pockets) has prompted an in-your-face element of competition that neither the locally-owned phone company (EATEL) nor the Atlanta-based cable company (Cox) is accustomed to using:

“Brad Supple, the director of sales and marketing with EATEL, says the ads represent the first time they’ve countered the competition in such an aggressive fashion. Cox says it’s a first for them, too; the companies have battled for customers for nearly three years.”  […]

The real news, however, comes from a woman who once held McCormick’s job but now works as Cox’s vice president of government and public affairs, Sharon Kleinpeter. Commenting on AT&T’s push for passage of statewide video franchise legislation here, Kleinpeter confirmed a point made here recently — specifically, AT&T and the state’s largest cable provider are engaged in a carefully choreographed effort to relieve both elements of this communications duopoly from current legal requirements to serve all segments of the communities where local franchise agreements now exist.

Here’s the money passage:

“While AT&T’s earlier efforts to get statewide authority have failed, Kleinpeter says Cox doesn’t oppose it as long as it can also get options that would free the company from 55 20-year and 30-year franchises it has in 13 parishes, which have more stringent provisions. So far, AT&T hasn’t agreed to the move, which she says would otherwise give Cox a competitive advantage. Talks are under way on this issue.”

This is the Cherry/Red flavor of regulation they love.  That is, both AT&T and Cox (and other Louisiana cable providers) want the ability to provide services only in those neighborhoods where they believe they can make the highest rate of return and not have to provide services, say, all over Lafayette Parish as would be the case under the terms of the current franchise agreement here (and in, the article says, 55 other parts of the state).  They want to be able to legally cherry pick what they consider the best neighborhoods and legally redline those that they want to ignore. Cherry/Red.   —>
http://www.lafayetteprofiber.com/Blog/Blog.html
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Community radio the new voice of Congo rural women
by María Teresa Aguirre
digital opportunity channel
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

The inhabitants of Mugogo, a village situated some 2,000 kilometres from Kinshasa, capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, will long remember January 4, 2008 as a very special day in the life of their community.   That was the day when the first broadcast of Radio Bubusa hit the air. An initiative of a group of rural women, the idea of the radio station was first mooted towards the end of 2003, and now, in 2008 and with the support of a grant from WACC, the idea finally came to fruition.

The first broadcast surprised more than one listener with its unique blend of traditional songs interspersed with a voice that announced in Mashi (a local dialect) the name of the station and the place it was coming from: Radio Bubusa, broadcasting from Mugogo.

Community media has long being recognised by social movements and development agencies alike as one of the most efficient ways for grassroots groups to articulate their demands and struggles for a more just and egalitarian society.  From Africa to Latin America, from the Caribbean to Asia, groups of marginalised people – often ‘invisible’ in mainstream media – have used myriad community media in order to claim and demand their rights both as human beings and as citizens.

And while sometimes, by their very nature, community initiatives may take time to become a concrete reality, in the end they do bear fruit as the inhabitants of this remote area in the Congolese province of Sud-Kivu well know.   —>
http://www.digitalopportunity.org/article/view/160093/1/1138
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CATV wants Mandan to partner with Bismarck
by Gordon Weixel
Bismarck Tribune (ND)
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

When Community Access Television makes its pitch to the Mandan City Commission about televising meetings it will be more about forming a partnership with Bismarck than numbers of cameras and  when the reruns will air.  On Tuesday, CATV’s Mary Van Sickle will respond to the Mandan City Commission’s request for a proposal to cablecast commission meetings. But what Van Sickle will present is an opportunity for Mandan to join with Bismarck in funding of CATV.

“It’s really very simple, the bottom line, it’s a proposal for a partnership between Bismarck and Mandan to take over overall operation of CATV,” Van Sickle said.  “For 21 years Bismarck has been providing funding. Citizens of Mandan haven’t been treated any differently than those of Bismarck. They receive the channel and have used the services. CATV has never made a distinction of the people we serve. But it’s time to move on and it’s time for this discussion.”   —>
http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2008/04/24/news/update/doc4810f2d79c765830844479.txt
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Announcing the WYOU 36-Hour ON AIR Film Festival
WYOU 4 Madison’s Community Television (WI)
04/24/08

[ comments invited]

WYOU to Host Film Fest
The Local Cable Access Station is looking for a variety of Film Submissions That Celebrate Local Talent.

In the spirit of Wisconsin’s booming film industry, WYOU public access Channel 4 will host it’s own 36 hour On Air Film Fest in June. After the festival’s completion viewers will get to vote for their favorite flicks on WYOU’s website. The films’ receiving the most votes in their category will be featured at a 2 hour screening the weekend following the On Air Film Fest.   —>
http://wyou4.blogspot.com/2008/04/announcing-wyou-36-hour-on-air-film.html
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Ossining cable access channel struggles to find new home
by Sean Gorman
The Journal News (NY)
04/24/08

[ 2 comments ]

Greater Ossining Television has to move out of the high school by the end of next month, the latest blow to the beleaguered local access station.  GO-TV, a cash-strapped nonprofit that over the years has struggled to stay on air, has to vacate the studio space it uses in a high school classroom by May 31 – the end of its latest lease extension on the site.  “We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure we don’t go (off the air),” said Mary Prenon, a GO-TV board member.

GO-TV – which provides government and public access programming – is seeking out a temporary site downtown where it can place an office and perhaps the equipment that broadcasts its shows, Prenon said.  The station’s original 10-year lease on the Ossining High School space expired in June of 2007, but the school district has granted it a series of extensions as the station sought out a new location.

“The Ossining school district has been trying to work with GO-TV … understanding that they need to find space,” Deputy Superintendent Raymond Sanchez said. “We’ve made extensions for that reason. Now we’ve reached the point where we really need to look towards supporting the (high school’s) instructional program as well.”  The district plans to use the space for video and production instruction for students, Sanchez said.   —>
http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080424/NEWS02/804240444/-1/newsfront
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Hingham OKs cable contract with Verizon
by Karen Goulart
The Patriot Ledger (MA)
04/24/08

[ 1 comment ]

Residents will have a choice of cable TV service providers as soon as this fall.  Selectmen approved a 10-year contract with Verizon on Tuesday night. It was negotiated during the past four months by the town’s cable TV advisory committee.  Verizon will compete with Comcast, currently the only provider of cable service in town.

Cable TV advisory committee Chairman Guy Conrad said the Verizon contract, which could greatly enhance the town’s public-access television service, is a win for both sides.  The contract calls for Verizon to pay the town $400,000 over six years. The money will go toward building and equipping a public-access TV studio. Beginning in 2010, Verizon also will give the town 5 percent of its gross Hingham revenues, to support educational, governmental and public-access programming.   —>
http://www.patriotledger.com/news/x2124112665
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Cable competition: Verizon added to TV mix
by Carol Britton Meyer
Hingham Journal (MA)
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

Hingham cable TV subscribers now have two choices – Comcast or Verizon.  This week the selectmen signed off on a 10-year contract negotiated by the town’s cable TV advisory committee with Verizon, which will provide video services as early as this fall for some residents.  Verizon’s advanced fiber-optics network accommodates voice data, Internet, and video needs and offers more than 300 digital channels.

The committee will soon begin negotiations with Comcast “to ascertain terms of its continuing status as a provider to Hingham residents,” said committee chairman Guy Conrad. Comcast’s current 10-year contract expires in Aug. 2009, but negotiations may begin as early as three years prior to the expiration date.  The goal is to engage in a competitive process that maximizes the value of service at the most reasonable cost.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/hingham/news/x1838789817
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Homeless Teens and At-Risk Young Adults Participate in 01SJ Global Festival of Art Enabled by Cisco
Certification Magazine
04/23/08

SANTA CLARA, CA – Homeless teens and at-risk young adults at Bill Wilson Center, a non-profit, community-based agency that provides counseling and support services to youth and families in Santa Clara County, will work with professional artists to develop new media artwork for the 2nd Biennial 01SJ Global Festival of Art on the Edge, June 4-8, in downtown San Jose. Festival organizer ZER01 and Visionary Festival sponsor Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO: 26.03, +0.59, +2.31%) announced today that all creative works will be displayed on a new “San Jose Culture Network” of digital signs powered by the Cisco Digital Media System technology at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and several other locations throughout San Jose.

The young artists, ranging in age from 14 to 24, have already started attending weekly hands-on workshops staffed by new media artists and will continue their training through June 8. As part of the new “San Jose Culture Network,” their artwork will be showcased across more than 20 large screen LCD displays using the Cisco Digital Media System’s Digital Signage solution, which will allow for the easy management and publishing of the young artists’ compelling content.

The Cisco project, developed with artist Dorit Cypis, ZER01 and Bill Wilson Center, is called We-C. The goal of We-C is to engage young adults in transitional life situations to critically look at themselves and consider how they want to be “seen” by the public, to whom they are often invisible. The artists-in-training will work in a wide array of new media art and creative media formats, including digital still cameras, live music, poetry, and the performing arts.   —>
http://www.certmag.com/industry_news/2008/April/2575/index.php
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Nigeria: Make Peace, Devt Your Watchword, Djebah Urges Media
by Omon-Julius Onabu
This Day (Lagos)
04/24/08

Promotion of peace and development journalism has been identified as the best means of advancing the noble contribution of the profession to democracy and national transformation.  The Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Oma Djebah, who made the assertion yesterday in Warri, therefore, urged the media in Nigeria , particularly journalists operating in the Niger-Delta, “to promote peace and development journalism instead of engaging in negative reporting of the crisis, violence and militancy.” Djebah was delivering a guest lecture titled, “The Role of the Media in Niger-Delta Development”, during a seminar to mark the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Warri Correspondents Chapel held at Wellington Hotel, Effurun-Warri.

He stressed the urgent need for the media “to strike a balance between ethical journalism and certain limitations” bearing in mind that negative reports “have far graver consequences and impact on peoples and governments”.   —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200804240679.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 – 04/20/08

April 21, 2008

Video franchise bills all take; where’s the give?
by Mike Stagg
Lafayette Pro Fiber (LA)
04/20/08

[ comments invited ]

The statewide video franchise bills up for consideration in the Louisiana Legislature are, in fact, bad news as John and the LMA (pdf) have made clear. But, based on the 2006 experience where only Governor Blanco’s veto prevented a version of this legislation from becoming law, I also believe it is clear that some form of this legislation is going to pass again this year and Governor Jindal will sign it into law.

First, let’s make clear that while AT&T is the prime mover of this legislation, the cable industry is on board. That’s because this legislation or a subsequent package will ultimately give cable companies the same freedom to cherry-pick and red-line neighborhoods that the phone company is seeking with these bills. They’ll demand a level playing field.

It was no accident that Cox Communications announced its latest rate increase just as the Legislature was heading into its Regular Session. That enabled the various astroturf movements to begin flooding newspaper editorial pages with letters to the editor, condemning the cable companies and singing the praises of competition.  Think of this as a choreographed fight for the benefit of the viewing audience, rather than a brawl. The cable companies and AT&T are partners in this dance. Cox stepped on a lot of consumer toes in order to make them receptive to the competition paeans that the phone company allies would produce.

Cherry/Red

That ability to selectively deploy new network technology is the heart of the issue.  How do I know this? Because John and I sat in on the 2006 negotiations on that year’s version of these bills when the phone company (still called BellSouth at the time) flatly refused to deal on offers that did not free them from community-wide build-out obligations.   —>
http://lafayetteprofiber.com/Blog/2008/04/video-franchise-bills-all-take-wheres.html
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Westborough: Verizon Now Has Access
by John Dyer
Boston Globe (MA)
04/20/08

Cable television customers in Westborough who subscribe to Verizon’s service can now see local-access channels 24, 26, and 28, said Maria Sheehan, Westborough TV’s general manager. Since January, Sheehan said, Verizon had been promising it was going to provide viewers with the local access channels, which cover municipal meetings, school events, and locally produced programming. Late last month, Verizon subscribers still couldn’t see the channels, so Town Counsel Gregory Franks sent Verizon a letter saying its contract to operate in Westborough would be revoked if it didn’t provide the channels, as its contract stipulates, Sheehan said. Verizon had been in negotiations with rival cable provider Charter Communications on the issue. Charter owns the connections between Westborough TV and the wires that deliver the cable signal to homes.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/04/20/marble_scholarships/?page=4
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Bolton: Candidates Night
by Matt Gunderson
Boston Globe (MA)
04/20/08

Local candidates running for election this spring will square off at a candidates forum tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Davis Hall. The two candidates vying for a seat on the Board of Selectmen, Stan Wysocki and Connie Benjamin, have said they will attend the event, which is sponsored by the Friends of the Bolton Public Library.  Bolton Access Television will televise the candidates night.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/04/20/marble_scholarships/
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Shrewsbury: Candidates to Debate
by Lisa Kocian
Boston Globe (MA)
04/20/08

Seniors for Responsible Taxation will host a debate for selectmen candidates to be aired live Tuesday at 7 p.m. on Channel 28. —>
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/04/20/marble_scholarships/?page=3
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Cable show celebrates five years
Eagle Tribune (MA)
04/20/08

METHUEN — “Call To Serve,” a locally run television show on Methuen Community Television, celebrated its fifth anniversary with a special show taped last week.  “Call to Serve” has interviewed 56 veterans as part of its effort to preserve oral history of Methuen veterans. The show is hosted by Kathleen Corey Rahme and co-produced by Albert Grant and Corinne LaCharite. The show won third place in the 2004 Alliance for Community Media annual northeast fall video festival.   —>
http://www.eagletribune.com/punews/local_story_111010647.html
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More Government on TV: WOOOOOOOO!
by Melissa Griff
Sweet Melissa (CA)
04/20/08

[ 3 comments ]

As you may know, this past Tuesday an ordinance passed on its first reading that will require more San Francisco political commissions, committees and conversations to be filmed and made available for public viewing. Now, there appears to be some fuzzy math surrounding the funding source for one of the part-time positions that this ordinance will create (according to Ron Vincent from DTIS, it will otherwise be paid for by the “cable franchise fund”), but you know I am generally all for more government on TV. And, while I know that watching it is doing nothing for my love life, every so often I get to see something truly great.

Take this video below (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrAe21fi_4c), for example, in which professional rassler Nature Boy Ric Flair was finally given his due on April 15 in the US House of Representatives.  I just love that the phrase “Figure Four Leglock” is now in the Congressional Record.   —>
http://sweetmelissa.typepad.com/sweet_melissa/2008/04/woooooooo.html
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Our children will never know refreshment
by christa t
Pecanne Log (GA)
04/20/08

[ 2 comments ]

Everyone knows what an unmitigated disaster New Coke was. What most people don’t realize is that it was RuPaul and his Atlanta public access television friends who saved generations of children around the world from perhaps never knowing the taste of a Coca-Cola Classic.  The day New Coke was introduced in 1985, RuPaul and The American Music Show host Potsy Duncan took to the streets of Atlanta, leading other protesters in pouring out bottles of the new concoction and waving signs that said things like, “We want the real thing” and “Our children will never know refreshment.”   —>
http://pecannelog.com/2008/04/20/our-children-will-never-know-refreshment/
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Students demand greater transparency in the legislature
by Loa Iok-sin
Tapei Times
04/20/08

“No more blindfolds! We want a transparent legislature,” students representing schools and student organizations shouted yesterday as they demonstrated in front of the legislature.  “We are here to demand public access to the video-on-demand [VOD] system, so that everyone can monitor the legislature from home,” Lin Pin-chun, president of Citizen Congress Watch’s (CCW) youth caucus and a sophomore at National Taiwan University (NTU) told a press conference.

Although legislative committee meetings are recorded and broadcast live online through the VOD system, it can only be viewed from within the legislature.  “As a concerned citizen, I only see lawmakers when their physical or verbal clashes are broadcast on TV — I want to know what they’re doing the rest of the time,” another NTU student, Lee Shao-tang said.

However, current restrictions make their wishes impossible.  “The time allowed for sitting on the balcony to hear the general assembly meeting is limited to 30 minutes per person,” said Ho Tsung-hsun, executive director of the CCW. “As for committee meetings, you must have the convener’s permission to be allowed into the meeting room.”   —>
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2008/04/20/2003409773
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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 – 04/19/08

April 20, 2008

Radiohead Video

Grassroots Media to Support Local Community TV
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition
04/19/08

[ comments invited ]

The following message is from a post to the Action Coalition for Media Education e-list from Liza Dichter (Center for International Media Action):

“FROM: Chrissy Harmon: mom, teacher and brand-new community media maker….

Can you take 4 minutes to watch some grassroots media and help me fight for my local community TV center? And please, Pass It On! I’d never made creative media before. And until now, I’ve never written an email asking folks to ‘take action.’

PLEASE WATCH & RATE: http://www.aniboom.com/Player.aspx?v=198688
“Reckoner Video by Tired People”– BEFORE APRIL 27!

My name is Chrissy Harmon, I’m a mom of three, a public-schoolteacher, and just 3 months ago, I became a producer and volunteer with Franklin Public Access — and it truly changed my life.

I walked into my public access station because I had to speak out against domination of media and education by corporate institutions and ended up 3 months later, producing an animation that we entered in a national music-video competition for the band Radiohead.

We need your vote! High ratings is how to win the contest. The winner of the contest creates the actual video for Radiohead, and will receive international promotion. Most entries are done by professional production companies and animators. We have the idea that our little homemade piece could gain some attention for Public Access and might help light a fire under the negotiation process happening with Comcast here in our town.

We are asking friends and allies who believe in Public Access to view our video, rate and leave a supportive comment.

While Steve Russo, the only staff here at our Public Access station, was teaching me to make media, and I was discovering a new feeling of empowerment I didn’t expect, I also learned that our Public Access station is endangered. I learned that Public Access and community media everywhere is under threat from big-profit cable and phone companies. I am now committed to help community media resist and thrive.

Please pass on this email– and if you have any advice, tools or support you can offer us, isolated here in our tiny town up against big Comcast, I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you,
Chrissy Harmo chrissyjane {at} gmail {dot} com”
http://cmediachange.net/blog/2008/04/19/grassroots-media-to-support-local-community-tv/
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A Raw Deal From AT&T?
by David Lay
Brewed Fresh Daily (OH)
04/19/08

[ 5 comments ]

When AT&T started pitching its Project Lightspeed, marketed as U-Verse, it was touted as the ‘next generation’ of High Speed Internet, Cable TV and Phone Service.

As AT&T’s competitors eclipse U-Verse’s current maximum speed offering of 6Mbps, some residents in cities like Lakewood are thinking AT&T has seriously overpromised and underdelivered. Not to mention, the 50+ VRAD boxes (more than the originally planned 43) that are all over Lakewood are a serious eyesore. There have also been comments that U-Verse’s Fiber-To-The-Node structure, compared to all-fiber networks like Verizon’s FiOS, have some major limitations.

Meanwhile, back in November AT&T won a state-wide franchise agreement to offer Cable TV service in Ohio. Are cities starting to have buyer’s remorse?
http://www.brewedfreshdaily.com/2008/04/19/a-raw-deal-from-att/
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Cable To TV Rescue
Comcast Throws Broadcaster Raycom A ‘Lifeline’
by Ted Hearn
Multichannel News
04/19/08

[ comments invited ]

Cable operators and TV stations are starting to cooperate on ways to help minimize consumer disruption resulting from the legally mandated cutoff of over-the-air analog TV signals next February. Comcast announced an agreement last Monday with Raycom Media, a broadcast company with TV stations in 12 Comcast markets. Both plan to air ads informing viewers about the DTV transition — and that signing up for cable can prevent any analog TV set from going dark. The effort, unveiled at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas this past week, will feature the marketing of a low-cost “lifeline” programming tier limited to just local TV signals in analog format, public-access channels and perhaps a few cable networks.

“We’ve come to an agreement with Raycom to advertise the DTV transition and help [its] stations retain their viewers in our markets,” said Brad Dusto, president of Comcast’s Western Division. “We would encourage other station owners to consider that as well. Any Comcast system would be happy to make that same offer.” —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6553082.html
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Rumford BOS Give WVAC (Ch 7) $17,000 From Cable Franchise Fees
Rumford Reporter (ME)
04/19/08

[ comments invited ]

The Rumford Board of Selectmen approved giving WVAC, Channel 7, $17,000 from the Cable Franchise Fees Account. The Selectmen also addressed why the Finance Committee meetings were not taped. According to Joe Volkernick, he reports that the volunteer requested the camera for all the Finance Committee meetings but he denied the request because he was unable to air the meetings due to a “lack of air time.” Mr. Volkernick explained why he was having a hard time fitting in all the meetings on Channel 7. He stated that he airs meetings for Mexico and Dixfield, too, and that he is required to keep the same programs on a seven day rotation.

The Rumford Board of Selectmen expressed their support for the station given the way that it brings the government process out to the community but they would like to be given priority since they give the station the most amount of money. The Rumford Board of Selectmen also discussed getting their own Live Feed system so that their government processes would be more transparent and reach out to the community in a more timely fashion.
http://www.therumfordreporter.com/2008/04/rumford-bos-give-wvac-ch-7-17000-from.html
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Martha Ma: Food for Thought Film Festival
feministing.com
04/19/08

[ 1 comment ]

Martha Ma is a food and media educator and producer, community chef and health counselor. She is the host and producer of “The Tasty Life,” a bi-weekly television show on Manhattan Public Access channel 57, and the editor of the e-newsletter, “Eater’s Digest.” Martha is also executive producer of the Food for Thought Film Festival. If you’re in the NYC area this weekend, check out the last weekend of the festival at Cooper Union’s Wollman Auditorium, 51 Astor Place at Third Ave. Feature films include King Corn, Black Gold, and Life and Debt. Shorts include The Meatrix I, II and II 1/2 and The True Cost of Food. Here’s Martha… —>
http://feministing.com/archives/009042.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 – 04/18/08

April 20, 2008

“Vehemently Opposed” To AT&T’s Law
Lafayette Pro Fiber (LA)
04/18/08

[ 4 comments ]

As you were warned on these pages AT&T’s state-wide video franchise bill is back again. The title: “Consumer Choice Television Act” is as deceptive a label as the infamous “Fair Competition Act” that the same corporate players used to attempt to kill competition from LUS when the network was little more than an idea. The idea that any law that the state legislature could pass would change the fundamental economic situation so much that AT&T would change its investment plan for rural Louisiana as consequence is a dumber idea than most that come out of the capital building.

The Louisiana Municipal Association (LMA) has come out as “vehemently opposed” to the proposed law. (They’ve issued a dramatic alert to their members calling for local officials to talk with their senators in advance of the Senate Hearing on the 23rd.)  They are right to do so.  It is an astonishingly bad idea.   —>
http://lafayetteprofiber.com/Blog/2008/04/vehemently-opposed-to-at-law.html
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What’s in it for the consumer?
Commercial Appeal (TN)
04/18/08

[ 4 comments ]

The key question about a bill to spur competition among cable TV providers is whether customers will actually benefit.

When businesses compete, consumers generally win: Better products, better prices, better service.  Let’s hope that proves to be the case with the cable television industry, where telecommunications giant AT&T appears poised to enter the Tennessee market.

State lawmakers are considering a revised version of the “Competitive Cable and Video Service Act,” a piece of legislation that AT&T says it needs to level the playing field with the state’s existing cable TV providers.  The bill pending before the Tennessee General Assembly is a compromise forged after months of complex negotiations involving AT&T, cable companies, the Tennessee Municipal League and legislators.  While the parties involved in those negotiations say the bill is acceptable to them, the real question is whether the legislation will truly benefit the state’s cable TV users.    —>
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/apr/18/editorials-whats-in-it-for-the-consumer/
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Changing TV Landscape Complicates Cable Franchise License Renewal
by Tim Wood
Cape Cod Chronicle (MA)
04/18/08

CHATHAM — Officials have begun preparations for the long and often complex process of negotiating renewal of its cable television franchise license with Comcast.  The current agreement is set to expire Nov. 29, 2009.  While the chief issues regulators will face in negotiating a new 10-year license have yet to emerge, it is clear that the television landscape is much different today than it was when the previous agreement was signed in 1999.  What technology will bring in the next decade is an even greater unknown.

“My question is, what’s going to happen to television in 10 years?” said William McClellan, one of two members remaining on the town’s cable advisory committee.  “It’s going to be completely different.  “Things have changed in the last 10 years,” agreed Jennifer Petit, the town’s finance director, who is taking a leading role in the process.  She’s met with McClellan and fellow cable committee member Robert Bourke to review a community survey, which will be done via telephone by UMass Dartmouth in the next few months, to ascertain how residents feel about current cable television services and what changes they would like to see.  Meetings will probably be held to get further public input, she added.   —>
http://www.capecodchronicle.com/chatnews/chat041708_5.htm
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Indybay joins Media Alliance for an Evening in Berkeley
Indybay.org (CA)
04/15/08

On Thursday April 24th, Indybay will participate in a panel discussion, sponsored by Media Alliance, about building community in the practice of independent media. The program will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church at the corner of Cedar and Bonita in in Berkeley, at 7:00 p.m.

On the panel with Indybay will be Silicon Valley Debug, Berkeley Community Media and First Voice, the apprenticeship program at KPFA. The program is an effort on the part of Indybay and Media Alliance to promote independent media in the Bay Area. The panelists from Indybay will be Peter Maiden, who is photo coordinator, and Zachary Ogren, a photographer, an editor and the author of much of Indybay’s software. In brief presentations Peter and Zachary will explain the structure of the Indybay site and Indybay as an organization, and relate some of the high points of Indybay’s history.

There will be an opportunity for anyone interested in working with Indybay, from posting to the site to becoming an editor, to connect with the collective. Silicon Valley Debug is a cutting-edge group that relates the reality of working and living on the margin in the South Bay, functioning as both a magazine and a website. Berkeley Community Media is community television at its best. The First Voice apprenticeship program brings women and minorities the skills necessary for professional radio and is one of the underpinnings of KPFA.
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/15/18493055.php
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Former student media activist combines music, social justice
Texas Media Empowerment Project serves as watchdog.
by Stephanie Mikneus
The Ranger (TX)
04/17/908

[ comments invited ]

DeAnne Cuellar, a former student at this college, is one of the founders of the Texas Media Empowerment Project.  The nonprofit organization was created as an advocate for social justice and to provide support to organizations using all aspects of music, media and technology, according to its Web site at http://www.texasmep.org.  Texas Media Empowerment Project is a media activist organization working to build partnerships, supporters and progressive victories in the media industry.   —>
http://media.www.theranger.org/media/storage/paper1010/news/2008/04/18/Premiere/Former.Student.Media.Activist.Combines.Music.Social.Justice-3333223.shtml
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Please stand by
by Karen Bazzarri
Times-Tribune (PA)
04/18/08

Editor: In a recent Your Opinion, a viewer noted technical problems with Channels 61/62 cablecasts — specifically poor sound quality, as well as occasionally cutting off public meetings before they have concluded.  Recently a member of City Council leveled similar criticisms. My reply is “Guilty as charged.”

You see, the volunteers operating Ch. 61/62 are not television professionals. Far from it. They are just dedicated citizens who believe strongly in democracy and the public’s right to know. They give their time without compensation, but with great conviction. And yes, on occasion they do make mistakes.  For the past 10 years Scranton Today has employed a business model that stressed content over craft and always aimed to provide this public service in the most economical way possible. Recently, the city of Scranton chose to award the operation of Ch. 61/62 to a new group with a very different approach.

The new operators, a group known as Electric City TV, have requested startup funding from the city in excess of $300,000 to cover equipment, salaries, building renovation and maintenance.  According to ECTV’s proposal (see www.scrantontoday.org), operating funds in the following four years would total an additional $597,000 from the city. While I do believe that public access television can be a worthy investment for any city, the wisdom of this magnitude of funding at this point in our city’s history is a subject for each citizen to decide. I can say this, though: Had Scranton Today received even a fraction of these operating funds, “technical glitches” would have been rare events indeed.   —>
http://www.thetimes-tribune.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19496268&BRD=2185&PAG=461&dept_id=418216&rfi=6
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Graduation Help
Current Eevents in Community Access (KS)
04/18/08

[ comments invited ]

As a friendly reminder: Brown Mackie’s Graduation Commencement is coming up on April 26th. Crew call is at 2:30, and it is located at the Bicentennial Center.  We still need about 5 volunteers to help out with the shoot, so anyone can assist in the production, please let Marnie know as soon as possible.   —>
http://communityaccesstelevision.blogspot.com/2008/04/graduation-help.html
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Access Auction!
Current Events in Community Access (KS)
04/18/08

[ comments invited ]

It is time for the monthly Access Auction! Support Community Access Television by bidding in this month’s auction. Choose from a family meal in Lindsborg, a portrait setting, and even a hand crocheted baby afghan. A complete list is available online at http://www.salinatv.org or by calling 823-2500. Place your bid today and get great gift ideas in return.   This auction will run for 7 days and bids may be submitted by email or phone.   —>
http://communityaccesstelevision.blogspot.com/2008/04/access-auction.html
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Video contest returns after hiatus
by Hoyt Elkins
The Union Democrat (CA)
04/18/08

Calaveras County Public Access Television is reviving its Best Video Contest after a five-year hiatus, and finds that the winners of the last competition are now making a feature-length western.  A short, quirky, sci-fi-horror video conceived, produced and directed by a Valley Springs brother and sister team won the previous competition.  “I’ve been distracted by other projects for the past few years,” said Ed Lark, manager of the Public Access Television Studio in San Andreas, “but I decided to get busy and revive the contest.”   —>
http://www.uniondemocrat.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=26360
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Media Access Guide For Non-Profit Organizations
KRON 4 (CA)
04/18/08 [?]

Want to learn about the free public service time available for your volunteer organization or non-profit group? If your answer is yes, read on, because this was written for you.KRON 4 regularly provides air time to non-profit community groups as do most other television and radio stations. The competition for time is fierce, so a good presentation is essential.In this access guide you’ll find tips on how to organize publicity campaigns as well as information on how to write and format a public service announcement (PSA) and press release. You’ll also find a list of helpful organizations for the media mavens among you, including an index of Bay Area television and radio stations.Doing your homework is the best way to ensure your announcement will be aired. That means knowing your audience, paying attention to station formats and writing the best possible announcement. So sharpen your pencils, put a new ribbon in the typewriter or boot up your computer. You’re going on the air!   —>
http://www.kron4.com/Global/story.asp?S=510446&nav=menu130_9_3_1
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Community Media – April 20
Daily Camera (CO)
04/18/08 [?]

[ 1 comment ]

Following is a list of highlights of programming in Boulder community media over the coming week.   —>
http://dailycamera.com/news/2008/apr/18/no-headline—20pmedw/
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Nationally aired radio show host will speak in Salida Sunday
by Jonathan Schwab
The Mountain Mail (CO)
04/18/08

Amy Goodman, host of the national award-winning radio and television news program, “Democracy Now! The War and Peace Report,” will visit Salida Sunday with her brother, David.  Their visit is in support of independent, community media such as event sponsor KHEN Radio.  “The idea of these precious public spaces, whether they’re small or large, is to have a power for local voices,” Amy said. “Even the smallest issue has global implications.”  It’s this concept that defines true democracy, she said.   —>
http://www.themountainmail.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=4&ArticleID=13528&TM=42487.95
~

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