CCTV receives 10,000 for upgrades
by David Lazenby
The Cullman Times (AL)
Cullman Community Television, a public access programming station run from a studio at Cullman High School, received a check for $10,000 Monday, money it receives each year from the City of Cullman. CHS teacher John Drake manages CCTV, formerly known as CATS 55 (Cullman Access Television Station 55). He said he plans to use the funds to finance the purchase of two high definition cameras, three new iMac computers and new editing software.
City of Cullman risk manager Tom Charney, who oversees the station, said the annual contribution comes from a deal formed when the city negotiated a cable contract 13 years ago with Century Cable. When Time Warner took over as the city’s cable provider, it continued to provide money for CCTV. The funds are financed by a 17-cent monthly customer charge. —>
Columbia Access Television plans One Night Stand fundraiser
by Emilie Rusch
There’s a lot that goes into making a movie. When squeezing that creative process into just 24 hours, as is the case with Columbia Access Television’s One Night Stand video competition this weekend, the results can be impressive. “You would think two teams would come up with a similar idea, but they’re amazingly diverse,” CAT director Beth Federici said. “I’m always amazed at how creative people are with such little time and little sleep.”
CAT’s biannual video competition itself is nothing new to Columbia. This time around, though, CAT’s largest fundraiser came at a perfect time. The chronically underfunded public access channel has been lobbying to be included in the fiscal 2008 city budget, which could be approved as soon as Monday. “We’d love to break $1,000,” Federici said. “As lots of people know, we’re running out of money. The timing worked out pretty perfectly.”
As many as 20 filmmaking teams will have 24 hours to create a 3- to 5-minute video. The catch is the genre and one prop will be decided at noon Saturday in a live broadcast at CAT’s studio to kick off the competition. “That way you make sure the audience is seeing videos that are 24 hours fresh and it keeps producers up on their toes because they never know what they’re going to come up with,” organizer Chase Thompson said. —>
Story behind story of Marshall’s fall will air
by Cape Cod Times (MA)
SANDWICH — A local cable access show that will begin airing tomorrow provides the story behind the story that forced the resignation of Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council chairman Glenn Marshall. Cape Cod Times reporter George Brennan discusses how an initial tip to the newspaper about Marshall’s embellishment of his years of service in Vietnam turned into a comprehensive report that exposed the former tribal leader’s 1981 rape conviction and his repeated lies about serving in the Battle of Khe Sanh.
“A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing,” filmed by Randy Hunt, will appear on Sandwich Community Access Television. Hunt has also made the show available to other public access channels, including Cape Cod Community Media, which serves Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich and Chatham, he said. Times of the broadcasts are available online at http://www.sandwichtv.org or at http://www.c3tv.org.
Lawmaker pitches TV show to council
by Nancy Cambria
St. Louis Post Dispatch (MO)
O’FALLON — She’s got voter appeal, but will her star shine bright on the city-owned and operated cable access channel? State Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O’Fallon, pitched her governmental affairs show to the O’Fallon City Council on Thursday to mixed reviews — the harshest from City Attorney Kevin O’Keefe. He said airing the show could raise the curtain on politically motivated shows on a channel that is intended for informational purposes. “The concerns are not with the messages you may have with your constituents or your presence on the city channel,” O’Keefe told Davis. “The difficulty is in where the line is drawn over who can produce programs.” —>
25 years of words for visually impaired
Reading service allows disabled to stay in touch with local, world news
by Francesca Jarosz
When Greg Meyer could see, he read a newspaper every day. So when tumors on his optic nerves caused him to go blind in 2002, he lost not only his sight, but also his routine and his connection with the outside world. Then the following spring, he learned about Indiana Reading and Information Services, a program that connects the visually impaired with newspapers read by volunteers, available via radio, telephone and, since last year, the Internet. Meyer, 41, now spends close to two hours a day listening to readings from three newspapers. “It opens up a lot of doors,” he said. “It allows you to know what’s going on in the real world when you can’t see it.”
As the service celebrated its 25th anniversary Thursday, about 50 volunteers, organizers and users celebrated success stories like Meyer’s at the new studio for WFYI-FM (90.1), 1630 N. Meridian St. They also talked about attracting more users over the next 25 years. “Our ultimate goal is that we continue to grow the services and make them available to as many people as possible,” said Don Koors, who chairs the group’s advisory board. —>
Verizon Dumps on Open Access, Sues FCC
by Bryan Gardiner
Casting aside all pretense of public interest (and concern for corporate image), Verizon Wireless filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decrying the open access rules pertaining to the FCC’s forthcoming 700 MHz auction. Despite the conventional wisdom that carriers would avoid challenging the 700 MHz auction rules because they wouldn’t want to be seen as getting in the way of the digital television transition, Verizon Wireless assumed the role of industry jerk earlier this week by asking the federal court to overturn the FCC’s open-access rules calling them “arbitrary and capricious, unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law.” —>
Verizon: The Biggest Crybaby in the World
by Art Brodsky
Every evening on his Countdown show, Keith Olbermann designates someone as the “Worst Person in the World.” With a nod to Mr. O., we hereby designate the Biggest Crybaby in the World. The initial selection: Verizon. —>
Consumers Stand to Lose the Most in Verizon Lawsuit Over Airwave Auction Rules Posted
by Bob Williams
Consumers Union’s HearUsNow.org
Verizon Wireless has filed a lawsuit to block some innovative airwave auction conditions recently adopted by the Federal Communications Commission aimed at spurring new competition and innovation in wireless devices and services. The conditions would require the winning bidder on a slice of prime airwaves to be auctioned off next year to build a network that would be open to virtually any wireless device or application. That would be in sharp contrast to the so-called “walled garden” approach now taken by big wireless companies such as Verizon, where the carrier keeps a hammerlock on the devices and applications that can be used on their networks. —>
Verizon Sues FCC Over Open-Access Auction
Asks the U.S. Court of Appeals to review the FCC’s decision to require so-called open-access rules.
by Grant Gross
Verizon Wireless Inc. has encountered strong opposition for its request that an appeals court overturn U.S. Federal Communications Commission auction rules on a portion of wireless spectrum. Verizon Wireless, in a brief filed Monday, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review the FCC’s decision to require so-called open-access rules on about a third of the 62MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band scheduled to be auctioned in January.
… Media reform group Free Press, a supporter of the open-access rules, accused Verizon Wireless of sending “lawyers, FUD and money” in an attempt to overturn the FCC’s decision. The FCC’s open-access rules were a “small step on the long road to breaking up the anticompetitive, anticonsumer oligopoly that controls almost every level of the wireless marketplace,” Free Press said in a statement. —>
Filling spectrum ‘white space’
The move away from analog TV will leave unused airwaves. They shouldn’t be left empty.
Los Angeles Times
The looming shift from analog to digital television signals in February 2009 will open a prime set of frequencies to new uses. Nationally, UHF channels 52 to 69 are being cleared for public safety communications and broadband wireless services. Regionally, significant chunks of unused airwaves could open up between channels, depending on how many stations are broadcasting in the area.
These “white spaces” are the subject of an intensifying debate in Washington. Broadcasters, sports leagues and some TV manufacturers started an advertising blitz this week urging policymakers not to let portable devices transmit on those bands of spectrum. They are opposed by a coalition of high-tech firms and consumer electronics companies that wants to use the vacant TV airwaves for high-speed Internet access, home networks and other digital services.
The broadcasters have raised some legitimate points, but their concerns amount to more of a caution sign than a red light for the Federal Communications Commission. If portable devices can be made in a way that avoids interference with digital TV and related signals, they should be allowed into the market. —>
How Did It Come to This?: The Origins of the Telephone-Cable War over the Internet
The reality that competition over the internet is evolving into two opposing camps is now well established. On the one side are “former” telephone companies, including AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest, the successors and beneficiaries of the Bell System break-up in 1984. Opposing them are “former” cable television operators, including Time Warner, Comcast, Cox, and Charter Communications, the successors and beneficiaries of mergers, acquisitions, and favorable legislation in the 1990’s. (The quotation marks indicate that these “former” companies are no longer just telephone or cable operators, but a new breed that is increasingly vertically integrated, that is, diversified into several different markets, More on this later.)
These companies are now the gatekeepers to the largest network of communications vehicles ever built, made possible by the convergence of video, voice and data into binary code in the 1990’s. Despite the popular belief that “content” and “programming” drive the media, the reality is that producers like Disney, Fox, HBO, Paramount, and Universal are dependent on telephone and cable operators for access to much of their audiences. Without contractual agreements with these gatekeepers, large production companies would not be able to use high speed transmission lines, regional fiber optic systems, microwave facilities, and satellites to exhibit their shows and movies, or for that matter, sell advertising to support them.
In fact, the most important acquisitions in media mergers since the mid-1990’s are no longer movie studios, film libraries, broadcast channels, or radio stations. The most prized possessions are the new technology platforms spawned by the internet, including digital television, fiber optic systems, VoIP telephone, cellular services, and specialized networks set aside for gaming, gambling, pay-per-view movies, and downloadable music.
How did it come to this ? How did telephone and cable companies become so powerful ? More importantly, why haven’t they delivered on their promises for an “information superhighway” and a new era of democratic communications ? We now seem to be confronted by the same problems left by traditional media: eroding freedom of speech, questions about our right to free association, a weak and debilitated press, an inability to freely communicate unpopular ideas, and ironically, an inability to develop commerce due to unequal access to the internet. In place of solutions, we are simply told that more information choices are the answer. What happened ?
To understand how the players on both sides of this war ascended to their current positions, we must look at a few key events that affected both camps. —>
Bloggers Make Jump to TV Shows — But Should They?
by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo
It wasn’t that long ago that I was marveling over the fact that mainstream media was paying attention to blogs, particularly for culling public opinion on hot button political issues. I remember being shocked when CNN started featuring a segment quoting bloggers on “The Situation Room” — shocked and wondering how it all happened. When did blogs suddenly become legitimate sources for television content?
Now bloggers are taking the next obvious step, adding online video or broadcasting themselves on online networks such as Blog TV or Revision3. And a lot of them are trying to make it onto the TV screen itself, with platform-crossing shows now by The Smoking Gun, Perez Hilton, and AOL’s TMZ on the celebrity beat.
Can a blog — an interactive experience centered around static images and the (sometimes badly) written word — successfully make the jump to the decidedly non-interactive, highly produced world of television? Does the blog “language” translate to television? While a few of these experiments will work, some bloggers who are brilliant in writing are less engaging in other mediums, such as television or audio podcasts. And some content just isn’t made to go from blog to TV.
To dig into what works and what doesn’t in making the blog-to-TV leap, I watched two different models of shows based on two very different blogs that I know well: TMZ and GigaOm. —>