Killing TV Softly — Lone Star Public Access Survives, Barely
by Nathan Diebenow
The Lone Star Iconoclast (TX)
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. —>
Panel backs TV bill
by Michelle Millhollon
The Advocate (LA)
[ 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. —>
AT&T, Cox: Our favorite flavor is Cherry/Red
by Mike Stagg
Lafayette Pro Fiber (LA)
[ 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. —>
Community radio the new voice of Congo rural women
by María Teresa Aguirre
digital opportunity channel
[ 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. —>
CATV wants Mandan to partner with Bismarck
by Gordon Weixel
Bismarck Tribune (ND)
[ 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.” —>
Announcing the WYOU 36-Hour ON AIR Film Festival
WYOU 4 Madison’s Community Television (WI)
[ 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. —>
Ossining cable access channel struggles to find new home
by Sean Gorman
The Journal News (NY)
[ 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. —>
Hingham OKs cable contract with Verizon
by Karen Goulart
The Patriot Ledger (MA)
[ 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. —>
Cable competition: Verizon added to TV mix
by Carol Britton Meyer
Hingham Journal (MA)
[ 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. —>
Homeless Teens and At-Risk Young Adults Participate in 01SJ Global Festival of Art Enabled by Cisco
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. —>
Nigeria: Make Peace, Devt Your Watchword, Djebah Urges Media
by Omon-Julius Onabu
This Day (Lagos)
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”. —>