Archive for the ‘rural broadband’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/17/08

April 20, 2008

Cable access television debate rages on
by Marilyn Moss
The Orange Bulletin (CT)
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

The view on Sound View Community Media may not be so sound these days. SV is the third-party nonprofit provider of public access television for local area 2, which includes Woodbridge, Orange, Milford, Stratford, Bridgeport and Fairfield. The Committee on Energy and Technology of the Connecticut General Assembly held a public hearing on March 7 for a proposed bill, An Act Concerning Community Access Television bill No. 5814. During that hearing, details of the troubled interaction between SV and area 2 municipalities were thoroughly examined.

The legislation was proposed, in part, to address concerns by area 2 municipalities about the control of the content on their respective government channels. Several towns in area 2 want to feature their own town-specific programming. These towns have met resistance to that by the community access provider, SV. SV prefers to send system-wide programming so that each town in area 2 can watch government in action in every town in the franchise area. According to Paul Davis, a Orange and West Haven state representative, however, “If a community desires to have town-specific programming, the government should grant that choice.”   —>
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19492921&BRD=1661&PAG=461&dept_id=9538&rfi=6
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Public must fight to maintain net neutrality
by Lawrence Lessig and Ben Scott
San Francisco Chronicle
04/17/08

[ 2 comments ]

The Internet is an engine of economic growth and innovation because of a simple principle: net neutrality, which assures innovators that their next great idea will be available to consumers, regardless of what the network owners think about it.  No previous mass media technology has been so remarkably open. Traditional media – newspapers, radio, TV – have gatekeepers standing between consumers and producers, with the power to control content. The Internet eliminates the gatekeeper.  Now, however, the Internet’s unprecedented openness is in jeopardy.

Comcast, AT&T and Verizon have been lobbying to kill net neutrality. They say they won’t build an information superhighway if they can’t build it as a closed system. No other industrialized country has made that devil’s bargain, and neither should we. Without net neutrality, online innovation is vulnerable to the whims of cable and phone companies, which control 99 percent of the household market for high-speed Internet access. And Silicon Valley venture capitalists are unlikely to bet the farm on a whim.   —>
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/16/EDM11064UL.DTL
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FCC Should Send Signal And Take Action Against Comcast
by Therese Poletti
CNNMoney.com
04/17/08

On Thursday, all five members of the Federal Communications Commission will make an usual appearance in Silicon Valley, where they will host a public hearing at Stanford University for a debate on managing Internet traffic.  The hearing is the FCC’s second on “Net neutrality,” a longstanding principle which seeks to treat all Internet content and traffic equally. The principle matches the spirit of the early pioneers of the Internet, who designed a distributed network that could not be controlled by any one entity or company.

In February, Comcast (CMCSA), the largest cable company in the U.S., was in the hot seat at Harvard Law School, where the FCC hosted an all-day hearing over complaints that the cable giant deliberately delays Internet traffic for consumers accessing peer-to-peer file sharing Web sites like BitTorrent and newer ones like Vuze.  The hearing did not go well for Comcast. Even though the cable giant partially filled the room with its own paid attendees who applauded company reps, the FCC intimated it was considering action against the Philadelphia-based behemoth. A month later, Comcast and former foe BitTorrent agreed to collaborate on network capacity and management issues. Bit Torrent of San Francisco wants Comcast to use its file sharing technology and expertise to help alleviate network congestion caused by the downloading of large music and video files.  The two also agreed to work with other Internet service providers and others to explore and develop a new architecture for better distribution and delivery of rich media.

Now just two days before the FCC’s Stanford hearing, Comcast issued yet another press release, probably aimed at dissuading the FCC from taking any action against it. Comcast and another peer-to-peer company, Pando Networks, said they created their own “Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” for file sharing, much to the amusement of some legal experts..  After speaking with Comcast, it appears that their “Bill of Rights,” is really about informing the consumer that their Internet traffic could suffer delays.   —>
http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/200804170110DOWJONESDJONLINE000013_FORTUNE5.htm
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Need Help Hosting Citizen Media Outreach Events in Rural Minnesota
Blandin on Broadband (MN)
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

I’ve heard great things about the training and conferences provided by E-Democracy in the Twin Cities. So I am happy to pass on the following request. It is a great opportunity for the right community!

Wanted: Partners to Help Host Citizen Media Outreach Events in Rural Minnesota (See Examples Below)
Citizen media projects are springing up across the country and the world. Between now and the end of June 2008, E-Democracy.org is hosting Citizen Media Outreach Events across rural Minnesota to showcase some of these exciting projects, and encourage the launch of similar projects in rural Minnesota.  We are looking for organizations or institutions in rural Minnesota interested in co-sponsoring a Citizen Media Outreach Event in their community.   —>
http://blandinonbroadband.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/need-help-host-citizen-media-outreach-events-in-rural-minnesota/
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Local-access TV programs home in on real estate issues
by Denise Taylor
Boston Globe (MA)
04/17/08

Earlier this month, when a home sale in Uxbridge fell through due to what she called “an increasingly common” mortgage snag in Worcester County, realtor Kelley Byrnes-Benkart was one of the first to hear. One week later, she was explaining the cause – not at a seminar, but on public-access television.  Byrnes-Benkart, owner of Realty Executives Tri-County in Bellingham, is one of a handful of area real estate professionals using public-access cable TV to turn a laser focus on the housing market in their communities.

“We hear a lot of talk in the media about the real estate market, but many times it’s painted with a broad brush. It’s often from a national perspective or a state perspective,” said Milford resident Michael Shain, a mortgage consultant with Medway Co-operative Bank. “But I wanted to do something that focused on specific towns because every market is different. What’s happening in Milford may not be the same as what’s happening in Newton, Brookline, Pittsfield, or LA.”

In September, Shain began taping “Real Estate Roundtable” at Access Bellingham-Mendon. The program, which he cohosts with Byrnes-Benkart and two other realtors and is produced monthly, airs on local-access channels in Bellingham, Milford, Medway, Upton, Grafton, and Mendon, and covers market news in those towns as well as in Franklin and Wrentham.  Guests also appear on each episode to discuss general real estate topics ranging from the short sale process to how to stage your home using feng shui. But the core of the show is the panel discussion of emerging local issues. Recently they focused on the increasing affordability and availability of single-family homes being offered for rent (by homeowners unable to sell). Next month, they’ll delve more deeply into those Worcester County mortgage issues.

“Worcester County has been declared a declining market” by commercial lenders, “which means they are requiring larger down payments,” said Byrnes-Benkart. “In Uxbridge . . . the buyer could not afford to move forward because they would have had to put 15 percent down,” after expecting to pay 10 percent.  “I try to pick topics that are important to homeowners and potential homeowners,” said Shain, whose other cohosts are Joshua Lioce, owner of Realty Executives Lioce Properties in Milford and Whitinsville, and Judy Leonelli, owner of Century 21 Millennium in Mendon.

In Millis, Joe Luker recently taped his first two episodes of “The Home Show” at Millis Community Television. A home appraiser based in Medway for 20 years and a former real estate broker, Luker said he plans to produce two shows per month.  “There’s so much turmoil in the real estate market. That’s why I’m doing this now,” said Luker.  With local lawyers, realtors, and other industry professionals as guests, Luker will cover the Millis housing market and real estate how-tos. Upcoming subjects include the foreclosure process, home inspections, and hidden issues for home buyers (such as easements, deed restrictions, and convicted sex-offenders living in the area).  “I’m not going to be out there entertaining. My goal is to produce something useful,” said Luker. “There are a lot of people in trouble right now because they didn’t know what to watch for. But I’ve seen the things that people need to know.”   —>
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/04/17/local_access_tv_programs_home_in_on_real_estate_issues/
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Beverly’s history now available free on DVD
by Cate Lecuyer
Salem News (MA)
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

More than a century worth of local history — chronicled on video by resident Ted Josephs over the last 20 years — is now available to the public on DVD.  BevCam, the city’s local cable access station, has been consistently airing Joseph’s show, “Beverly’s Times Past,” since he started making it back in the 1980s. But for the past 21/2 years, BevCam staff has been converting the footage from the original, now obsolete, video cassettes onto DVDs.

They recently completed the project and yesterday presented copies of all 183 hourlong shows to both the Beverly Public Library and the Beverly Historical Society, where they will be available free to the public.  “If we were to lose this, we would have lost so much,” said BevCam Associate Director Walt Kosmowski.  Beverly Historical Society Interim Director Darren Brown and Beverly Library Director Pat Cirone said having immediate access to the shows, instead of having to wait for them to air on BevCam, will be valuable to the community.

The shows are centered on interviews with local people talking about their past. There’s a series that includes stories told by World War II veterans and shows actual footage of fighting that they took while oversees.  Another series focuses on the freight trains that came in and out of the United Shoe Machinery Corporation, now the Cummings Center.  The stories people tell go back to the late 1800s and are complemented by old photos, newspaper articles and other archives that Joseph found in the historical society.   —>
http://www.salemnews.com/punews/local_story_108003233.html
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Local students promote reading on TV program
by Scott Stafford
Berkshire Eagle (MA)
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

NORTH ADAMS — Eight-year-old Noah Boucher of Cheshire likes dinosaurs. He even likes reading about them, and he’s not afraid of saying so — not even on television.  He was one of 17 second-grade students at Cheshire Elementary School who stopped by Northern Berkshire Community Television studios yesterday morning to make their opinions known about their favorite books.  “Do you like books about dinosaurs?” Noah asked the would-be television audience during the taping session. “Then you will love the book ‘How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?’ by Jane Yolan. The dinosaurs hug and kiss their moms.”

After the taping, Noah said he liked being on camera.  “I liked the book very much, and I think it is pretty cool that I get to tell my story to everyone in the world, and to my friends,” he said.  Teacher Eric Brown’s second-grade class has been writing, editing and rehearsing their presentations, inspired by public television show “Reading Rainbow,” for about three weeks.  Brown said the idea occurred to him while the class was watching an episode of that television program. He used his idea to get students excited about reading, and used the technology to enhance that motivation.   —>
http://www.berkshireeagle.com/localnews/ci_8955082
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Providence City Council meetings to begin airing on TV
WPRI.com (RI)
04/17/08

The Providence City Council will soon be on the tube. The City Council will begin televising its biweekly meetings, starting with Thursday night’s gathering.  The meetings will air nine days later, on Saturday mornings, on public-access TV. Council Majority Leader Terrence Hassett says televising meetings will allow residents who can’t make it there in person to stay informed about what’s happening in the city.  The city has purchased $4,000 of new video equipment, and five students at Mount Hope High School in Providence will be trained to film the meetings and then package them for television.
http://www.wpri.com/Global/story.asp?S=8180702
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Napa school district to show meetings online
by Tony Burchyns
Times-Herald (CA)
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

Anyone with Internet access might be able to watch the Napa school board in action this week, district officials said Wednesday.  The Napa Valley Unified School District is testing out new software to provide live streaming video of its meeting at 7 p.m. today.  The goal is to expand public access to school board meetings. Also, the technology will allow people to watch meetings on-demand, which could be the wave of the future for the video platform.  “It’s another avenue to reach people,” said Laurel Krsek, director of technology for the Napa school district. “And it gives the public a chance to go back and watch meetings they missed.”

A consortium including the district, Napa Public Access Cable Television and the cities of American Canyon and Napa allowed for considerable savings on the new technology, officials said.  “We got a group deal that saved us tens of thousands of dollars for the entire group,” said Dan Monez, executive director for Napa public access TV.  Monez started the initiative last year when the cable channel wanted to begin streaming and archiving its programs. He said he mentioned the idea to Napa city employees and learned the city was also interested.   —>
http://www.timesheraldonline.com/todaysnews/ci_8957348
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Underground Radio: Is Salt Lake City big enough for two KRCLs?
by Ted McDonough
Salt Lake Weekly (UT)
04/17/08

[ 15 comments ]

In a cavernous basement deep beneath the Dakota Lofts on Salt Lake City’s 200 South, a group of radio enthusiasts are sweeping up cobwebs, unpacking audio equipment from boxes and trying to make a comfortable space for Utah’s newest community radio station.  “It’s real underground radio,” jokes Troy Mumm, one of the forces behind Utah Free Media, a planned Internet-only radio station that has gone from concept to flipping the switch in a few months.

Some volunteers manning the brooms come from the ranks of volunteers at KRCL 90.9 who have—or soon will—lose their on-air DJ spots to a format change scheduled to take place May 5 at the community radio station. Others, like Mumm, one-time KRCL music director, staffed KRCL in an earlier era.

Their big idea is a big experiment. Scads of radio stations now stream on the Internet. But instead of music-on-demand streaming, Utah Free Media will attempt a live broadcast hosted by volunteers. That is, freeform radio, like KRCL. Or, as some Utah Free Media volunteers say, like KRCL before the eminent format switch.   —>
http://www.slweekly.com/index.cfm?do=article.details&id=57D41F3C-14D1-13A2-9F188B4D76D07182
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Support Community Radio
by Roy Kasten
Living in Stereo (MO)
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

I first moved to Saint Louis, Missouri in August 1987. I was 22, a student of literature and a writer. I spent most of my days and nights in the stacks and study rooms of Olin Library at Washington University.  I moved to the river city from Utah. As a teen I had discovered something called “community radio” in the form of KRCL, a volunteer-based music and talk station that broadcasted (and still broadcasts) along the Wasatch Front from the far left end of the FM dial. I think I first heard Bob Marley, the Grateful Dead, Bill Monroe, Hank Williams and John Coltrane on that station. It was a part of my secret teenage life, something no one else would understand, a place and space of solace and discovery.

In Saint Louis, I turned again to the left end of the dial, and in October of 1987, I found KDHX, which had just begun broadcasting at 88.1 FM. I couldn’t believe my ears. The programming was even more eclectic, even more passionate, smart and free than KRCL. I heard country, jazz, punk, new wave, bluegrass — and especially, soul, deep soul, spun by some guy named Papa Ray, “The Soul Selector.” I’m sure it was on his show that I first heard, or really heard, ZZ Hill, Bobby Blue Bland, Joe Tex, Bettye LaVette, Jr. Parker, Johnny Taylor, Fontella Bass, O.V. Wright and Oliver Sain. In the mostly desolate radio wasteland of Saint Louis, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in that.

I became a programmer for KDHX in 2004. My show is called Feel Like Going Home, it airs Wednesday mornings, from 8:00 – 10:00 am Central Time. I try to mix indie rock, singer-songwriters, country, soul, blues and Americana in some way that makes connections, maybe even makes sense.

There are around 200 volunteers that contribute to KDHX–I’m one of them. We all believe that “community media” (and KDHX includes a local access cable TV station, an expanding web site, educational efforts and work with film and video) is more than a noble concept. It’s a practical, viable, meaningful way of building and transforming our community. Saint Louis wouldn’t be Saint Louis without the station.   —>
http://livinginstereo.com/?p=428
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Seminar on Peoples Voices, Peoples Participation and Community Radio – 04 May, 2008
Waves of Change
04/17/08

[ comments invited ]

We would like to appreciate that the present non-political Care Taker Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh recently formulated Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy – 2008 and then asked for applications from interested initiators to install Community Radio in the country. In order to facilitate the application and registration process of the organizations for Community Radio, Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) immediately opened a national help desk in its secretariat in Dhaka. As a result, BNNRC is receiving huge response from the interested development organizations for technical support in this regard.

To accelerate the Community Radio Policy 2008, we are going to organize a national seminar on Peoples Voices, Peoples Participation and Community Radio at 09:30 AM -5:00 PM on Sunday, 04 May, 2008 at UNB Auditorium (7th Floor), Cosmos Centre, 69/1, New Circular Road, Malibagh, Dhaka-1212.where resource persons from Singapore, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh will present their respective papers.  The seminar is jointly organized by Asian Media Information Communication Center(AMIC), United News of Bangladesh (UNB) and Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC).   —>
http://deepdishwavesofchange.blogspot.com/2008/04/seminar-on-peoples-voices-peoples.html
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Cable TV operations will not be blocked
Information minister says no blackout of opposition proceedings in parliament
Daily Times (Pakistan)
04/17/08

ISLAMABAD: Cable operators are the primary source of information for the public and the new democratic government will not allow anyone to block cable TV operations in the country, Information Minister Sherry Rehman said on Wednesday.  “The government believes in freedom of information and public access to information, therefore, no one will be allowed to disrupt the free flow of information,” she told a delegation of the Cable Operators Association of Pakistan, which called on her under the leadership of its chairman, Khalid Sheikh. Sherry said that the government had already tabled a bill to remove the ‘black’ media law and would take further measures for the freedom of the media. “To ensure smooth running of the cable TV network throughout the country, a hotline service would be set up at the Information Ministry, where cable operators would register their complaints of any external pressure for blocking their system or a particular TV channel,” she added.   —>
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008%5C04%5C17%5Cstory_17-4-2008_pg7_18
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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 – 04/16/08

April 20, 2008

Saving tctv2 a true service
Editorial: Traverse City Record Eagle (MI)
04/16/08

The Land Information Access Association is a local nonprofit that up to now has specialized in putting land use, resource and environmental information into easily-accessible formats to help residents, planners and governments make better land-use decisions.  Now — just in time, it appears — the LIAA is broadening the scope of its educational mission to include rescuing public-access television station tctv2 from the trash heap.

It’s going to need some financial help; hopefully, some of that will come from area governments still meeting their obligations under old franchise agreements and some from a few townships that essentially reneged on old promises. Other funds are expected from services such as production assistance and studio rentals.

Back in the day, tctv2 was sitting pretty. It had a decent revenue flow, it had pretty good facilities at Northwestern Michigan College and there was a steady, if low-key, flow of locally produced programs. Some were exactly what the term public access TV brought to mind — tepid discussions on arcane subjects or variations on the home movie theme. Others, however, were creative and informative, exactly what a lot of people hoped public-access television would be.

Probably the most popular offerings were the live broadcasts of Traverse City commission meetings on Monday nights. The deathly dull always seemed to be offset by some bit of local politics that kept people watching.  Those broadcasts were a great precedent for the region. They brought local politics into area living rooms and helped raise awareness of local issues. They also led directly to similar efforts by Traverse City schools, Grand Traverse County (finally) and some local townships.   —>
http://www.record-eagle.com/opinion/local_story_107100152.html
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NB considers public access arts channel
by Jessica Musicar
The World (OR)
04/15/08

[ 2 comments ]

NORTH BEND — Coos County viewers looking to make a stronger connection to the local arts scene won’t have to leave their living rooms to do so, if the city of North Bend supports an area television station’s effort to start up a new channel.  Officials from Coos Bay-based PEG Broadcasting Services Inc., which records and televises governmental meetings on Channel 14, plan to take up a public access channel dedicated to arts and education, said Don Van Dyke, the president of PEG Broadcasting.

“There’s just tons of things we could cover and we’re talking about the whole county, not just North Bend or Coos Bay,” Van Dyke said.  He added he plans to feature local school bands, debating clubs, science fairs, and shows in a variety of Bay Area theaters. “There’s a lot of talent in this area, especially among the youth, that the public just doesn’t know about.”   —>
http://www.theworldlink.com/articles/2008/04/15/news/doc4804e67f7f4a8358850505.txt
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Democrat Steve Beshear Killing Telecom Subsidy Connect Kentucky?
by Matt Stoller
OpenLeft.com
04/15/08

[ 2 comments ]

I’ve written a fair amount about corruption and the telecom lobby.  One of the nastiest tricks the telecoms use is the notion of universal buildout to grab subsidies and then not do the buildout, which of course creates the need for more subsidies to do universal buildout.  It’s a neat trick.  Connect Kentucky is their current malignant model for doing that, a ‘public-private’ partnership funded by the cash strapped state of Kentucky.  Art Brodsky did a devastating take-down of the nonprofit, and subsequently Hillary Clinton’s internet platform has removed its references to the program which was slated to go national.

As Brodsky’s piece percolated, it generated momentum against the program, which had previously only been subjected to hagiographic pieces about how wonderfully Connect Kentucky spread broadband access.  Fortunately, Governor Steve Beshear just vetoed the program’s funding.   —>
http://openleft.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=75B2A78C4C668FC689D65C7C47D5778E?diaryId=5170
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Squabble over net neutrality resumes
by Brooks Boliek
The Hollywood Reporter
04/16/08

When the FCC convenes its second hearing on what it calls “network management” Thursday, it will have covered both coasts and the universities that played midwife to the Internet.  Thursday’s hearing at Stanford University in California and February’s at MIT in Boston complete an arc that could be described as the Internet’s Fertile Crescent.  These campuses are the staging ground for what could be the government’s foray into the Internet’s next phase. While the commission calls it network management, most of the people with a stake in the hearing call it network neutrality — a hotly debated policy notion that likely will define just how far a company can go to control what and how fast information flows over the Internet’s backbone.   —>
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/business/news/e3i94a671a1b94ff736b514c84ce14c5d2e
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Verizon FiOS proposes citywide buildout
by Joshua Breitbart
Civil Defense (NY)
04/16/08

[ comments invited ]

Yesterday, Verizon proposed to build a fiber optic network covering all of New York City. The proposal comes just one day after the City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) published notification of the RFP for cable television providers, which is how you know DoITT’s RFP (request for proposals) and Verizon’s proposal were worked out in tandem over months of closed-door negotiations.

Verizon is offering to finish the installation by midyear 2014, provide a public safety INET (institutional network), pay franchise fees equivalent to five percent of gross revenues on cable TV service, channels for public access. As the precise details emerge and once I’ve had a chance to read the RFP, I’ll give you my assessment on the fine points, but that doesn’t sound like enough off the bat given the scope of the deal.   —>
http://breitbart.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/verizon-fios-proposes-citywide-buildout/
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The Power and Responsibility of our Nation’s Broadcasters
by Tim Robbins
Huffington Post
04/16/089

[ 232 comments ]

The following is my opening keynote speech for the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, which I delivered Monday night.

[ audio at Huffington Post ]

Hello, I’m Tim Robbins. I’d like to thank you for the invitation to address you here at the National Association of Broadcasters. When I first received the invitation I was a little confused because the last time I had contact with the national media I seem to remember them telling me to shut the hell up.

I would like to start with an apology. To Rush and Sean, and Billo and Savage and Laura what’s-her-name. A few years ago they told America that because I had different opinions on the wisdom of going to war that I was a traitor, a Saddam lover, a terrorist supporter, undermining the troops. I was appealing at the time for the inspectors to have more time to find those weapons of mass destruction. I was a naïve dupe of left wing appeasement. And how right they were. If I had known then what I know now, if I had seen the festive and appreciative faces on the streets of Baghdad today, if I had known then what a robust economy we would be in, the unity of our people, the wildfire of democracy that has spread across the Mideast, I would never have said those traitorous, unfounded and irresponsible things. I stand chastened in the face of the wisdom of the talk radio geniuses, and I apologize for standing in the way of freedom.

So when they asked me to come speak to you I said, “Are you sure? Me?” And they said, “Yes.”  And I said, “You know, I have a tendency to say things that I believe at the time to be well-intentioned but that are actually traitorous.” And they said, “Sure, cool.” And then I read the press release and it said, “Mr. Robbins will be speaking about the challenges of new media and delivery systems.” Oh, OK. But I just want you to know I’m not sure I know what that fucking means.  But it is an honor to be speaking to you here at this years National Association Broadcasting convention even if I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.   —>
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-robbins/addressing-the-national-a_b_96836.html
Also posted at AlterNet – 25 comments: http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/82510/
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Legislators Take Aim at FCC Localism Proposals
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin Receives Letter from More than 120 Legislators
by John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable
04/16/08

[ comments invited ]

The National Association of Broadcasters got support Wednesday in its fight against proposed new localism obligations.  More than 120 legislators signed onto a letter to Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin asking him not to impose any localism mandates on broadcasters.  A copy of the letter was released by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), but included Democrats, as well.  The letter said the FCC is considering a “radical reregulation” of broadcasting and takes aim at FCC proposals to create community-advisory boards, to require broadcasters to report on programmning in a variety of categories and to locate their studios in their community of license and have their stations staffed at all times.   —>
http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6552169.html?display=Breaking+News&referral=SUPP&nid=2228
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The Future of Community Radio
by Greg Guma
Toward Freedom
04/16/08

Will audiences keep tuning in to radio if the information and music they want can be more easily accessed by other means? Can FM compete with the quality and reliability of new portable devices? And will listeners continue to pay attention to long fund drive pitches? These are some of the difficult questions public and community radio must answer in the near future.

At the moment blogs are undermining newspapers, DVRs and TiVo are allowing viewers to skip commercials and time-shift the viewing of their preferred shows, and iPods are revolutionizing the way we access and consume music. The good news is that there are traits and features specific to radio that can help. But broadcasters need to open themselves to the inevitable convergence with new media and the Internet.

So, how can community radio prepare for the future? Three ways: embrace convergence, focus on unique and thematic content, and use radio’s traditional strengths while combining them with the power of new technologies. This can lead to a new form of radio that doesn’t abandon the airwaves, but also brings quality programming that can’t be found elsewhere to new audiences and emerging media platforms.

What are Radio’s strengths, especially those can be leveraged and integrated with some of the new opportunities?   —>
http://towardfreedom.com/home/content/view/1283/1/
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Teletubbies, Digital Zapatistas, Viral Marketing, Sign “Bombing”
by Elizabeth Coffman
elizabeth coffman’s guerilla media weblog (IL)
04/16/08

[ comments invited ]

Guerilla Media Class is nearing the end of the Spring 08 semester. Students are preparing their final community media projects and updating their blogs. I will report on the final projects soon.  The projects range from persuading Loyola Chicago’s Public Safety office to donate ‘found’ or abandoned bikes on campus to the student Bike Club, (who will place them for free around campus), to unconventional promotional efforts for a new musician, who is giving away his music online for free, to sign ‘bombings’ on a variety of issues, including guerilla support for 3rd Party Political candidates, as well as a project that documents “random encounters” on the Chicago El by the women’s rugby team, in full uniform and covered with mud.

Our readings on guerilla media, our guest speakers, our field trip to CANTV and LUC’s new Information Commons have helped us to see the digital spectrum as ranging from political activism to viral marketing, and to think through Habermas’s ideas of the ideal public sphere. The public, the market and participatory culture redefine how politics, economy, art, and pop culture interweave and overlap in old and new media arenas. From blogging in Ethiopian elections to radio listening clubs in Malawi, from the Guerilla Girls to Second Life, the participatory power of new media is obvious.   —>
http://ecoffman.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/teletubbies-digital-zapatistas-viral-marketing-sign-bombing/
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Zambia: No Politicians on Community Radio Boards – Nyirenda
The Times of Zambia
04/16/08

The Government has said that politicians should not be on the board of directors for community radio stations to avoid political interference in the editorial content of such institutions.  Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Nyirenda yesterday told the Parliamentary Watchdog Committee chaired by Namwala member of Parliament (MP) Robbie Chizhyuka (UPND).  Mr Nyirenda appeared before the Committee on Information and Broadcasting Services to explain the role of community radio stations in the promotion of governance and national programmes.

He said community radio stations were cardinal to the country’s democracy and should therefore be supported. Mr Nyirenda said that the Government through his ministry was planning to establish a Media Development Fund. The goal of the fund was to enable community media houses become sustainable and operate without any hindrances. Mr Nyirenda said even if politicians were stopped from sitting on community radio boards, they could still be allowed to participate in their formation and contribute financially.

On the establishment of the Media Development Fund, he said the decision was arrived at after the realisation that the Media Trust Fund (MTF), some donor institutions and religious organisations only supported most community stations. The Media Development Fund would focus on resource mobilisation, funding and supporting both existing and new media organisations and funding capacity building for such organisations.  He said that the funds would ensure the establishment of community radio stations in far flung areas as opposed to them being situated on the line of rail. Mr Nyirenda said this when he addressed concerns raised by Mpika Central MP, Mwansa Kapeya (PF) who wanted to know whether there were any plans to ensure that community radio stations were not only located on the line of rail.   —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200804160434.html
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/08/08; Tennessee Special Edition

April 9, 2008

[blip.tv ?posts_id=821027&dest=-1]

Cable Bill Compromise Passes Committee
Legislation Would Allow Companies To Avoid Seeking Many Permits
WSMV Nashville
04/08/08

[ includes TV news story video clip ]

Compromise legislation that seeks to provide statewide cable TV franchising is moving in the House with little debate. The measure unanimously passed the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday after Democratic chairman Charles Curtiss of Sparta had state Comptroller John Morgan address committee members to make sure they understood the bill…

Some committee members on Tuesday expressed concern about how AT&T will provide Public, Education and Government programming, or PEG. Currently, such channels can be accessed directly like any other TV channel. But under the new AT&T technology, Morgan said consumers will have to go to a certain channel, and then select the desired PEG channel from a list. “It’s the difference of getting it,” he said. “This is something … that requires a couple of extra steps to get there.”

There was also concern about the picture quality of the PEG channels under the new system. Morgan said there have been complaints that the picture quality is not good. “I don’t want to look at a picture I used to look at as a kid … when you had a lot of snow on the TV,” said Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin. Morgan said if the picture quality is different, then AT&T is required “to tell people it’s going to be different.” —>
http://www.wsmv.com/politics/15826060/detail.html?rss=nash&psp=news
~

Compromise Reached on Cable Bill
by Erika Lathon
WZTV
04/08/08

[ includes TV news story video clip ]

State lawmakers have reached a compromise telecommunications bill.
http://www.wztv.com/newsroom/top_stories/vid_1430.shtml
~

AT&T Legislation Could See Fast Track
Nashville Public Radio WPLN
04/08/08

A bill that would allow AT&T to offer TV service statewide could be passed before the end of April, according to state officials. State Comptroller John Morgan stood for hours yesterday explaining the new bill to House Commerce Committee members. He says the legislation could be on the floor of the House and Senate in two weeks. Morgan leads the legislature’s most powerful research arm, the comptroller’s office, and was involved in threshing out the details between the giant phone utility and the state’s cable providers. —>
http://wpln.org/newstranscripts/?p=2182
~

Cable-AT&T legislation unveiled
Summary of the most anticipated bill of the legislature as well as statements from the groups involved
by Ken Whitehouse
Nashville Post
04/07/08

Members of the Tennessee State Legislature have unveiled what they call “The Competitive Cable and Video Services Act,” the most anticipated piece of legislation this session… If enacted by the legislature the bill would, according to the State Comptroller’s office:

* Allow new competitors to obtain a 10-year state franchise certificate from the Tennessee Regulatory Authority
* Require new large telecom competitors to build out to 30 percent of their existing service area in three and a half years
* Require existing providers to continue to pay local franchise fees directly to local governments
* Require new competitors operating under a state franchise to directly pay local governments franchise fees of 5 percent quarterly
* Preserve local regulation of rights-of-way with local permitting protected
* Specifically prohibits discrimination based on income or race, with violators facing strong monetary penalties
* Promote the use of minority contractors to provide competitive video service
* Prohibit existing cable companies from abandoning unprofitable areas
* Require new providers to demonstrate at the end of three and a half years that 25 percent of households with access to their service are low-income
* Give video providers that deploy broadband in new areas credit against their video build-out requirement to this extent: Four-to-one credit for broadband expansion to unserved areas and two-to-one credit for broadband expansion to underserved areas
* Create a broadband deployment fund to provide a potential mechanism for expanding broadband access
* Let local governments subsidize broadband deployment to underserved areas if a TRA review determines no private-sector interest exists
* Require all providers to meet FCC mandated customer service standards
* Allow the TRA to require credits if a provider does not remedy service complaints
* Require existing and new competitors to continue to provide Public, Education and Government (PEG, also known as community access channels) access and support

The full bill, with all of its complexities, will begin being heard tomorrow in the House Commerce Committee. There is obviously a whole lot more detail than what is listed above. At the end of the press conference announcing the compromise bill, both the incumbent cable providers and AT&T issued statements. —>
http://www.nashvillepost.com/news/2008/4/7/cableatt_legislation_unveiled
~

AT&T deal will skip local authority
Statewide TV franchise bill is expected to pass
by Naomi Snyder
The Tennessean
04/08/08

[ 24 comments ]

AT&T could begin selling TV service in Tennessee within the next three years under compromise legislation unveiled Monday by state legislators that would allow the company to get a state franchise and bypass local government control…

Over the past three years, 19 other states have passed similar legislation allowing state franchising. Groups that represent local governments and consumers cautioned that the legislation could end up eroding many of protections consumers have enjoyed under local control. “The reality is there will be neighborhoods where this infrastructure will not reach,” said Barry Orton, a telecommunications professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who has worked for local governments on cable regulatory issues in the past.

Comparable laws in other states have provided a way for cable companies to abandon their obligations to local governments and consumers, including build-out requirements that typically force cable companies to serve most of a county or city, said Libby Beaty, the executive director of a group that represents municipal telecommunications, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors. “The biggest entity that takes advantage of statewide franchise is the incumbent cable companies,” she said. —>
http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080408/NEWS01/804080370/1006#gslPageReturn
~

Compromise AT&T bill said to benefit consumers
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper
04/08/08

[ 14 comments ]

At its bare bones, the legislation allows AT&T to get a statewide television franchise. Currently, those franchises are agreed to at the local level. But effectively, the compromise bill’s passage would pave the way for AT&T to offer television services and compete with cable…

Going into the negotiations, one of the biggest roadblocks was where and to what customers a statewide franchise holder would be required to offer television services. Local franchise agreements often require providers to “build out” to a certain portion of the population. Under the deal cut in the bill, AT&T would be able to get a statewide franchise, but would be required to offer its U-verse television product to at least roughly 600,000 Tennessee households by three and a half years from the time the franchise agreement is struck.

“So it’s going to be a long road,” Curtiss said. “But a decade from now, I think we’ll be able to look back and say we made a significant difference.” Of the households offered services, 25 percent would have to be low-income, which is specified at less than $35,000 annually. Violating the so-called build-out requirement would cause AT&T to be fined up to $10,000 per day, up to a maximum $2 million. Those penalties also extend to customers who are being discriminated against, up to $5,000 for each violation.

Another goal of the legislation was to expand broadband Internet access to rural Tennessee for economic development purposes. While AT&T would be required to offer its television service to roughly 600,000 households, that number could be lower if the telecom giant offers broadband Internet to rural Tennessee. Under the legislation, AT&T was offered an incentive to expand into rural areas. The telecom giant could offer its television service to fewer households — thereby reducing its expenditures in urban areas — if it offers Internet to underserved, rural parts of Tennessee. “Will that work? It remains to be seen,” said state Comptroller John Morgan, who was a key figure in designing the rural incentive. “I hope it does. —>
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59450
~

Cable bill to get first public hearing
May improve service; no guarantee of lower prices
by Richard Locker
Commercial Appeal
04/08/08

[ 5 comments ]

Legislators rolled out a compromise bill Monday to streamline and expedite the provision of cable-style video services in Tennessee by AT&T and others in competition with existing cable companies. The 67-page bill, drafted in closed-door negotiations over the last four months by AT&T, cable companies, the Tennessee Municipal League and legislators, will get its first detailed public airing today in the House Commerce Committee…

Naifeh, D-Covington, and the bill’s House and Senate sponsors cautioned that it “is not a silver bullet to rising prices, nor will Tennesseans see a reduction in next month’s cable bill” — despite a year’s barrage of competing television ads by the two major opponents on the issue, AT&T and the cable industry. AT&T’s ads have implied that lower prices for cable and video services will follow. “Once it’s deployed, it’s going to provide choice. I don’t think it’s going to drive prices down, but I believe it will level out the increases,” said Rep. Charles Curtiss, D-Sparta, a sponsor of the bill and chairman of the House Commerce Committee.

The bill essentially sets up a new regulatory scheme that lets “video service” providers apply to the Tennessee Regulatory Authority for a single, statewide franchise to deliver the kind of video programming that cable services now provide, over existing wire lines. Current law requires local franchises issued by city and county governments — the regulatory system that cable systems were built and operate under. —>
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/apr/08/cable-bill-to-get-first-public-hearing/
~

House committee members get overview of compromise cable bill
Associated Press
Know News
04/08/08

[ 2 comments ]

The chairman of the House Commerce Committee says he wants lawmakers to thoroughly understand compromise legislation for statewide cable TV franchising before voting on it. Rep. Charles Curtiss, a Sparta Democrat, had state Comptroller John Morgan address the committee today. —>
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/apr/08/house-committee-members-get-overview-compromise-ca/
~

AT&T, cable compromise bill debuts
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper
04/08/08

[ 1 comment ]

Tennesseans rooting for another alternative to cable television are a step closer to victory today as a compromise bill was unveiled that AT&T says it needs to offer television services. The compromise bill culminates 14 weeks of negotiations among lobbyists and lawyers for AT&T, the cable industry, and local government organizations as well as involved lawmakers. Those lawmakers, who presented the bill at a mid-afternoon press conference on Capitol Hill, all stressed that it was legislation that would benefit the consumer…

The details of the bill include:

• Requires AT&T to offer its U-Verse television package to 30 percent of its telephone footprint within 3.5 years, or about 600,000 Tennessee households. 25 percent of those covered must be low-income customers.
• Prohibits discrimination or “cherry-picking” of customers. Violators pay a penalty up to $5,000 for each case.
• Local governments in which AT&T offers TV service would receive 5 percent of the telecom giant’s gross TV revenues. The current average is 3 percent.
• Incents telecoms to expand broadband Internet into rural areas as an economic development and educational tool.

The bill is expected to be debated for the first time Tuesday in front of the House Commerce Committee.
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59431
~

State Cable Franchise Plan Moves Ahead
by Joe Powell
Cup of Joe Powell
04/08/08

[ comments invited ]

Yesterday state officials provided information about a draft agreement for the state to start offering statewide cable TV franchises, just as AT&T wanted, and along the way the state will create a new oversight agency and a new fund to “promote” broadband internet access.

The document is a 67 page maze of legal-speak, which you can read here [pdf] (thanks to R. Neal for the link). It will certainly take me some time to wade through it all and there is much to review. The proposal to allow for the first time a state franchise license doesn’t mean much to consumers yet – though if the legislature OKs it, it is set to become law in July. The state commerce committee is scheduled to look at the proposals today.

I admit I am troubled that once House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh’s wife Betty Anderson got a job with AT&T as a consultant, Naifeh then took the long-opposed plan through 3 months of closed-door meetings and magically came up with a plan he’s now willing to shepherd through the legislature. Anderson and Naifeh are both on record saying just because she’s a paid lobbyist, she does not exert undue influence on her powerful political husband. —>
http://cupofjoepowell.blogspot.com/2008/04/state-cable-franchise-plan-moves-ahead.html
~

Lawmakers say AT&T bill should promote cable competition
by Andy Sher
Chattanooga Times Free Press
04/08/08

[ comments invited ]

Lawmakers said Monday that Tennessee consumers should benefit from a compromise that allows AT&T to compete more easily with cable companies such as Comcast in offering television services. “The bill creates a climate for competition here in Tennessee,” said House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington.

Speaker Naifeh and other proponents said the legislation should encourage better services and faster deployment of new technologies for cablelike services and quick broadband Internet access. But the speaker cautioned the legislation “is not a silver bullet to rising media prices, nor will Tennesseans see an immediate impact on the next cable bill.”

Stacey Briggs, the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association’s president, said in a statement that “AT&T and other companies have had the right to compete under local franchising rules for more than a dozen years. This new policy streamlines the franchise process, but it remains to be seen whether new entrants will compete in Tennessee.” —>
http://timesfreepress.com/news/2008/apr/08/lawmakers-say-t-bill-should-promote-cable-competit/
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Tennessee Franchising Bill Aims To Extend Broadband Services
Proposal Would Assign Franchising Authority To State Regulators
by Linda Haugsted
Multichannel News
04/07/08

Legislators in Tennessee have been presented a new version of a state franchising bill with a unique scheme to incent new providers to extend broadband services. The bill language, which has been the subject of negotiations among effected industries, contains broad build-out language. Large telephone companies that become video providers must deliver that service to 30% of their existing service area within 3 1/2 years. But those companies can decrease the number of homes which get video if they deploy broadband services to areas that don’t currently have such services, or areas that are determined to be undeserved. —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6548732.html?industryid=47197
~

Compromise Reached on Tenn. Cable Bill
by Lucas Johnson
Houston Chronicle
04/08/08

[ comments invited ]

After months of closed negotiations, Tennessee lawmakers on Monday unveiled a compromise bill for statewide cable TV franchising with stiff penalties to make sure customers are treated fairly. —>
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/5683682.html
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/22/08

March 23, 2008

Comcast Cameras to Start Watching You?
by Chris Albrecht
NewTeeVee
03/18/08

[ 104 comments ]

If you have some tinfoil handy, now might be a good time to fashion a hat. At the Digital Living Room conference today, Gerard Kunkel, Comcast’s senior VP of user experience, told me the cable company is experimenting with different camera technologies built into devices so it can know who’s in your living room.

The idea being that if you turn on your cable box, it recognizes you and pulls up shows already in your profile or makes recommendations. If parents are watching TV with their children, for example, parental controls could appear to block certain content from appearing on the screen. Kunkel also said this type of monitoring is the “holy grail” because it could help serve up specifically tailored ads. Yikes.   —>
http://newteevee.com/2008/03/18/comcast-cameras-to-start-watching-you/
~

City takes business to airwaves
by Susan Larson
The Daily Journal (MN)
03/22/08

[ comments invited ]

As a cameraman films, Community Development Director Gordon Hydukovich tells Lynne Olson, assistant to the city administrator, about an exciting new project happening in the city. Later in the day, the whole community will know about it when they watch, “City of Fergus Falls Update” on PEG Access channel 18.

Call it Regis and Kelly with a local twist. Implemented in February, the program is an effort by the city to keep residents informed about what’s happening around them in an entertaining way.  “We’ve heard from council that a concern they hear among the people is they want improved communications,” Olson said.  What better way to do so than through television?

“We highlight different departments, a project or special event,” Olson said. “We try to pick a timely topic.”  In this most recent case, the subject was a tabletop planning session set for April 10 regarding the west river area of the city. Hydukovich, who will lead the meeting, finds the show to be a means of making such meetings more effective.  “I can explain (a project) to people in a room while they’re sitting there,” he said. “But this gets it out and gets people thinking about it before, so they can come prepared and ask questions.”

Each episode airs the same day it is filmed, Jim Francis PEG Access executive director, said. It is played about 14 times until the next segment is filmed. Go to PEG access website — www.pegaccess.com — and look under “schedule” for the schedule.   —>
http://www.fergusfallsjournal.com/news/2008/mar/22/city-takes-business-airwaves/
~

Tuned In: What do you want in local TV news?
by Rob Owen
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
03/21/08

—>  When I asked two weeks ago what viewers expect of local newscasts, I knew I would get some feedback. But I honestly didn’t expect the outpouring of response from more than 100 viewers, many of them frustrated with the state of local TV news.  Many of those responses — about 35 printed pages’ worth — have been posted in Tuned In Journal at post-gazette.com/tv. The recurring complaints were these:

• Too much news time…
• Too many teases; too much hype…
• Too many Steelers stories as news…
• Too much weather…
• Too many stories with no relevance to the average viewer…
• Too many references to Web sites…
• Too few stories on the arts…
• More serious news…
—>
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08081/866779-237.stm
~

Hopes for Wireless Cities Fade as Internet Providers Pull Out
by Ian Urbina
New York Times
03/22/08

PHILADELPHIA — It was hailed as Internet for the masses when Philadelphia officials announced plans in 2005 to erect the largest municipal Wi-Fi grid in the country, stretching wireless access over 135 square miles with the hope of bringing free or low-cost service to all residents, especially the poor.

Greg Goldman is chief executive of Wireless Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization set up to help administer the program. He said that about $4 million was needed to cover the rest of the city.  Municipal officials in Chicago, Houston, San Francisco and 10 other major cities, as well as dozens of smaller towns, quickly said they would match Philadelphia’s plans.

But the excited momentum has sputtered to a standstill, tripped up by unrealistic ambitions and technological glitches. The conclusion that such ventures would not be profitable led to sudden withdrawals by service providers like EarthLink, the Internet company that had effectively cornered the market on the efforts by the larger cities.  Now, community organizations worry about their prospects for helping poor neighborhoods get online…

“The entire for-profit model is the reason for the collapse in all these projects,” said Sascha Meinrath, technology analyst at the New America Foundation, a nonprofit research organization in Washington.  Mr. Meinrath said that advocates wanted to see American cities catch up with places like Athens, Leipzig and Vienna, where free or inexpensive Wi-Fi already exists in many areas.

He said that true municipal networks, the ones that are owned and operated by municipalities, were far more sustainable because they could take into account benefits that help cities beyond private profit, including property-value increases, education benefits and quality-of-life improvements that come with offering residents free wireless access.  Mr. Meinrath pointed to St. Cloud, Fla., which spent $3 million two years ago to build a free wireless network that is used by more than 70 percent of the households in the city.   —>
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/22/us/22wireless.html?_r=2&th=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&emc=th&adxnnlx=1206288773-PL75ZM9YC3lgl8yEPjCHww&pagewanted=all
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An ideal future communications infrastructure, how do we get there, and what is stopping us!
by Russell McOrman
itWorldCanada
03/20/08

[ comments invited ]

Whenever the discussion of “Net Neutrality” comes up we often get stuck with how the current network is configured, who provides it, and other historical issues. I would like to toss out that history for a moment and offer what I believe to be an ideal, talk about transition issues, as well as some of winners and losers in that transition (and thus who the greatest opponents are)

Future network infrastructure

Imagine a municipal ultra high speed network (Fiber to the premises/Home, or whatever future technologies may be even faster) that allowed the city residents to make arbitrary connections from their home to other points in the city. Sometimes they would connect to other citizens, and other times they would connect to companies.  These companies would offer a wide variety of services, mirroring many legacy services and having the ability to innovatively create more.

What we currently think of as “phone” service would be handled by competing companies that offered directory services and voice (and possibly video for video phones) connectivity between municipalities, as well as gateways to legacy “phone” networks (domestically and internationally). Voice communication between municipal residents could go point-to-point without the need of an additional intermediary.

What we currently think of as “television” service would be handled by people being able to directly subscribe and connect to various networks individually. I may be a fan of CBC and thus I would have a subscription with them. Individual community based stations would be relatively cheap to set up compared to the current system which either needs wireless transmitters or an agreement with both a cable company and the CRTC. Like the voice services, there would be competing companies offering the service of bringing in “television” stations that are not part of the networks who offer their stations directly in the municipality.

Switching from any service a company offers to a competitor should be very easy given the connection to ones home is entirely neutral to any company.

Transportation and utilities offer a path to this ideal

What I consider to be the ideal should sound familiar, as it is the system we use for our ground transportation system and many utilities including electricity. We have municipally owned/managed road infrastructure which allow us to travel between any two destinations within the city. We don’t have a “Walmart road” as well as a “Canadian Tire” road running to our homes like many of us in Ontario have a “Rogers” and a “Bell” wire running into our homes. The municipality — unlike the legacy phone and cable companies — doesn’t claim some alleged right to actively inspect the contents of all our vehicles or “traffic shape” roads based on whether they like the contents of our vehicles or not.   —>
http://blogs.itworldcanada.com/insights/2008/03/20/an-ideal-future-communications-infrastructure-how-do-we-get-there-and-what-is-stopping-us/
~

Tibet could be a public relations fiasco for Beijing
by Ken Kamoche
NationMedia
03/23/08

The Tibetan crisis is once again revealing some serious weaknesses in the way China handles threats to its much-vaunted quest for harmony. The riots in Tibet have also put to the test China’s slogan for the games: “One world, one dream”. In one part of the Himalayas at least, that dream is fast turning into a nightmare…  Imposing a media ban, ordering foreign journalists out of Lhasa, demonising the Dalai Lama and the hardline approach the government has taken all suggest that China has some way to go if it is to achieve internal harmony and gain the respect of the international community…

Beijing ought to have learnt some lessons from the collapse of the former Suharto regime and in particular how deceptively simple technologies like text messages played such a pivotal role in mobilising a street revolution. The same goes for Tibet.  You can cut off the formally constituted communication channels, chase away foreign journalists, block access to the Internet and foreign TV channels; but it is a losing battle.

Information seems to have a life of its own. It seeps through the cracks, bypasses the controls and gets to those who need it, or is dispatched by those who have to. The mess that is going on in Tibet cannot be swept under the carpet. If it continues to simmer, it will also further alienate the Taiwanese who fear they might go the way of Tibet.   —>
http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/nmgcontententry.asp?category_id=25&newsid=119614
~

Think You’re Not an Anarchist? Download This Book!
by Phil Grove
A Cooperative, Unending Endeavor
03/22/08

[ comments invited ]

Anarchism is political philosophy of radical humanism that commends itself to Quakers and many others who should give it more attention. It’s a vision of human relations that is egalitarian as opposed to hierarchical; communitarian as opposed to individualistic; and ecological and sustainable as opposed to extractive and doomed. Anarchists assess the modern condition as slavery to modern instutions of dominance and oppression; and they seek freedom for all.

The anarchist vision is not an unconstrained, chaotic nightmare that replaces modern institutions with nothing; it is a highly organized, nonheirarchical web of community-scale institutions within which to conduct human activities. By far, it is the political philosophy most compatible with Quaker testimony and practice; and also most compatible with the values of many advocates of participatory democracy, equal rights, feminism, environmentalism, and holistic health and living.

Anyone interested in anarchism should read Getting Free: Creating an Association of Democratic Autonomous Neighborhoods by James Herod. In this succinct work, Herod makes the case for some form of anarchism as the only viable alternative to the current system of global capitalism. But more importantly, he addresses the question of strategy in a straightforward manner. He conducts an unblinking critical survey of the failed past and current strategies of the left, rejecting them all as unable to defeat the capitalist system.

Our alternative parties, our vigils and demonstrations, our civil disobedience, our single issue campaigns, and our educational efforts are all ineffective against capitalism, in Herod’s view. The most they can achieve is to temporarily curb the worst abuses of capitalism. Depressing stuff, but I would suggest that a lot of the torper we feel on the left stems from our repressed understanding that Herod’s criticism is correct. We have not been getting anywhere.

But Herod doesn’t leave it at that.  In place of past strategies to overthrow or reform capitalism, Herod advocates a strategy of the gradual abandonment of capitalist institutions and substitution of alternative, community-based democratic structures. Here is the list of specific strategies he proposes:   —>
http://philgrove.blogspot.com/2008/03/think-youre-not-anarchist-download-this.html
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/21/08

March 22, 2008

[blip.tv ?posts_id=770978&dest=-1]

Luminaria Arts Night Part 1
by South Texas Media Access
03/21/08

[ comments invited ]

Video of the the 1st annual Luminaria Arts Night in San Antonio, TX, March 2008. Featuring artwork by local artists. Part 1. This clip was for San Antonio Public Access TV Perspective Prisms and Springtime65 Show.
http://txmediaaccess.blogspot.com/2008/03/luminaria-arts-night-part-1.html
~

Editorial Short takes: Live legislative coverage
Marshall Independent (MN)
03/21/08

[ comments invited ]

SIDEWAYS THUMB: Because it is Sunshine Week, which emphasizes public access and open government, a reader e-mailed us, expressing frustration that Marshall’s public access cable channels don’t broadcast live coverage of the Minnesota Legislature. The coverage is available on the Internet, but the reader said not everyone has Internet access, so TV coverage would be valuable. We don’t disagree, but city officials say making it happen isn’t so easy. —>
http://www.marshallindependent.com/page/content.detail/id/500314.html
~

Time Warner, WSKI form partnership
by Ann Bryant
Sun Journal (ME)
03/21/08

[ comments invited ]

CARRABASSETT VALLEY – Time Warner Cable and Snowfield Productions, owner of WSKI-TV 17, have entered into a partnership, Nadene McLeod of WSKI-TV said Thursday. The partnership will continue to bring “WSKI programming to cable television watchers in the Carrabassett Valley area as they have over the past 25 years and plan to continue to provide for many years to come,” McLeod said.

The station provides ski trail and weather reports for Sugarloaf, area events, sports coverage, news and advertising. The partnership resulted from a question raised in December about whether the public access television station should be made public or remain in the control of a private company. Time Warner became the area cable provider in 2006 and continued to provide the town with Channel 17 at no charge…

Hogg says the town is allowing WSKI, a private entity, to manage Channel 17 free of charge. The town never operated a public access channel, although one was reserved for the town, according to Town Manager Dave Cota. Since January, a committee has been looking at benefits, expenses and whether the town wants to operate a public channel.

Selectmen recently asked Cota to send a letter to Time Warner that states “the board has agreed to relinquish Channel 17 as the town public access channel to allow Time Warner and WSKI-17 to negotiate a private agreement with the contingency that Time Warner agrees to reserve Channel 22 as the town public access channel should the town vote to operate a public access channel,” Cota said. —>
http://www.sunjournal.com/story/257288-3/Franklin/Time_Warner_WSKI_form_partnership/
~

Mar. 26: Grassroots Fundraising for Community Media Workshop at MNN, New York, NY
MediaRights
03/21/08

Attend MNN’s Upcoming “Grassroots Fundraising for Community Media” Workshop on Wednesday, March 26th @ 6:30pm

MNN’s Community Outreach & Media Department presents a series of production, post-production, distribution and funding workshops designed for groups who are interested in incorporating video in their organizing, outreach and advocacy efforts. —>
http://www.mediarights.org/news/2008/03/21/mar_26_grassroots_fundraising_for_community_media_workshop_at_mnn_new_york_ny
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“Postcards from Charlottesville,” Show #6
by Dave Norris
CvilleDave
03/21/08

[ comments invited ]

Dr. Lynn Rainville joins me on this month’s show. Lynn runs some excellent websites/blogs focused on Charlottesville-Albemarle history, including LoCoHistory, the LoCoBlog, and African-American Cemeteries in Albemarle & Amherst Counties. She is doing a wonderful job of helping to make history come alive (both for adults and for kids) and helping to connect area residents with their own past.

Click here to see the show, which will be broadcast throughout the coming month on Charlottesville Public Access TV (Channel 13) —>
http://cvilledave.blogspot.com/2008/03/postcards-from-charlottesville-show-6.html
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Larry Lessig: Time to reject corporate influence on Washington
by Anne Broache
CNet News
03/20/08

[ 14 comments

WASHINGTON–Iconic Internet law professor Larry Lessig may have cast off plans for a congressional bid of his own, but he still wants to turn the political process as we know it upside down. No more money from corporate political action committees and lobbyists. No more earmarks to fund pet projects in federal spending bills. Public financing for all congressional campaigns. And throughout it all, transparency.

Those are the four pillars of Lessig’s “Change Congress” movement, which he unveiled, along with a beta Web site, which he describes as a “mash-up applied to politics,” at an event here Thursday afternoon. For the project, he has teamed up with Joe Trippi, best known as the national campaign manager for Democrat Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign and its pioneering use of online organizing.

None of his ideas, of course, are particularly new, which Lessig himself readily acknowledged. A number of organizations–including Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen and the Sunlight Foundation, which sponsored his talk on Thursday–dedicate themselves exclusively to promoting government transparency. Projects like Open Secrets offer more readily searchable databases of political campaign contributions, while groups like Citizens Against Government Waste have made it a mission to expose congressional pork-barrel spending. —>
http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9899828-7.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5
~

Closing the Rural Broadband Gap, Presented by the Internet Innovation Alliance
by Geoff Daily
Apprising.com
03/20/08

[ 1 comment ]

—> Atkinson was also the first to strike a contrarian note when the panel moved into an open discussion as while most of the panel cited the need for and benefits of competition he called its efficacy into question in rural areas, in particular as it relates to giving new entrants additional incentives just for the sake of spurring competition.

I’ve long wondered how competition is the answer to increasing capacity and availability in rural areas; if we’re having trouble getting one company to invest how can we expect to get two, especially when the more competitors the smaller the slice of customers each one gets.

I managed to sneak in a question at the end trying to ask about the gap between how so many people say it’s too expensive to get big broadband to rural areas yet rural areas are likely the ones that could most benefit from that connectivity. Unfortunately I included in that question my belief that the ultimate goal should be a fiber pipe to every home.

This led the answers to focus on questioning if that truly is the goal. After a brief discussion a consensus emerged on the panel that rural broadband deployment should focus more on getting current broadband technology to everyone than next-gen technology to anyone.

I completely agree that the first order of business in considering the rural broadband challenge is making sure that everyone in America has access of at least 750Kbps or higher. But at the same time why aren’t we setting a longer term goal that’s much more aggressive?

One argument put forth was that if you start talking about getting too much bandwidth into rural areas the cost becomes too great and can scare off all deployment, be it public or private because it requires too much of an investment. I understand that as well, but I still don’t see why we can’t set a long-term goal of a fiber pipe to every home, no matter where it is.

In the meantime, this panel did a great job of laying out some of the most important things we can be doing to spur deployment to rural areas today:

– Robust mapping so private providers can know where the gaps are and move to fill them in
– Local community teams and technology centers that can spur the adoption and use of the Internet that will grow the demand that can drive deployment
– Tax credits and other incentives for the companies willing to deploy to rural areas to help make the business case more attractive

The only thing missing from this discussion was an advocate for municipal broadband. I have to admit I still have some reservations about public entities competing with public enterprise for consumer dollars, but I can’t deny the reality that in many rural areas some form of municipally owned, financed, and/or operated deployment might be the only way those communities can expect to have their infrastructure upgraded in the next twenty years. —>
http://www.app-rising.com/gdblog/2008/03/closing_the_rural_broadband_ga.html
~

Media’s “New” Community Role
by Dan Schultz
MediaShift Idea Lab
03/21/08

[ 11 comments ]

I just got back to the U.S. from my first visit to Rome. The whole trip was great, but my favorite part was The Roman Forum. This ancient gathering place represents, as far as I’m concerned, the epitome of community facilitation given the resources available at the time. This may not seem like a relevant anecdote at first but the point is that I think members of the news industry who are looking for a role in this crazy Internet filled world may discover that the answer to their identity crisis isn’t so new after all.

This post is about where I think news organizations, especially local news organizations, need to take their digital presence. This is the conversation I hoped to seed with my analysis of the Anonymous activism against Scientology. It also turns out that this post will work nicely with the recent conversation on this blog about the need for news organizations to change the way they operate online.

Context and Clarification
In my posts about Anonymous I tried to identify some of the subtleties of online community coordination and pull out any lessons that could help us in our journalism-industry-wide quest to effectively utilize digital technology.

Based on a few of the comments to those posts it seems there was a little room for confusion. Some thought I was trying to provide a recipe for media outlets to take advantage of existing online communities or artificially manipulate the masses. In other words, not everyone understood what I believe the technologies should be utilized for. In a comment I wrote:

“[In these posts] I tried to look at what might have been a reason for [Anonymous] success and largely cite the fact that physical communities don’t utilize the kinds of digital communication tools that you guys have. This is where (for instance) local newspapers, which are desperately trying to find their place on the internet, could fill a role. Not for profit, but instead to get back to the public service that they were supposed to be providing in the first place – an outlet for community voice and an amplification of community issues.”

From what I understand, some of the original driving forces that inspired local news media were the demand for outlets of community voice and the need for amplification of important community issues. Ethics, practices, role, and tradition – i.e. hard news, public service journalism (which I will refer to as “hard journalism” from now on) – grew over time.

By focusing on those initial demands and drawing on “hard journalism” practices for reinforcement rather than direction, our adaptation to a new medium will hopefully becomes a little more manageable. That focus is what I wanted to develop with those posts (plus the whole Anonymous effort continues to fascinate me).

A New Community Medium
If my interpretation above is even partially accurate, it seems that local news operations are supposed to be information hubs for the communities they serve. When using a one-to-many medium such as Television or Print, reporters and editors try to represent their community by proxy. For old media that was fine because, realistically, it was the only way for the job to be done.

With digital media, as everyone seems to have figured out years ago, it isn’t enough to just have an online newspaper. What people are realizing now is that it also isn’t enough to simply enable comments, publish the occasional user-submitted-photo or blog, or incorporate a few pieces of interactive content. All of these things are small steps in the right direction, but small steps are slow and costly in the world of software.

This time around news organizations need to do more than just learn to use the media, they need to host a community with it – an idea that Richard Anderson put out there in his first post to this blog. People want a place, digital or otherwise, where they can gather and learn about the community in which they are a part, a place where they can get in touch with the issues, and a place where they can pick up on the “vibe.” They want a modern Roman Forum.

If news orgs don’t provide this then someone else will. What is troublesome is that the “someone else” won’t necessarily incorporate hard journalism in their vision. What makes THAT troublesome is that such services directly compete with the news.

Facilitating Community Agenda
In the words of Paul Monaco, much of media’s social influence comes from its ability to set agendas, not by “[telling] its readers and viewers what to think so much as it points them toward what to think about.” Social Media, Digital Media, many-to-many conversations, and all those other phrases that are thrown around describe the tools being used to push that task of issue definition back to the community. —>
http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2008/03/medias-new-community-role.html
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/13/08

March 14, 2008

Union Made
by Bunnie Riedel
Telecommunications Consulting
03/13/08

—>  I had to go back and look at the original piece of legislation. Sure, Indiana led the nation by completely de-regulating telecom, including wireless. But if that had been the goal all along, de-regulation of wireless in order to bring all those wireless union jobs to Indiana, why did they have to gut local video franchising? Did CWA jump into AT&T’s pocket because they hated Comcast so much? Did CWA have any idea what the statewide video franchising bill would do to PEG in Indiana? Did they even care?

I guess they didn’t care, but they should have.

Somebody tell me where a union, any union, ever gets coverage on television, much less has its own half hour or hour long television show. The answer is Public access television. Without it there is no union programming. I did a query of access stations and found out that CWA uses Public access facilities and channels across this country. CWA could have its programming on the AT&T system in Bloomington if it wanted, but that’s not going to happen because there are no access channels on the AT&T system in Bloomington.

The firefighters, the nurses, the sheet metal workers, the teamsters, the teachers, the hotel workers, the state employees, the musicians, the mechanics, the railroad workers…you name a union and somewhere in this country they have a show on Public access.

I have no doubt that the CWA prides itself in working for justice. But I guess I just wish CWA would fight a tenth as hard for the survival of Public access as Public access has fought for CWA’s right to be seen and heard. What is missing in this discussion is that CWA needs to be on the side of the access community when it comes to dealing with AT&T or the cable operators, because both CWA and the access community would be eliminated by cable or Ma Bell, given half a chance.   —>
http://riedelcommunications.blogspot.com/
~

Comcast turns off Springs
by Ralph Routon
Colorado Springs Independent
03/13/08

[ 1 comment ]

Nobody seems to know exactly what day it happened.  Certainly there was no announcement or news release, courteously informing the Colorado Springs-area public that our cable company doesn’t really care about this market anymore.  Instead, with the simple flick of a switch and the layoff of one highly visible person, Comcast Corp. apparently hoped nobody would notice. As if we, the legions of Comcast’s 100,000-plus paying customers, never pay attention.

Wrong. We have noticed. We do pay attention. And we aren’t happy.

This could have been all about that layoff. As reported in the March 6 Indy, Comcast eliminated the position of Sandra Mann, who handled the company’s local public relations and, in reality, did so much more. She put a human face on the cable provider’s local presence, smoothing over concerns when Comcast replaced Adelphia in August 2006. She spent nearly eight years going to City Council and committee meetings, providing updates and furthering goodwill there as well as with local civic clubs, nonprofits and countless fundraiser events.

Mann, who spent two decades (1977-96) as a highly popular local TV news anchor before moving into PR work and election to the District 11 school board, had used her expertise in another important way: She developed and organized local programming, first for Adelphia and then Comcast, on the local Channel 2.

Besides her own show and others such as those spotlighting the Better Business Bureau and the Philharmonic, there was the community calendar; Mike Boyle’s restaurant show; coverage of parades as well as other civic events; and all kinds of local political forums around elections.

That channel was a big deal from the start in 2000, but Comcast inexplicably decided neither it nor Mann were worth keeping.  Mann, starting her own consulting firm now, doesn’t want to talk about Comcast or its changes. But this customer will.   —>
http://www.csindy.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A23968
~

Editorial: Attend TV meeting in Martin; push for School Board to air meetings in St. Lucie
TCPalm (FL)
02/17/08

[ 7 comments ]

Excuses, excuses, excuses.
• No one showed up to advocate his position.
• Students’ privacy rights could be jeopardized.
• It’s too expensive.
• Speakers will make political speeches for the audience.
• We’re a top school district so we don’t have to change.

The Martin and St. Lucie school boards have offered almost every excuse in the book for why they shouldn’t televise their meetings. Perhaps the biggest reason why they should televise them is credibility: The board has nothing to hide, right? So why not televise the meetings, educate the public and show it how educational policy and major expenditures are determined?

Indian River County has televised its meetings for years; students generally put together the broadcast. A perfect situation for the board? Not necessarily; this form of Reality TV helps create second-guessers, but informed second-guessers.  Still, broadcasting breeds credibility, transparency and helps to inform people. Isn’t all of this critical in a democratic society?

The good news is that the Martin School Board will discuss airing its meetings at a workshop at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the School Board meeting room, 500 E. Ocean Blvd., Stuart.  Attend en masse. Time to take away excuse No. 1.   —>
http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2008/feb/17/attend-tv-meeting/
~

Letter: Vote yes for taping meetings, Belmont
Linda Frawley, Brian Loanes, David Morse and Greta Olson-Wilder, Belmont
Concord Monitor (NH)
03/13/08

The Belmont High School Student Council once again produced a “Meet the Candidates” program on March 5. It was encouraging to see civic interest and involvement, led effectively with youthful energy, interest and sincerity. The students and their teacher-adviser are a credit to the community, and we congratulate all helping the effort.

Increased citizen access to community issues, decision-making and volunteer opportunities are all at the heart of Warrant Article 5 on Saturday’s Belmont town meeting agenda. Voters will have a voice and choice, deciding whether selectmen meetings should be videotaped for the purpose of cablecasting on Lakes Region Public Access Television.

Nearly all of the other member communities of LRPA-TV use this resource extensively – from including local events on the calendar to airing educational programs and government meetings on other cable channels. Nearly half of Belmont’s households subscribe to MetroCast cable services, with full access to these education and government channels by voters and voters-to-be.

Let’s open our meetings and community to share with residents unable to attend these Corner Meeting House sessions – typically scheduled for 5 p.m. Over the past few years, four major events were successfully videotaped and aired on LRPA-TV. Cablecast information has included a master plan community report, conservation commission presentation of a natural resources inventory and our Old Home Day parade and events. Last year’s “Meet the Candidates Night” was even videotaped by local students, so a broader range of citizens could attend – from home.   —>
http://www.cmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080313/OPINION/803130319/1029/OPINION03
~

Wilson builds its own fiber optic network
by Heather Moore
News 14 Carolina (NC)
03/12/08

The City of Wilson will soon start offering its own telephone, cable TV and internet service. It’s through a new, state-of-the-art, $26 million fiber optic network. Wilson is the first city in the state to offer fiber connections directly to businesses and homes.  “We’re optimistic it’s going to be a superior service at a competitive price,” said Grant Goings, Wilson’s City Manager.

The fiber optic network, recently named Greenlight, will be available to every home and business within the city limits. Crews have installed about 150 miles of fiber optic cable, and the network is about 70 percent complete.  The City of Wilson borrowed $18 million to build the fiber optic network. With interest, Wilson will have to repay $26 million. Wilson’s business plan predicts the network will break even in 12 years and the city will be able to repay the entire debt within 15 years.   —>
http://news14.com/content/headlines/593820/wilson-builds-its-own-fiber-optic-network/Default.aspx
~

Verizon tiptoeing around Boston with FiOS rollouts?
by Darren Murph
engadgetHD.com
03/12/08

[ 7 comments ]

All in all, the Bay State most certainly isn’t hurting for access to FiOS TV, but curiously enough, downtown Boston has yet to be touched by Verizon’s fiber-based services. More specifically, the areas of Boston, Brookline, Somerville, Cambridge, Everett, Revere, Chelsea, Medford, Melrose, Watertown and Quincy have yet to be reached by Verizon’s recent expansion efforts, and for whatever reason, it seems that may be the case for some time to come. According to a response by Boston’s Mayor on the situation, Verizon has “declined the city’s repeated encouragement to enter a cable franchise negotiation, opting instead to slowly build in the suburbs.” Granted, it’s not unusual for the firm to target the outskirts, but it’s certainly not pleasing news for Bostonians holding out for FiOS.
http://www.engadgethd.com/2008/03/12/verizon-tiptoeing-around-boston-with-fios-rollouts/
~

Verizon to New England: Bye-bye
by Robert L. Mitchell
Computerworld
03/13/08

[ comments invited ]

It looks like the Verizon selloff of its Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont landline business to FairPoint Communications is a done deal. All three states have given their approval, with conditions. That deal will have a huge impact on the evolution of high speed broadband in Northern New England.

Ratepayers had little choice. Although FairPoint is not well capitalized to upgrade the network infrastructure, which appears to have deteriorated on Verizon’s watch, at least the company is interested in making an investment here. The question is whether it will be able to make those investments and pay off the massive debt load it will be taking on.

Rate payers had no good options. The best that consumers and businesses could hope for was a deal that left tiny FairPoint, the acquiring carrier, with as little debt as possible. The good news is that Verizon lowered the purchase price by $235.5 million and will contribute another $50 million toward maintenance projects to get the infrastucture (including some 1.7 million land lines) back up to snuff. The bad news is that FairPoint is still taking on a boat load of debt.

If the deal hadn’t gone through, however, it is clear that Verizon would not have made the investments necessary to bring the infrastructure up to where it should be – let alone move it into the 21st century.

Forget high-speed broadband

With Verizon out of the picture, rate payers must face up to the new reality: FairPoint may continue to push out classic broadband, but without a huge investment by ratepayers, true high-speed broadband in Northern New England is a pipe dream. Verizon has sold out to a much smaller player. And the capital that Verizon could have invested to improve that infrastructure is now gone. It’s time to start over.

Verizon’s selloff of its Northern New England business reflects the fact that the market is abandoning the twisted pair telephony infrastructure in rural areas – and the customers who use it. Meanwhile, telephone, cable television and broadband Internet access services are moving onto a faster infrastructure based on fiber and the Internet Protocol. In metro areas and elsewhere in the world those services are surging ahead to speeds of 50 Mbps, 100 Mbps and even 1 Gbps.

Most New England subscribers remain on dial-up, however, with a pledge that FairPoint will bring yesterday’s 3 Mbps DSL to them within the next two years. While metro areas will get “triple play” services that deliver telephone, Internet, and television over those new, high speed connections, Northern New England will be stuck in the Internet stone age. As these new services come online, 3Mbps will be the new dial-up.   —>
http://blogs.computerworld.com/verizon_to_new_england_bye_bye
~

NPC-TV plans for the future
Community station wants to expand local programming
by M. Dirk Langeveld
Sun-Journal (ME)
03/13/08

[ comments invited ]

A local public television station is planning to double its coverage, pending support from Time Warner Cable.  Steve Galvin, station manager for Norway-Paris Community Television, said the station will expand its coverage to West Paris, Oxford, and Harrison.  “The main thing is, we want to get the towns in the school district on our system, so they can get our programming,” said Galvin.

The station serves Norway, Paris, and Waterford. The three towns, along with the three towns approached for extended coverage, are part of SAD 17.  West Paris receives Bethel’s public broadcasting signal, while Oxford receives Great Falls Television out of Lewiston. Harrison gets Lake Region Television.

West Paris resident George Twine presented the issue to selectmen, and the issue was taken to the annual town meeting on March 1.  “After George spoke, we took a straw poll and everyone at the meeting seemed to be in favor of it,” said West Paris town manager John White.  Oxford selectmen voted to pursue the change after a presentation by Twine at their last meeting.  “Harrison was a little hesitant,” said Galvin.  —>
http://www.sunjournal.com/story/256126-3/OxfordHills/NPCTV_plans_for_the_future/
~

Trustees worry new cable policies not enough
by Sarah Cormier
C & G Newspapers (MI)
03/13/08

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — A new set of policies and procedures pertaining to Harrison Township’s community access channel prompted a discussion among board members about how officials can have more control over what is played on the air.  The board approved the new policies with a 5-2 vote at a Feb. 25 meeting. Township Treasurer Darrin York and Trustee James Ulinski both voted against the measure.

The newly adopted rules are for Harrison Township Community Access Television, HTCA-TV, which runs specifically on Channel 18 on Wide Open West, WOW. According to a statement of purpose written in the policies, the point of having a community access channel is to provide “citizens, community groups and nonprofit organizations with the resources to distribute non commercial video programming.”

William Servial, chairman of the township’s cable board, said that the community access channel has been in operation for about 14 months, but due to technical difficulties, no new material has been shown on the air. The only items shown on the public access channel are the same that currently run on the township’s government channel.

However, officials say the channel is ready to run, and now they just need content to air. The new rules will govern what type of material is appropriate to broadcast.“The first step in this process is to get WOW running, and hopefully, people will see some value to it, submit files, and we’ll actually have a real community access channel,” said Servial.   —>
http://www.candgnews.com/Homepage-Articles/2008/03-12-07/JG-CABLEAPP.asp
~

Chamber says no to TV forum
by Jimmy LaRoue
The News Virginian (VA)
03/12/08

[ comments invited ]

The president of the regional chamber of commerce said Wednesday the organization wants no part of a politically charged proposal to televise a candidate forum on the city government access channel.  “We don’t want to be pulled into this political tug of war, and that’s what it is,” said Ben Carter, president of the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce, “because we as a chamber have nothing to gain and everything to lose by allowing that to happen.”  Carter said the chamber has not requested to be involved in forums for Waynesboro City Council or school board candidates.   —>
http://www.newsvirginian.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WNV%2FMGArticle%2FWNV_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173354947712&path=!news!localnews
~

It’s alive! Wolfman Mac brings horror B-movie classics back to local TV
by Susan Whitall
The Detroit News  (MI)
03/13/08

[ comments invited ]

Tucked away on a quiet street in a Warren industrial park, a $14.95 skeleton from Wal-Mart is having a shrieking argument with a plastic plant. The two are sitting in a vintage hearse, with a husky wolfman at the wheel.  “There’s a weed whacker in the trunk!” the skeleton taunts the plant. A violent fight breaks out.

“If you two don’t knock it off, I’m going to turn this car around,” the werewolf warns. Then he grins at the TV camera, howls and delivers his tagline: “Hey kids, it’s time to lock the doors, pop some popcorn, roll out the sleeping bags and watch ‘Wolfman Mac’s Nightmare Sinema.'”

This is Stage 3 Productions, and original, local television is being created as Wolfman Mac, Detroit’s first horror movie host in decades, films a show late on a snowy Thursday.  “Wolfman Mac’s Nightmare Sinema” premieres on TV 20 Friday night at 1 a.m. (technically Saturday morning), with a furry, wisecracking host presenting the best of the worst black-and-white horror movies, as well as demented skits. It’s a return to the kind of local programming that used to be a staple of the TV dial in the early days of the medium in the 1950s and into the ’60s, but was largely dumped by local stations for syndicated fare in the ’80s.   —>
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080313/ENT10/803130366
~

Networked Community Communication Model
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition (MA)
03/13/08

[ comments invited ]

Seungahn Nah’s 2003 paper, “Bridging Offline and Online Community: Toward A Networked Community Communication Model” (see Works Cited) the author surveys literature on community studies from the Chicago School of sociology to social network analysis. He develops a holistic approach to community studies across both online and offline spaces. The author weaves together a range of physical and virtual communication environments to provide a way to study the “community phenomena” (24). In the Introduction, Nah writes

“Given that community in virtual space is also based on the community in physical space, and the two types of community are closely related to each other, we need to review the existing community studies comprehensively in order to understand the “online” community as well as the “offline” community. “(4)

In his Networked Community Communication Model, Nah explains that from this approach “linkage among structure, agent, and computer network can create and expand the concept of community from local based community to global community and integrates them into networked communication environment” (24).

Nah’s model is particularly helpful in looking at the community media center as a specific geographic location within which to study community in a way “in which all kinds of communication pattern are integrated and coexisted” (24).
http://cmediachange.net/blog/2008/03/13/networked-community-communication-model/
~

For the networks, television’s future is online
The launch of online syndication sites such as hulu.com underscore how television companies are using the Internet to leverage their key asset: well-made content.
by Gloria Goodale
The Christian Science Monitor
03/14/08

Predicting the death of network television is a popular pastime in Hollywood. After three decades of audience erosion to cable, the doomsaying has intensified in recent years as video-sharing websites such as YouTube and Facebook have demonstrated an audience of millions for low-budget video.

But it’s still not time to count the Big Five networks out yet, say media watchers. They may have stumbled in the transition to the world of digital entertainment, underestimating audience appetite for consumption in new media beyond traditional TV, but they’re rapidly trying to adapt.

This week, hulu.com a new, ad-supported site launched in partnership with Fox and NBC, showcases both companies’ programming via streaming video. ABC recently launched Stage 9 Digital Media, an online production house for short-form content. CBS has assembled a partnership of some 300 online syndication outlets such as AOL and Joost. And Fox has acquired the wildly successful social-networking website, MySpace. In part, the networks hope their online offerings will spur interest in traditional television programming. But, more than that, the networks want to establish bulwarks in the online universe where they can leverage their primary assets: well-crafted content.

“The model the networks come up with for distribution is going to affect everybody because everyone consumes TV in some way,” says Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University in New York.

That new business model is still very much a work in progress. If network television is to continue to provide big-budget productions to viewers without charge, it must attract enough eyeballs to draw advertisers. Increasingly, though, competition is coming from other forms of online entertainment.

In the networks’ favor: A great TV show can still trounce amateurish YouTube video for sheer entertainment value.   —>
http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0314/p12s02-altv.htm
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/12/08

March 13, 2008

[blip.tv ?posts_id=741864&dest=-1]

YAC at KZSU
by Midpeninsula Community Media Center
Media Center YAC
03/11/08

[ comments allowed ]

The Youth Advisory Council goes to visit KZSU Stanford radio station. (34:25)
http://mediacenteryac.blogspot.com/2008/03/yac-at-kzsu.html
~

No More School Board Meetings On Public Access Television?
by Steve Shuler
STEVE SHULER for Hillsborough County School Board District 5 (FL)
03/12/08

[ comments allowed ]

If Time Warner gets its way then you and I will no longer be granted our public access channels. In other words, our free speech will be stifled, eventhough, we, as a community, had given them monopoly access to our cable television market and our private land for their underground cables so, in turn, we would be allotted a number of channels for import things like School Board, City council, etc. But, they are doing their best to resolve themselves of this burden. —>
http://shulerforschoolboard.blogspot.com/2008/03/no-more-school-board-meetings-on-public.html#
~

Ward 3 Update from Councilmember Teri Anulewicz
by Mason
SmyrnaBlog.com (GA)
03/12/08

—> ALL City Council meetings are open to the public, and if you are a Charter Cable customer, you can watch the meetings live on Charter public access channel 19. You can also stream the meetings on your computer when they are rebroadcast on TV 23, Cobb County’s public access cable channel. For information on meeting rebroadcast schedules, go to http://communications.cobbcountyga.gov/tv23/.
http://smyrnablog.com/?p=284
~

Channel 17 to host media night on advertising
Burlington Free Press (VT)
03/12/08

“Advertising Inside Out, how we make up our minds,” is the subject of this month’s Media Education Night on Channel 17. The live, one-hour call-in talk show will be on March 26 at 6:30 p.m. These shows are interactive, topical discussions that provide thought on media consumption, production and experience. Attending the recording also allows the public to see behind the scenes of community media-making in the Channel 17 studio. Those who would like to volunteer to work on the series should contact morourke [at] cctv [dot] org. Groups and classes are welcome to attend.
http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080312/NEWS/80312005
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Conejo Valley Republican Women Watch: The Gameplan to Keep the White House
FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog (CA)
03/12/08

[ comments allowed ]

Mike Stoker, an attorney whose practice emphasizes land use, government, and business law, and who is the volunteer Chairman of the John McCain Presidential Campaign in Santa Barbara County will be addressing the Conejo Valley Republican Women today. The topic of his speech: “The Gameplan to Keep the White House.”… The speech will be recorded by public access cable television if you cannot make the event today.
http://flapsblog.com/?p=6580
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PEGspace at Drupalcon 2008
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition (MA)
03/12/08

[ comments allowed ]

For those interested in learning more about the intersection of Public Access Television and free and open source software, Jason Daniels (medfield.tv) forwarded along a link to audio & meeting minutes from a gathering of public broadcasting and public access media folks during the recent Drupal conference held in Boston, this year. —>
http://cmediachange.net/blog/2008/03/12/pegspace-at-drupalcon-2008/
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Public ownership of broadband access is best
by Christopher Mitchell
Eureka Reporter (CA)
03/02/08

[ 2 comments ]

Too many cities in California are stuck with slow (or no) broadband access. As the United States continues to dip in international broadband rankings, individual communities have a choice: build their own broadband network or hope someone else does it for them.

Broadband may be comparatively new, but these difficult questions of infrastructure have been with us for far longer. One hundred years ago, communities were told electricity was too complicated for municipal meddling and they should wait for private companies to electrify them. Thousands of communities realized that a community cannot wait for essential infrastructure. They accepted responsibility for their future and wired their towns. How little has changed since then.

California’s Broadband Task Force has released its final report, complete with maps showing some 2,000 communities without any access at all. Many more communities are underserved, offered an always-on connection faster than dial-up, but not by much. The Broadband Task Force recognizes the importance of universal broadband access in California. Broadband has already had an impact on education, economic development, public safety and entertainment. It may well revolutionize health care, especially in rural areas.

Unfortunately, the Broadband Task Force has chosen the seductive path of dependence on private providers for these networks. Public ownership is a better plan. Broadband networks are here for the long haul, and our dependence on them will only increase. Many citywide wireless networks are privately owned, depending on city government as an anchor tenant. The network requires city money without offering the city any control. Under such circumstances, owning beats renting.

The Broadband Task Force clearly views public ownership as a last resort, allowing community services districts to offer broadband only when a private provider refuses. Once the CSD has taken the risk and built a functioning network, it must sell it to an interested private provider.

Public ownership should not be a fallback option. Digital Rio Dell, a collaboration with the local community media provider Access Humboldt and the city of Rio Dell, has shown the power of a community-led alternative. —>
http://eurekareporter.com/article/080302-public-ownership-of-broadband-access-is-best
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[ Here’s a good, lengthy cover story on Philadelphia’s Media Mobilizing Project. – rm ]

The Revolution Will Be Digitized
The Media Mobilizing Project works to bring grassroots organization into the 21st century.
by Doron Taussig
Philadelphia City Paper (PA)
03/11/08

[ comments allowed ]

A cab driver, a janitor, a maintenance man, a nurse and several other mostly blue-collar workers are seated around a square of tables. The room they’re in is a converted truck garage — one of the walls is just an enormous door — and the neighborhood is Brewerytown, a pocket at the edge of lower North Philly where the contrast between the developing city (in the form of new Westrum townhouses) and the decrepit city (the shells of old row homes) has reached almost caricatural proportions. It’s Sunday. They’ve come here to learn how to make a documentary.

In the arbitrary front of the makeshift classroom, three young white women guide a discussion. “What stories do we hear in the media?” they ask. The class answers: politics, celebrities, new development, crime, sports, drugs (there’s a long tangent about Barry Bonds). Then the teachers ask what stories the students would like to tell. “Unsafe schools,” says the maintenance man. “Murders and robberies of cab drivers,” says the cabbie. “The impact of language as a barrier,” a health-center worker from Haiti chimes in. “Job competition from immigrants,” offers the janitor.

Just outside the classroom door, next to a loud, on-its-last-legs coffeemaker, a satisfied-looking man named Todd Wolfson stands, discoursing about the rationale behind a class likes this. He talks about “Ford-ism,” and how there was a time when workers used the physical proximity of the factory to organize into collective bargaining units. That doesn’t work as well in a service economy — cabbies, for instance, are rarely all in one place at one time. But, Wolfson points out, there are other ways for workers to talk to each other. “New media also organizes, because it’s a decentralized communications form,” he says.

Wolfson, 35, is of average build, with long hair and a beard that combine to form a kind of mane. A middle-class white guy with hard-left politics, he once spent three years living in Namibia and Kenya before deciding he “didn’t want to be a white male anthropologist who studies in Africa.” He came to Philly to pursue a Ph.D. at Penn, chose as his dissertation subject the Philadelphia Independent Media Center (IMC), and became preoccupied with the role of communications in organizing. In 2006, he joined with four other local activists to found the Media Mobilizing Project (MMP), an organization that seeks to bring 21st-century media technologies to the grassroots. —>
http://www.citypaper.net/articles/2008/03/13/the-revolution-will-be-digitized
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
2020-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org