Archive for the ‘telecommunications policy’ category

Surviving Language Migration From Telecom to Broadband Policy

October 2, 2008

[ posted on behalf of Chuck Sherwood ~ rm ]

Here is a PDF file of the article that I wrote for the most recent issue of NATOA Journal: “In My Opinion: Surviving Language Migration From Telecom to Broadband Policy.”  It puts forth the idea that instead of using the traditional FCC classifications of Title I–Information Service, Title II–Telecom Service and Title VI-Cable Service, which have created such funding and regulatory havoc these past five years for PEG Access Centers and Local Franchising Authorities, that Congress should create a new classification of Title VII-Bit Stream Service, that would collect use fees from all Bit Stream Providers for the use of Public Rights of Way and Public Spectrum to deliver voice, video and data services regardless of whether they use wireline or wireless infrastructure to deliver those services.  Check it out! (more…)

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/02/08: World Press Freedom Day

May 3, 2008

“Broadcasting, Voice, and Accountability”
Book Offers Tools to Foster Independent Broadcast Media in Developing Countries
The World Bank
05/02/08

People from the foothills of the Himalayas to small communities in Benin listen to the radio or watch TV. Now a new book seeks to help developing countries foster a diverse broadcasting sector that truly informs and empowers their citizens.

“Broadcasting, Voice and Accountability,” published this week by the World Bank Institute, is a best-practices guide to the kinds of policies, laws and regulations that result in a free, independent and responsible media, greater transparency in government, and more open public debate.

“The enabling environment for the media is crucial to the type of media we have, and that, in turn, has a critical role in development,” says co-author Steve Buckley, President of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters. “The media can play a role as checks and balances ensuring good governance and accountability.”

The 400-page book, the culmination of five years of research by six media experts, was presented just ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3, in Maputo, Mozambique, at a conference on freedom of expression hosted by the United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). —>
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:21753143~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html
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Broadcasting, Voice, and Accountability
Steve Buckley, Kreszentia Duer, Toby Mendel and Seán Ó Siochrú
World Bank Institute
05/02/08 [?]

This book provides guidelines, tools, and real world examples to help assess and reform the enabling environment for media development that serves public interest goals. It builds on a growing awareness of the role of media and voice in the promotion of transparent and accountable governance, in the empowerment of people to better exercise their rights and hold leaders to account; and in support of equitable development including improved livelihoods, health, and access to education. The book provides development practitioners with an overview of the key policy and regulatory issues involved in supporting freedom of information and expression and enabling independent public service media. Country examples illustrate how these norms have been institutionalized in various contexts.

* Introduction (PDF 54KB)
* Chapter 1 (PDF 215 KB) –
* Table of Contents (PDF 35 KB) –
* Podcast Interview with Steve Buckley (co-author and President of the WACRB)
Real Media ; MP3
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/WBI/0,,contentMDK:21747844~pagePK:209023~piPK:207535~theSitePK:213799,00.html
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World Press Freedom Day (Malaysia)
Little Garden of Joy
05/02/08

[ 2 comments ]

World Press Freedom Day is an annual and global event dedicated to press freedom. What is press freedom? Press freedom is a guarantee by the government of free public press for its citizens, and extending to journalists, even bloggers. With respect to governmental information, the government chooses which materials are revealed to the public and which materials that should be protected from disclosure. The purpose of this is to protect national interest as to conceal matters of sensitivity and controversy. Sadly, in Malaysia, much is being concealed from public interests despite continuous appeals from the public for the government to be as transparent as possible. [ … ]

The role of community media
Even though many media outlets have made provisions for audience participation and have therein become more accessible to the people they serve, nowhere is accessibility and specificity of purpose so well defined as with community media. Currently radio is the most widespread form of community media in the developing world because it is cheap to produce and to access, can cover large areas, and overcomes illiteracy. —>
http://sarahliane.blogspot.com/2008/05/world-press-freedom-day-malaysia.html
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World Press Freedom Day: Not there yet, say Hungarian media reps
MTI Daily Bulletin (Hungary)
05/02/08

Budapest – Hungary essentially has a free press, but needs improvement, Hungarian media organisation chiefs told MTI on the eve of May 3, UN World Press Freedom Day. “Freedom of the press is the product of democracy and societal operations: always a conflictive area,” said Pal Eotvos, chairman of the National Association of Hungarian Journalists (MUOSZ). Still unresolved problems include restrictions on court reporting and the manner in which the law determines slander. In addition, he said, the media is at the intersection of two conflicting constitutional rights: the rights of ownership and freedom of speech, adding that most Hungarian media are foreign-owned. —>
http://english.mti.hu/default.asp?menu=1&theme=2&cat=25&newsid=251966
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Liberia: Three Draft Media Laws Advance Through Legislature; CEMESP Urges Their Approval As World Press Freedom Day Approaches
Center For Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP) (Toronto)
05/01/08

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, CEMESP welcomes the introduction in the House of Representatives of three draft media laws, presented to that body on 17 April 2008 by a coalition of media and civil society organisations. Liberia’s House of Representatives introduced three draft Liberian media laws (An Act to Transform the Liberia Broadcasting System into a Public Service Broadcaster, An Act to Establish an Independent Broadcast Media Regulatory Commission and a Freedom of Information Act) during its regular plenary session on 29 April.

The laws, produced under the banner of the Liberia Media Law and Policy Reform Group, itself an outgrowth of the internationally sanctioned Partnership for Media Development and Conflict Prevention in West Africa, have been four years in the making, during which there was a series of consultations involving civil society, the media, government and the international community. —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200805020122.html
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Southern Africa: SADC Sliding Down Media Freedom Scale
by Kaitira Kandjii
Financial Gazette (Harare)
05/01/08

The Media Institute of Southern Africa, a regional media and freedom of expression advocacy organisation, based in Windhoek and working through national chapters in 11 Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries joins the rest of the world in marking the World Press Freedom Day on Saturday.

MISA commemorates May 3 under the theme “Press Freedom, Access to Information and empowering the people.” This theme captures all we expect from our media, and the role our governments should play in promoting media and freedom of expression rights.

The 2008 World Press Freedom Day comes at a time when the enjoyment and respect for media and freedom of expression rights in Southern Africa is on the slide. We mark May 3 under the shadow of a crisis in Zimbabwe and the deterioration of media freedoms throughout the region notably in Lesotho, Angola and Swaziland. May 3 comes at a time when the international spotlight is once again on Southern Africa, home to some of the world’s archaic and repressive media environments with Zimbabwe taking the lead.

We mark May 3 with mixed feelings, while we have made substantive strides since the Windhoek declaration in 1991, the last three years have witnessed a steady deterioration of media freedom, reminiscent of Africa’s one party state era of the 70’s and early 80s, characterised by the suppression of the basic fundamental rights of freedom of expression, assembly and human dignity. —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200805020644.html
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USAID Supports World Press Freedom
PRNewswire
05/02/08

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) salutes the bravery and professionalism of journalists throughout the world and condemns all actions to suppress press freedoms.

May 3 marks World Press Freedom Day, a date set aside to reflect upon the key importance of freedoms of media and information. Free media perform critical checking functions on governments, raising the quality of governance. A free press also provides voice to citizens, creates public forums to discuss key issues, and contributes to social-economic development. But journalism can be a challenging, even dangerous profession, as witnessed by the killings of over one hundred journalists during 2007.

The U.S. government, through USAID, has supported enabling conditions for media to freely provide objective news and information to citizens in more than 50 countries. USAID will continue to support those individuals and organizations that are committed to freedom of the press and looks forward to the day when independence throughout the media can be found worldwide. Examples of USAID efforts include: —>
http://sev.prnewswire.com/publishing-information-services/20080502/DC2129902052008-1.html
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[ The communications infrastructure is not unrelated to the content capable of flowing over it. Hence, the relevance of broadband policy to world press freedom… ~ rm ]

Explaining International Broadband Leadership
by Robert D. Atkinson, Daniel K. Correa and Julie A. Hedlund
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
05/01/08

Executive Summary (PDF)

It is hard to follow broadband telecommunications policy without hearing almost weekly that the United States ranks 15th out of 30 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations in broadband adoption. But it is much less apparent why the United States is behind. Indeed, relatively little work has been done to understand why some nations are ahead, and why some, like the United States, are lagging. By examining OECD nations through statistical analysis and in-depth case studies of nine nations, including the United States, this report attempts to do just that.

In identifying factors that have spurred broadband performance in other nations, we present key findings that government and the technology industry must recognize if we are to find the right course for the United States. And we propose key policy recommendations that will drive greater broadband performance. —>
http://www.itif.org/index.php?id=142
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[ Technology may always dazzle and divert, promising grace and glory, but in human nature lies our salvation or curse, if either there be. ~ rm ]

In Medias Res: Brilliant, Scary, Visionary, and Strange
The Parasitic Meme
by Rob
05/02/08

[ comments invited ]

Russell has some thoughts about a speech by Clay Shirkey in which he discusses his observations about social surpluses. He makes a certain case there by recounting a conversation with a person who couldn’t understand where the people who edit wikipedia articles find the time to do so. And in a speech which likens television sitcoms of the mid to late 20th century to gin pushcarts of the late 19th to early 20th century, he points out that those people have found that kind of time by not watching as much television as they used to.

I confess to being weary of tech visionaries. I don’t agree with Clay Shirkey about the transcendence of what he’s seen. Either that or I simply can’t get excited about tech progress any longer. Or I see his anecdotes as data points in much larger trends which have “changed the world” in superficial ways, but not in fundamental ones.

Consider, for example, the rhetoric that used to swirl around the invention of various devices we now take for granted. Perhaps the telephone is a good example. At first, people were shocked and appalled at a device, essentially the very first automation network, which could utter sounds made before then only by a human throat. Leave aside the notion that a human was still required to make the sound, he was still making a machine imitate it an appreciable distance away.

So, looking “from 30,000 feet” at the growth of the phone network, first, there was resistance, sometimes lots of resistance, then embrace by the wealthiest or most technologically inclined of the population, followed by a general acceptance of the tool by commercial interests, followed by general acceptance by all the population, followed by a worldwide build-out of the network.

But during those first years, the rhetoric was of a revolution in the way humans interacted. Some even declared that it would end wars, because people could then talk to one another more easily and misunderstandings could be resolved with the new gizmo far easier than with the old.

Since then the human race has fought the bloodiest wars in the history of civilization, and endured the most brutal tyrannies, alongside some of the highest and most noble expressions of lovingkindness and humanitarianism. Good and bad, but no fundamental change in human behavior, because there were now telephones.

The same sorts of things can and have been said about any subsequent innovation. Television was supposed to be a premier educational tool, bringing teachers to far-flung places. Hopefully the primary use of television today illuminates the absurdity of that assumption.

FM Radio was supposed to supplant AM Radio as a better technology than before. But RCA undertook to destroy its inventor personally, rather than buy shares in its technology.

The attitude towards the computer was that it would eventually become “machines that make big decisions / Programmed by fellows with compassion and vision” with the promise that “we’ll be clean when their work is done / We’ll be totally free, yes, and totally young, mmmm…”

What a beautiful world that will be, indeed. Donald Fagin’s “IGY” (for the International Geophysical Year declared by world scientists) captured the rhetoric of the revolutionary, common when we Americans were reaping the low-hanging fruit of the second large network to be built after the telephone, namely, the electric power grid. It was the attitude that got my American society to agree to send a man to the Moon and return him home again. [ … ]

It is ironic that Fagin released “IGY” in 1982, when the shine had come off the electric grid, after one energy crisis and during the tail end of a second, and when pollution, global climate change (then called global cooling, actually!), and peak oil were starting to be on everyone’s mind. By then the Internet was a connection network for large computers owned by the military and the universities affiliated in one way or another with DARPA.

Ten years from that point I would be of age, and be participating in a small way in the build out of that fourth internetwork, following the voice, power, and transistor networks which had already been designed and built. At that time I was fully enraptured by the revolution the Internet and computers could provide.

Since then, I’ve seen the same things happen “over the Web” that happened with the first telephone network, and the upheavals of the power grid and the rollouts of various, faster, and smaller computers. Resistance to the new technology is most often followed by attempts by established powers to own the new technology and shape it to their benefit. Witness the fights between Western Union and Alexander Graham Bell. Farnsworth and RCA. Steve Jobs and Microsoft. Any number of music publishers and the anarchists who use the Internet to duplicate their intellectual property against all laws. Efforts by movie companies to control through the DMCA. The “Net Neutrality” debates.

That ought to be enough of a body of examples to showcase what I think is true: Visionaries can’t see the future. Bell’s prognostications about the phone network, Kurzweil’s and Gates’ about computers, Roosevelt’s about the power grid, all were partly true and partly appallingly false. The telephone network was built, the power grid, television broadcast networks, but we are not “totally free” nor “totally young”.

Instead, basic human nature continues to rule. Now, Shirken talks about a tiny fraction of all the people participating in media interactivity, blogs and online votes and Web 2.0 stuff. As a revolution, because people were choosing to “wake up” from the 20th century’s equivalent to the gin cart, namely, broadcast television entertainment.

He isn’t alone in this kind of thinking, obviously, both since it is plain to see the ease with which young people obtain cheap computers and use them to communicate with one another, and to see how baffling these new approaches to communication are to those of us who are used to older technologies.

Hopefully, though, I’ve been able to demostrate why I don’t see those things as “revolutionary” or even very important for changing society or the world. Instead of sudden, the changes he highlights appear to me to flow apace, as society behaves the same about every new innovation as it did about all the old ones. As a very early adopter of what people now call text messaging and of the power of the so-called “social networks” (I used Unix “talk” and still use Usenet, for two examples), coupled with my study of modern history (for which I am not lettered, merely educated), I claim armchair expertise in the field as a social observer.

Hence, the observation he offered is pedestrian, and not terribly inspiring to me. I claim this even as I buy new iPhones and flat screens and computers for my own use, because they are dead useful tools. But they will not help us transcend ourselves. —>
http://www.parasiticmeme.com/?p=22
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannel.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

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
~

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
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/28/08

March 30, 2008

Verizon CEO seeks pact on a state cable license
by Jay Fitzgerald
Boston Herald (MA)
03/28/08

[ comments invited ]

Verizon’s Ivan Seidenberg wants to cut a broadband deal with Massachusetts – and Mayor Thomas Menino signaled yesterday he’s willing to listen to his offers. The giant telecom’s chief executive, who spoke at yesterday’s Boston College Chief Executives’ Club of Boston lunch, said Verizon is willing to wire rural and other remote areas of the state if lawmakers give the company a “statewide license” to deploy its broadband cable and Internet service without negotiating with individual towns. —>
http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1083342
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AT&T, EBR approve TV deal
Action adds new competitor
by Ben Calder
Advocate (LA)
03/28/08

AT&T and the city-parish have reached an agreement to allow the company to offer television service in East Baton Rouge Parish, adding another competitor to a market that includes cable provider Cox Communications and satellite services Dish Network and Direct TV. The agreement, ratified by a unanimous vote by the Metro Council Wednesday night, will allow the company to begin providing Internet-based television programming along with its Internet and phone service through fiber or copper lines using a set-top box.

But AT&T spokeswoman Karen Beck said the company will not say when people can begin using the service, called AT&T U-verse, already offered in 12 states. The city-parish will get 5 percent of AT&T’s gross revenue from subscription fees and 0.5 percent of gross revenue to support the capital costs incurred for the construction and operation of the city-parish’s public, educational and governmental channels.

The mayor’s office did not return a call for comment Thursday. The council approved the deal without comment the evening before. The agreement, which Beck said has been in the works for about six months, is the first between a Louisiana municipality and AT&T. Beck said while AT&T plans to pursue similar agreements with New Orleans and other cities with a home rule charter predating 1974, its next step will be to try to get a statewide franchise.

AT&T did so two years ago, but then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco vetoed the bill. The company said House Bill No. 1009 and Senate Bill No. 422 were filed late last week and will enable AT&T to obtain a statewide franchise. Beck said she did not know whether Gov. Bobby Jindal would be more receptive to the bill if it passes again. —>
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/17077326.html
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“AT&T, EBR approve TV deal”
by John St. Julien
Lafayette Pro Fiber (LA)
03/28/08

[ 2 comments ]

Well, that was fast! The day before yesterday we noted here that AT&T through its astroturf subsidary TV4US had launched the public relations champaign to support its statewide video franchise law. This morning we see the first substantial political move in the upcoming battle. Baton Rouge has cut a deal with AT&T and so is taken off the board in an early first move of the chess pieces.

AT&T, according to the Advocate, has reached a franchise agreement with the East Baton Rouge City-Parish government to provide cable TV (aka “video services”) in the parish. Follows a summary of what seems to be going on with the caveat that all I have to go on is the article…I can’t find the ordinance or contract online as I would be able to in Lafayette—anyone have access?

AT&T will have the right to offer its new “U-verse” services (site, overview) in the parish for 5 percent of revenues to the general fund and .5% of revenues to support public, educational, and governmental channels (PEG channels). Presuming that turns out to be correct (and enforceable) its a good deal on two of the three major issues that any locale should consider: a fair price for the rental of public land and support for local media. Realizing any actual benefit from those two will depend on the third leg: the product being offered to a sizeable number of citizens.

AT&T has long made it clear that they do not intend to offer this product to just anyone…instead they want to offer it chiefly to their “high value” customers and less than 5% of their “low-value” purchasers. (Fiber To The Rich, FTTR) If you figure out the implications of what they told investors back when this plan got underway they only intend to offer this product to about half of their current population base. Baton Rouge and other wealthy centers in generally cash-poor Louisiana might get U-Verse in rich neighborhoods but I’d be surprised if it went much into North Baton Rouge and Scotlandville. That might prove a difficult thing for Mayor Kip Holden to explain.

A bit of unease about the part AT&T was unwilling to promise might well, in turn, explain the secrecy with which this deal was constructed and the stealth with which it was executed. Holden received the council’s blessing to negotiate on Wednesday with no (that’s NO) discussion, and was able close and announce the deal on Thursday. The fix was in. (*) What didn’t happen was any public discussion of the pros and cons of the deal offered by AT&T–discussion which might well have lead to uncomfortable demands that the city-parish require AT&T to actually serve the citizens whose property AT&T wants to use. Such a requirement is part of Cox’s deal…but not, I have to strongly suspect, part of the deal with AT&T. —>

And, speaking of Cox, what about the cable companies? Where do they play in this game? A smart reporter will try and delve into that question. AT&T is using its extraordinary influence in the legislature to push two very bad video bills through the legislature. By comparison the cable companies have relatively little influence. What’s curious is that Lafayette is the state’s largest community to whom these bills will apply. Should Lafayette succeed, as she did two years ago, in getting herself excluded along with other older home rule communities the five largest metro areas of the state comprising the wealthiest 35-40% of the state’s population will have to have local franchises anyway. Since no one (except deliberately naive legislators) actually believes that AT&T is going to provide video in rural regions the question has to be who will really benefit?

One devious answer would have to be: the cable companies. They will be able to drop their local franchises with the communities that actually own the land they want to use, pick up a state franchise at a 30% discount in fees and NO local obligation to serve PEG channels. In other states like North Carolina where the phone company waged a bitter war to win the right to a state video franchise they didn’t make use of it and filed few such requests. On the other hand their supposed cable opponents made out like bandits snatching up state franchises which allowed them to drop the more demanding local ones. The end result was no significant new competition, no price drops, and a huge drop in income to local municipalities.

Somebody in North Carolina got taken…..and the grifters are on the prowl here

(*)Revealing tidbit: The wikipedia section on U-Verse vailability was updated to include Baton Rouge on the 25th, two days before Baton Rouge supposedly concluded the deal and one day before the city-parish council approved negotiations. Not surprisingly, the prescient anonymous editor who added Baton Rouge to the list of cities was operating from a “BellSouth” (now AT&T) URL. The fix was in….
http://lafayetteprofiber.com/Blog/2008/03/at-ebr-approve-tv-deal.html
~

Metro Live Television Chat Far More Informative Than Metro Live Online Chat
by Fred Camino
MetroRider LA (CA)
03/28/08

[ 11 comments ]

Last night, Metro Board member Pam O’Connor answered questions and spoke about the Long Range Transit Plan on Los Angeles Public Access Television. I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch the live show last night, but watched it on the web this morning. You can check out the show on LA36’s website, right here.

The hour long show proved to be a much better medium for Pam than her monthly home on the Metro Interactive online chat, which is pretty much universally panned for its inability to be either interactive or informative. Metro Live, despite its obviously public access level production values, managed to keep my attention for the entire hour. Pam’s answers came off a lot more candid and sincere than they do on the online chat, which for the most part seem like copy-paste clippings from Metro press releases. That’s not to say she didn’t paint a rosy picture of Metro when faced with some hardballs, from hearing her talk you’d think the TAP card is the second coming and fare gates are neccessary, well, just because. Here’s some highlights (and lowlights). —>
http://metroriderla.com/2008/03/28/metro-live-television-chat-far-more-informative-than-metro-live-online-chat/
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March Madness: Bruins, O’Connor Both Win During TV Showdown
by Damien Newton
Streetsblog Los Angeles (CA)
03/28/08

[ 1 comment ]

LA Streetsblog picks up the action as UCLA holds a 28-15 lead over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in their Sweet Sixteen match up in the NCAA Tournament. UCLA is wearing their home whites despite being miles from Westwood. The game is being broadcast nationally at CBS.

Meanwhile, Metro Board Chair Pam O’Connor was wearing her road pinks at her home court at Santa Monica City Hall for a call-in-show about Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan. Metro Live! was broadcast on LA City Cable Channel 36 and Santa Monica Channel 16. Just like UCLA ended up winning after some shaky moments, O’Connor gave a strong performance despite perhaps over focusing on the benefits of TAP cards. We pick up the action, after the jump. —>
http://la.streetsblog.org/2008/03/28/march-madness-bruins-o%e2%80%99connor-both-win-during-tv-showdown/
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Singer in tune with message
by Kerri Roche
Daily News Tribune (MA)
03/28/08

[ 2 comments ]

Unlike many celebrities and stars, Renee Marcou is not waiting for fame to envelop her before she gets puts her name next to an important cause. While she puts together her second album, Marcou, 19, also serves as the spokeswoman for the Baby Safe Haven New England Foundation. Yesterday morning, she belted out her latest tunes for a student-produced segment on Waltham Education Television, combining her passion for pop, rhythm and blues with a less than Hollywood-glamour conversation about abandoned babies…

A Wilmington native, Marcou, who has family, including Councilor at-large David Marcou, living in Waltham, has performed at Gillette Stadium and in Los Angeles and Chicago. When she’s not performing, she is a guest on radio and television shows throughout New England, promoting her songs and the options for reluctant parents.

Although WE-TV won’t get the audiences of NECN, where Marcou has previously appeared, Morrisey said local cable television and radio shows generate attention from their target audience – young adults. “You would think a high school TV station wouldn’t be important, but actually we found … they’re probably the most important media outlets to get the message out to. That’s what kids listen to,” said Morrisey. “She’s done every genre of radio of format from punk rock to sports talk.”

Waltham students invited Marcou to their half-hour magazine-style news show because of her vocal and dancing talents, said Patrick Daly, high school television production teacher. Although the student interviewers P.J. Centofanti and Jen Gullotti will likely focus on her career path, the conversation will undoubtedly shift toward Marcou’s more serious work, said Daly. “That’s the cause that she promotes, so we’ll talk about that as well,” said Daly, who added that the segment will air in a few weeks. —>
http://www.dailynewstribune.com/news/x334360812
~

One Class
by Will Okun
New York Times
03/27/08

[ 185 comments ]

The average Chicago Public School freshman misses 20 school days a year and fails more than two semester classes. At my high school on the Westside of Chicago, attendance trumps intelligence, work ethic and economic background as the most important indicator of achievement versus failure. In this case, Woody Allen is correct: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

In most communities, students attend school every day because they are convinced that educational achievement is essential to their future success. For many unfortunate reasons, however, this expectation does not exist for most low-income students in Chicago and other urban areas. How do we improve attendance at low-income schools where the current incentive of “a better future” is not sufficient?

According to high school junior Mark Hill, “One special class can make the difference. I know people who come to school just because they are involved in a sport or a certain extracurricular program or they have one great class that they are interested in.”

When rap superstar Kanye West explained the purpose of his education foundation, he stressed that music production classes could inspire “at-risk” kids to attend and remain in school in the same manner as athletics often do. “We have to involve kids in their education,” he told the reporters. “Kids will go to school if they have the opportunity to study something they love. Right now, they are not motivated by the curriculum.”

In my own nine years of teaching, students enrolled in my photography class boast a 90% daily attendance rate while students enrolled in my English classes maintain a daily attendance rate of only 70%. However, an even better example of the positive effect of a single class is Jeff McCarter’s Free Spirit Media video production program at North Lawndale College Prep.

McCarter’s students produce the insanely popular television show “Hoops High,” which features play-by-play game coverage of Chicago high school athletic events. The students are responsible for all aspects of production: they shoot, edit, and announce all of the action themselves. The students even conduct sideline interviews. “Everything you see is us — we’re doing it all,” brags freshman Daryl Jackson. “Most kids’ programs are run by adults where they control the final project, but here we are in charge.”

The final product is telecast every Saturday night on public access T.V. (CAN-TV) and is one of the station’s most popular shows with over 70,000 regular viewers. Students and faculty at my own school regularly watch the telecast. “First of all, they shoot all the best games, they know which games we want to see. But also, the announcers know what’s going on in the schools so you get all these side stories about the players and the fans,” explains student Lazzerick Allen. —>
http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/one-class/
~

Media Re:public Forum Panel on Participatory Media: Defining Success, Measuring Impact
by Victoria Stodden
Victoria Stodden
03/28/08

[ comments invited ]

Margaret Duffy is a Professor from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and she is speaking at Berkman’s Media Re:public Forum. She leads a Citizen Media Participation project to create a taxonomy of news categories and get a sense of the state of citizen media via sampling news across the nation. They are interested in where the funding in coming from, the amount of citizen participation, and getting an idea of what the content is. They are also creating a social network called NewNewsMedia.org connecting seekers and posters to bring together people interested in the same sorts of things…

Duffy is followed by Carol Darr, director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet (ipdi) at George Washington University. She is discussing the “Media Habits of Poli-fluentials” and building on work from the book, “The Influentials” by Ed Keller and Jon Berry. The idea is that one person in ten tells the other nine how to votes, where to eat, etc. The interesting thing Darr notes is that poli-fluentials (her term) are not elites in the traditional sense but local community leaders and ordinary folk who appear to be knowledgable to their peers. She notes that people who seem to know a lot of people tend to be these poli-fluentials. —>
http://blog.stodden.net/2008/03/28/media-republic-panel-defining-success-measuring-impact-of-participatory-media/
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Media Re:Public, part 7
by Nathaniel James
Phase Transitions
03/28/08

[ comments invited ]

Media Re:public is hosting this back channel. I got into this conversation with Sasha Costanza-Chock.

Nathan: For Ron C: how can cable access centers reach out to, connect, and collaborate with the world of new media and user generated content? There’s a tradition there that needs to connect!
schock: Check out Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and Denver Open Access. They are great examples of public access connecting to new media.
Nathan: Absolutely! But why are MNN, etc the exception? How can we port those models to PEG/access more universally?
schock: Well there’s one thing the funders might think about 🙂 Support extending those models around the country.
http://phasetransitions.blogspot.com/2008/03/media-republic-part-7.html
~

Comcast admits it can do the impossible
‘We will stop busting BitTorrents’
by Cade Metz
The Register (UK)
03/28/08

[ 16 commemnts ]

Faced with continued scrutiny from the US Federal Communications Commission, Comcast has agreed to release its choke hold on BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer traffic. It says it will soon adopt an alternative method of controlling upload traffic on its cable-based internet service. This also means that Comcast has acknowledged there’s an alternative method of controlling upload traffic on its cable-based internet service.

Today, with an early morning press release, the big-name American ISP and cable television provider said it would switch to “a capacity management technique that is protocol agnostic” by the end of the year. “We will have to rapidly reconfigure our network management systems, but the outcome will be a traffic management technique that is more appropriate for today’s emerging Internet trends,” Comcast Cable CTO Tony Werner said in a canned statement. “We have been discussing this migration and its effects with leaders in the Internet community for the last several months, and we will refine, adjust, and publish the technique based upon feedback and initial trial results.” Werner did not point out that Comcast also spent the last several months publicly defending its right to bust BitTorrents. —>
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/28/comcast_to_stop_busting_bittorrents/
~

Liberating the Electromagnetic Commons
by Andrew Back
carrierdetect.com (UK)
03/28/08

[ comments invited ]

I’ve always been fascinated with radio and it’s many applications: from Rugby’s MSF time signal and long-wave broadcast radio, through HF amateur radio and VHF PMR, to television, wireless networks and satellite navigation systems. Yes, I’m a radio geek.

So it should be of no surprise that I take a keen interest in how our incredibly scarce resource – the electromagnetic spectrum – is managed. And let’s be clear it is our resource as it truly belongs to the people and is not the product of the labours of an organisation or state, despite what some would rather have us believe. But since it is a finite resource and one of such value there is no avoiding the fact that it must be carefully managed. And this comes down at a top level to government agencies such as the FCC in the USA and Ofcom in the UK.

Up until now such agencies have largely done a good job of managing this resource and ensuring that spectrum is shared fairly and amongst a diverse range of users with varying needs. Of course for this thankless task they have not gone short of a bob or two, as has been demonstrated most visibly via the auctions for spectrum required for operating a 3G mobile service in the UK, which raised in excess of £22billion. —>
http://carrierdetect.com/?p=103
~

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/
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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
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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 – 03/16/08

March 17, 2008

The Future of American Communications Working Group
Institute for Information Policy, College of Communications
Pennsylvania State University

The Future of American Communications Working Group (FACT) will produce a volume outlining a new vision for communications policy in America and the practical steps needed to achieve it. The goal of the project is to produce a volume of work prescribing a comprehensive telecommunications policy agenda for the new federal administration to  be entering office in January 2009, an agenda that emphasizes the potential of information technologies for improving democratic discourse, social responsibility, and the quality of life, and the means by which information technologies can be made available to all Americans. —>
http://www.comm.psu.edu/FACT/
~

Media center making MAX headway
by Mark Anderson
Kiowa County Signal (KS)
03/14/08

The Kiowa County Media Center Advisory Board came away from a 90-minute meeting last Thursday with community media center project lightning rod Bert Biles of Kansas State with an appreciation of how rapidly Biles and his colleagues have been moving forward in recent weeks on the matter.  The media center itself, as outlined in The Signal last week, would eventually occupy the second floor of a two-tiered building—tentatively named the Kiowa County Commons—that would house the county library, county historical museum and county extension offices on the ground level.

At the heart of the media center concept of providing Kiowa County residents with around-the-clock access to community information via the Internet, is the establishment of the newest wireless technology, known as WiMAX, within the county.  WiMAX features a considerably stronger signal than the conventional Wi-Fi currently used.  Placing a WiMAX transmitter, in fact, atop the county’s three grain elevators in Haviland, Greensburg and Mullinville should, according to Biles, reach 90 percent of the county’s population with a dependable wireless signal…

Biles, however, disclosed a plan for the media center to “get on the air” broadcasting, via the Internet, live coverage of events before the completion of the Commons building through the use of a portable, television production trailer.  He shared drawings of the proposed trailer, at 24 feet in length and eight feet in width.  Such events broadcast would range from county commission meetings to high school athletic events.   —>
http://www.kiowacountysignal.com/homepage/x1775730622
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Weymouth: Traffic on TV
by Johanna Seitz
Boston Globe (MA)
03/16/08

Mayor Susan Kay is taking on traffic in her next televised public affairs broadcast, which will air next month on local cable WETC, Channel 11. “The town is almost at gridlock,” Kay said. “We have incredible traffic issues that we need to address – Weymouth Landing, Route 3A, everywhere.” She said she plans to invite representatives from the community and the state Highway Department to participate in the program. “We will certainly know the issues and will develop a plan from there,” she said. Kay’s first program, on a state affordable-housing law that affects Weymouth, is running on cable this month. She plans to discuss the town’s finances and budget in May.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/03/16/override_for_trash/?page=5
~

March 18 Information Forum on Impeachment at Studios of MCAM Manchester, NH
by Nancy White
Democracy for New Hampshire
03/16/08

[ comments invited ]

Brookline, NH – NH State Representative Betty Hall will be the featured panelist at the last in a series of informative forums centered on our Constitution. The forum entitled, “Defending Our Constitution: Let’s All Come Up For AIR—Accountability, Impeachment and Responsibility” will be carried live in the Manchester Community Access Media (MCAM) TV 23 studio in Manchester, 540 North Commercial Street at 7:30pm-9:30pm, Tuesday, March 18.

Joining Representative Hall will be John Kaminski, chairman for Maine Lawyers for Democracy; former US Senate candidate in 2006, Jean Hay Bright; current candidate for US Senate in Maine, Herbert Hoffman; Newfane, Vt. Selectman, Dan DeWalt; and US Congressman Dennis Kucinich via live connection.   —>
http://www.democracyfornewhampshire.com/node/view/5574
~

Inaugural – VideoCast March 10
by WPAA
OnTheParadeGround_Wallingford (CT)
03/09/08

[ comments invited ]

What better day to start a TV show about bringing sunshine to local topics of interest than the day after we loose an hour of sleep in preservation of daylight. On the Parade Ground is planned to be a forum for gathering knowledge about topics of public interest.  Callers will be encourage to share their knowledge, brainstorm ideas, and suggest if/then scenarios.The program will be facilitated by a resident of Wallingford. On the Parade Ground facilitator and crew will try to synthesize the topic in TV shorts that will run on WPAA’s Bulletin Board. The discussion will hopefully build on each other. One topic may lead to the another On the Parade Ground theme.   —>
http://ontheparadeground.blogspot.com/
~

looking for ideas to blog about?
by zen
blogAsheville (NC
03/15/08

[ 5 comments ]

We just had a wonderful 2nd meeting of Asheville Community Media and there will be interesting things to post, but for now, we’d like to promote a little cross-posting.

Who reads blogs? Mostly bloggers. Who watches URTV? Mostly TV gear heads. We’d like to get some crossover, some swapped thinking to get people looking at the wider range of Asheville media. If you blog and there’s a WPVM radio show you’ve heard that interests you, blog about it. If you have a URTV show that deals with local ideas, promote a blog that you read or give some support to a WPVM radio broadcast. The idea has always been to keep Ashevillians informed of the local goings on, and we are blessed with many forms of media. Many locals read the Mountain Xpress and the AC-T and feel informed or entertained. But the idea here is to cross-pollinate between print and net and sound and vision to form a more complete community. One in which YOU have some input.   —>
http://blogasheville.blogspot.com/2008/03/looking-for-ideas-to-blog-about.html
~

Sunshine week brings issues to light
Media studies of open government help expose community problems
by Cara O’Brien
The Reporter-Herald (CO)
03/16/08

[ comments invited ]

“A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps, both.”  — President James Madison, Aug. 4, 1822

“Press releases tell us when federal agencies do something right, but the Freedom of Information Act lets us know when they do not.”  — Sen. Patrick Leahy, 1996

The federal Freedom of Information Act went into effect in 1967 after President Lyndon B. Johnson, begrudgingly, signed it.  The federal act, as well as myriad state sunshine laws, protect the right of access to government records.  The law, much-touted by journalists, is actually utilized 95 percent of the time by the public, for whom it is intended.  “The more transparent and open government activities are, the more confidence people have in their government,” said Ed Otte, executive director of the Colorado Press Association. “This is a public issue, not a press issue.”

The city of Loveland’s 28 official requests for information in 2007 — many requests are handled without formal paperwork — included just two from reporters.  Governments, law offices, organizations doing studies and citizens all made formal requests to the city over the course of the year.

The media can, however, bring issues to light in a way private citizens often do not.  A survey of stories originating with Freedom of Information Act requests from 2004 to 2007 included: a Minneapolis Star-Tribune story on high salmonella levels at a turkey-processing plant in Minnesota; a Ventura County Star report of at least a dozen women’s deaths related to the use of a birth control patch; a Washington Post story of noncompliance with Medicare at many hospitals; and the list goes on.   —>
http://www.reporterherald.com/news_story.asp?ID=15607
~

Zimbabwe to screen foreign journalists covering polls
AFP
03/16/08

HARARE (AFP) — Zimbabwe plans to closely screen foreign media intending to cover upcoming elections amid suspicions uninvited observers and security personnel might impersonate Western journalists, state media reported Sunday.  Accreditation of some 300 foreign reporters who applied to cover the country’s March 29 general elections will be closely supervised, as the government was aware of “the machinations to turn journalists into observers,” George Charmba, information secretary, told the state-run Sunday Mail.

In particular, he said, the government feared “uninvited observers and security personnel from the Western countries,” might be applying to cover the vote as reporters, the weekly quoted Charamba as saying.  Preference would be given to reporters from Africa and the “national identity of the news organisations will be a major determinant,” he added.   —>
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hfYTgDTfz3xJ68h9OnOD34XjOasw
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/14/08

March 14, 2008

Kenya’s Indy Media
by Michelle Chen
In These Times
03/14/08

[ comments invited ]

While news reports across the world have displayed images of chaos shaking Kenya, an alternative media system driven by ordinary Kenyans is emerging in the East African country to help raise the voices of the seldom heard. The violent aftermath of President Mwai Kibaki’s disputed election in December has detonated Kenya’s festering ethnic, land and power struggles, leaving hundreds dead and displacing hundreds of thousands. But it has also energized the country’s independent media-makers, many of whom see their work as key to overcoming the crisis.

Fusing mass communication with political organizing, the Kenya Independent Media Center (IMC) has aired local activists’ perspectives on the violence and its root causes. Through its growing network of independent reporters, IMC Kenya aims to generate “information for action,” according to co-founder John Bwakali. The organization also tries to lead by example through its non-hierarchical structure as a collective—a potential model of radical self-empowerment in a society besieged by political disillusionment.

In an IMC audio piece, Jimani, a young activist with the Warriors, a Nairobi-based self-help group, reflects on the desperation that has pushed many of Kenya’s youth into violent clashes. “Why has a youth gone out to fight, ready to die?” he asks on a recording produced shortly after the elections. “Is it freedom for those who are oppressed in this world? Maybe you can say so.” But he continues: “As a [young] man is ready to go out there and die because he wants his voice to be heard, we need to give them that chance. We need to hear what they have to say to us.”

Some youth are amplifying their voices through a video collective called Slum-TV, led by Kenya-based media activists. By documenting everyday struggles in Mathare—a densely populated slum in the capital Nairobi—the project enables young people to produce homegrown media and, through local public screenings, fosters community dialogue. Following the outbreak of the post-election violence, Slum-TV has focused on current recovery efforts that bring together activists from different ethnic groups. Slum-TV co-founder Sam Hopkins noted the contrast with corporate media’s coverage of “tribal” violence. “The idea behind focusing on characters who have crossed the ethnic divide is really just to provide another version of what’s happening, to counteract the mainstream international media,” he says.

As an ear to the ground in their communities, grassroots media activists have sometimes been ahead of the news. Patrick Shomba and fellow artists, who founded the Ghetto Film Club media collective in 2006, foreshadowed the approaching unrest in a screenplay titled “The Ghetto President.” The film, created last year as a civic-education project, explored issues of corruption, voting rights, youth rights and ethnic conflict. After scraping together volunteer help and borrowed equipment, the group completed the film a few days before the election and held a public screening in a Nairobi slum. Their next film, they hope, will be about reconciliation.

Since cities like Nairobi are ethnically diverse, Shomba views street-level art as a way to “maintain the peace here in the urban sector, with a mix of culture and a mix of tribes.” Local youth lead the project as actors and producers—a rare opportunity for them to overcome marginalization. The group aims to eventually turn media work into a sustainable income source for young people wrestling with poverty, crime and lack of schooling in their communities.

In the post-election turmoil, Shomba is also working with Kenya’s budding community radio scene to air local news, as well as anti-violence messages, on three small urban stations, with an estimated reach of more than 2 million listeners. “What our guys can do at the grassroots,” he says, “the mainstream media can’t come and do.”

Though still in its infancy, grassroots reporting is gaining traction in Kenya. Since 2007, the Web-based Voices of Africa project, an initiative of the Africa Interactive Media Foundation, has delivered field reporting from mobile-phone-based correspondents in Kenya. Its coverage features video commentary from everyday people on politics, underlying social problems and concerns about the ongoing mediation talks.

Although Kenya’s independent media-makers generally do not face outright authoritarian restraints, more insidious barriers can impinge on their work. —>
http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/3565/kenyas_indy_media/
~

Broadband fight pits corporations against users, Internet future at stake
by Charlie White
DVICE
03/14/08

[ 2 comments ]

Whatever happened to the Information Superhighway? It was the big talk of the 90s, but now the United States has fallen to 16th place in the world for broadband deployment and availability, according to a survey by the Communication Workers of America. While we sink in the world rankings, service providers such as Comcast are slowing down the Internet connections of users who partake of too much of the touted “unlimited” service.

Meanwhile, the government is watching and listening to complaints of customers and users, but not doing much yet to stand in the way of the purveyors of Internet connectivity. Instead of expanding the pipes of the Internet, companies such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner have chosen to invest in acquiring smaller companies, amassing power and influence so they can dictate terms to the government and broadband users. They’d prefer to abolish Net neutrality and move toward a tiered service, vowing to control what we can see and hear on the Web, while leaving the services of competitors on a slower tier.

While these greedy corporations fight for control of the Internet and vie for the right to charge whatever prices they can extract, paying customers are trapped in a broadband world of lame connectivity that creeps toward obsolescence, without much recourse. With the future of the Internet and free speech at stake, what’s next? —>
http://dvice.com/archives/2008/03/shift_broadband.php
~

Verizon Gets Cozy With P2P File-Sharers
by Peter Svenson
AP Technology Writer
Seattle Times (WA)
03/14/08

Peer-to-peer file sharing, the primary vehicle for online piracy, has been as unpopular with Internet service providers as it has been popular with users. Providers have banned, blocked or slowed peer-to-peer traffic in their efforts to keep the flood of music, video, games and software from overwhelming their networks.

But Verizon Communications Inc. has broken ranks with the industry and announced Friday that it plans to help its users share files faster _ at least those who do it legally. With researchers at Yale University and a group of companies that make file-sharing software, Verizon collaborated to enable faster downloads for consumers and lower costs for participating ISPs. —>
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2004281516_app2pverizon.html?syndication=rss
~

BitTorrent CEO: Rethinking Media Store, No Business Impact From Comcast
by Dan Frommer
Silicon Valley Insider
03/14/08

[ comments invited ]

BitTorrent’s two big projects: Getting media giants to pay them to deliver video over its peer-to-peer network. And getting BitTorrent’s downloading software pre-installed on consumer electronics devices like DVR set-top boxes, home network routers, and TV sets.

So how’s it going? New CEO Doug Walker says his company can undercut content distribution firms like Akamai Technologies (AKAM) and Limelight Networks (LLNW) by 50%, and will have a some big deals to announce within a month. And he expects more than 5 million BitTorrent-enabled consumer electronics devices to ship in the next year; he says he’ll be able to get 50 cents to $2 in licensing fees per device.

Both business-to-business pitches are a big shift from the company’s first project after making nice with Hollywood more than two years ago: That’s when BitTorrent started building a consumer-focused digital media store, including movies, TV episodes, games, and music. Via deals with News Corp. (NWS), Viacom (VIAB), and Time Warner (TWX), that’s helped big media companies get comfortable with the idea of working with BitTorrent. But the store hasn’t taken the market by storm: Its most popular movie available for purchase right now is 2007’s “The Reaping.”

Walker talked to us about his new projects and whether cable giant Comcast’s (CMCSA) policy of disrupting some BitTorrent file transfers has affected his business. —>
http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/3/bittorrent_ceo_rethinking_media_store_no_business_impact_from_comcast
~

Group considers ways to build educational TV
New offering would be similar to CitySpan10
by Ted Holteen
Durango Herald (CO)
03/14/08

A new task force charged with deciding how a future educational cable channel in Durango will be run met for the first time Thursday, but there are sure to be more questions than answers for a while. An educational channel, or more accurately, funding for an educational channel, is included in the agreement between the city of Durango and Bresnan Communications, the local cable provider serving about 6,000 Durango households.

Under Federal Communications Commission regulations, the cable franchisee is required to pay the city a fee for Public, Education and Government, or PEG, programming. Each cable subscriber is charged a nominal fee for PEG channels to cover Bresnan’s cost.

Currently, Durango Community Access Television (DCAT, channel 22) receives about $7,000 in PEG fees for the public portion, and CitySpan 10 receives an equal amount for the government portion. There is no educational channel, but DCAT has been airing Durango School District 9-R board meetings for the last two years. Each channel also receives separate city funding for operations and equipment.

Assistant City Manager Greg Caton said there is about $13,000 in educational channel money in city coffers that has accrued since a new franchise agreement was signed with Bresnan in January 2007. The Durango City Council directed the formation of the task force last fall to find the best way to use those funds, find more money and decide who will run the channel and where it will be housed.

Most local educational institutions are represented on the task force – the school district, Fort Lewis College and Pueblo Community College – as well as DCAT, Inside Durango TV (IDTV channel 15), CitySpan 10 and several at-large community members. All agree that the need exists for separate educational programming, but starting a new television channel is neither easy nor cheap.

“Seven thousand dollars won’t pay to run a channel – others will have to step up,” said Marc Snider, owner of Exposure Productions. Snider’s company is contracted by the city to run CitySpan 10. Both Snider and DCAT Executive Director Chris Hall asked City Council for the right to run an educational channel during budget discussions last fall, prompting the formation of the task force to make the decision. —>
http://durangoherald.com/asp-bin/article_generation.asp?article_type=news&article_path=/news/08/news080314_5.htm
~

Kankakee County tuning in local TV
by John Stewart
The Daily Journal (IL)
03/14/08

[ comments invited ]

Anybody can post a video on YouTube.com with a cheap Web cam and an even cheaper microphone. But not everyone gets on television or can make a video that gets on television. That’s because television still has a “mystique,” according to Steve Bertrand, assistant director of the Kankakee Public Library.

Although television might be “dying,” Bertrand believes there is still something very appealing about saying “I made something, and I got it on TV.” Bertrand is one of more than a dozen Kankakee County people who have spoken up recently in favor of public access television — TV made by the people for cable television. According to its proponents, it is good for the people and for their government. But locally, it has been a reality in just the village of Manteno.

Among those interested in establishing public access are seven Kankakee County Board members, who voted last month to tell local cable provider Comcast to make public access available in the area the county is responsible for — outside the cities and towns. County Board member Ann Bernard said if the county government takes the first step, it could lead to other governments participating.

In Manteno, local programming is found on channel 4 and is created by Village View, a group of 12 volunteers. Village View was started in 1989, according to President Mike Hill. Funded by the village board through the cable television tax, Village View elects its own officers and does all the videotaping and editing.

Village View content ranges from weekly church services and monthly local government meetings to sports and community festivities. The nongovernment or church activities totaled 96 events last year, Hill said. While YouTube may be popular with the Internet-savvy, public access brings school events, including concerts, to those who cannot attend.

A special public hearing about Aqua Illinois taking over the public water supply, a change that had the potential to affect the entire community, was also covered on television — making government more accessible. Bertrand said the library could provide video of its public speaker series to public access. An upcoming library expansion will include a lab where local people can learn not only how to surf the Web, but also how to take digital photographs and to share them. He sees a day when lessons will also be taught in making videos. “Television is old technology,” Bertrand said, but “public access isn’t. The concept is very new.” —>
http://daily-journal.com/archives/dj/display.php?id=416294
~

Can you hear it pumping on your I-Pod?
Five Public Opinions
03/14/08

[ 2 comments ]

Sammy Jankis has tagged me with the following meme: “What are your favourite 3 podcasts? Why?“

For mine (and for Sammy, incidentally), the cream of the crop has to be The Atheist Experience. This is actually a public access TV show filmed in Austin, Texas, on behalf of the Atheist Community of Austin, but it is also available in audio format. Several of the hosts are ex-fundamentalist Christians, including the host Matt Dillahunty whose no-nonsense approach–particularly when dealing with fundies who call in with (as Sammy puts it) “phone in one hand Bible in the other to tell some atheists what atheists think”–is an absolute pleasure to watch (or listen to, as the case may be). The Atheist Experience experienced a recent upsurge in intertube notoriety when a portion of a February show, in which a caller threatens to come down to the studio and punch Dillahunty’s “fat face”, was YouTubed. RUNNER UP: Atheist Talk.

My second pick is another product of the ACA: The Non-Prophets. This one is also hosted by Dillahunty, and is co-hosted by Denis Loubet (whose trademark is to phrase the introduction of each show in the form of a logical fallacy) and Russell Glasser (who often appears on The Atheist Experience as well). The website could do with an upgrade, but these guys have mastered the art of eviscerating apologetics and other religion-inspired chicanery with equal parts wit and outrage. Accept no substitutes, folks: what Lord of the Rings is to the fantasy genre, The Non-Prophets is to atheist podcasting. RUNNER UP: Another Goddamned Podcast. —>
http://fivepublicopinions.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/can-you-hear-it-pumping-on-your-i-pod/
~

Your very own TV show …
by Terry Doyle
Amesbury News (MA)
03/14/08

[ comments invited ]

Gloucester – Imagine: you’re 18 years old. Your passion is film and your local cable access channel is looking for the next Scorsese or Kubrick or Spielberg — and they’re providing the best cameras and editing suites to boot.

So there you are, 18 years old — an idea in your head and the gumption in your gut to go for it. You rally a few pals, head down to the beach for a bite to eat and some arcades and while you’re there you rattle off a thousand and one absurd ideas that no one outside of your friend group will ever find remotely humorous. But, you think, who cares?

You brainstorm and brainstorm and brainstorm till your head feels thick and the blacks of your eyes swell and contract uncontrollably. And then finally an idea sticks. “We’ll make our own talk show…” …About things that no one else will care about.

Adam, the one who is as dynamic as he is gangly and without an ounce of shame, will play host. “What will the rest of us do?” “We’ll be the guests.”

Keegan, Sean and Sean will be the house band. Mark can dress up like a clown. Terry, you can be the resident, uh, literature guru. Greg will direct Carl will grow a beard.

“What will we call it?” “Wiggin’ Out with Adam Wiggin.” “What are we going to do for segments?” “I don’t know.”

So you brainstorm again. You hit the drawing board. “We could go to a buffet and see who can eat the most food.” Episode One—“The Great American Eat Off.” “The Topsfield Fair. Let’s do something at the Topsfield fair.” Episode Two—“Something at the Topsfield Fair.” “But no one is going to care about any of this,” chimes the lone pessimist. “Who cares?”

And then something funny starts to happen. Other kids at school are talking about Keegan’s fear of clowns or Sean’s thrashing guitar solo or the inflatable silver couch with the slow leak that Adam’s guests sit on during interviews. People are watching, you find out. People care.

That’s what happened to my best friends and me while we were in high school. We had an idea and we ran with it. Our local cable access channel was kind enough to let us use their studio for an hour of debauchery each week, and because of that the creative revelry continues to this day. Though we no longer have a television program, everyone involved with the production of that show is still involved in one way or another with the writing or directing of, or the acting in, creative film.

So when Stacey Randall, a member of the Cape Ann TV Board of Directors, told me that she hopes Cape Ann TV can reach out to the Cape’s youth, I couldn’t help but remember those days when my best friends and I made our own show. Sure, we didn’t think anyone would care. Frankly, we didn’t care if anyone cared. It wasn’t about money. It wasn’t about anything but being young and having a creative outlet. So to all of you out there who have forever longed to star in a television show or write and direct a musical, please, reach out to Cape Ann TV. It could be the most rewarding thing you ever do.

Terry Doyle is a reporter for the Cape Ann Beacon. He made his TV debut on “Wiggin’ Out with Adam Wiggin”’ which ran on Amesbury’s public access channel 12. If you’d like to get involved in public access television at Cape Ann Cable TV, contact the studio at 978-281-2443, or visit www.capeanntv.org.
http://www.wickedlocal.com/amesbury/news/lifestyle/columnists/x1092586121
~

The Triumphant Return of the Television Horror Host!
by Jason Buchanan
The AllMovie Blog
03/14/08

[ comments invited ]

For those of use who grew up watching Count Scary, The Ghoul, Sir Graves Ghastly, Elvira, or even Commander USA, the mere thought of schlock horror flicks hosted by wisecracking characters on ramshackle studio sets is enough to make us instinctively reach for some non-existent, noggin-top rabbit ears in a nostalgic bid to clear the static distortion of our collective memories. Thankfully, we need not lament the death of a bygone era or regret the fact that we’ll never be able to share those memories with our own children any longer, as – at least in the Detroit television market – good-humored lycanthrope Wolfman Mac is primed and ready to revive this long-dormant television sub-genre with his late-night horror show entitled Nightmare SINema. —>
http://blog.allmovie.com/2008/03/14/the-triumphant-return-of-the-television-horror-host/
~

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