Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category


October 12, 2010

Marin Co. CA: Don’t touch that dial–Community Media Center goes live in June

May 2, 2009

Marin Co CA: Don’t touch that dial–Community Media Center goes live in June
by Peter Seidman | Pacific Sun | 04-23-09

Staff and volunteers of the new Community Media Center of Marin have been busy lately, lugging cables, remodeling a new home base and laying the groundwork for a multi-media future.  The new executive director of the Media Center, Michael Eisenmenger, says he and his staff are on track to throw the switch on June 15 that will take Marin public access on cable live for Comcast subscribers in most of the county. >>>

Intellectual Property Rights in a Digital Age: Revisiting Barlow’s “Economy of Ideas”

May 4, 2008

Reflecting an Internet Decade with John Perry Barlow
by Ben Walker, with Charlie Nesson
Berkman Center for Internet and Society

In the March 1994 issue of Wired, Berkman fellow John Perry Barlow fired a revolutionary shot heard ’round the world. In his essay

he announced to the world that everything we know about intellectual property is wrong. Ten years later in 2004, Audio Berkman producer Benjamen Walker speaks with John in a special audio production. The video montage was added in 2008, celebrating

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

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). —>,,contentMDK:21753143~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html

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,,contentMDK:21747844~pagePK:209023~piPK:207535~theSitePK:213799,00.html

World Press Freedom Day (Malaysia)
Little Garden of Joy


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. —>

World Press Freedom Day: Not there yet, say Hungarian media reps
MTI Daily Bulletin (Hungary)

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. —>

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)

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. —>

Southern Africa: SADC Sliding Down Media Freedom Scale
by Kaitira Kandjii
Financial Gazette (Harare)

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. —>

USAID Supports World Press Freedom

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: —>

[ 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

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. —>

[ 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

[ 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. —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Death. Resurrection? A Timely Meditation on US Corporate Media

March 21, 2008

Are US Media Violating the 1st Amendment?
by Fatin Bundagji
Arab News

[ comments invited ]

Last week Arab News printed in the “Letters to the Editor” column a letter by Ms. Lin Hansen Petro from Portland, Oregon, commenting on my article, “Peace & Stability: Pre-requisites for Reform” (March 7). Ms. Petro wrote that while writing her article, “Fatin Bundagji conveniently forgot, as Arab writers usually do, that the US was attacked by Arab terrorists which led to retaliatory action in the Middle East and out of America. All those glorious outreach programs she was describing that America used to do would still be in effect and there would be no war waging at the moment if the radical Arabs kept their opinions and hatred of American policies in the academic or political arena… the majority of Americans are getting pretty fed up with handling out billions of dollars in aid, education, medical care, technological advancements, and religious tolerance and so on to a world of egocentric ingrates”.

Ms. Petro has every right to her opinion. But as a citizen of a nation built on the values of liberty, equality and justice; a nation that regards a free press to be as important as its three independent arms of government, Ms. Petro also has the right to an accurate and unbiased media beaming into her home on a daily basis. This basic American right, the right to a free press, she, and most American citizens are systematically denied.

To most average hardworking and law-abiding Americans, their view of the international community is severely shortsighted and impaired. It is a worldview that is craftily fine-tuned, filtered and controlled by media outlets that are biased in favor of the sources that fund them.

In his article “None dare call it Censorship”, Jack Douglas, a retired professor of sociology from the University of California, writes: “All serious and intelligent journalists today know that the US government has massive media management brigades to carefully control what Americans see and, thus, what they are very likely to believe about things of which they have no direct experience, such as high-level politics, finance and foreign affairs. They also know that the government is extremely effective in secretly censoring the news by using devices such as ‘embedded reporting’ in nations like Afghanistan and Iraq which the US government invades, occupies, and governs. (If you do not know what ‘embedded reporting’ is, I strongly advise you to ‘Google’ it).”

Today, almost all media in the US are owned by for-profit corporations that by law are obliged to put the profits of their investors ahead of all other considerations. This goal of maximizing profit both jeopardizes the practice of responsible journalism and violates what the founding fathers of the US Constitution paid in blood to preserve: A free press — a free press that is protected by law in the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights; a free press that is regrettably being compromised by the elite on a daily basis.

The reasons for this compromise may vary but at the core, is the need for power and control. Power and control by US corporations, advertisers, and official agendas to name but a few. FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting), a US national media watch group. states that not only are most US major media owned by corporations, but that these corporations are becoming larger and fewer in number as the bigger ones absorb their rivals thereby reducing the diversity of media voices and putting greater power — and a narrow debate — in the hands of few.

According to FAIR, most of the income of for-profit media outlets does not come from the audiences, but rather from commercial advertisers who are interested in selling products to that audience. This gives corporate sponsors influence over what people see and read and all in favor of information that does not criticize the sponsors’ products or discuss any corporate wrongdoing.

As for the official agenda, FAIR states that despite the claims that the press has an adversarial relationship with the government, in truth US media generally follow Washington’s official line. This is particularly obvious in wartime, foreign policy coverage, and with domestic controversies. The owners and managers of dominant media outlets generally share the background, worldview, and income bracket of political elites.

Top news executives and celebrity reporters frequently socialize with government officials; and the most powerful media companies routinely make large contributions to both major political parties, while receiving millions of dollars in return in the form of payments for running political ads.

For true democracy to work, people need easy access to independent, diverse sources of news and information. The last two decades the US has seen a record corporate media consolidation. Whereas in the 1980s there were more than 50 media outlets nationwide, by 2000 they shrank down to a mere 6.

Big money buys big media and at the expense of the 1st Amendment. But luckily for the average American, the story does not have to end here. Independent news and media outlets are actively working at preserving a balanced coverage of the news so as to give the American public a broad and multidimensional aspect of what is being covered. FAIR, the one I mentioned above, is one of them, and Democracy Now is another. In addition, there are many more available online, and they are increasing in number and in national reach.

I urge Ms. Petro to Google “US media watchdogs” to empower herself to learn firsthand of whatever she chooses to be informed on.

This is her right, and I have to add her responsibility to her country, and to the world at large.

She may not know it, but by the sheer power and might of her country, any opinion she forms, however innocently, will by default affect the lives of millions of people in countries she may never have heard of.

I will conclude my article with a quote from Lee Atwater who masterminded media bias back in the 1980s and who created the most powerful Republican Media Propaganda Grand Strategy for controlling US pubic thinking. On his deathbed he said, “my illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: A little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The ’80s were about US acquiring wealth, power, and prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn’t I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn’t I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don’t know who will lead us through the ’90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul.”

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/05/08

March 9, 2008

Public access may be hard to access on U-verse
by George Moore (CT)

[ comments allowed ]

WALLINGFORD – The ability to find public access shows while channel surfing will play a central role in a struggle between public access advocates and AT&T’s new television service, U-verse.  U-verse will group all of the state’s community access channels under one U-verse channel, channel 99. After selecting 99, viewers could choose their desired public access program from a menu.

Not offering public access on a regular “surfable” channel will be detrimental, said Scott A. Hanley, manager of Wallingford Government Access Television. He said many people like to flip quickly between public access and other channels.  “This would just be an added obstacle to try to bring people to view the channel,” he said.

New take on an old lesson
by David Callender
The Capital Times (WI)

Adults of a certain age may recall the 1970s children’s TV series “Schoolhouse Rock” that set lessons in American history, civics and other topics to a catchy rock beat.  And, of all the episodes on the show, probably one of the best known was “Just a Bill,” featuring a talking piece of legislation that showed how a bill becomes a law.

Now with the help of Madison cartoonist Mike Konopacki and musician Peter Leidy, the reform-minded Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has turned the classic lesson into a more jaded look at contemporary politics called “Statehouse Crock.”  The video on the group’s Web site ( shows how it sees special interests rigging the legislative process and keeping ordinary citizens like “Just Bill, I’m only Bill” from getting access to lawmakers.,,

Cable applications

In the wake of a new law deregulating the state’s cable TV industry, five cable firms have already filed applications to provide TV service to Wisconsin consumers.  And one of them — AT&T, which led the deregulation effort — has already had its application approved by the Department of Financial Institutions, the pro-deregulation group TV4US announced Tuesday.

The remaining applicants include other major industry players: Charter Communications, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and CenturyTel.  Advocates of deregulation argued that the bill would open the state up to more competition between cable providers. Under the old state law, cable providers had near-exclusive access to operate under franchise agreements with each community.

In a response to the group’s announcement, the Wisconsin Alliance of Cities said it is “imperative” that communities where the cable companies are seeking to locate contact the state and identify the terms of their old franchise agreements. The old agreements required cable companies to help pay for community programming — known as public, educational and government channels — in exchange for the right to operate.

“Failing to provide information on the number of PEG channels, PEG support and franchise fees to a video provider within 10 days of receiving notice of its application could lead to dire consequences: loss for months of community access and government channels and franchise fees,” the alliance warned.

KREX Rising
by John Linko
John Linko (CO)

[ comments allowed ]

—>   The quarterly membership meeting of Grand Valley Peace and Justice is tonight at 7:00 PM at the St. Joseph Church offices at 3rd and White, across the street from the church. The group’s meeting announcement indicated a discussion on alternative media will be part of the agenda.  This will hopefully include the development of a working group with certain benchmarks to achieve, and one of those will hopefully be persuading the City of Grand Junction to request the activation of their PEG Access Channel on the basic cable tier, which is part of the City’s current franchise agreement with Bresnan.

The recent developments surrounding the partial resurrection of KREX, through cooperation between media outlets, the sharing of equipment and space, and the rapid deployment of alternative programming sources, displays very well the level of expertise and goal-oriented thinking present in our local media and educational institutions.

What’s to stop the development of a coalition of these groups and outlets to provide for the space, equipment, organization, and administration of a community public access channel in Grand Junction? The answer to this and many other questions may make themselves better known starting this evening. Such a resource is long overdue in our community, as there are successfully-run examples ( of such stations in smaller cities and towns across the Western Slope.   —>

Jackson examines its cable contract
by Fraidy Reiss
Asbury Park Press (NJ)


For four years now, Cablevision has done business in this town without a franchise agreement to regulate the company’s presence here.  Soon, that might change. The Township Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday evening at the municipal building on a proposed 15-year agreement it has reached with the cable company. If the council approves the deal, it will head to the state Board of Public Utilities for review.

The town has been negotiating with Cablevision on and off since the previous franchise licensing agreement expired in December 2003. A major sticking point was the town’s insistence that the cable provider keep its discount for low-income seniors at 25 percent off basic cable-television rates.  Under the proposed deal, the senior discount would remain at 25 percent. Additionally, Cablevision would give Jackson a $7,500 grant the first year of the agreement and $4,300 per year for the next 14 years, for the town to use for any cable- or telecommunications-related purpose.  The deal also calls for Cablevision to give Jackson its own public-access channel.

Councilman Scott Martin said he would like to see that channel in place by summer. It would be used to broadcast community calendars, school events and advertising for local not-for-profits, he said. “To get information out to the public about what’s going on in town,” he explained.  Children would be thrilled to see their school events on television, added Councilwoman Emily Ingram, who predicted the public-access channel would “bring the town together.”   —>

Council happy cable pact is shorter
Five years is time for innovations
by Nick Kotsopoulos
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)


City councilors last night applauded the new cable television deal the city has struck with Charter Communications, saying its shorter-than-usual term will benefit local consumers in the long run.  The councilors are betting that by the time the cable license renewal runs its course, technological advances in the cable field will reach the point in which additional companies may be interested in coming to Worcester to provide service.  They believe such competition would not only help lower cable rates, but also improve service and programming…

Traditionally, the city has had 10-year contracts with cable franchise holders. But city councilors had urged City Manager Michael V. O’Brien to limit the length of this license renewal to no more than five years because of the rapid, ongoing changes in cable technology and competition.   —>

Net benefit
Cable pact charts course to fiber-optic forefront
Worcester Telegram & Gazette  (MA)

[ comments allowed ]

The most intriguing aspect of Worcester’s new five-year cable television contract is not what is in it but what is to be taken out.  For Charter Communications customers, the changes are apt to be largely invisible. The key elements are equipment upgrades for the public access, education and government channels and provisions to smooth the transition of the PEG channels to the digital tier over the next year.

In a radical departure, however, the city’s cable-based “institutional network,” owned and operated by Charter, will be phased out under the new contract. I-NET, the city’s communications link since 1993, was a technological leap forward in its day, but it now is inadequate for the city’s communications and business needs.

Replacing the I-NET will be a 20-mile fiber-optic loop linking about 100 municipal and school buildings. The cost of installing and operating the new network will be borne by a vendor to be selected through a bidding process. The vendor will recoup the cost by selling the vast excess capacity of the fiber-optic loop to public and private entities. Fees paid by the city for use of the network are to be offset by savings resulting from the phaseout of its existing infrastructure.

It would be only a slight exaggeration to say the change will be a revolution in municipal communications. The high-speed/high broadband network will transmit all forms of data, including e-mail and telephone links. It also will be available for security and energy-management monitoring, fire detection, wireless technology and more.   —>

An urgent call: Give us broadband, Vermont towns say
by Daniel Barlow
The Barre Montpelier Times Argus (VT)

[ comments allowed ]

Vermont voters sent a clear message to the world of high-speed Internet Tuesday: We want in.  Voters in at least 19 towns approved non-binding resolutions to join in a regional effort to bring high-speed Internet via fiber-optic to their homes during town meetings held early this week and over the weekend.  In all on Tuesday, at least 13 towns approved the resolution to join the East Central Vermont Community Fiber Network and organizers of the effort anticipate a full sweep of the more than 20 towns that had the item on their agenda once all the results were in.   —>

A Conversation with Laurie from the Community Media Center
by Marie-Claire
Digital Inclusion in Grand Rapids, MI

[ comments allowed ]

On Thursday, I had a brief but interesting lunch conversation with Laurie from the Community Media Center here in Grand Rapids.  We first discussed some of the CMC programs in place for area nonprofits and residents, and then talked about a new program coming out once the city gets its WiMax working. It’s in charge of eventually processing and granting up to 5% of the area’s residents discounted rates on WiMax. They have also taken the task of traveling to local schools and talking about the available WiMax discount to schools.

So there will be education about our new wireless access, and discounted rates from an organization in the city. I’m not meaning for that to sound small, I mean for it to sound like a step in the right direction.  I explained to Laurie about our project idea. I talked about the pilot program, the gaps in the system, and some other stuff we’re working on. She seemed genuinely excited. She all but volunteered a venue for the pilot program when I explained some of our current stumbling blocks.   —>

Community for Hope develops TV series
by Aldrich M. Tan
The Northwestern (WI)

[ comments allowed ]

Lisa McLaughlin said she’s always a little nervous before going on camera.  However, the topic of bullying prevention programs is an important and familiar topic for the South Park Middle School principal so it was very easy for her to talk.  McLaughlin’s interview will be part of a television series that Community for Hope of Oshkosh is producing with the help of Oshkosh Community Media Services. It is part of a six-part series that started airing last month and will feature area people addressing mental health issues and suicide, executive director Mary VanHaute said.   —>

Obama Speaks Part 6
The 411 Show (TX)

[ comments allowed ]

Obama makes his campaign stop in San Antonio Texas for the 2008 primary election. Part 6. This clip aired on San Antonio Public Access TV.

Oregon Law Librarians (back) on TV: Topic: Family Law
by Laura Orr
Oregon Legal Research

[ comments allowed ]

On Thursday, February 28, 2008, from 8-9 p.m., the Clackamas County Law Librarian, and I, the Washington County Law Librarian, appeared again on “Legally Speaking” with the host of the show, attorney Jim Hilborn. The subject was family law. (We also sent some photos from this show into the AALL Day in the Life contest so stay tuned.)

Some of the legal information sites we talked about included: OJD Family Law website;  Legal Aid Services of Oregon; Oregon State Bar public information; Oregon Council of County Law Libraries (OCCLL) Directory.

Legally Speaking is a call-in cable public-access TV show that airs live on the 4th Thursday of each month, out of the TVCTV studios in Beaverton, Oregon and is rebroadcast at different times throughout the month on Portland metro-area cable access channels, Channel 11 or 23.   —>

Video Jam to Air at Drake University, Iowa
by Tracy

[ comments allowed ]

Video Jam, WCCA TV ‘s local originated music video show, created by Mauro DePasquale and hosted by Tracy Foley, has been asked to present their show on the Residence Life Channel 7 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa! Video Jam has produced over 500 shows since 1992 and it is seen not only in Massachusetts, but New Hampshire, California, North Dakota, and now Iowa!

Stars Shine in Sunshine Week Print, Broadcast Public Service Ads
American Society of Newspaper Editors
The Earth Times

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A series of broadcast and print public service ads featuring 13 actors, who are high-profile members of The Creative Coalition, speaking about the importance of open and accountable government has been produced for Sunshine Week, March 16-22, and can be used throughout the election season in conjunction with the Sunshine Campaign. The PSAs were developed by the Radio-Television News Directors Association and Foundation, and the American Society of Newspaper Editors, in cooperation with The Creative Coalition, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.   —>,303943.shtml
~ Offers Unprecedented Access to Local Information for Every Town in America
Network of “Community Webspaces” Provides a Better Way for People To Find and Share Local Content Online
Business Wire
03/05/08 LLC today raised the bar in the hyperlocal space by launching a new version of This version, which features a new and unique “community webspace” for each town in America, lets local residents find and share an unprecedented combination of local information: community events, local news, train schedules, charitable organizations, local videos, farmers’ markets, jobs, real estate, privacy protection, “sales and savings,” local services and a host of online and previously offline community resources.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/18/08

February 18, 2008

Texas Community Media Summit: March 1, Austin


Pulling the plug on public access
by Darrell Laurant
News & Advance (VA)

[ comments allowed ]

When it comes to the issue of whether or not the Lynchburg city government should continue to fund public access television, I no longer have a dog in that fight. I did once, but it was a very small dog (a public access show called “Cable Column”), and it died years ago. Nor do I recall hearing any howls of protest at its demise.

Still, that was the closest I’ve ever come to being Edward R. Murrow or Dan Rather, and it was quite invigorating. Even better, there was no censorship involved, and I was pretty much free to say what I wanted (minus anything defamatory or R-rated).

Now, as you may know, the colorful and eclectic garden of local public access programming may be allowed to wither on the vine. Until last year, the city’s cable provider was required to fund public access as a sort of tradeoff for enjoying a monopoly. Apparently, competition has since been opened up (or that’s what I think happened – understanding communications legislation gives me a headache), and it is now up to local government to fund “free” TV.

But only if it wants to. Lynchburg apparently doesn’t, new franchise holder Comcast doesn’t have to, and that’s the bottom line.

It would be unfair to compare Lynchburg’s city fathers (and mothers) to repressive regimes in other countries who shut down the opposition media so they can replace it with government-run programming (“Welcome to another edition of ‘Your Government Loves You.’”) The people who direct our city are, by and large, nice folks who are concerned about not burdening the taxpayers.

And they aren’t shutting anyone down, per se – the local policy makers are just turning off the money tap that keeps the public access shows alive. It’s the difference between unplugging a terminally ill patient or shooting him in the head. “I’d rather put that money into schools, police and parks,” said City Council member Mike Gillette.

The thing is, all cities have schools, police and parks. Not all have public access TV, and the ones that do project a personality that sets them apart. It would be hard to replicate Wally Roach, a Christian conservative who owned a guitar store and looks a bit like Ozzie Osbourne. Or Keith Lee of the Dance Theater of Central Virginia, who hosts “Dance Journey.” Or Dina Wiggins, who dispenses the gospel with an attitude.

On the other hand, of course, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has just had the sort of chat with Virginians that your spouse has with you after doing the bills. According to city officials, it would cost $86,000 to bankroll another year of “The Wally Show,” “The Simple Truth,” “The True Vine,” and the rest. The city has already set aside $166,000 to staff and run the TV studio and another $100,000 for the purchase of new equipment, plus hiring Steve Smallshaw away from WDBJ to run things.

This, to me, somewhat undermines Mike Gillette’s “schools, police and parks” argument. Couldn’t the money for these “public information” shows have been used to buy a swing set or a cruiser or two? Moreover, a lot of what was paid to the city by Adelphia under the previous agreement was deposited into the general fund. —>

Let the cable wars begin: AT&T takes on Comcast
by Tom Gantert
Ann Arbor News (MI)


For 17 years, Annisa Bowden of Ann Arbor watched cable television on Comcast. She never thought it was that good of a deal, but shied away from satellite because of reception concerns during inclement weather. So Comcast ruled. “It was the only thing you can have that was guaranteed even in storms,” Bowden said. But not anymore. Last month, Bowden made the switch to the new AT&T U-verse, a service via the Internet. —>

Cable competition heating up
by Mark Brooky
Grand Haven Tribune (MI)

A change is coming down the line to how cable TV service is offered to northwest Ottawa County and who is offering it. Charter Communications, the main provider of cable TV in the Tri-Cities area; and Comcast, which serves Ferrysburg and the majority of Michigan, have been competing with satellite “dish” service providers for years. But the traditional cable companies’ market shares are now being threatened by the biggest telecommunications company in the world.

AT&T is beefing up its U-verse network, which will offer an all-digital, cable-like TV service over its own fiber optic lines. “AT&T will probably be the first wire line competition that a lot of cable operators will have — not just in Michigan but across the country,” said Tim Ransberger, vice president of government affairs for Charter Communications in Lansing. —>

Public access TV programming
Post Bulletin (MN)

[ comments allowed ]

On the Belau Report this week, the topic is the economic impact of amateur sports. Guests include Paul Erickson, executive director of the Minnesota State Amateur Sports Commission; Ben Boldt, general operations manager of the Rochester Amateur Sports Commission; and Chub Stewart, a member of both commissions and a longtime advocate of the National Volleyball Center in Rochester. Cable Charter channel 10, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media