Archive for the ‘video franchising’ 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…)

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The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government September 17th Hearing on PEG Access TV, in YouTube Clips

September 21, 2008

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We thank the House staff and the staff of DCTV for their work in making this footage available.  Persons interested in cablecasting this hearing on their communities’ PEG access channels may obtain a copy by contacting the Alliance for Community Media at 202-393-2650 x 12.  Also, the whole hearing is available for viewing in one online file at http://blip.tv/file/1278920/ .

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01: Chairman Jose Serrano (NY-D) Opening Statement (pdf)

In his opening statement Chairman Serrano expressed support for PEG access, explaining the purpose of the 1984 federal law that gave local franchising entities the authority to require PEG access channels.  “By granting this authority,” Serrano said, “Congress recognized that PEG programming is in the public interest and essential to our communties as an outlet for free speech, local information and opinions, and emergency communications.  PEG supports our democratic ideals by helping to develop a well-informed and educated society.  It benefits all of us to support and encourage PEG programming.”

Chairman Serrano also explicitly took AT&T to task for declining to attend the hearing.  “AT&T’s recent action relating to PEG channels goes to the heart of many of the concerns that will be raised today.  Let the record show that I consider their decision not to send a witness to be indicative of the company’s apparent disregard of the importance of PEG to local communities.”
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Chairman Jose Serrano (NY-D) & Acting Ranking Member Mark Kirk (IL-R)

02: Acting Ranking Member Mark Kirk (IL-R) Opening Statement

In the absence of the Subcommittee Ranking Member Ralph Regula (OH-R), Rep. Mark Kirk (IL-R) made the opening statement for the minority.  He strongly reinforced the Chairman’s comments on AT&T, and the importance of PEG access.  “If there was any thought by AT&T that the Republican member here at the hearing would help them out, let me disabuse them now,” Kirk said.

Kirk continued, “I think this committee should take some action on this.  It does appear that AT&T is in direct violation of Illinois law, and so, whether it is in Springfield or in Washington, we should fix this to make sure that there is a very convenient place, especially for our seniors, to find what’s happening in their local community… I breeze through local access cable like everyone else does, except when we’re doing a zoning or other issue related to my neighborhood, and then we are locked on this like everyone else.”
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03: Monica Desai, FCC Media Bureau Chief, Testimony (pdf)

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04: Barbara Popovic, Alliance for Community Media, Testimony – (Written-pdf) (Oral-pdf)

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05: Howard Symons, National Cable Television Assoc., Testimony (pdf)

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06: Michael Max Knobbe, BronxNet, Testimony (pdf)

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07: Chairman Jose Serrano (NY-D); Questions – Territories

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08: Chairman Jose Serrano (NY-D); Questions

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09: Acting Ranking Member Mark Kirk (IL-R); Questions

Rep. Kirk asked Monica Desai, “What are your plans to implement your testimony from the Commission, to make sure that AT&T is forced to bring PEG back to the basic – so that they have a channel, somewhere between 1 and 100, on the basic service tier, and are not exiled to on-demand?”  Desai replied, “I would be anxious to place this issue in front of the Commissioners for them to decide, with our view that this would be a violation of the statute.  But what we would need is to have a specific and formal complaint filed in front of us.  We would need something to act on.”
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10: Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI-D); Questions

Rep. Kilpatrick made mention of the Michigan law suit enjoining Comcast from channel slamming, then said, “I don’t want to see PEG relegated to some substandard something.  It ought to be right up there with the other major channels.  And whatever we have to do to get it there — it sounds like it’s a regulatory something, as well as a people something — and if we have to mobilize America to educate them to what it is, I think we have to do that.”

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11: Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY-D); Questions

Rep. Hinchey asked about possibly establishing minimum levels of support for PEG access.  “I have a public access station back in my district, in the city of Binghamton,” Hinchey said, “that unfortunately is not provided with the facilities and training by its cable service providers.  So I’m wondering what you think could be done so that the Federal Communications Commission would have the authority to enforce perhaps a federal minimum of financial support that could be provided by cable service providers, so that rural areas generally have the same capability for public access as do larger cities?”

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12: Rep. Peter Visclosky (IN-D); Questions

"Oh, don't say that!"

Rep. Peter Visclosky to NCTA's Howard Symons: "Oh, don't say that!"

Rep. Peter Visclosky (IN-D) asked questions of Howard Symons about the cable industry’s commitment to community service.  In response to a question about Comcast’s closing of studios following passage of Indiana’s statewide video franchising law, Symons said: “You know, Congressman, the cable industry didn’t ask the state legislatures to change the law.”  Visclosky instantly replied, “Oh, don’t say that!  Don’t say that! I would suggest that that is not a correct statement — to be polite.”
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13: Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-D); Questions

Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-D) questioned Ms. Desai’s mention of the FCC’s requiring a formal complaint

“I’m surprised that it really requires that.  I would think if you have an oversight responsibility in this area, and you see major companies who are not complying with the statute, that you have the authority on your own to take action, to communicate with the companies that this does not meet the requirements of the statute.”
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14: Chairman Jose Serrano (NY-D); Questions, Round 2

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15: Michael Max Knobbe Answers Chairman Serrano

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16: Acting Ranking Member Mark Kirk (IL-R); Questions, Round 2


Rep. Kirk asked Ms. Desai if a joint letter from the Committee would help the FCC expedite an inquiry into these matters.  “I would be willing to sign a letter, with the Chairman, to you, saying, ‘Hey, get on the case here.’  Is that enough for you to get rolling?”

Ms. Desai answered, “I’m sure a letter from you and Chairman Serrano would be taken… act on it post haste.”
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17: Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY-D); Questions, Round 2

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18: Chairman Jose Serrano (NY-D) Closing Statement

“We stay committed to the commitment I made before to Mr. Kirk and the Committee that the issues that have been discussed here will be placed by this Committee officially in a formal fashion before the FCC, to make sure that we begin to look at the whole issue and how best we can stick to the intent of the law, notwithstanding some changes that have taken along the way.”
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
http://alliancecm.org

Alliance for Community Media’s Statement for the Platform Committees of the Democratic & Republican National Committees

July 15, 2008

The Alliance for Community Media today is asking the Platform Committees of the Democratic and Republican National Committees to embrace policies protecting local cable franchising authorities’ ability to require PEG access channels and adequate mechanisms for supporting them within their franchise agreements.  From the Alliance’s Platform Statement:

In summary, the ACM proposes a national policy of “community reinvestment” through Public, Educational, and Government access organizations which includes funds and bandwidth and/or spectrum that will be used for public purposes by:

• Allowing the local community which owns the public right-of-way to franchise and determine the best use of the community’s property. This principle must be protected by Federal law.

• Dedicating ten percent of the public airwaves and capacity on communication facilities that occupy public rights-of-way to PEG use for free speech, diverse points of view, local programs, community based education and political speech.

• Mandating funding of five percent of gross revenues from all infrastructure and service providers and spectrum licensees to support PEG equipment, facilities, training and services.

• Making PEG access universally available to any consumer of advanced telecommunications services capable of full-motion video.

The Alliance strongly encourages its members and all other community media advocates to actively engage and insist upon, at every available opportunity, these “Keep Us Connected” policy goals – at every meeting of every appropriate local, state, regional, and national policy-considering body — Democratic, Republican, and otherwise.

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/03/08

May 4, 2008

Sirius/XM Merger an Opportunity for Openness & Access? LPFM for Satellite?
by Paul Riismandel
mediageek
05/03/08

[ comments invited ]

Matthew Lasar continues his excellent reporting for Ars Technica with an article on a recent letter from House Energy and Commerce Chair John Dingell (D-MI) and Internet subcommittee Chair Edward J. Markey (D-MA) to the FCC urging an open platform for satellite radio if the Commission approves the Sirius/XM deal. What they’re calling for is the ability for any manufacturer to make Sirius/XM compatible satellite radios, without the ability for the merged company to prevent things like iPod docks or HD Radio capability.

Lasar also notes the gathering steam in support for setting aside some of the merged company’s channel capacity for noncommercial programming, similar to what has been required for direct-broadcast satellite TV. Apparently even Clear Channel wants 5% of capacity set aside for “public interest” programming, whatever Cheap Channel means by that.

I oppose the merger on the principled basis of the fact that such a merger was specifically prohibited as a provision of the original authorization of the service. Nevertheless, I recognize that principle rarely rules the day in DC. Therefore I very much support setting aside channel capacity for non-commercial broadcasters as a necessary condition if the FCC chooses to approve the merger.

Obtaining a non-commercial channel on Dish Network was vitally important for Free Speech TV and has allowed that organization to distribute its radically critical grassroots programming in a way that it simply could not before, feeding public access TV stations around the country.

Although internet distribution is still more practical for radio programming than for TV programming, having several nation-wide progressive and grassroots radio channels nonetheless would be a great opportunity, and could be of great service to community radio stations.   —>
http://www.mediageek.net/?p=1619
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SPARKY VIDEO CONTEST
by Roger Green
Friends of the Albany Public Library
05/03/08

[ comments invited ]

Competition showcases student productions, offers instructors a fun and thought-provoking class assignment

Six library, student, and advocacy organizations today announced the Second Annual Sparky Awards, a contest that recognizes the best new short videos on the value of sharing and aims to broaden the discussion of access to scholarly research by inviting students to express their views creatively.

This year’s contest is being organized by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) with additional co-sponsorship by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, Penn Libraries (at the University of Pennsylvania), Students for Free Culture, and The Student PIRGs. Details are online at www.sparkyawards.org.

The 2008 contest theme is “MindMashup: The Value of Information Sharing.” Well-suited for adoption as a college class assignment, the Sparky Awards invite contestants to submit videos of two minutes or less that imaginatively portray the benefits of the open, legal exchange of information. Mashup is an expression referring to a song, video, Web site, or software application that combines content from more than one source.   —>
http://aplfriends.blogspot.com/2008/05/sparky-video-contest.html
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East Metro candidates to appear at forum May 8
by Gosia Wozniacka
The Oregonian
05/02/08

[ comments invited ]

County commission and state legislative candidates will appear at a voters’ forum next week in Fairview.The Spring Voters Forum will be held Thursday, May 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the Fairview City Council chambers, 1300 NE Village Street. The forum will also be televised live on MetroEast Community Media.   —>
http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2008/05/east_metro_candidates_to_appea.html
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Community Media 2.0: It’s Still About Us and Our Physical Communities
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition (MA)
05/02/08

[ comments invited ]

My co-workers and I had a meeting today to discuss plans for our new website. Two important things caught my attention in thinking about how to frame the work we’re doing through our visual and semantic design.

First, visual design. The thing that sets us (community media centers) apart in a REALLY important way from social network websites (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, etc.) is our focus on the physical communities we serve. We need to represent that both in our stories and in our visual images online.

For example, the picture above from the staff page on the DCTV website shows the visitor that there are people involved at DCTV in a physical community. So, if you’re a worker at a community media center with a presence online show pictures of your access center and the people from your community. It not only humanizes the web technology that you’re using, but it also tells the website visitor there is a physical place and people involved that others can come to learn more about, learn from, and participate with.   —>
http://cmediachange.net/blog/2008/05/02/community-media-20-its-still-about-us-and-our-physical-communities/
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As AT&T legislation wraps up, city may be first to see U-verse
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)
05/02/08

[ 7 comments ]

Nashvillians and residents of neighboring counties will likely have the first crack at AT&T’s television programming later this year now that legislation is close to becoming law, a lawmaker close to the telecom said.  Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), the Senate sponsor of AT&T’s legislation to start offering television programming, said Davidson County and the “doughnut counties” around Nashville would be the first areas where AT&T will offer its U-verse television services.

“Some people in the state will be able to start using U-verse by Dec. 1,” Ketron said.  In addition, Ketron said AT&T was prepared to invest more than $350 million in Tennessee.  So far, for competitive reasons, AT&T officials have not said where they would be offering U-verse if pending legislation became law.  Ketron’s pronouncement didn’t change that.  “We have not made any formal announcement at this point at all,” said AT&T spokesman Bob Corney on Thursday.   —>
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59939
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House OKS study on WiMax Internet technology
by Gina Smith
The State (SC)
05/02/08

[ 32 comments ]

A fight is looming over whether South Carolina should become the first state to adopt the next generation of broadband communication — and who should have access if it does.  WiMax would allow extremely fast connection to the Internet from anywhere in the state and access to never-before-seen interactive tools.  House lawmakers voted Thursday to appoint a panel of seven tech experts from the private sector to study the options and make recommendations to the State Budget and Control Board.   —>
http://www.thestate.com/local/story/392973.html
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Citywide Wireless IP Network Launched in New York
by Matt Williams
Government Technology
04/15/08

[ 1 comment ]

Leave it to America’s biggest city to launch an equally big high-speed data network.

The New York City Wireless Network (NYCWiN) was rolled out to 70 percent of the city’s police precincts and firehouses on April 1, giving the city’s first responders and employees a unique public safety and public service network.

“It’s the first network of its scope certainly anywhere in the country in terms of the amount of area we’re covering,” said Nick Sbordone, spokesman for the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), referring to New York City’s 322 square miles. “The network is solely dedicated to city use, specifically not just for public safety, but for public service as well. It really is historic in that sense.”

NYCWiN will run on 400 nodes across five boroughs — with many of the access points perched on rooftops. New York City CIO Paul Cosgrave, in testimony to the City Council in February, said NYCWiN can support a diverse array of functions:

* Nineteen city agencies developed about 53 unique applications for the network, including an expansion of automated vehicle location, a real-time technology to track the city’s fleet.
* The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is developing an automated water-meter-reading program.
* The city Department of Transportation will use the wireless network to synchronize and time traffic signals to ease traffic congestion. Cosgrave testified that NYCWiN also will provide photos and video of traffic incidents and emergencies.

In addition, the wireless network will be a powerful tool for law enforcement and public safety personnel. The NYPD Real Time Crime Center will link into NYCWiN, which will support Internet protocol (IP)-based emergency call boxes and surveillance cameras. Police officers will have access to in-car photos and video.   —>
http://www.govtech.com/gt/articles/286778
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News from the profit centres
Press freedom: Many fear the internet is killing journalism, but markets may be a more serious threat
by Geraint Talfan Davies
The Guardian (UK)
05/03/08

[ 14 comments ]

Is new media killing journalism?

The first question to ask is whether this is the right question. The new media need kill nothing. The question is how we choose to use the web. How do we respond to its strengths and to some of its weaknesses?

What I do know is that a luddite approach to the web would be plain ludicrous, even for those of us who still prefer to settle down with a newspaper than flash around the screen.

Instead of bemoaning the web, let’s seek a more positive response. It is possible that the advent of the new media may shake journalism out of a self-deprecating complacency that insists on it being a trade rather than a profession. Journalism will need to better establish its worth in the face of free, unchecked, unverified “user-generated material”. Similarly, the new media might have a beneficial effect on the Press Complaints Commission which, if it is to safeguard self-regulation – a valuable concept in a professional world – will have to do so with greater rigour and transparency in its operation and governance.

It is no accident that an organisation such as the Media Standards Trust has come into being at just this time to address constructively some of the consequences of these developments.

But there are more important questions buried in Unesco’s briefing paper, Freedom of Expression, Access and Empowerment, which says that the role of open and pluralistic media in holding a mirror to society “has fallen increasingly to the smaller community media sector as financial imperatives drive corporate media away from these core principles and into profit centres that do not cater to smaller or marginalised populations.”   —>
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/geraint_talfan_davies/2008/05/news_from_the_profit_centres.html
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Civic Engagement, Empowerment & Respect for Diversity (CEERD)
The World Bank
05/02/08 [?]

The Program to Develop New Bank Practices in Civic Engagement, Empowerment and Respect for Diversity (CEERD) is a coalition effort involving all of the World Bank’s technical networks and regions, for which the secretariat resides in the World Bank Institute (WBI). The effort is currently focused on the Voice and Media Technical Assistance Program, which provides expert analyses and how-to advice, carried out in close collaboration with country assistance teams, to improve the enabling environment for pluralistic broadcasting in the public interest, and develop community radio prototyping and sector investment.

In the past the CEERD Program has also supported promoting respect for diversity through education, traditional knowledge and empowerment for poor producers; legal empowerment of the poor; and value-based participatory planning.

The Program currently supports analyses of the broadcasting sectors, particularly the enabling environment for community radio, in several countries, including Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Liberia.  Well experienced teams, including international, regional, and national experts advise during stakeholder deliberations on proposed reforms, assist in development of new broadcasting legislation, provide “how-to” guidance to improve regulatory procedures in order to distinguish between non-profit community broadcasters and commercial ones, and design community radio sector investment programs in close collaboration with national stakeholder coalitions for community radio development.  South-south mentoring and communities of practice support participatory development of community radio stations, as well as capacity development in programming, reporting, and management/resource mobilization.

An important thrust of this agenda is to help build sustained policies, practices and institutions that are megaphones for citizen’s voice and demand for good governance. Community radio development is being given special attention because it has proved to be a sustainable and interactive medium for poor and illiterate populations to articulate issues important to them, mobilize information, learn the give and take of informed discussion and debate, and become more decisive agents in their own development.  These non-profit, non-partisan stations are owned and operated by the communities they serve, and perform an important public service for poor constituencies, eliciting their views and concerns, and encouraging them to speak out, both among themselves and to local government.
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/WBI/EXTCEERD/0,,menuPK:542912~pagePK:64168427~piPK:64168435~theSitePK:542906,00.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/02/08

May 4, 2008

Public-access TV
LTE by Mark Hart, Statewide Organizer, Florida Media Coalition
Miami Herald (FL)
05/02/08

The state Legislature apparently will miss the opportunity to revisit the Consumer Choice Act of 2007 and address its unintended consequences on public-, educational- and government-access cable TV (PEGs).

The bill has potentially legislated out of existence PEGs, once the great promise of cable-TV franchise agreements with local governments. Only one public-access channel remains in Florida. In addition, PEGs now may be voted away with a majority vote of not just all poll respondents, but all subscribers, in a service area.

PEGs are burdened with programming requirements not applicable to commercial TV; they must be on air at least 10 hours every day, and with at least five hours of nonreruns and not including ”bulletin board” announcements.

Meantime, states such as Illinois have ensured that PEGs can’t be ”channel-slammed” into hard-to-find, triple-digit, high-tier channels unavailable to basic subscribers who don’t have converters.

Florida should do the same by adding a provision to the bill that PEGs not be numerically separated from other basic service channels. In addition, the state Legislature should delete the provisions allowing for elimination of PEGs, as well as for minimum programming requirements.

Further reductions in the ranks of professional journalists in the state of Florida, like those announced recently by Media General in Tampa, make causes such as PEGs, which relate to open government, all the more important now.
http://www.miamiherald.com/456/story/517943.html
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Sprouting between the channels
The garden of public access TV is anything but secret.
by Becky Lang
Minnesota Daily
05/02/08

[ comments invited ]

For an entire week, I watched only public access TV. We’re not talking PBS shows about mushrooms in the rainforest and girls in cargo pants traveling in Europe and mispronouncing several versions of “excuse me.”

What I watched was Minneapolis Television Networks, a hodgepodge of shows made by anyone who walks into their studio on Southeast Main Street. Some choose to take their free filmmaking classes and cart around town in their production van, and some sit in the rooms in the studio and stare at the camera like it’s their waiting lover, or their cooling dinner.

To many, public television is cathartic. They can tell their life stories, reveal that their kid’s friend got shot eight times, how they got their buff bod, their master’s degree, or $500 for selling their soul on eBay. It can act as a street vendor of individualism, roping in whoever might walk by, hoping they stay a minute as they channel surf.

To others, public television is a means of keeping a community together. Ever notice that there are basically zero shows on television about recently migrated families who don’t speak English? The Somali community isn’t exactly represented on “Gossip Girl.”

For a week, I explored the climate of public TV. No “Top Modelthons” for me. I even gave up my “No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain” lunch hour. My experience culminated in a late-night watch-whatever’s-on marathon. Sure, it can get tricky to keep the fingers from channel surfing, but with the right beer and snacks, you can feel right at home. In case you venture to try, I provided a recipe for public access quesadillas, which I like to pair with a Blue Moon or two.   —>
http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2008/04/30/72166998
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YouTube AND Public Access Television
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition (MA)
05/01/08

[ comments invited ]

On my way into work this morning, I noticed an article in the Boston Metro entitled, “Pol eye YouTube for city life.” In it, Greg St. Martin talks about how Boston City Councilor, Rob Consalvo is interested in using YouTube to “broadcast” PSA’s to reach younger audiences. Martin adds,  “Consalvo said the city could use the new Boston Neighborhood News (BNN) studio to film the announcements, which he envisions spanning topics such as education, voting and summer jobs.”

This would be an excellent use of a community media center to provide residents with locally relevant information using web video platforms such as YouTube. The access center could also share the content on its website, while inviting community members to be involved in the production process.

It might also encourage residents to work with the city to create a more democratic communication process through their involvement on such a project. In any case, it’s an interesting model that access centers might consider particularly in working with local non-government and non-commercial organizations.
http://cmediachange.net/blog/2008/05/01/youtube-and-public-access-television/
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Where will SCAT go?
City plans to sell local station’s home
by George P. Hassett
Somerville News (MA)
05/02/08

[ 15 comments ]

The city’s cable access television station, the oldest in the state, is facing an uncertain future as city officials plan to sell off the station’s building in Union Square.  At the April 25 Somerville News contributors meeting, Somerville Community Access Television Executive Director Wendy Blom said the station has a temporary contract to remain in the old Union Square fire station free of charge until June. She said city officials assure her they will not displace SCAT but will not agree to anything in writing.

“There is some uncertainty there. We don’t know what may happen at City Hall. But we do have support in the community,” she said.  Blom said that support comes from SCAT’s efforts to be “embedded” in Somerville. More than 30 percent of the station’s shows are in languages other than English, she said, and programs such as Next Generation Producers offer teenagers opportunities to create their own movies, music videos and documentaries.   —>
http://somervillenews.typepad.com/the_somerville_news/2008/05/the-citys-cable.html
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AT&T mum about cable plans
For competitive reasons company not ready to disclose rollout details
by Larisa Brass
Knoxville News Sentinel (TN)
05/02/08

[ 1 comment ]

A bill paving the way for AT&T to introduce cable television services in Tennessee now awaits the governor’s expected signature, but the telephone giant is staying mum about what happens next.  “We’ve not made a specific announcement about our (rollout) plans at this point,” said AT&T spokesman Bob Corney, and he declined to indicate when such an announcement might come, what time frame the company is considering for launching a digital television product and what communities would first be targeted.

“For competitive reasons we really don’t get into the specifics of that,” he said.  Corney reiterated the importance of the legislation to AT&T’s strategic business efforts in the state, saying the company worked closely with state legislators to hammer out what he called a “very technical bill.”  “Clearly this is something we’ve put a lot of time in ourselves,” he said. But, “as is our policy, we will announce (specific plans) at the time we’re prepared to announce. I’ve got no formal announcement.”   —>
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/may/02/t-mum-about-cable-plans/
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Verizon Deal Could Lower Cable TV Rates
by Peter Kiefer
The New York Sun
04/30/08

[ comments invited ]

New Yorkers could see a short-term drop in cable television rates and enhanced service after the Bloomberg administration reached an agreement yesterday with Verizon for a new citywide cable television franchise.

Time Warner has had a virtual monopoly on the city’s cable television market except in the Bronx and eastern Brooklyn, where Cablevision offers service. The agreement would allow Verizon to offer its FiOS TV service over its new fiber optic network.

The city in turn would receive 5% of all new cable fees generated by Verizon, the maximum percentage permitted by federal law, and the same rate applied to the city’s other cable franchise agreements. Verizon will also make a $10 million donation to the downtown Brooklyn studios of NYC TV as part of the agreement.   —>
http://www2.nysun.com/article/75528
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Local boy’s success has taken a circuitous route through entertainment
In his own words, Michael Furlong’s life has gone full circle.
by Sue Morrow
Reno Gazette-Journal (NV)
05/02/08

[ comments invited ]

The Carson City native started out in the television business when he was hired in 1973 as Educational TV director at Carson City High School, writing a grant for the closed circuit TV system and managing the program. In 2006, he became general manager for Access Carson City community public television operated by the Brewery Arts Center.  However, before his job with the school district, and to this day, he has been heavily engaged as a performing musician — he sings and plays guitar — and as a song-writer.   —>
http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080502/CARSON/805020337/1003
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Public Informational Meeting on the Plains area Sewer Project
Easthampton Community Access Television (MA)
05/02/08

[ comments invited ]

May 1, 2008 – WBMS
http://easthamptoncitycouncil.blogspot.com/2008/05/public-informational-meeting-on-plains.html
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Whatever Happened To Back Porch Video?
by Big Wave Dave
Motor City Rocks (MI)
05/02/08

[ 2 comments ]

Back in the early 1980’s two revolutions met in a head on collision; the music video and public access. Here in metro Detroit, the king of this combined revolution was none other the Back Porch Video (BPV).  Last week I sat down with Lance Rosol; former Back Porch Video producer and music director, and talked about his recent Back Porch Video YouTube channel on what exactly made BPV so influential.   —>
http://www.motorcityrocks.com/2008/05/whatever-happened-to-back-porch-video.htm
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/01/08 – Tennessee Issue

May 2, 2008

Compromise cable TV bill goes to governor
by Richard Locker
Commercial Appeal (TN)
05/01/08

[ 23 comments ]

The state Senate gave final legislative approval today to the compromise bill designed to streamline the entry of AT&T and others into the Tennessee market for cable-television services.  The House of Representatives approved the Competitive Cable and Video Services Act 93-2 on Monday, the Senate follow suit 29-0 today and it now goes to Gov. Phil Bredesen, who is expected to sign it into law.
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/may/01/compromise-cable-tv-bill-goes-governor/
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Statewide Cable Franchise Bill Passes General Assembly
by Nina Cardona
Nashville Public Radio (TN)
05/01/08

A bill that would allow AT&T to expand into cable and broadband internet services statewide is on its way to the governor.  The Senate unanimously passed the measure today, after two years of behind-the-scenes bargaining between the giant phone utility and the cable television industry. Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he’s satisfied with the end result.  “I think it’s a good compromise, and that it will bring broadband to places that don’t have broadband now, and I think that in the end that it will, if not bring down cable prices, at least stabilize them to where you know you have competition, you obviously in theory at least you get a better service at a lower price, and I think, I do believe, we’ll see that.”   —>
http://wpln.org/newstranscripts/?p=2261
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‘Historic’ AT&T bill headed to governor
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)
05/01/08

Calling it a “historic day in Tennessee,” the Senate unanimously approved a bill this morning paving the way for AT&T to start offering television programming in Tennessee and compete with the cable industry.  The House passed the bill earlier this week. It is now headed for Gov. Phil Bredesen’s signature.   —>
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59909
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Get Ready For Cable Competition In Tennessee!
by Joe Legge
WDEF (TN)
05/01/08

[ 1 comment ]

The Tennessee Senate approved a plan this morning that some believe will lead to cable competition in the state.  By a unanimous vote, the proposal to create statewide TV cable franchising now goes to Governor Phil Bredesen’s desk for approval.   —>
http://www.wdef.com/blog/get_ready_for_cable_competition_in_tennessee/05/2008
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Senate sends statewide cable permitting bill to governor
WMC TV (TN)
05/01/08

The Senate has unanimously approved a proposal to create statewide TV cable franchising and has sent the bill to the governor, who is expected to sign it into law.  The Senate approved the House version of the bill on a 29-0 vote with little debate on Thursday. The measure pushed by AT&T Inc. is the result of two years of negotiations with the cable industry and local governments.   —>
http://www.wmctv.com/global/story.asp?s=8256958
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/01/08

May 2, 2008

EAS: Act locally, think regionally
by Thomas G. Robinson
CedMagazine.com
05/01/08

As cable communications systems have evolved from solo headends to master headend and hub configurations and then to regional super headends, the concept of the local emergency override seems to have gotten lost in the complexity of it all.

The original local emergency overrides go back to the glory days of cable franchising when cable operators touted them as being a critical component of an emergency notification system that would set their system’s capabilities apart from others desiring to cable unwired areas, thus being part of the reason for choosing them over another franchisee. A number of these promises were kept, and emergency override systems were put into place to either override the audio, or audio and video, and allow the emergency operations directors of local franchising authorities to take over the cable system for a brief period of time and notify subscribers of local alerts. This could include hazardous materials spills on a highway within the franchise area or ruptured gas lines in a specific subdivision. As government access channels came on line, subs could then be directed to turn to those for more information.

Over time, a number of things happened to alter the way in which these systems were able to be utilized. First, digital cable channels were developed and added to the lineup. The way that they were encoded and distributed presented new challenges for modifying systems which had been developed for overriding analog channels.   —>
http://www.cedmagazine.com/Article-In-The-Loop-050108.aspx
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The cancellation of Channel 36
Policy debates and high school sports could soon fade to black.
by Patt Morrison
Los Angeles Times (CA)
05/01/08

It’s the channel you probably channel-surf right past on your way from Discovery to CNN.  Its production values can look a little … lean. “Desperate Housewives” no doubt spends more on its backstage buffet line than it costs to operate this little local channel for a whole year.

Tonight, other cable channels will air something called “Britney’s Secret Childhood” and reruns of “Law & Order” and “Family Feud.” Cable access Channel 36 will explore the future of Broadway downtown, and what Proposition 98 means. On Friday, as you’re flipping through the lineup looking for a pro baseball game, Channel 36 will broadcast the local high school slugger-fest between Cleveland and Chatsworth. Fox lets you decide whether to vote for Syesha or Brooke on “American Idol”; Channel 36 shows the debate between Bernard Parks and Mark Ridley-Thomas, so you can decide who to vote for for L.A. County supervisor, a post that represents more people than do the senators from 14 U.S. states.

Whoops — we interrupt this programming announcement for a de-programming announcement. Los Angeles is pulling the money plug. Unless the City Council overrules the mayor’s budget choices, come July 1, Channel 36 as we know it will go dark.  Not that there’s much budget to cut. The 16 hours of programming a day, seven days a week — school sports, public policy talks, long-distance for-credit college classes and a lot of repeats if you missed anything the first time — cost the city $555,000. (Channel 36 raises another $320,000 itself, mostly from hiring out its production services.)

That $555,000 comes from cable TV companies, not taxpayers. Back in 1984, the city boldly demanded funding for public access channels as a condition of handing out those rich, rich cable franchises. That show of nerve now generates $25 million a year.  About $3 million goes to Channel 36’s more production-intense sister station, Channel 35. If some of the faces on 35 look familiar, it’s because they’re often the mayor’s or council members’, in public meetings and on chatty shows about the work they’re doing. They’re on so often that their political opponents have complained that Channel 35 is like one big, free campaign commercial.

The Monday morning that the mayor released his budget, Carla Carlini, the general manager of Channel 36, was nervous. The city nearly whacked Channel 36 four years ago, and the city’s red ink is a lot more crimson now.  “I looked at it online,” she told me, “and literally froze.” Her budget was zero. “I printed it out, I looked at it again — at that point I picked up the phone and called [the agency that supervises the channel] and said, ‘Am I reading this correctly?’ and they said, ‘Yes.’ ”   —>
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-oe-morrison1-2008may01,1,3119514.column
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AT&T will start offering public access TV on U-verse system
by Luther Turmelle
New Haven Register (CT)
05/01/08

An AT&T Inc. executive indicated Wednesday that the debut of local public access television channels on the company’s U-verse system is imminent.  “It will occur sooner, rather than later,” said John Emra, AT&T’s regional vice president of external and legislative affairs. Emra said that at least one provider will appear on the system in the initial launch, with others to appear in coming weeks and months.

Emra declined to identify which public access provider would be first to launch on the system, which has been operating in the state for 17 months without offering any such programming.  “We are working closely with a number of providers to bring them on board,” he said. “Some of those providers serve a number of towns.”

Speculation among those who work in the public access community is that the first provider to launch on U-verse will be Sound View Community Media of Bridgeport. The company provides public access programming for cable television customers in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Milford, Orange, Stratford and Woodbridge.  But while company President Thomas Castelot acknowledged that Sound View is negotiating with AT&T to be carried on U-verse, any suggestion that an agreement is imminent is “premature,” he said.

Contrast Sound View’s experience with that of Wallingford’s Government Access Television.  Scott Hanley, who manages the government access channel, said AT&T hasn’t had any contact with Wallingford since Mayor William Dickinson Jr. made an initial overture to the company.  “We know that Wallingford has a fair number of (U-verse) customers, but at this point, we’ve heard nothing,” Hanley said.

U-verse is AT&T’s Internet-based challenge to cable television in the state and is operating in parts of 40 communities and 135,000 households.  Local public access channel advocates in some of those communities have criticized AT&T, saying that a portal, or “PEG platform,” that U-verse subscribers will use to view community-based programming will be substandard compared to what’s available from cable providers in terms of picture quality and accessibility.   —>
http://www.nhregister.com/WebApp/appmanager/JRC/BigDaily;jsessionid=5QftLZnVpyydvBDTDlVSdT9LgphBDsgpGC8yjgQnmm7THq1ymGjg!289188298?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_article&r21.pgpath=%2FNHR%2FBusiness&r21.content=%2FNHR%2FBusiness%2FHeadlineList_Story_1982738
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Cable Companies Fight For Franchise
by Ben Hogwood
Queens Tribune (NY)
05/01/08

Cable franchises are up for renewal this year, and one Queens councilman wants to make sure customers receive better service before the City signs any new contracts.
“With the cable franchises for Cablevision and Time Warner up for renewal for the first time in 10 years, we must wisely use this opportunity to protect consumers and hold Big Cable to higher standards,” said Tony Avella (D-Bayside), the chair of zoning and franchises for the City.

In addition, the City is seeking bids from all possible companies that can offer services to every residence, and already it appears consumers may have another option. The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) reached an agreement with Verizon Tuesday for a citywide cable television contract. The proposed agreement must still be approved by the City’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee, which is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the topic May 20.   —>
http://www.queenstribune.com/news/1209661473.html
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Column: School board meetings — where and what time?
by Bob Fasbender
Tomah Journal (WI)
05/01/08

[ comments invited ]

The Tomah Area School District Board of Education is seeking your input on where and when you feel board meetings should be held.  Currently all Tomah School Board regular monthly meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month beginning at 7:30 p.m. at various schools throughout the year. The board is investigating the possibility of making some changes to the regular monthly board meeting schedule.

The first change they are considering is moving the starting time to 7 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m. Secondly, they are considering discontinuing the “traveling” board meeting schedule. For many years the board has rotated the location of their monthly meeting so that they get into all of the schools at least once a year. They are considering the possibility of holding all regular board meetings at the former WTC building to be renamed the Robert Kupper Learning Center (RKLC), located at 1310 Townline Road in Tomah. They would continue to hold the May meeting in the Tomah High School library because this is the meeting where the retirees are recognized and usually attracts a large number of people.

Part of the reason for looking at a change in meeting location is because the board feels that more people watch the board meetings on cable (the PEG Channel and the Hagen Sports Network) than those who appear at the meetings. Secondly, anyone who has attended the meetings knows that the acoustics in the gymnasiums is marginal and makes it very difficult to hear and record. It affects the quality of the videotape that is being broadcast on cable. By holding the meetings in the former WTC building, the district can address the sound problems with the acoustical ceiling tiles and speakers in the ceilings. This will result in better sound for those who watch the meetings on cable and for those who are in attendance.   —>
http://www.tomahjournal.com/articles/2008/05/01/opinion/02fasbendercolumn.txt
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Public Forum on Philly WiFi
by twolfson
Philly Future (PA)
05/01/08

Media Mobilizing Project, Temple School of Communications and Theatre and a bunch of co-sponsors are hosting a public forum on the future of Philly WiFi on June 3rd at Temple. The forum will host a diverse panel of speakers, while including an open space for participants to speak about the future of the wireless Internet initiative.   —>
http://www.phillyfuture.org/node/6220
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How community TV spends its night of nights
by Daniel Ziffer
theage.com (Australia)
05/01/08

The Antenna Awards are community television’s Logies and last week they were celebrated with just as much passion and style. A crowd of several hundred tramped another red carpet, clinked champagne flutes and crammed into a Federation Square theatre to discover the winners of television’s other night of nights.  Nominees for best program included The MS Show, a series about multiple sclerosis, The Goin Ballistyx Snow Board Show, animated children’s program Play Kool and Let’s Go Bird Watching.

The winner was sustainable-lifestyle show Making The Switch, which also took out best lifestyle program and the award for best editing.  Presenter of the show’s 26 half-hour episodes, Lisa Corduff, says the community sector has room for anyone with a message. “I had never really made TV before and I was given the opportunity to research and present and produce.   —>
http://www.theage.com.au/news/tv–radio/how-community-tv-spends-its-night-of-nights/2008/04/30/1209234934185.html
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Time Warner to shed stake in cable operation
by Thomas Mulligan
Los Angeles Times
05/01/08

Answering Wall Street’s calls for a slimmer and more focused company, Time Warner Inc.’s chief executive said Wednesday that the cable system operator in which it holds a majority stake would become a completely separate entity.  Jeffrey L. Bewkes did not spell out how and when the split-off of Time Warner Cable Inc. would be accomplished.  Bewkes said that he was “very optimistic” about the prospects for the cable business but that “we just believe that the two entities would ultimately be more valuable if separated.” Time Warner owns 84percent of Time Warner Cable, a portion of which was spun off into a separate public company that began trading last year.

Time Warner has long been talked about as a possible deep-pockets buyer of Bethpage-based Cablevision Systems Corp. But there has never been a formal offer and stock analysts yesterday said it was too soon to know if the Time Warner spinoff would affect possible acquisitions, including one involving Cablevision.   —>
http://www.newsday.com/business/ny-bztime0501,0,4960948.story
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What’s Next for Time Warner Cable?
by David Lee Smith
The Motley Fool
05/01/08

It was a busy day for Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), the second-biggest player in the cable industry. And the major event for the company wasn’t, as you might expect, its quarterly results, but rather the fact that we now know that it’s about to leave its parental nest.  So, let’s look quickly at the company’s results for the quarter before discussing its future.   —>
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2008/05/01/whats-next-for-time-warner-cable.aspx
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org