Archive for the ‘white space’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/03/08

April 4, 2008

Don’t Downgrade CT-N
Hartford Courant (CT)


AT&T’s new U-verse service doesn’t have to play by all the rules that cable TV companies do. But it should play by one: It should offer viewers the same quality public affairs broadcasts that cable viewers now enjoy.

The Connecticut Television Network, aptly described as Connecticut’s C-SPAN, covers state government, including debates on bills before the General Assembly. CT-N fears, with good reason, that AT&T will move it to a substandard channel that will be hard for viewers to connect with and see clearly.

Paul Giguere, president and CEO of CT-N, recently did a side-by-side comparison of public affairs programs on U-verse and cable TV in a town in Michigan. (The comparison can be seen at

On U-verse, the public access channel took more than a minute to appear on the screen. The picture was fuzzier than on cable TV. Also, viewers couldn’t record U-verse public access programs with DVRs. These changes will surely upset the many fans of the invaluable CT-N.

AT&T has fought its way into the Connecticut cable TV market this past year with promises of great quality and competitive pricing on its service. The legislature relaxed its regulations last year to give the newcomer a chance. But even the lighter regulatory system still included public access requirements for U-verse.

The legislature must make sure CT-N viewers don’t get shortchanged with the new service. They should have the same easy, crisp viewing experience as they will have with C-SPAN and CPTV, which will be carried on commercial channels.

CT-N has become too vital to the informed citizenry of Connecticut to allow anything less.,0,2491936.story

Secrecy granted to cable TV providers
by Timothy C. Barmann
Providence Journal (RI)

The state’s three cable TV companies have asked state regulators to keep secret some of the details the businesses are required to file about their operations each year.  Eric Palazzo, the state’s top cable regulator, has granted that request.

Cox Communications, Verizon Communications and Full Channel TV all contend that releasing some of the information in their annual reports, such as how many customers each company has, would harm their competitive positions.  Cox has gone a step further by also requesting that financial information, such as its balance sheet and income statements, be kept confidential as well.  These filings, in their entirety, have been made available to the public for 25 years.

Palazzo said the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers supported cable competition within Rhode Island, adding “We do not want to do anything that the companies feel would be negative in the competitive environment.”  The three companies filed their annual reports Tuesday, the deadline for doing so. The Journal has asked Thomas Ahern, administrator of the division, to review Palazzo’s decision to withhold the information.

Ahern said that state law gives the agency 10 days to respond to The Journal’s request. He said that Palazzo has asked the cable companies to file memos that expand upon their reasons for wanting to keep the information confidential.  The state rules that govern cable TV have required cable companies to file annual reports since the industry’s inception in Rhode Island in the early 1980s.  The reports are to contain information about each company’s ownership, management, financial condition, facilities, services and subscriber information…

Linda Lotridge Levin, a professor of journalism at the University of Rhode Island, said the information that the cable companies don’t want disclosed could be helpful to consumers.  “If you have the information, then you can make a better informed decision,” Levin said, who is also chairwoman of Access Rhode Island, a group that works to ensure that the workings of government are open to the citizens of the state.

“As a proponent of open government …. I think the residents of the state have a right to know the details of these businesses.”  She said that since these companies are regulated by the state, citizens “should be able to know what our state is regulating.”   —>

The 411 Show (TX)

[ comments invited ]

Meet Pointdexter, the lost dog ( If anybody recognizes him, send us a message.  This clip was filmed for San Antonio Public Access TV.

Public access and grassroots video
by Forty Brown

[ comments invited ]

I’m attending a lecture today given by DeeDee Halleck, an expert in public access television programing and the use of communications in grassroots development.  You can follow along here.

Clash over ‘white spaces’
by Chris Frates

[ comments invited ]

The big guns of high tech and consumer advocacy are launching a major lobbying blitz next week to convince policymakers to allow unlicensed electronic gadgets to operate on the television spectrum.   While a bit esoteric-sounding, the issue of allowing unlicensed electronics to use vacant spectrum space between television channels will have a dramatic and lasting impact on consumers, argue supporters and opponents alike.

The high-tech community contends that allowing laptops, PDAs and other unlicensed devices to operate in the so-called “white spaces” will revolutionize wireless broadband access. Broadcasters counter that such a move would interfere with television signals and distort TV picture quality for millions of Americans.   A classic Washington clash of the titans, the fight between the broadcasters and the tech companies has turned savage, with each side accusing the other of distortion and greed.

The techies contend the broadcasters want to keep the white spaces for themselves until they can figure out how to make money selling them. The broadcasters say the tech giants are trying to score free spectrum space — unlicensed devices mean companies don’t have to buy expensive spectrum space that licensed devices require.   Each side dismisses its opponent’s arguments as bunk.

To push their cause, Microsoft, Dell, Google and other tech companies, along with several public interest groups, have formed the Wireless Innovation Alliance. And it has bought a round of print ads to run in Washington publications over the next several weeks.  The ads criticize the National Association of Broadcasters for what the alliance calls NAB’s pattern of opposition over the years to FM radio, cable television and the VCR, among other innovations. The alliance expects to begin a second round of advertising in late May or early June.

On Capitol Hill, the alliance is targeting lawmakers charged with overseeing the Federal Communications Commission, which is currently testing unlicensed devices to determine whether they cause interference. Specifically, the alliance intends to lobby the 70 lawmakers who wrote to the FCC to express their concern about unlicensed devices.

“Many of these members merely voiced concern over television interference, not the technological opportunity that will bring wireless broadband access to millions of Americans and close the gap between American schools, rural communities and underserved populations,” said alliance spokesman Brian Peters. “Opposing interference and supporting NAB’s position are two very different things.”

To mobilize consumers, the alliance has tapped its partners to help build a grass-roots network. More than 500,000 members of the media reform organization Free Press have filed more than 20,000 comments with the FCC supporting unlicensed devices to use white spaces, said Shawn Chang, the consumer advocacy group’s deputy policy director. The move will help counter NAB’s constituency of station owners.

Free Press believes white spaces can increase Internet access, a message it has pitched to the civil rights, music and rural groups it has asked to sign on to the fight, Chang said.   “The goal is expanding the number of coalitions and bringing a diverse perspective into the debate,” Chang said. “Traditionally, people don’t view this as a digital divide issue. They view it as one large industry, tech companies, versus another large industry: the broadcasters. It’s really about connecting more people to the Internet.”    —>

REPACTED: Giving Voice To The Kenyan Youths
by Rezwan
Rising Voices

[ comments invited ]

REPACTED is the abbreviation of Rapid Effective Participatory Action in Community Theater Education and Development.  REPACTED was formed in the year 2001 by young theater artists from the Nakuru Players Theater Club with assistance from an international NGO. Their aim is to improve the community by encouraging young people and involving them in community development through participatory theater methodologies, awareness campaigns and peer education and counseling.

The scope of the Youth Media Consultative Forum is stated in their application to Rising Voices:

“The youth media consultative forum will collect news, stories, information, and other content from their respective communities among the target population and post them on the internet, through photography, broadcast, video, blogging, and magazines. The project will also use Magnet Theater to inform, educate, and communicate to the target population. With the above activities the target population will be able to communicate with like minded population in the whole world, and show the true picture of their community. The kind of news and stories that we will collect and share using the above tools will be to show the struggles that young people are going through here in Nakuru Kenya and give them a voice.”

In their first post in Rising Voices REPACTED tells about its works and achievements till-to-date.

Dennis Kimambo is the resource mobilizer of the program. We have talked with him recently to learn about the program and its progress in details. Here is the interview.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media


Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/24/08

March 25, 2008

New Media Network Kicks Off
by Maneeza Iqbal (MO)

[ comments invited ]

The new session is underway. My First Ward: Digital Storytelling workshop kicked off March 12th. My First Ward is a arts and community development program to introduce youth in Columbia’s first ward to digital storytelling. The sessions runs from March to May.
Girl at park.  This is an example of work created by Shanda, 15, who participated in last session’s workshop. Artists are handed donated digital cameras to explore their world and share it through, one possible outlet, photography.

The central mission of the New Media Network is to serve as a community development project within Columbia’s First Ward by building capacity in youth through the media arts. Through the framework of digital storytelling, students between the ages of 9 and 18 gain skills in multimedia technology while building a greater sense of community awareness, identity, and pride. The New Media Network then provides a forum for the artistic agency and journalistic work of these marginalized voices on local community radio and television, showcasing their talent and unique perspectives both within the First Ward and to the greater community.

Somalia: UN Expert Says Media’s Rights Being Violated By All in Conflict
by Hassan Shire Sheikh, Chairperson of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network
National Union of Somali Journalists (Mogadishu)

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRD/Net) and the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), a founding member of the network, would like to welcome the report by Dr Ghanim Alnajjar, the UN Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Somalia which he presented to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) today in Geneva…

Of particular importance is the exposure which Dr Alnajjar has accorded to the current curtailment of independent media and the deliberate violations being committed against journalists. The report reveals that these violations are being carried out by all actors in the conflict and are largely being used as a means of silencing the very few voices speaking out against the abuses being committed against the civilian population.   —>

Comcast considers creepy new addition to the set top box
by Tricia Liebert
Tech Republic


[ I didn’t quite believe this when I first read it in Chris Albrecht’s blog post – until later in the comments I saw the obfuscating non-denial denial by Comcast’s Kunkel.  Here, Tricia Liebert quotes Kunkel’s response, as well as Albretch’s reply, garnering 127 comments (so far) in the process. ~ rm ]

I have never been one of the tinfoil hat crowd in the past, but that could change –especially in light of the comments made by Comcast’s Gerard Kunkel, senior VP of user experience, to reporter Chris Albrecht of Mr. Kunkel mentioned an experiment with different camera technologies built into the cable box that would be able to tell who is in the room watching television…

From NewTeeVee:


Your article on “Comcast Cameras to Start Watching You” portrayed some assumptions that require correction and clarification. I want to be clear that in no way are we exploring any camera devices that would monitor customer behavior.

To gather information for your article on Comcast’s exploration of cameras you picked up on my conversation with another conference attendee. The other attendee and I were deep in a conversation discussing a variety of input devices offered by a variety of vendors that Comcast is reviewing.

The camera-based gesture recognition device is in no way designed to — or capable of — monitoring your living room. These technologies are designed to allow simple navigation on a television set just as the Wii remote uses a camera to manage its much heralded gesture-based interactivity.

We are constantly exploring new technologies that better serve our customers. The goal is simple — a better user experience that allows the consumer to get ever increasing value out of their Comcast products.

As with any new technology, we carefully consider the consumer benefits. In fact, we do an enormous amount of consumer testing in advance of making a product decision such as this. I’m confident that a new technology like gesture-based navigation will be fully explored with consumers to understand the product’s feature benefits — and of course, the value to the consumer.

Sincerely, Gerard Kunkel

I responded to Mr. Kunkel in our comment with the following:

Hi Mr. Kunkel,

Just to further clarify. After you granted me our initial video interview, you brought up the topic of Comcast knowing who was in the living room in a conversation between you, myself, and another conference attendee.

I actually left and came back to follow up on this point while you were talking with that same attendee. At this point, you were aware that I was a reporter and I took handwritten notes in front of you as we talked to make sure I had an accurate accounting of what you were saying.  I’d love to talk further with either you or someone else at Comcast to follow up on this story.

A person named Jenni Moyer, claiming to be from Comcast, posted a nearly identical message to Mr. Kunkel’s on PC World’s blog on this story. And frankly, I will be quite hurt if someone from Comcast doesn’t post to this thread.

Whether the device is intended for consumer benefit is almost not the point. The question is how far are we willing to allow companies with whom we do business to invade our private space? I have a set top box. I have three. I have remotes for all of them. I even have a Harmony integrated remote. My viewing experience is just ducky, thanks. I don’t need to gesture at the TV any more than I already do — and the gestures that I make are probably not ones that Comcast needs to see.   —>

AT&T, cable crafting compromise
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)


Lengthy negotiations between AT&T, the cable industry and local governments over AT&T’s bid to offer television services in Tennessee are close to complete, and the final product may cause a first for the telecom giant in the southeast.  To make an agreement happen, AT&T has given in on where it’s required to offer its services under a statewide franchise.

Going into the talks, one of the biggest points of contention was where a statewide franchise holder would have to offer video services.  Local franchise holders are often bound to “build out” to cover a certain area of a city or county, and therefore can’t “cherry pick” wealthy residents.  The cable industry has argued that a pure statewide franchise would allow AT&T to only cater to high-income customers.

In the tentative agreement, Tennessee would be the only southeastern state to require AT&T and other statewide television franchise holders to offer its services to a certain percentage of a geographical area within a certain time frame.  Some low-income customers would also have to be covered.  “That’s what the build out is going to look like,” said Rep. Randy Rinks (D-Savannah).   —>

Luvin’ on the Speakuh
by Rex Noseworthy
Nashville City Paper (TN)

[ comments invited ]

Throughout this legislative session, House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh has been trying to broker a compromise between AT&T and the cable industry in their multi-million dollar battle over television franchising rights.  Gov. Phil Bredesen, in an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free-Press earlier this year, questioned whether Naifeh’s efforts could be successful since the two sides were looking out for their best interests and Tennesseans’ interests needed to be considered.

After Bredesen’s comments, Naifeh called an odd, impromptu press conference that apparently had no purpose but to refute the governor’s questioning of his methods. The longtime speaker and the governor later had a conversation, with Naifeh claiming Bredesen said he was “misquoted.”

That leads us to last week. Bredesen was asked by a reporter if he thought the AT&T-cable talks had a chance of succeeding.  This time, Bredesen expressed faith in Naifeh’s efforts.  “Basically, I think if the speaker puts his mind to something, he’s likely to get it accomplished,” Bredesen said.

New arrangement nets city more money
By T. Scott Batchelor
The Daily Reflector (NC)

[ comments invited ]

The city of Greenville is getting more money now that state — rather than local — government is franchiser for cable systems, local officials said.  Even so, there remains no permanent source of adequate funding for Greenville-Pitt County Public Access Television, an officer of the local nonprofit corporation said.   —>

Cable Television Franchise Renewal
City of Dover, New Hampshire
03/24/08 (?)

The City of Dover will soon be negotiating a new franchise agreement with Comcast. To prepare for these negotiations, the City is conducting a review concerning Comcast’s past performance and soliciting input to determine the future cable-related needs of the community.  All residents are encouraged to participate in an on-line cable television and Internet survey in order to share their opinions and views regarding cable television services.   —>

MCTV invites public to celebrate five years at its studio
by Stephanie Chelf
Eagle Tribune (MA)

METHUEN — In the five years since moving out of high school and into its own studio, Methuen Community Television has grown in membership and added more community programming.  To celebrate five years at 13 Branch St., MCTV is hosting a daylong open house from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“They did a lot of excellent programming out of the space they had (at the high school),” said MCTV Executive Director Karen Hayden. “We’ve been able to do more training, get more people in doing their work. It’s our space now. People used to look at it as being part of the school. This is ours, the public space.”

The more convenient location and larger studio have encouraged more volunteers to join MCTV, Hayden said. The station produces several local-themed shows, airs live election results, and covers high school sports. The community-run nonprofit was founded in 1996…

MCTV is also partnering with local nonprofit, New England Caring for Our Military, to have residents come to the studio and record a video message to send to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  “Community television is an expression of free speech,” Hayden said. “What better way to honor that than to include our soldiers — the people who defend our free speech. They appreciate those types of things and hearing from home.”   —>

Metro Board Chair Takes to Air Waves To Engage Public in Discussing Long-Range Traffic Solutions (CA)

In an unprecedented move, Metro Board Chair Pam O’Connor will take to the air waves Thursday night, March 27, to promote live public discussion of the mobility future for Los Angeles County and how to pay for traffic relief.  O’Connor will take live calls from viewers between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on a public access cable television show broadcast live on both City of Los Angeles Channel 36 and CityTV Channel 16 in Santa Monica. During the broadcast, call-in numbers will be posted.

The show will have three segments: first, a focus on traffic in Los Angeles County and Metro’s draft Long Range Transportation Plan that proposes dozens of new highway and public transit projects to handle the county’s projected population growth of 2.4 million more people by the year 2030. The second segment will address how to pay for traffic relief, and the third segment will look at traffic and the environment. Viewers are encouraged to ask O’Connor about any of these issues and share their opinions.   —>

Humboldt Trivia
by EkoVox
299 Opine


While flipping channels, I landed on Community Access Television on Channel 12 on the Northern Humboldt cable system. Today, they were showing a 1991 video recording of my father doing one of his history lectures at the Humboldt Senior Resource Center.

Rather than a straight ahead lecture, he was doing Eureka Trivia and Sounds I’d Like To Hear Again. The first part consisted of business trivia in the 1940’s….You know, “Where was Morrow’s Drive-In?” and “Where was Adams School located?” The next part was about sounds that have disappeared from the Humboldt lifeshed. Sounds that were around when he was a kid….like, Dinner Bells, Drag Saws, Treadle Sewing Machines, Ringer Washers and….. ahem…trains. Sounds that we haven’t heard on the north coast for decades.

At one point he would say a person’s name and the audience had to guess who they were….or what they did for a living.  For instance, George C. Jacobs….(Hardware Store, School Board) Doris Niles…(educator).

I would like to list some names from our recent era and see if we are as connected to our local society as we think.  What were or are these people known for in Humboldt Society?   —>

People in Business: Kathy Bisbee
Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)

Kathy Bisbee, the director of marketing and development at Community Television in Santa Cruz, is leaving to become executive director of the Community Media Access Partnership in Gilroy. She will succeed Suzanne St. John-Crane, who left to launch a public access station in San Jose.

CMAP, at Gavilan College, is a smaller operation than Community Television. The 5-year-old station manages four public access television channels, including an educational channel, broadcasting to Gilroy, San Juan Bautista and Hollister.

Bisbee previously was director of marketing at Cruzio, and volunteered on the Workforce Investment Board, the Santa Cruz Film Festival and the Santa Cruz Downtown Commission.

Originally from rural Maine, she grew up on a working farm and earned a degree in political science and social sciences from the University of Maine at Farmington. She is working on a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications and public relations at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Last summer she filmed two documentaries in Guatemala and Nicaragua about sustainable farming and youth hip-hop music in underdeveloped nations. Her films will be showed this year at the Santa Cruz Film Festival and EarthVision Environmental Film Festival. She and her husband, Alec VanderWoude, live in Santa Cruz County.

Free the whitespace
by Andrew Dubber
new music strategies


One of the great things about the migration to digital broadcasting platforms is what gets left behind. As the VHF band is cleared of television and radio signals, previously unavailable (or incredibly scarce – and therefore expensive) spectrum becomes freed up.

That empty spectrum, or ‘whitespace’ as it’s becoming known, has been attracting a lot of attention recently. Bill Gates is having a say, Google are putting their hands up. It’s a turning point in communications history.

Now, contrary to popular belief, there are two (rather than just one) possible uses for that spectrum that would be of enormous social and cultural use. The first would be to reallocate it for community broadcasting, low power FM, access television and other political and grassroots media. The second would be wifi. Gigabytes-fast, ubiquitous and, to the public, potentially free wifi.

You could have a long argument about which of those two uses are the principle democratising forces. Frankly, either would be a superb result in my book. Because both ways, there is more speech, more access to speech and more availability for citizens to make media.

The migration to digital television and DAB radio has not been, in my opinion, a phenomenal success. There are all sorts of exciting things around picture quality and enhancement of services, but in the end these things are more flavours of the same thing — with audio and picture fidelity improvements that are not the solution to any genuinely experienced problem. And you can keep that bloody red button.

But the freeing of the whitespace makes for a genuinely promising and potentially hugely rewarding opportunity for the connectedness, wellbeing and productivity of the communities covered by those vacated stretches of spectrum. One gives local music exposure and a much greater chance of hearing marginalised voices and arts. The other allows for mobile working, connectivity and access to technology – a serious dent in the digital divide (at least at a national level).

Community media – or ubiquitous wifi. There’s no wrong answer here.  Now let’s wait and see the politicians screw it up.

Verizon’s FiOS Takes Manhattan
by Peter Svensson
Associated Press – Google

Verizon’s fiber-optic service, so far mainly available to suburbanites, is making a big push into Manhattan with a deal to connect an 11,232-unit apartment complex.  Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, an enclave of 110 buildings on Manhattan’s East Side, is the largest apartment complex in Manhattan and the largest to get FiOS service anywhere in Verizon’s 17-state fiber buildout area.  Verizon Communications Inc. announced the deal Monday, but seven buildings are already connected. It will take some months to connect the rest.   —>

Verizon rolls out FIOS to Stuy Town, Cooper
by Amanda Fung
Crain’s New York

[ comments invited ]

Verizon Communications Inc. has been quietly rolling out its fiber-optic Internet service to residents of apartment buildings throughout the city. The company’s announcement Monday that it will bring service to Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village apartment complex, may be Verizon’s largest coup in a major metropolitan area, but it is not its first.

The company refused to disclose how many buildings in the city are connected for competitive reasons, but identified a half a dozen other buildings in New York where FIOS Internet is available. Those properties include Place 57 at 57th Street between Third and Second avenues; The Crest Lofts at 67 Wall St., two Trump properties in Manhattan; Arverne By the Sea in the Rockaways, Queens and Octagon Park on Roosevelt Island.   —>

compiled by Rob McCauland
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/26/07

December 31, 2007

Public access TV to be a tough find
Comcast taking it digital, into 900s
by Christy Arboscello and Emilia Askari
Detroit Free Press (MI)

Don Thomas of Bloomfield Township is like a lot of cable viewers. When a familiar face or a local place on television catches his attention, he stops to watch — and chances are it’s the public access station.  Starting Jan. 15, it’s unlikely he will happen upon the local stations simply by flipping through channels on the low end of the dial.

On Comcast, hundreds of local access cable stations that broadcast municipal meetings, school concerts and sports, parades and other community events are moving to channels in the 900s. It’s unclear what programming will be shown on the lower channels, but Comcast said the local access move is driven by customers’ desire for digital service. Local access shows are to be broadcast digitally.

All 1.3 million Comcast subscribers in Michigan are to be affected. And many metro Detroit community leaders and residents, like Thomas, are unhappy about the change.  “I’m not flipping through hundreds of channels,” Thomas said Wednesday. “They might as well close down the whole operation. … I’m going to be less well informed.”   —>

Comcast changes concern local officials
by Julia Zaher
The Grand Blanc News (MI)

GRAND BLANC TWP. — Concern about Comcast’s decision to close its public access television studio in Flint and move public access programming to the 900 channel spectrum has program producers, residents and local officials concerned.  “Genesee County has lost too much already,” Ernestine Tune of E.M. Tune Productions told the Grand Blanc Township board at its Dec. 13 meeting.

Tune volunteers to videotape the township board meetings, which have been shown on public access Channel 17. She asked the board to take action to save the channel from being relocated to the 900s.  Channel 17 volunteer Scott DeMaria of Swartz Creek echoed that request. Comcast closed its Flint public access production studio this month cutting off access to both the studio and equipment many long-time public access producers have used.  “We need your help to save community access,” DeMaria told the board.   —>

Students produce cable program
The Daily News Journal (TN)

MTSU students enrolled in an entry-level journalism class recently wrote, videotaped and produced the entire January edition of Middle Tennessee Record, a 30-minute cable-TV program about the people, places and events of this region.  The completion of the January program, which is broadcast throughout the month on local cable channels, including at 5 p.m. daily on Murfreesboro’s cable Channel 9 and at 1:30 p.m. Sundays on News5+ in Nashville, marks the first time that MTR has been an entirely student-created production.

John Lynch, the show’s creator and producer said, “This project was beneficial in a number of ways. First of all, the students brought a fresh perspective to the stories. Second, it gave them a chance to get involved in a hands-on project in which they had to meet several critical deadlines, and it was inspiring for us to work closely with students and see our video production process through fresh eyes. This really was a student-centered project.”

The 18 students who created the broadcast were enrolled in a fall 2007 course taught by Lisa L. Rollins, adjunct professor in the School of Journalism and director of special media projects for the Office of News and Public Affairs at MTSU. Rollins divided the class into six broadcast teams of three students, and each team created its own segment for the January program.   —>

Council tables public-access proposal
by Lewis Delavan
Saline County Voice (AR)

A proposal to return public-access television station Channel 12 to city control was tabled by Benton City Council recently.  In 2005, the council gave administrative control of Channel 12 to the Benton Community Access Association for one year.  Alderman Doug Stracener, who sponsored the ordinance, said Benton needs to set standards and operate Channel 12.   —>

Forum to discuss public art
by Gordon Weixel
Bismarck Tribune (ND)

A Jan. 24 Public Art Forum likely will be more than just a discussion about Bismarck Parks and Recreation District properties and consider public art in the Capital City overall.  This is what district director Steve Neu told the Bismarck Park Board at its meeting last week as he outlined the upcoming forum, which was requested by the board.  The forum will be held in the City/County Building’s Tom Baker room, where it will be broadcast by local Cable Access Television from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Hopes are that a public art policy for the district’s properties will come out of the forum.   —>

Cross-ownership and new media
by Dan Kennedy
Media Nation

Ten years from now — maybe a little sooner, maybe a little later — we’ll receive what we currently refer to as “television” through a thick Internet cable. As with today’s Internet, we will theoretically have an infinite number of choices. Rupert Murdoch (and, yes, I am convinced the man is going to live forever) may own nine of the 10 most-viewed video sites. But anyone will be free to start his or her own video operation, whether it’s the major metropolitan news site in your region (we may still be calling them “newspapers,” but strictly for nostalgia purposes) or the sort of community-minded folks who today volunteer at local-access cable television outlets.

As long as we can preserve net neutrality, such a mediascape is almost certain to come into being. And, at that point, there will no longer be a rationale for regulating the media. For some 80 years now, the FCC has regulated the content and ownership of over-the-air television and radio stations because of a very simple principle of physics: there is only so much broadcast spectrum available, and therefore it makes some sense to make sure that spectrum is used in the public interest.

Since the Reagan years, though, the FCC, with an occasional assist from Congress, has been moving away from its regulatory mission. The Fairness Doctrine and the equal-time provisions no longer exist, and corporations are allowed to own many more properties, both locally and nationally. Most famously, this led to the situation in Minot, N.D., a few years ago, when a train accident led to a deadly outbreak of poisonous gas — and there was no one at the local Clear Channel station to get the word out. (I should note that the story is at least partly apocryphal.)

Last week FCC chairman Kevin Martin led an effort to loosen ownership rules still further, allowing one company to own both a newspaper and a television station in the same city, an arrangement known in the trade as “cross-ownership.” The reaction to this has been remarkably low-key. Maybe it’s because Martin’s proposal is cautious and complicated: it would only apply to the 20 largest cities in the country, and it would pertain only to one of the smaller TV stations in a given market. Maybe it’s because he simultaneously proposed new limits on cable companies. Or maybe it’s because the news business is in such a diminished state that critics are accepting of, or at least apathetic toward, what they once would have railed against. I might fall into this category; and I find myself half-agreeing with Martin that allowing television and newspaper operations to combine might result in more and better journalism.

To be sure, some are vehemently opposed to this. Media-reform advocate Robert McChesney’s group, Free Press, is unleashing a campaign to overturn the loosening of the cross-ownership ban. A group of journalism-school deans, represented locally by Alex Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, at Harvard’s Kennedy School, wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times arguing that “we do not believe that the market can be absolutely trusted to provide the local news gathering that the American system needs to function at its best.”

New-media cheerleader Jeff Jarvis wrote a post for his Buzz Machine blog claiming that the j-school folks just don’t get it. Now, I agree with Jarvis in part. I don’t like either Martin’s or the deans’ suggestion that the news content of broadcast operations should somehow be monitored and regulated. I do not lament the demise of the Fairness Doctrine or of equal time, and would prefer that the FCC limit itself to breaking up monopoly ownership. By ensuring local, diverse ownership, you don’t need to regulate content.

But Jarvis bases his argument on the belief that local television news is essentially worthless, which simply isn’t true. Yes, it could be infinitely better. But, certainly on breaking news, local newscasts keep newspapers on their toes. Let a media company that already owns a newspaper in a given city to add a TV station to its holdings, and you might have better, deeper journalism in both the paper and on television. Or you might just get more cost-cutting.   —>

TV group sees dark time if white space opened up
by Jon Van
Chicago Tribune

When a Dallas TV station started transmitting digital signals a decade ago, five dozen wireless heart monitors at Baylor University quit working.  Baylor got different monitors, and no patients were harmed, but it’s a story that Dennis Wharton, executive vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters, still tells to argue against allowing electronic devices to operate on vacant TV channels.  “That was an unforeseen circumstance,” Wharton said. “It shows how predictions of the way things will work don’t always come true in the real world.”

The nation’s TV broadcasters are fighting Google, Microsoft and other high-tech firms that want to use vacant TV channels to carry high-speed data for a new generation of gadgets. Called “white space,” over-the-air channels like 6 and 8 in Chicago are left vacant to prevent signals broadcast on Channels 5, 7 and 9 from interfering with one another.

But new digital technology and smart radios that sense whether broadcast channels are being used should enable low-power devices to use vacant channels without hurting TV reception, Internet-oriented executives argue.  Utilizing white-space channels will provide consumers with more affordable ways to access the Internet and encourage innovators to make nifty new wireless gizmos, said Brian Peters, director of government relations for the Information Technology Industry Council. This would be especially useful in rural areas where high-speed Internet connections are scarce and vacant TV channels plentiful, he said.   —>,1,1712266.story?ctrack=2&cset=true

Community Project: Roundtable on Social Media Measurement
by Joseph Thornley
Pro PR

How do we measure the value of social media to an organization? What should we be measuring? What are the metrics that accurately capture the things we want to measure?

Over the past year, people like Jeremiah Owyang, Kami Huyse, Scott Karp, Christopher Carfi, Mike Manuel, the Research Fellows at the Society for New Communications Research, John Bell, Flemming Madsen, Geoff Livingston, Katie Paine, David Brain, Brendan Cooper, Brian Solis and Jeff Jarvis have made valuable contributions to our emerging understanding of social media measurement and metrics.

The online discussion is great. But sometimes, it’s even better to sit down face to face and talk things through.  This is what I’d like to do. Let’s bring together a group of experts for a roundtable discussion of social media measurement and metrics.   —>

POLITICS-KENYA:  NGOs Bolster Women Candidates’ Media and Voter Savvy
by Kwamboka Oyaro
Inter-Press service

A number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have come to the assistance of female candidates ahead of Kenya’s general elections, scheduled for Thursday, in the hope of giving them a fair shot at the polls — this in a country where lack of funds, resistance to women in leadership positions and various other factors tend to undermine women’s electoral performance.

Just 18 of the 222 legislators in the country’s last parliament were women, and only nine of these won their seats: the others were nominated to parliament. This put Kenya in an unfavourable light with regard to its neighbours in East Africa. Against the 8.1 percent of seats that were held by women in Kenya, 30.4 percent of seats in Tanzania and 29.8 percent of seats in Uganda are in female hands.

The NGOs include the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), which has itself received support from the Gender and Governance Programme in Kenya: an initiative funded by the United Nations Development Fund for Women and other donors that aims — in part — to strengthen women’s leadership at community and national level.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/13/07

December 14, 2007

Way Beyond YouTube! Wiki on US PEG Streaming
by Deep Dish
Waves of Change

The Alliance for Community Media has set up a Wiki with links to streaming PEG (Public, Educational and Government) channels in the U.S. You can get a sense of what sort of programming is being presented on these channels. Access centers can add their own url if it has not been included on the interactive site.

Opponents of cable bill lobby Doyle to again use partial veto
by Charles Brace
The Daily Cardinal (WI)

The bill relating to cable television passed the Assembly Tuesday, but opponents still hope Gov. Jim Doyle will veto portions of the legislation before signing it.  State Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, (above) said he believes Gov. Jim Doyle is willing to veto portions of the recently passed cable bill.   —>

Cable competition bill concerns local officials
by Jeff Bollier
Oshkosh Northwestern (WI)

A proposal to replace local cable television agreements with a statewide licensing system only needs Gov. Jim Doyle’s approval to become law now despite the proposal’s impact on public access channel revenues and doubts about how much added competition will lower cable rates.  The bill, lobbied for heavily by AT&T, does away with the local licensing agreements that started in the 1970s and replaces it with a single statewide license. Getting one license to operate in the entire state was advocated by AT&T as a faster and more efficient way for it to enter the state’s cable market.

But Oshkosh Community Access Television Executive Director Jon Urben, a strong opponent of the bill because of its impact on community stations like OCAT, said he fears the bill will not reduce consumers’ cable rates. Urben also pointed out the city of Oshkosh’s franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable does not exclude AT&T, Charter Communications or any other cable provider from offering services in the Oshkosh market.  “The idea of more competition resonates so well with everyone, but nowhere in the bill does it say your cable bill is going to go down,” Urben said. “The system has been this way for more than 30 years and there’s never been a barrier to AT&T coming into the community. They just want to get into the market with less government regulation.”   —>

EDITORIAL: Cable deregulation harmful for Wisconsin Consumers
The Daily Telegram (WI)

Wisconsin consumers beware.  Legislation awaiting the governor’s likely signature claims to be in the best interest of video service network subscribers — cable TV viewers.  The objective of Assembly Bill 207 is to take franchise agreements out of the hands of local government and move governance of those agreements to the state.  The goal, the bill’s authors say, is to hold down costs by fostering competition. On its surface that sounds like a good plan, but it’s deregulation, which has rarely benefited consumers.

The bill offers little in the way of consumer protection. Mandatory standards of service are minimal. And if the cable provider fails to meet even those minimum standards, there is no enforcement mechanism.  A consumer’s recourse — file a court action and get a judge to order the company to comply with the law.

The bill does offer support to maintain public access, but critics are undoubtedly correct when they say the legislation will eventually starve it to death. Wisconsin offers a long list of examples of breaking its promises to balance the state checkbook on the backs of property owners — courts, public health, social services, shared revenue. It’s only a matter of time before fees to support public access are added to the list. However, it’s more likely to go away since AB 207 doesn’t allow local government to tax for the cost.

The bill already prevents local government from collecting permit fees when the cable company uses a public right-of way. It’s a fee other utilities are required to pay.  The governor should whip out his veto pen and send AB 207 back to the Legislature with instruction to follow the suggestion of Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma. Her idea is to adopt a bill that mirrors a cable bill adopted in Illinois.

The Illinois bill protects consumers, sets service standards and has a means to penalize companies that don’t meet those requirements. Illinois also has the mechanism in place to protect the general public interest, whether or not individuals are cable customers, by allowing municipalities to recoup costs for inspection of work in the public right-of-way.

Public access television to add second channel
New channel will air government, education
by Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun (CA)

Community television has been a bit too successful in the North Tahoe area.  Coverage of Truckee-Tahoe government meetings has overwhelmed the public-access programming the region’s cable provider broadcasts to its viewers in the Truckee-North Tahoe area.  To stay true to its mandate of providing the public its own broadcast outlet, Truckee Tahoe Community Television will add a second public-access channel to improve community coverage.   —>

TV production training is free at MCTV
by Paul Boerger
Mt. Shasta News (CA)

If you ever had the notion to put on or be part of a television program – whether educational, talk show, entertainment or documentary, or running the equipment or learning any of the other many activities that TV production entails – then Mountain Community Television Channel 15 has the studio and people to make that happen for you.

MCTV15 is the non-profit Siskiyou County public access television station broadcast by Northland Cable. The studio is located at College of the Siskiyous in Weed, and the public is invited to be part of the station. In partnership with COS, classes on many aspects of television production are also available for credit.

“We have up-to-date equipment just waiting for the public to take advantage of,” said Audra Gibson, president of the board of directors. “We’re not the local news station. The programming is citizen generated.”  Gibson said the station is open to a wide range of programming.

“We invite you to take your creativity and bring it to MCTV15. We’re looking for a variety of programs including events, talk shows, educational, sports, kids activities, cooking, news magazines and school activities. Authors, musicians and artists can showcase their work,” Gibson said. “Let your imagination be your guide. If you are interested in getting an event or story on television, we can assist you in making that happen.”   —>

Tech companies and public interest groups form coalition to expand broadband access
by Kevin Bogardus
The Hill

Tech giants and public interest watchdogs joined forces Wednesday in a new coalition to support new portable wireless devices that will utilize underused parts of the spectrum for Internet service.  The Wireless Innovation Alliance (WIA) is a new group comprised of IT companies like Google and Hewlett-Packard as well as watchdog groups such as Free Press and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. They have teamed up as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considers rules for devices designed to provide broadband access using “white spaces” — unused parts of the spectrum that typically would be occupied by television frequencies.

“All government is doing is setting the road signs,” said Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), speaking at the press conference announcing the alliance. “But the private sector can’t move ahead until the road signs are established.”   —>–lobby/tech-companies-and-public-interest-groups-form-coalition-to-expand-broadband-access-2007-12-13.html

Today: TV static. Tomorrow: broadband.
by Richard Whitt
Google Public Policy Blog

Remember how, before cable and satellite TV became ubiquitous in our homes, we would have to turn the VHF dial on our old televisions to watch local channels? NBC might have been on channel 3, CBS on 10, and ABC on 17. And between those channels…was static.

Today, the spaces between those channels remain largely unused. But now a consensus is growing that those portions of TV spectrum — known as “white spaces” — could be used to expand Internet access through low power personal devices, akin to Wi-Fi. Best of all, new spectrum sensing technologies can ensure that this spectrum could be used for mobile broadband service without interfering one bit with television signals. Which means that not only would more Americans be able to reach the Internet, but also that I’ll still be able to watch The Colbert Report (at least once the Hollywood writers’ strike is settled).

Over the past few months, bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the House (by Reps. Jay Inslee and Nathan Deal) and Senate (by Sens. John Kerry and Gordon Smith) to open up this spectrum. We support these bills and thank their sponsors. At the same time, the Federal Communications Commission is currently evaluating the technology concepts behind this issue. As part of that process, we met last week with some of the FCC’s engineers and presented encouraging test results based on ongoing trials of wireless technologies.

Today, Google joined a broad-based coalition of technology companies, public interest and consumer groups, civil rights organizations, think tanks, and higher education groups to launch the Wireless Innovation Alliance, a new group to promote the numerous benefits that the “white spaces” can bring to consumers. The members of the coalition have already helped secure significant political support for our goals from Members of Congress, and we will be working over the next several months to educate more policymakers about the promise of white spaces. And while some have sought recently to politicize this process, we think the FCC should be allowed to conduct its analysis free of political considerations.

Between today’s TV channels lies the opportunity for more Americans to enjoy the Internet’s rich resources. We’ll be working hard to make sure this debate is marked by more clarity, and less static.   —>

Your Guide to Hyper-Local News
by Mark Glaser

From time to time, I’ll give an overview of one broad MediaShift topic, annotated with online resources and plenty of tips. The idea is to help you understand the topic, learn the jargon, and take action. I’ve already covered blogging, citizen journalism, widgets and other topics. This week I’ll look at hyper-local news.   —>

Cable Industry Launches ‘Our Time To Vote,’ a $5 Million National Multi-Cultural Voter Education and Registration Campaign
Public Service Announcements, Webpage, Hotline and Comcast Foundation grants to diverse organizations headline campaign
Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications, Inc. and Bright House Networks to support effort
PR Newswire

Comcast , the nation’s leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services, today announced the launch of “Our Time to Vote,” a year-long, non-partisan voter education and registration campaign designed to increase voting in diverse communities served by the cable industry.

“Comcast recognizes that broader participation in the democratic process is important for our nation, and we are very pleased to launch this partnership to pursue that goal,” said Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen. “This campaign reflects the cable industry’s commitment to strong local communities and to active public citizenship.”

The estimated $5 million campaign features four multi-cultural public service announcements (PSAs), as well as the creation and launch of two nationally available voter education resources: the webpage and a voter information resources hotline, 1.866.544.VOTE.

The PSAs will begin airing on December 15, leading up to the 2008 primary elections in Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications, Inc. and Bright House Networks markets. They feature appearances by African American, Asian American and Hispanic entertainers and leaders, including Ana Ortiz, George Lopez, Lou Diamond Phillips, Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Margaret Cho, encouraging diverse audiences to register to vote. A series of “Get out the Vote” spots will run from September 1, 2008, through November 3, 2008, just prior to the general election. The PSAs can be viewed at:

“Too few Americans vote and that hurts our democracy,” said FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps. “‘Our Time to Vote’ is a welcome and multi-faceted campaign to promote citizen participation in the electoral process. It’s a real public service.”

The Comcast Foundation has also awarded grants to the following organizations to help support their nonpartisan voter outreach efforts:
— Asian Pacific Islander American Vote
— The Hispanic Federation
— League of United Latin American Citizens
— The NAACP National Voter Fund
— National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 10/18/07

October 18, 2007

FCC To Soon Extend Franchise Relief To Cable Companies
by Corey Boles

The Federal Communications Commission will shortly extend the same regulatory relief to the cable industry that it granted to telephone companies earlier this year, two agency officials said Thursday.  FCC Chairman Kevin Martin told the other four commission members to be ready to vote on the matter at the agency’s meeting Oct. 31. There is a chance a majority of the commissioners could vote in favor of the item before the meeting, said one of the two agency officials, both of whom requested anonymity.   —>

AT&T says ‘no’ to Conn. cable franchise (CT)
by Carol Wilson
Telephony Online

AT&T is fully prepared to cut off service to more than 7000 U-verse customers in Connecticut and stop all video service in that state rather than file for a statewide cable license. The company, known for tough stands on the franchise issue, is taking its toughest stand to date, staring down consumer groups and a state attorney general determined to make AT&T accept tougher terms for the right to offer video service…  AT&T won’t file for a statewide cable franchise, he said, because conditions such as buildout requirements would make a video business unprofitable.   —>

Media access
by Tom Brown
South Bend Tribune (IN)

By December, possibly sooner, public access television will go dark in Michiana. Comcast has quietly begun closing public access studios in Indiana.   —>

Editorial: Best of the county
Daily Journal (IL)

As late as 30 years ago, television was a fairly limited thing.  You had ABC, CBS and NBC. In larger markets, there would be a PBS station or two, and an independent. Television stations actually signed off late at night, about 2 a.m., usually with flags waving or the nation’s missile defense system firing a rocket or two.

Now that’s all changed. Competition between cable and satellite has brought you zillions of choices 24 hours a day. A home decorating network, a pet network, a golf network, shopping networks. Who would have thought about it?  At base, that is the argument going on in local government and television today. Will you get more local choice? More than you have now? Or does the status quo suit you? Are you willing to limit your choice because you might not know where the choice would take you?

Kankakee County government is now debating the merits of public access television. Under public access, residents could produce video and bring it in to their local cable provider, Comcast, and get it put on the air. Manteno has had such a system for years.  In fact, public access was already tried here, on an informal basis, with little problem. Kankakee Valley Prime Time, the YMCA Living and Learning series, a local Labor Day telethon, and Herscher sports, all aired without complaint. Then Comcast changed its procedures, and most of that programming disappeared.

Yet, instead of renewing that mode, some officials favor televising only official government meetings. Such a plan falls far short of the richness of life in the Kankakee Valley. We believe a wide range of programs would best suit the community. Why not tape local parades? Political debates? Musicfest at the depot? We can show a community that’s vibrant, diverse and fun.

And money ought not to be a real issue. Some, again, are concerned about a 50 cent charge lopped on top of a $50 cable bill. In truth, the county has collected $824,348.02 in cable franchise fees since 2001. It is time enough to spend some of that on equipment and training to bring the best of Kankakee County to the small screen

Martin Proposes Mid-December Wrap-Up of Media-Ownership Review
Unhappy Senate Democrats, Led by Dorgan, Demand Hearing
by John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable

Federal Communications Commission member Jonathan Adelstein confirmed Wednesday that FCC chairman Kevin Martin has proposed a timetable for completing the years-long media-ownership rule review by mid-December, but unhappy top Senate Democrats vowed to hold a hearing quickly on that move.

At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the digital-TV transition Wednesday, Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), one of the most vocal critics of media consolidation, said he had just been informed that commissioner Robert McDowell, at another event, had said that the chairman was planning to wrap up media ownership by Dec. 18. Adelstein said that since he was addressing Congress, he could confirm that was the chairman’s plan, adding that there was an effort to wrap the proceeding up by December, but that he didn’t know why that particular date.

If that is true, “there is going to be a firestorm of protest, and I will be carrying the wood,” Dorgan said, adding that the FCC could not possibly review all of the relevant information by then and come up with fair rule changes.

Dorgan asked Committee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) to call a hearing, and Inouye was quick to agree, saying that he knew all about Britney Spears’ and Paris Hilton’s tattoos, but not much about real news, and that the situation wasn’t getting better with concentration. “I am with him and we will have a hearing,” he added.   —>

FCC to announce final media ownership hearing in Seattle
by jonathan
Reclaim the Media (WA)

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin plans to hold the last of six official public hearings on media ownership rules in Seattle, before rushing the agency’s 18-month long consideration of the rules to a fast-tracked conclusion by mid-December. The hearing will be the only chance for Northwest residents to weigh in on proposals that would allow giant media companies to grow even more concentrated. While Martin has apparently proposed holding a Seattle hearing on Nov. 2–barely two weeks away!–no date has been officially announced.

Beginning next Wednesday, Reclaim the Media will provide testimony workshops for anyone who wants to have their say at the Seattle FCC hearing, or to learn more about the issues. Read on for more information, a summary of the rules at stake, and addtional resources.   —>

Hip Hop community speaks out at Chicago FCC hearing
by Katie Yocum,
Reclaim the Media

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) came to Chicago, and the Chicago Hip Hop community turned out in full force.

On September 20th, the FCC hosted an historic public hearing on media ownership at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition National Headquarters, featuring two panel presentations and five hours of open mic for public comment. The panel section opened with testimony from legendary Hip Hop artist and author, KRS-ONE, and closed with testimony from Cashus D, of the Universal Zulu Nation and a leader of the Bring Back the Balance campaign. Nearly 800 Chicagoans came out to the hearing, and over 200 citizens signed up to get their 2 minutes at the mic to tell the FCC whether they feel that their communities are being adequately served by local media. The answer was a resounding “no!”    —>

CKUT-Radio kicks off “Redefining Media” events
CKUT brings in Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! to highlight importance of corporate-free media
by Olga Redko
McGill Daily (CAN)

“The media are the most powerful institutions on earth.”  So says Amy Goodman, keynote speaker at this weekend’s “Redefining Media: Media Democracy and Community Radio” conference, a free public event organized by CKUT-Radio for its 20th anniversary.  The conference will feature workshops about elements of the media with speakers from McGill and Concordia, as well as journalists and activists from independent media organizations like Free103point9 FM and the Prometheus Radio Project.

Gretchen King, CKUT community news coordinator, said that the event will help commemorate Media Democracy Day and help define the work of community radio – its history, the roles of the people in it, and its contribution to shaping democracy.  “[The conference] will take work that CKUT does every day and put it into a very public environment,” King said.   —>

Independent media mobilization in Montreal
Indie media unite
by Stefan Christoff
Hour (CAN)

CKUT Radio, Montreal’s pre-eminent anglo campus-community radio station, is celebrating 20 years of broadcasting. To mark this important anniversary, CKUT is hosting Redefining Media: Media Democracy and Community Radio, a major independent media conference featuring multiple workshops from alternative broadcasters, filmmakers, journalists and media activists who will be converging on Montreal from across North America.

Amy Goodman, the New York City-based host of Democracy Now!, will speak in Montreal to kick off the conference at McGill University on Friday, Oct. 19.  “In a time of war, independent media institutions are essential, as independent media can hold power accountable through providing alternative information,” explains Goodman from New York. “A 20th anniversary is very exciting,” she says concerning CKUT’s birthday, “an excellent opportunity to celebrate the power and potential of independent media.”   —>

Towns say cable company skimps on local programming funds
by Victor Tine
Daily News of Newburyport (MA)

Town officials in Newbury and Rowley say their communities are being shortchanged by cable television giant Comcast.  Rowley Cable Television Advisory Committee Chairman Warren Appell said Comcast is violating its contract with the town because the company is not giving the community an outlet to provide local programs such as town meetings or Triton Regional School Committee sessions.

Appell’s counterpart in Newbury, Paul Daubitz, said the cable company is offering inadequate funding for the town to be able to produce its own local programs.  Rowley’s cable committee and the Board of Selectmen have scheduled an Oct. 25 hearing with Comcast in hopes of resolving the dispute.   —>

Find a Way to Use ‘White Space’ Spectrum
by Frank Beacham
TV Technology

Spectrum “white space” is an incredibly valuable public resource that could provide wireless broadband access for as little as $10 a month. For that reason alone we must find a way to work out any technical flaws that might block its quick deployment for unlicensed use.  The overheated white space slugfest between broadcasters and high-tech computing companies is a diversion. Any technical problems can be fixed. The real issue is whether the white space will be freed for use by its rightful owners.   —>

Grand Rapids/Clearwire MuniNet Delayed (MI)
by SamC

Clearwire hoped to have a local network up and running in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by the end of 2007. But Sally Wesorick, wireless project manager for the city, now says they expect Clearwire to begin offering service sometime in the first half of 2008.  “The dream of a citywide broadband wireless network is not dead, it’s just behind schedule“, she said Monday, in the Grand Rapids Press.

Clearwire will blanket the city’s 45 square miles with WiMax, rather than WiFi.  Although Clearwire uses pre-WiMax technology in more than 30 markets, and has a PC card for portable access, Grand Rapids will be the first city to offer citywide Mobile WiMAX, according to Roberta Wiggins, a marketing consultant with Yankee Group.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 10/13/07

October 14, 2007

Redefining Media: Media Democracy and Community Radio
A CKUT 20th Anniversary Event
October 19th-21st, 2007
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec

Keynote Presentation: Lecture and Book Signing with Amy Goodman
“Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, & the People Who Fight Back”

Sessions include:
Building a Low Watt Transmitter
Canadian Media and The War on Terror
Anti-Oppression and Community Radio
Know Your Radio Rights
Community Radio Around the Globe
Indigenous Radio
Tools for Independent Journalists
Community Radio in Canada
Women in Community Radio
Interview Techniques
Community Radio and the CRTC
Smut in the Studio
Recording and Editing 101

On today’s radioshow: Community Radio CKUT’s 20th Anniversary Conference
by Paul Riismandel

Montreal, Quebec’s community radio station CKUT is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a conference focused on Redefining Media: Media Democracy and Community Media – . Gretchen King from CKUT’s Community News Department will be my guest on today’s mediageek radioshow to talk about the conference and the station’s unique approach to serving its community.

Tune in live at 5:30 PM CDT (6:30 EDT) on community radio WEFT 90.1 FM if you’re in the Champaign, IL area, or tune in to WEFT’s live webstream if you’re connected to the internets anywhere in the world.  An archive of the program will be posted to the radioshow page by midnight Sunday night.

Cable bill comes due
by Morgan Cook
Columbia Missourian

The city of Columbia filed a lawsuit against cable provider Mediacom in an effort to recover $1.34 million in unpaid cable franchise fees and support for the city’s public access channel.  The city is seeking $93,105 in underpaid franchise fees dating from 2001 to 2004 and $1.5 million in support for Columbia Access Television dating from 2001 to 2007.

As of September, cable providers are required by the city to pay 5 percent of their gross revenue in franchise fees in return for use of the public right of way. The rate was previously set at 3 percent.  Support for CAT was simply underpaid, according to the city. It estimates that Mediacom has only paid CAT $163,220 since 2004.

In a list of affirmative defenses filed by the court, Mediacom lawyer Ronald Hack stated that the city misinterpreted the franchise agreement and should not be allowed to ask for more money after accepting earlier support. Further, the city’s attempt to extract the money retroactively prevents the company from passing costs on to consumers.   —>

Randy Luallin is running for the position as Louisville mayor
by Randy Luallin (CO)

—>   Another cherished right of our people is freedom of speech. Chuck Sisk by his actions and inaction has attempted to rid our community of Public Access Television. Inaction by not standing up to Comcast in retaining the same requirements for providing Public Access Television in exchange for use of the Public Right of Way in the new franchise agreement. His actions of reducing the allocation of PEG fees for Public Access Television and giving the money to the Government Channel for use in remodeling the City Counsel chambers. This has made the survival of free speech for any citizen via Public Access Television in jeopardy. This must also be remedied.

TV giants lock horns with Microsoft and Google over white space wireless play
‘God made those airwaves for us’
by Cade Metz
The Register

The heads of America’s four largest television networks have joined forces to oppose a plan that would stream high-speed internet access over unused TV airwaves. And in doing so, they’re taking aim at one of the great oddities of the modern tech industry: a partnership between Google and Microsoft.  A coalition of big-name tech companies – including Dell, HP, Intel, and Philips as well as Google and Microsoft – is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow the use of personal computing devices that transmit data over the country’s television “white spaces” – portions of the TV spectrum that aren’t used for broadcasting.

Local TV stations have already launched a public attack on the plan, claiming that white space devices will interfere with their signals, and now, the nationwide television networks that piggy-back on these stations are joining the fray.  This week, Broadcasting & Cable reports, the big wigs who control ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC sent a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, urging him to slap down Google, Microsoft, and the rest of the White Spaces Coalition. They even went so far as to say that white space devices will scar the American airwaves forever.   —>

Mobile MUSE – OPEN CALL – Community Generated Media
by David Vogt
Mobile MUSE (Canada)

In anticipation of public engagement potentials related to the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Mobile MUSE Network is launching its third major development program (MUSE3).   MUSE3 will focus on community generated media (CGM)” to activate “live space” potentials – building technologies and toolkits to enable communities to use mobile, internet, and large public display media for collective expression and celebration.  Over the next two years MUSE3 will engage with a set of communities to develop and showcase these technologies.

Media companies, arts groups, community leaders, researchers and other visionaries are invited to provide concise project proposals by November 15th, 2007.  Please review our Open Call for further details.

The age of citizen programming is upon us
by Alan Moore
Communities Dominate Brands

We all know about YouTube ( YouTube the folk culture of the 21st Century – On steroids), and some of us will know of Current TV ( Democratising TV. The Al Gore way ), some of us will know that major disasters often are now suported by Citizen reporting. Hurricane Katrina – The London 7th July bombings ( London bombings: Citizen Journalism arrives to TV ) – 911 and of course the recent atrocities in Burma . An article entitled Citizen-produced TV programs coming of age by Yomiuri caught my eye today.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 09/30/07

September 30, 2007

Documenting the success of community radio in India
by Frederick Noronha

Years before India opened its policy in late 2006 and allowed community radio stations to be set up, a handful of experimental community radios tried to give space on the airwaves to alternative voices .

‘Other Voices: The Struggle for Community Radio in India’, a book written by two University of Hyderabad scholars — Vinod Pavarala and Kanchan K. Malik, and published by Sage — documents four major community radio initiatives in India that have been a tool for ’empowerment at the grassroots’ for eight years.

Community radio is a type of radio service that caters to the interests of a certain area, broadcasting material that is popular with a local audience but is overlooked by the mainstream media.

These initiatives are the Deccan Development Society (DDS) run by Dalit women and others in Medak in Andhra Pradesh, the Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan in the Kutchi language in Gujarat, the Nammadhwani project in the Kolar district of Karnataka, and the ‘Challa Ho Gaon Mein’ programme in Jharkhand.

In an age where the media trend has been towards mergers, acquisitions and concentration of ownership, these examples show that community-based radio has a future in a diverse country like India, the book suggests.

‘All these people had come up with creative ways to do audio production in the absence of the right to broadcast themselves. Nammadhwani did it with cable radio, sending out image-less radio signals through cable TV, while DDS did it with narrowcasting or distributing recorded tapes,’ Pavarala said.

‘Importantly, these are mainly non-literate rural communities. We also looked at the ways in which their listeners have responded to the programmes,’ Pavarala told IANS.

‘These were communities whose issues and problems rarely got reflected in the mainstream media, and they found these alternative media outlets ideal to highlight their local problems, to articulate local identities, in their own languages,’ adds Pavarala.

He added that in a country ‘where language changes every few kilometres’, the projects they studied showed that radio done by people in their own language could be an effective tool for addressing the problems of development.

‘In Jharkhand, when we asked some listeners why they didn’t listen to All India Radio (AIR), Ranchi, one man said, ‘Woh Hindi humko Angrezi lagta hai’ (Their Hindi sounds as alien as English to us)! It only shows how deep the linguistic identities run in our country,’ said Pavarala.   —>

Civil rights, media activists protest lifting media consolidation ban (IL)
by Stephanie Gadline
Michigan Citizen

CHICAGO (NNPA) — Despite the impassioned and at times virulent testimony of hundreds of media activists, civil rights leaders and public policy experts here, it appears that Kevin Martin, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), remains poised to lift the 30-year cross-ownership ban, which would allow a new flood of media consolidation to sweep the nation.

About 1,000 people crowded the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s headquarters on September 20 for the fifth FCC public hearing before all five commissioners.

“I encourage the FCC to re-examine media rules which have created an environment of unchecked disregard for its minority listener ship and viewer ship,” said Dorothy R. Leavell, publisher of the Crusader Newspaper Group and chairwoman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation. “The FCC’s deregulations have produced zero benefit for the African-American community as a whole. It has impaired our broadcast media–forcing many Black broadcasters into smaller, less profitable markets, or pushing them off the air altogether.”

Invited by Commissioner Jonathan Aldestein, Leavell joined a panel which included representatives from the corporate media, the Illinois Broadcasters Association, WVON and the National Black Media Coalition.

Hip Hop recording artist, KRS-One, in town to promote an album, invited himself on the panel and gave a stirring testimony to the applause of many in the audience. “I represent independent artist who can’t get their records played on this homogenized, corporate-controlled radio,” he said. “Its time we began to shut these stations down. If they won’t play positive music, if they won’t support artists who are trying to uplift the community, then we need to turn them off and shut them down for good.”    —>

Hills candidates to face off Thursday (MI)

With the Nov. 6 general election on the horizon, the League of Women Voters Oakland Area has scheduled candidate forums for several upcoming races. On Thursday, Oct. 4, candidates for Rochester Hills mayor and City Council will face off at 7 p.m. in the council chamber at Rochester Hills City Hall. The public is invited to attend. The candidates will take questions from a panel of two reporters as well as from the audience. Two separate sessions will be held. Council candidates will appear first, followed by the mayoral candidates. The program will stream live on the city’s Web site,, and air live on the city’s cable access TV channels (Comcast Channel 55, WOW Channel 10). It will then stream daily on the city Web site and be rebroadcast on cable TV at 4 p.m. on the following dates: Oct. 5-7, 11-14, 18-21 and Nov. 1-4.   —>

Local group to spread the wealth
L.B.: Community Foundation will distribute $500,000.
by Don Jergler
Press Telegram (CA)

—>   Community Media Studio is getting $125,000. The group is a new social enterprise project of the YMCA Youth Institute that will offer products and services in the digital media arts to area companies and noprofits at a competitive price.   —>

So Sacramento
by Gina Kim
Sacramento Bee (CA)

Ten minutes. A budget of zero. Set in Sacramento.  These are the rules for the 10 short films playing at the Crest Theatre next weekend as part of the eighth annual A Place Called Sacramento Film Festival.

And the amateur filmmakers came through with shots of the American River, Old Sacramento, the Tower Bridge, Cesar Chavez Plaza, Oak Park … the list goes on. But more than the background, the films display the spirit of Sacramento, says Ron Cooper, executive director of the nonprofit community TV channel Access Sacramento and creator of the event.

“It shows why people choose to live in Sacramento,” he says. “It’s not because it’s two hours from the ocean or skiing. … They live here because it feels good; they live here because they like the people.”

The 10 films range from the magical properties of a cologne called “The Sac Effect” to a historical visit by Susan B. Anthony. They describe a transgender woman named Lisa and the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on a young local family.  —>

Some thoughts on “5 P’s” of Social Media…
by Sean O’Driscoll
Community Group Therapy

I’ve been doing a number of presentations as of late on social media and I thought I’d share a slide I’ve been using that I call the “5 P’s of Social Media.”  I figured posting here might be a good place to get some feedback to make this even better.  The marketers out there will remember the 4 P’s of marketing popularized by E. Jerome McCarthy:  Product, Pricing, Promotion and Placement.

In the 2001 book High Intensity Marketing by Idris Mootee, the author proposed a new set of 4 P’s for the Internet age: Personalization, Participation, Peer-to-Peer, and Predictive Modeling.  Overall, I like this model and had never seen it before doing some research in prep for writing this blog post (I’ll have to get the book).  While social media has matured a great deal in the 6 years since this book came out, I think the model applies very well.

What I was looking for was a prescriptive and informative model for describing the various forms of social media as well as the underlying components required for describing a social media strategy.  Here’s what I came up with:   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media