Archive for the ‘white spaces’ 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 – 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