Grassroots Media

How community access television is meeting the information needs of communities: Beyond the Future (of Media), and Back to the Knight (Commission)

Rob McCausland, How Community Access Television Is Meeting the Information Needs of Communities: Beyond the Future (of Media), and Back to the Knight (Commission)

Beyond the FCC's Future of Media inquiry, the focus of my earlier posts, I'd like to go back to last year’s Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy and its original question: What are the information needs of communities in a digital age?

In a section titled "Envisioning and Measuring Success and Failure," the Knight Commission Report says:

In a perfect world, citizens could reliably measure their information needs and gauge their satisfaction.Read more.

NAB using dishonest tactics to hold back community radio bill

Paul Riismandel, Radio Survivor

The National Association of Broadcasters has never been a friend to low-power community radio. Back in 2000, when the FCC first created the service, the NAB did everything it could to try and keep it from becoming a reality. While the broadcast lobby failed to stop it outright, the NAB did succeed in getting Congress to significantly curtail LPFM with a last-minute attachment to an omnibus budget bill passed in December of that year. One of the weapons the NAB used was a bogus CD that purported to demonstrate harmful interference caused by low-power stations, that was later disproved by an independent report ordered by Congress.

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Public access channels remain a major source for local TV programming

Alliance for Community Media

The Alliance for Community Media, in partnership with The Buske Group, recently completed an online survey regarding first-run, locally produced programming on public, educational and governmental (“PEG”) cable access channels. More than 200 PEG Access Centers participated in the survey, with responses from 37 states and the District of Columbia. Key findings indicate that PEG Access facilities are very often the leading provider of local, original programming in communities across the United States.

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SCAN-TV shutting down, future of Seattle public access TV unclear

Todd Bishop, TechFlash

Seattle Community Access Network, the independent non-profit group that has operated the city’s public access TV station for more than a decade, says it will cease operations at the end of the year -- without a transition period -- rather than bid for a new contract under the 85 percent funding cut proposed by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

The group, known as SCAN-TV, announced the news today -- saying it tried to negotiate a 6-month transition period with the city but couldn’t reach “workable terms.” Executive director Dian Ferguson said in a news release that it "does not appear that anyone with the authority to restore funding is listening."

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Seattle public access funding threatened in Mayor's budget

Sonia Krishman, Seattle Times

Seattle's public access TV channel SCAN could go dark under Mayor Mike McGinn's proposed budget. It's no secret the city of Seattle faces a $67 million budget hole. So funding public-access TV channel SCAN to the tune of $650,000 a year, begs some reconsideration, said spokesman Mark Matassa.

There are arguments on both sides. Public-access advocates say pulling the plug will spell the death of the local voice. The channel caters to a spectrum of political views. Plus, they say, they fear a programming void for immigrants, especially the Somali and Ethiopian communities, who rely on public access for news and events in their native languages.

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New unity on community radio translator debate; LPFM still 'troubling' to NPR

Todd Urick, Common Frequency

In a rare instance of unity, religious broadcast network Educational Media Foundation (EMF) and grassroots radio advocate Prometheus Radio Project have found common ground regarding the future of Low Power FM (LPFM) and translators. Over the past decade, Prometheus and EMF, the owner of the nationwide KLOVE/AIR 1 FM network, have held opposing views regarding the remaining available radio spectrum. Now for the first time, the organizations have come together on a mutually beneficial policy proposal, submitted to the FCC as a Memorandum of Agreement.

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Board fires Radio KDNA director after controversial tenure

Melissa Sanchez, Yakima Herald-Republic

After more than a year of internal conflict and public protests, the controversial figure at the helm of Granger's beloved Spanish-language radio station has been fired.

Radio KDNA's governing board dismissed executive director Maria Fernandez in a meeting Thursday. An interim replacement, immigration attorney Laura Contreras, begins today.

"It's just a culmination of things that said we probably need to be in a different place, going in a different direction," said Len Black, a member of the Northwest Communities Education Center governing board. "And it's a good opportunity for Maria to begin pursuing other opportunities."

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Why public access TV is important and you should fight for the CAP Act

Tracy Rosenberg, Huffington Post

In May of 2009, I became a public access television producer. Couldn't have picked a worse time.

Not because I don't enjoy hosting and co-producing Media News. It's a great joy to interview guests and try to shed a little light on the issues closest to my heart including: net neutrality and the digital divide, coverage of turmoil abroad and at home, the loss of local public affairs coverage and the rise in citizen journalism. I feel privileged to bring voices that need to be heard onto my local TV dial.

The reason it was bad timing is that the nation's more than 3,000 public access centers are on the verge of extinction. Yours may go next week, next month or next year, but their days are numbered due to statewide cable franchising.

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Communications rights under attack in South Korea

Reclaim the Media

Communications rights and freedom of expression are under attack in South Korea, as Lee Myung-bak's New Right government takes disturbing steps to shut down independent media, and to defund media, arts, and cultural organizations across the country. The latest blow is an attack on the internationally-respected public media center MediAct, which has played a key part in the democratization of Korea's media system, trained thousands of people in media production, and developed many successful media policy proposals to open up Korea's mediascape to diverse voices. Recognized as an international leader in the communications rights movement, MediAct cofounder Myoung-Joon Kim (shown) is one of Reclaim the Media's Media Heroes.

Please take action now to express international support for MediAct. Join the Facebook group for updates, and click below to read more.

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Haiti: sending hope over the airwaves

Ansel Herz, Inter Press Service

Throughout the earthquake's aftermath, the voices of many Port-Au-Prince radio stations have been loud and clear.

Radio Solidarite 88.5 FM is one of the outlets to survive the tremors. It resumed broadcasts from its small studio, at the top of a two-storey building in the city's centre, once the staff found some gas for their generator just two days after the quake.

"We have tried to say to the population to be strong, we appreciate their courage," said Radio Solidarite Director Georges Venel Remarais. "The international press was talking about violence but we didn't see any. The help is very slow at times, and people get angry. Our work is to say, let's be calm."

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey