From: 411 Productions and the 411 Show.
Only July 7, 2006, the Public Access Channel in
These are some of the questions that remain unanswered and still perplex us. We are working toward trying to understand how to take control of public access television so that it does what it’s suppose to do, be a voice for your local community.
Some of the questions we still have:
1.Why did the Texas State Legislature, along with the other 3 states mentioned above pass this state law (or a similar form) that basically weakened cities rights with cable/telecom companies, bypassing them and forcing them to also go into the broadcasting business? Why didn’t the cities raise their voices, since this basically took power away from them? Were they asleep at the wheel?
- 2. Why was it that in the City of
, where we were the 1st live case to test Senate Bill 5, there was virtually no action on part of the City to ensure that ALL the PEG (Public Access, Educational, Governmental ) channels remained on the air. In mid December 2005 when local access producers went to the final city council meeting for the year, the urgency and concern of the Mayor was that the llocal government channel stay on the air, which it did. So why didn’t the Public Access channel stay on the air? San Antonio
- 3. Did Time Warner Cable, who is the major cable company in town, intentionally allow the public access channel to go black, so that the channel would be forced to comeback as a digital and not analog? If so, why? What did they have to gain or lose from that?
- 4. The funds from the franchising fees that are to go for capital improvements, what is happening to those funds, which are at least $426,000 a QUARTER? Are they being thrown into the general fund for the city? They certainly have not spent that much on equipment. They have spent about $50,000, maybe.
- 5. Do we want the City government dictating how the public access channel is run? Most of us agree that this is a worst case scenario and want to be able to manage the channel ourselves. Working with a government agency takes too long to get anything done.
- 6. Producers were told in May that no new producers were going to be allowed FOR A YEAR. Why? Is that part of the state law that passed or was that just a decision on the part of the City. Now the city is stating that new producers are allowed, however they are definitely not encouraging it.
- 7. The new channel came back as a digital channel, however now anyone who does not have digital cable (at $59.95 monthly), has to 1st call the cable company to state that they want the digital public access package, go pick up a digital box at a customer service center, then install it on their television. How are we going to get that information out to the public who have basic service at $14.95 monthly? Can’t we do better such as have a special mailer go out to these customers where they can return it to get the box and the digital channel? So far there is no publicity campaign being offered for this.
- 8. In some other cities, the public access channel is run by a local non-profit organization, which is created specifically for the public access channel. How do we go about following that model, and how do we get the funds from the franchise fees that are set aside for this?
- 9. The local producers were told that they would be kept in the loop for new developments, however that is not what has happened. Letters we have gotten are received well after any decisions have been made and all other decisions being made are not with consultation with any producers. We want to be able to express our concerns and have a say in the decision making process.
This is of course just the beginning of a long road. I hope that other states and cities are taking heed and gearing up for what is coming their way. Meanwhile, here is
The 411 Show is now airing in