Independent Video Producers on San Antonio Public Access TV

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Public Access TV in the Digital Age

Alliance Testifies Before House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet:

The Alliance was represented by today by Ms. Annie Folger, Executive Director of the Midpeninsula Media Center. Ms. Folger’s remarks addressed the difficulties faced by Public, Educational and Government Access (PEG) communities across the country. Many communities are seeing threats to their PEG facilities posed by video providers unwilling to meet the public interest needs required of them in exchange for use of the public rights of ways. Millions of dollars have been spent by telephone and cable companies in the past two years on ad campaigns and lobbying to influence state cable franchise laws in 17+ states. The FCC has overruled Congress, assigning itself powers that Congress conferred on local communities.
According to Ms. Folger, “This chaos is being used to dismantle PEG support and to damage
channel quality and accessibility. We welcome competition. But it cannot be used to gut PEG Access provisions that have provided direct service to the local community.”
Ms. Folger’s testimony made special example of AT&T’s blockage of closed-captioning for PEG
channels on its U-Verse system— a function which is found on all of its commercial channels.
At DeAnza Community College in Ms. Folger’s home town, this policy results in the inability of hearing impaired students to view classes which they need to improve their lives.
According to Alliance Executive Director, Anthony Riddle, “AT&T’s practice is not the only bad act by a video provider, but their willingness to sacrifice the needs of disabled students in a race for profit certainly makes them the poster child of corporate irresponsibility.”
Another issue raised was the “channel-slamming” engaged in by Comcast. Channel slamming is the practice of relocating PEG channels from desirable locations to inaccessible or unfamiliar
“wilderness” locations on short notice and without consulting the communities involved. Additional purchases or steps may be required of viewers to continue viewing PEG channels. This practice isolates the PEG channels and tends to decrease viewership.
Many PEG centers have moved into digital technology for production and transmission. PEG centers are fully engaged in migration to an integrated digital environment when allowed. The primary challenge for PEG access is not digital technology, but how cable providers— whether traditional cable operator or telephone company— provide PEG signal quality, functionality, channel placement and funding support.
From the Alliance for Community Media

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Twilite Show

Clip from the Comedy show on San Antonio Public Access TV, The Twilite Show, from producer Ross Dominus. The airs on Sundays and Wednesdays at 4:30 pm, on Ch20 Time Warner, Ch19 on Grande Cable.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

We Celebrate Martin Luther King

Montage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as part of the celebration in San Antonio Tx, which takes place each year. This year's celebration was taped for San Antonio Public Access TV, and will air in February 2008 on The Eye Scene, Perspective Prisms (Sundays, 8am and 5pm) and The 411 Show (Thurs, 12:30 and 8:30pm.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Michigan Court Blocks Converter Box Plan

Washington, D.C. – Leaders of the Committee on Energy and Commerce today applauded a decision made yesterday by a Michigan court to block a Comcast proposal to require some Michigan residents to obtain converter boxes to access Public, Educational and Government (PEG) programming. Comcast announced its new plan in November and planned to implement it today.

“I commend the court’s decision to block Comcast’s plan to provide PEG channels in a digital format only. This proposal would have forced many Michigan consumers to pay additional fees to rent set-top boxes to receive the high-quality educational programming they are currently guaranteed with basic cable service,” said Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. “I commend the Mayor of Dearborn, John O’Reilly, for his leadership on this issue. The Committee on Energy and Commerce will be examining this matter thoroughly in coming weeks.”

The Communications Act requires that cable operators offer local broadcast stations and PEG channels, to the extent required by the franchise authority, on the cable operator’s basic service tier. However, in recent weeks, Comcast has announced plans to convert analog PEG channels to digital format, which would require many viewers to pay to rent set-top boxes in addition to the cost for basic cable service in order to continue to receive PEG programming on all of their television sets.

“I am concerned that cable consumers are encountering barriers to receiving their public, education and government access channels,” said Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. “PEG channels serve an essential role in local communities and I was pleased to see the court block an effort to make these channels available only to digital cable subscribers. As media consolidation continues to increase, PEG channels become even more vital in providing a much needed local voice and diversity of opinion. The committee must make it clear to cable companies that we are serious about protecting access to PEG channel programming.”

“PEG services play an important role in promoting localism and diversity in national media policy. They provide vital and vibrant services in communities around the nation and foster civic access and involvement in the best traditions of our democracy,” said Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

Dingell announced yesterday that the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a January 29, 2008, hearing to explore the provision of public, educational and government (PEG) programming by video programming providers. While witnesses for the hearing will be announced at a future date, the Committee will likely invite representatives from industry and local government as well as those involved with the provision of PEG programming.

Chairman Dingell originally challenged Comcast’s proposal in a December 21 letter.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Crying Game, Roland

Roland of the Youtube Channel, Springtime65, does a performance to The Crying Game. Roland is an independent Video Producer who is currently working on a new show for Public Access TV in San Antonio, which will air on Saturdays at 10:30 pm on Ch20 (Time Warner) Ch19 (grande cable). Watch for airing of his show in February 2008. Congrats Roland on your new show!