Independent Video Producers on San Antonio Public Access TV

Friday, November 30, 2007

Martin's FCC, 70/70, (a la carte?), & You

From the Alliance for Community Media

We've received some requests to help explain just what went down at the FCC this week.

Hard on the heels of FCC Chairman Martin's full-tilt-boogie on relaxing media ownership/cross-ownership restrictions in recent hearings in DC and Seattle, comes his push to invoke Section 612(g) of the 1984 Cable Act - the so-called "70/70" provision. In short, this provision states that at such a time when cable systems (36 channels or more) pass 70% of US homes, and 70% of those homes subscribe, the cable industry shall be deemed to be uncompetitive, allowing the FCC to to adopt additional unspecified regulations in order to increase program diversity.

While Martin's 70/70 gambit has received a great deal of press and analysis, it is not as straight-forward a matter, nor as urgent an action item, as the media ownership issue. There remain just 11 more days for comments to be filled on the media ownership matter. If you haven't yet submitted comments in that proceeding, please visit and do so - a simple online form is there ( as well as info on other steps you can take to help.

Before moving on to 70/70, please note these important up-coming meetings:

Dec. 5 - House Oversight Hearing of the FCC: Media Ownership - Subcommittee on Telecommunications & the Internet; 9:30 am.

Dec. 13 - Senate FCC Oversight Hearing - Full Commerce Committee; 10 am
"At this hearing, the Committee Members will hear from the five Federal Communications Commission commissioners on current proceedings involving media and telecommunications policy."

Dec. 18 - the next public meeting of the FCC.

StopBigMedia suggests you contact your congressional reps. Especially if your reps sit on these committees, it would help IMMENSELY if you contacted them before these hearings, letting them know how important localism in general and PEG access in specific is to your community.

Thanks. Now - on with the show...

I've been collecting every story I could find about 70/70, but learned early on that blindly forwarding them could do more harm then good. At this point, I'm going to suggest that the best single piece of info on this is Harold Feld's Nov. 14 blog post:

"Time For Some Hot Bi-Partisan Action on Cable: Or, Why Copps and Adelstein Need to Work With Martin Here Part I" - quoted extensively below. (In fact, since Harold is consistently fair in linking to those with opposing views, I'd say overall his blog is the best single source, certainly on this issue. ACM listserv readers may remember Lauren-Glenn Davitian pointed to Harold's blog after the FCC action this week for his take.)

Harold is an attorney with the Media Access Project - an organization that has a long history of being up-close and personal with the various media reform issues before the FCC. His post is fairly lengthy, but well worth reading in full. He gives an excellent whirlwind tour of cable regulation; great context-setting for those of us in the PEG access community.

I'm merely going to quote two extensive passages here, make one comment about where we're at presently, and leave it at that. I don't expect this topic to turn into a thread on the ACM's lists, but this is an item we should all understand and be able to follow as the story develops. Here's a start.

Harold begins his post by humorously addressing the difficulties some may have in accepting that Kevin Martin may actually be doing something helpful for increasing program diversity. In the second excerpted passage, after having looked at the source data and its sources, he then speculates about what additional regulations 70/70 could trigger - starting with a national PEG set-aside, and moving on to the 'dreaded' a la carte!

Click the link at the top to view the entire posting.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Green Connection Bamboo Show

Rita Heck of the Green Connection Show on San Antonio Public Access TV talks to John Hainsworth of Big Grass Bamboo about this environmentally freindly wood.
Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Seattle FCC Hearing Update

This is a directlink to a website that is sending comments to the FCC on the proposed rulemaking for allowing further media consolidation. Our recommendation as an organization is that further media consolidation is not beneficial to the public and the FCC and our lawmakers needs to hear from us.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Beyond Today Show

Clip for the faith based Beyond Today Show which airs on Mondays 10:00am and 6:30 pm on Time Warner digital CH 20 in San Antonio TX.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Senate Takes Stand on Media Ownership

Bipartisan legislation would put the brakes on FCC plan to gut media ownership limits
WASHINGTON -- At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing today, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) announced plans to introduce legislation that would halt the Federal Communications Commission's rush to gut longstanding media ownership rules. The bipartisan "Media Ownership Act of 2007" -- co-sponsored by Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) -- would direct the FCC to conduct a separate proceeding on localism and create an independent minority and female ownership task force before moving forward with any changes to media ownership limits. The bill would also give the public a 90-day comment period on any proposed rules. Last month, Senator Dorgan uncovered FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's secret plan to eliminate longstanding media ownership limits before the end of the year. Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, made the following statement: "We are thrilled to see members from both sides of the aisle stand up for the public. This critical legislation will restore fairness and transparency in what has become a corrupt process at the FCC. "In the rush to gut media ownership rules, the Commission has ignored the American people, neglected the media diversity crisis, and buried evidence that consolidation harms local communities. The Media Ownership Act would hold the FCC accountable for listening to the public and ensuring that the public airwaves reflect America's diverse local communities. "The American people overwhelmingly oppose any rule changes that would allow big companies to swallow up more of their local media. This bill is an important reminder from Congress that the FCC must answer to the public, not corporate interests." ### Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Using Public Access to Promote Local Artists

This is a video produced for the Perspective Prisms show (Sundays 8:30am and 5:30pm), hosted by Roberto Canedo, showcasing the art of local San Antonio artist Rita Maria Contreras.