Posts Tagged ‘comcast’

Act NOW, SAVE public access TV in Pittsburgh!

July 10, 2009

ACTION ALERT: Pittsburgh Community Television needs you to act now. Call or email your council representative TODAY and let them know the importance of having PCTV and community media in Pittsburgh.

Click here for city council contact information.

We need you to e-mail or call your city council member or the mayor today so that PCTV can meet the needs of community producers and the general public for the next 10 years! Some of the highlights of the Needs Assessment report are in the blog entry entitled “Help Us SAVE ACCESS in Pittsburgh!”.

As a part of the Cable Franchise Agreement, the City of Pittsburgh asked Pittsburgh Community Television to conduct a Needs Assessment in order to discern what the public thought were the issues of the next decade and how public access television in the city could serve their needs. PCTV hired a highly experienced consulting firm and, after numerous surveys, polls, and focus groups, drafted a 200 page Needs Assessment document. We want the city council of Pittsburgh to speak with full knowledge of the needs of the people concerning public access TV (each council person has received a copy of the report). We need YOU to make sure this happens!

Thank you for reading!!

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Help Us SAVE ACCESS in Pittsburgh!

June 30, 2009

Talking Points for Meetings and Letters to the City:
CABLE FRANCHISE PROCESS WITH VERIZON AND RENEWAL WITH COMCAST: BIG OPPORTUNITIES OR A HUGE LOSS TO THE CITY

  • Cable franchise process can assure state of the art communications services are provided in ALL areas of Pittsburgh, by both Verizon and Comcast.
  • Can help assure that Nonprofit Organizations, Neighborhood and Citizen Groups, and Schools have the ability to effectively use Media to accomplish their goals.
  • Federal and State laws allow the City to negotiate agreements that include channels, equipment, facilities and services for use by the public and nonprofit organizations.

o In exchange for letting Verizon and Comcast make hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 10 years through these cable franchise agreements.

  • In 2008, City asked PCTV to conduct a needs assessment to determine what should be in a franchise with Verizon, and in a renewal franchise with Comcast.
  • PCTV hired a highly experienced consulting firm to conduct the needs assessment and provided it to the City. It included:

o Telephone survey

o Community meetings and focus group sessions

o On-Line Survey

o Three huge reports documenting public input

  • Needs Assessment indicated that there is VERY strong support and interest in PEG access channels and having a Community Media Center.
  • Updated equipment, facilities, and training are needed to create and expand local Pittsburgh programs for the PEG access channels.
  • PCTV should be funded to evolve into a modern Community Media Center that:

o Provides technical assistance to nonprofit organizations and community groups;

o Takes video and digital media services and equipment into underserved neighborhoods;

o Provides media literacy training to youth and others; and

o Adapts to changes in media technology and culture

  • Verizon and Comcast should provide expanded channel capacity, funding, and support for public and educational access to significantly improve the existing PCTV facilities, equipment and services, which are currently INADEQUATE to meet current and future community needs.

Community Producers, We Need You!

June 30, 2009

From Gladys Jelks, Acting Director, concerning the franchise renewal process:

ACTION ALERT!

To:  All PCTV Community Producers, Guests, Viewers and Friends
Re:  Franchise Renewal Update:

Q:  When do we need to mobilize on behalf of PCTV and franchise renewal?”
A:  The time is NOW!

We learned late on Friday afternoon that the Mayor’s Office and Verizon had “finalized” the key terms of the franchise agreement with Verizon.  We are VERY concerned that those negotiations may seriously shortchange Pittsburgh nonprofit organizations and residents with regard to public and educational access. While we do not have certainty about the specifics of the “key terms” of the Verizon franchise, preliminary information indicates that franchise may fall short of meeting the public expectations as documented in the Needs Assessment.  We’ve also been told that the City wants to rush this franchise to approval prior to the summer recess.  This could be an enormous long term loss to Pittsburgh nonprofit groups, community producers, and residents!  However, the agreement has not been etched in stone.  Your participation at this critical time is vital in letting the City Council and Mayor’s office know the vision, value and need for community media in Pittsburgh.

How you can help: 

  • Get guests who have appeared on your show to contact the council and mayor as well.  

We have prepared several things to make it easy for you to write your letter/email and have a meeting with the Council members and Mayor.  They include a one-page “Talking Points for Meetings and Letters to City” and a short bulleted document called “Impact of Franchise Agreement between Verizon and the City”.  The Impact document provides a short bullet list of what needs to be included in any franchise between Verizon and the City or between Comcast and the City.

We will also keep you posted if a public hearing is scheduled on the franchise renewal process.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in keeping community media alive in Pittsburgh.

Please act NOW!

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Note: I’ll be adding the “Talking Points for Meetings and Letters to City” in the next blog post, but if you’d like a copy of the “Impact of Franchise Agreement between Verizon and the City”, send an e-mail to christie@pctv21.org.