Expand Public Access TV to Digital Broadcast
Public access TV was created due to a technology change: Cable TV.
We have just been through another: Digital Broadcast. Unfortunately, there are no public service obligations in the 1996 Telecom Act.
There are only 4 major content providers in the PBS network, and these providers make content for a national audience.
So for most of us, "Public" Broadcasting actually excludes access by content producers in the community.
Now, most PBS stations have several digital sub-channels. Let's look into the possibility of using these new channels for access by community members.
PS: Those airwaves are the COMMONS, i.e., the property of WE THE PEOPLE. The commercial TV stations call their broadcast licenses their "property". Let's not put the exlusive burden on PBS affiliates. Any citizen should be able to walk into any local broadcast TV (or radio) station and be able to get a show.
One of the reasons local commercial broadcasters say to citizens: "you can't get a show" is due to network time agreements, where the local GM sells off 100% of prime time (and most of the broadcast day) to network programming.
Before this sell-off of their sub-channels occurs, let's talk about setting reserves for locally produced programming by local citizens.
Let us recall that the Wagner-Hatfield Amendment proposed that 25% of the ENTIRE broadcast spectrum be set aside for non-commercial use.
Today, we have 2%... if that.
FCC, it's time to improve these numbers!!!
Bill Huston, Binghamton NY
Jeremy Lansman commented
The FCC does not offer us broadcasters any incentive for public service broadcasting. More than 50% of my DTV bitspace is non commercial. My viewers love it. But FCC policy makes what I do risky. E.G. UWTV (5.2) nor France24 (5.4) have no E/I programming. Why must I risk the license to broadcast public interest stuff?
Craig Lyndon Althage commented
We need more open access to digital broadcast channels as well as more cable channels for public programming such as Cable Access Channels with as much free reign by the people producing the show as ordinary citizens as is allowed by the law. We need to offset the grotesque amount of corporate lifeless information being propagated by the current media moguls to be offset by real community news, independent media i.e. Democracy Now, FAIR and other news on the left when so much of the news is clearly right wing in content and misses their intended mission goals without any accountability.