In a case filed by public access TV legend Deedee Halleck and poet Jesus Papaleto Melendez against NY’s public access chanel Manhattan Neighborhood Network, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals revived a free speech lawsuit after a lower court had dismissed it.
Public-access television has always had a low-budget, amateur reputation. Yet Rod Laughridge’s alternative news program “Newsroom on Access SF” was anything but that. Though San Francisco’s public-access station had its share of offbeat shows —- like the risqué DeeDeeTV, hosted by self-described “pop culture diva” Dee Dee Russell — “Newsroom” took itself seriously. Its mission, as described on its website, was to “bring community-based, community reported and produced independent news and interviews from a grassroots viewpoint — unhindered, uncensored and unaltered.” Continue reading The Public Access Crisis by Eric Arnold→
In May of 2009, I became a public access television producer. Couldn’t have picked a worse time.
Not because I don’t enjoy hosting and co-producing Media News. It’s a great joy to interview guests and try to shed a little light on the issues closest to my heart including: net neutrality and the digital divide, coverage of turmoil abroad and at home, the loss of local public affairs coverage and the rise in citizen journalism. I feel privileged to bring voices that need to be heard onto my local TV dial.
The reason it was bad timing is that the nation’s more than 3,000 public access centers are on the verge of extinction. Yours may go next week, next month or next year, but their days are numbered due to statewide cable franchising.
“Are you Margaret?” two or three people ask me eagerly as I walk through the door. “No, she’s not Margaret,” responds Brian Scott, CityVisions Channel 53’s public access coordinator. The large, lofty studio is a flurry of activity this Friday night. Studio lights hanging from the rafters illuminate the stage. Two people are assigned to each of the three cameras, and they nervously practice zooming in and out and rolling the cameras around the concrete floor. They’re preparing for Open Mike Live, a show featuring local talent that airs once a month on San Francisco’s public access station. The people behind the cameras have never done this before. The broadcast is a culmination of a training program they have gone through to become proficient on the studio’s impressive array of equipment. Continue reading YOU’RE THE PUBLIC, SO GET CABLE ACCESS, by Lisa Sousa→