Last updated: March 3, 2011 - 9:17am
Any individual or organization in Chicago can learn how to produce their own program at Chicago Access Corporation (CAN TV) and show it on one of its five channels. That’s because of the city’s strong cable-TV franchise agreement, which allows CAN TV to receive its funding directly from cable providers.
Refranchising takes place every 15 years, and will start up again in June when RCN is due for renewal. RCN, WOW, and Comcast are franchised by the city, but have the option of refranchising at the state level — which is what AT&T has chosen to do. CAN TV executive director Barbara Popovic says that if these other companies opt for a state franchise, a 2009 Chicago ordinance will give the city — not CAN TV — control of the one-percent fee for public, government, and educational (PEG) channels (this would be in addition to the five-percent franchise fee the city already receives from cable companies). “Whatever the regulatory vehicle, we feel it’s very important that the public be firmly in the mix,” she says. CAN TV recently commissioned an independent survey, which found that 85 percent of Chicago cable subscribers say it’s important that community issues are covered on local TV channels, and that customers would like more money set aside in their cable bill for the production of local programming than for commercial channels. Nearly 80 percent said it’s important that Chicago residents have access to a local facility where they can get assistance in producing programs. “If anything in Chicago, we see an increase in local interest and an increase in people using it,” says Popovic, noting that public-access centers have closed down in San Francisco and Seattle in addition to scores of PEG center closures in California, Michigan, and Indiana.
- Local Franchises Get Local Support
- U.S. House Subcommittee Examines Harm to PEG
- The Future of PEG
- Community TV: If cable changes, what would happen to public programming?
- PEG Has Blurry Future In Golden State
- Seattle Survey Guides Tech Policy
- ACM to Challenge FCC Video Franchising Decision
- Ruling: Michigan Cities Can Still Prevent Migration Of PEG Channels
- Franchise Players
- Cities' Franchising Power Short-Circuited?
- Fuzzy picture for Comcast-NBC deal
- Cheap Wireless Network Pays Off for Asheville
- COPE Day
- Channeling David Hasselhoff
- FCC Creates a Climate of Chaos over Video Franchising