CABLE ACCESS ADVISORY COMMISSION

May 2, 2006

 

PRESENT: Don Deibert, Bob Granstra, Jim Huber, Linda Malekadeli

 

ABSENT:  Todd DuBois, Fred Johnson, Roy Green

 

ALSO PRESENT:  Ron Beacom – MCTV, Brandi Pfohl – Secretary

 

I.                     CALL To Order

By Malekadeli at 5pm

 

II.                   APPROVAL Of April 12,2006 Minutes

Minutes approved as submitted.

 

III.                  PUBLIC Comments

None

 

IV.               OLD Business

1.      Federal/State Legislation

Beacom reviewed the status of the Cope bill; it has been passed by the telecommunications subcommittee.  It then went to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where it also passed.  It is now going to the full house; speculations are it will be voted on in the next week.  A Senate version has been introduced, now the question is whether they can work it out before the summer break or fall election.  There will be an update on Friday, May 5 at the Alliance for Community Media Spring Conference.  On the State level, there has been no movement on the bill, because the Federal Legislation has heated up.  If there is a stall on the federal legislation, it could cause a push on the state level to get it passed.

 

2.      Budget Response Plan

Beacom reviewed the status of latest budget response.  At a City Council Budget Work Session on Monday, May 1, citizens spoke in favor of MCTV.  Council discussed a subsidy from the general fund.  Council voted 4-1 in favor of a proposal of providing $106,100 to MCTV to maintain MCTV’s current level of service for one year.  This gives more time for a “Friends” group to look for alternative funding sources and to see what may happen with the legislation.  Final budget approval by Council is scheduled for May 22. 

 

V.                 NEW Business  – Subcommittee Report

Malekadeli reviewed the subcommittee’s report (agenda packet) on possible alternative funding for MCTV, and creating a Friends of MCTV, similar to the Friends of the Library.  Malekadeli stated that the Friends of MCTV would not have to file under their own 501c(3), the City of Midland already has one, and the Friends of MCTV can fall under that, even though the Friends of the Library were under their own.  Beacom stated that the Friends of the Library have been around a long time and is not sure why they chose to become a 501c(3).  He also reiterated that the initial goal of the Friends of MCTV is to raise $50,000 to cover half of the cost of equipment being replaced in 2008-09, and not for administration costs.  

 

On the idea of holding a telethon, Beacom has not gotten any word from the city attorney if this is a possibility. 

 

On the idea of membership fees, Beacom questioned what would an individual pay comfortably.  If it was a voluntary payment probably half would pay.  Beacom also stated he did an informal survey on a list serve to find out what other access stations did.  The results varied.  Some stations have a variety of fees in membership and training workshops, some do not charge anything.  Some charge non-resident, while residents pay nothing.  Some membership fees cover all training. 

 

Malekadeli stated the message board fees were discussed on messages submitted above and beyond a certain number per week or month. 

 

Fees for underwriting were also discussed.  For example a company or individual could underwrite MCTV at a cost of $300 a day.  Beacom stated that a sales staff would be needed to solicit underwriters. 

 

Malekadeli stated that they discussed the possibility of City matching funds.  If Friends of MCTV raised $50,000, the City could match the $50,000.  Sustainability also needs to be addressed.  Beacom stated we could get the $106,100 needed for the next year, but will be back at this point one year from now looking for more. 

 

Deibert asked where Council was now in the budget process.  Beacom stated that there is a meeting on May 8, where public comments will be taken, and then final budget adoption on May 22.  Deibert asked about MCTV’s current budget response.  Beacom stated that the $106,100 for the next year would have to be revised.   Deibert stated that the Commission needed to support City Council’s proposed funding for the next year and to forward them the ideas discussed for additional funding sources. 

 

Malekadeli asked for any comments on the subcommittee’s report or anything else from the public. 

 

Judy Kuehl, 1204 Marriet Court, encouraged the Commission to support the City Council’s proposal of funding MCTV with a formal resolution.  Also stated, that after speaking to many individuals there is interest on her part and others in helping to find alternative sources of money. 

 

Jim Malek, 3701 Westbrier, agrees with Judy in her recommendation for formal support from the Commission to City Council.  Also he stated that in the past this Commission has gone along with all budget proposals submitted to City Council and he was disappointed in this because not all Commission members would be in support, then turn around and vote in support anyway.  The Commission needs to take a stand now and tell Council to keep MCTV at the same level of service.  He is also concerned with fund raising and proposing of a Friends of MCTV.  Malek felt the amount of money involved in raising was too much.  The Commission needs to send a formal recommendation on the continued support of City Council in MCTV.  Deibert asked Mr. Malek if he is not happy with fund raising, did he think the money should come from the City’s general fund?  Malek stated yes. 

 

Joan Most, 712 Buchanan, stated that the Commission needs to encourage City Council not to abandon MCTV. It’s essential in the art and education forum, and now is the time to do something to keep it going, not letting it go then say in a few years wish we would of done more to keep it. 

 

Malekadeli agreed with the comments, and stated she was one who argued against the budget last meeting but ended up voting in support of it.  She felt it didn’t matter if she voted against the recommendation.  Malekadeli said it would be a shame to lose MCTV and the Commission needs to stand behind MCTV in keeping the services as they are. 

 

Granstra stated that there would be more time to come up with additional funding if Council does support MCTV with a general fund subsidy.  Deibert stated that he is very pleased with Council’s support of MCTV and that the Commission needs to support them with a resolution, and, as a Commission, to pick up on the comments of the people.  We need to better communicate to people on how to use public access and get to people who don’t use it.  Huber stated that he was also in favor.  Granstra agreed to support. 

 

Deibert proposed a resolution that the Cable Access Advisory Commission support the City Council’s proposed supplemental funding from the City’s General Fund in the amount of $106,100 to support MCTV for the next fiscal year; and that the Cable Access Advisory Commission is appreciative of the City Council’s willingness to reach out to the community in support of MCTV.  In addition, the Cable Access Advisory Commission will work with groups within the Midland community to research additional financial support and further educate the Midland community on the benefits provided by MCTV

 

Malekadeli called for a vote.  Resolution passed unanimously.  Beacom suggested that one or two members of the Commission to be at the City Council meeting, May 8th to read the resolution.  Malekadeli stated she would be there.

 

Granstra questioned if the membership fees suggested would be an annual fee and not a fee per program submitted.  Malekadeli stated as an annual fee.  Deibert stated that the initial groundwork has been started.  Beacom questioned the Commission on next step.  Should the Commission create the Friends of MCTV?   Revision of the tape duplication fees is still to be considered. 

 

The next scheduled meeting is May 10.  Beacom asked if they wanted to continue with the scheduled meeting, with two seats vacant or wait and have a meeting during the summer.  Malekadeli stated that they should stay with the May 10 meeting.  Malekadeli stated that Nicole Charles from the Midland Area Community Foundation offered for her or Denise Spencer to come speak in front of the commission.  Should that be arranged for the next meeting or one in near future?  Deibert stated that he didn’t think the City would want the Commission to be the Friends of MCTV, and felt there are a few things to sort out before Denise comes to speak.  Malekadeli stated she would talk about Midland Foundations endowment or special funds, not actual fund raising.  Beacom suggested breaking it down, revising tape duplication fees, and discussing membership fees.  He suggested that a couple of Commission members could work with MCTV access users to start the Friends of MCTV.  Malekadeli and Granstra stated that they could continue as a subcommittee to form Friends of MCTV.  Deibert suggested that someone could work with MCTV staff in putting together a proposed agenda in steps to get started on alternative funding, and then bring it to the Commission as a whole for approval.  Malekadeli and Granstra stated they would work with Beacom to set up an agenda.  Malekadeli stated she would get in touch with the Friends of Library to find out why they chose to be under their own 501c(3).

 

VI.               ANNOUNCEMENTS

1.   Beacom stated the ACM Spring Conference, begins this coming Thursday, May 4-6, 2006

 

2.   Malekadeli called for volunteers in the community to serve on the Cable Access Advisory Commission, and to help find ways to keep MCTV at current service. 

 

3.   Beacom read DuBois resignation letter.

 

VII.              ADJOURNMENT – Next meeting, May 10, 2006

Granstra moved to adjourn.  Deibert seconded.  Meeting adjourned at 5:59pm.

 

 

Respectfully submitted

 

 

Brandi Pfohl

Secretary