CABLE ACCESS ADVISORY COMMISSION
November 14, 2007
PRESENT: Ernest Bedford; Don Deibert; Bob Granstra; Roy Green
ABSENT: Jason Brown; Norm Neher; Linda Malekadeli
ALSO PRESENT: Melissa Barnard – Library; Judy MacDonald – Secretary
Ron Beacom – MCTV Director
I. CALL To Order
By Deibert at 7pm
II. APPROVAL - of September 12, 2007 Minutes
Minutes approved as submitted.
III. PUBLIC Comments
IV. OLD Business
1. CAAC Goals, 2007-08
Beacom reviewed the goals (see agenda packet). The quarterly report on the status of the Cable Communication Fund, activities of Friends of MCTV and video franchising law will follow. Linda Malekadeli presented the organizational award at Honors Night 2007 where she also spoke about the benefits of MCTV. Nothing formal has been done in regards to informing access users and the public about the challenges and opportunities facing MCTV. Deibert clarifies that at the next meeting, (first of next year), a review will be done to determine to what degree the objectives were complied, exceeded, or not met.
2. CAAC Goals, 2008-09
Beacom reviewed process by which goals where set and presented the proposed goals (see meeting minutes of 9-12-07).
3. Annual Report, 2006-07
Beacom states the draft as submitted and approved at the September 12, 2007, meeting, were sent to City Council at a meeting in October and accepted through a consent agenda item.
4. Cable Communications Fund
Beacom briefly discusses the fund and points out the $33,607 as a key number. The actual/budget comparison shows an excess of revenues over expenditures, which helps our current budget situation. Main reasons include increase in franchise fees revenues from cable company of $16,000, access user fees revenues of $5,000, taping fees revenues of $2,000, and savings in operating and maintenance of $8,000. The first quarter payment from Charter has not been received yet, so it is uncertain whether the franchise fees revenues will remain as is. The goal of raising money through underwriting will start in January 2008. The idea is to give recognition on the message board in response to financial support to MCTV. Green asks what the reason is for the increase in franchise fees revenues – is it due to increase in what Charter is charging, or is it an increase in Charter’s customer base? Beacom can’t be certain, but agrees that some of it is due to increase in rates, and some of it is because when the City annexed areas the money is now going to the City instead of the Townships. Beacom believes the increase in revenues from fees will at least remain constant or continue to grow over the next few years.
5. Friends of MCTV
Honors Night was their annual event and fundraiser. It is expected to net around $6,000 through sponsorship, silent auction, and donations at the door. The 501C3 application is in process and should be complete in about 6 months to a year. Friends of MCTV was first organized with an arrangement with the Midland Area Community Foundation that allowed them to raise money quickly (raised about $10,000 this way). With tax exempt status, it may be possible to raise more money through a raffle. Friends will have more flexibility once they become tax exempt since they can either operate as Friends of MCTV, or operate through the foundation. Friends have raised about $16,000-$17,000 to date. Beacom reports there was another fundraiser – a benefit concert with the band “Cherry Red”. It broke even and was a learning experience for the next time such a thing is done. The concert was videotaped and has been running on MCTV.
6. Video Franchising Law
Beacom reports that last week the FCC issued their second report and order regarding franchising rules for incumbents. In summary, it essentially comes down to a case by case basis. A lot has to do with incumbent cable operators versus the new people offering video services. Once a video service is offered, then one becomes an incumbent. We will continue to receive the 5% franchise fee and as of right now it is business as usual with Charter. In Michigan there is Senate bill 636 and House bill 5047 which address the 2% additional fees collection and whether it should be required. Comcast served notice to 9 studios that they were eliminating their local public access production facilities, which they can do according to the new law.
V. NEW Business
1. ACM Conference-Ft. Wayne, Nov. 8-10
Beacom gave a report on the conference he attended. He attended workshops relating to these issues and one on archiving. Beacom led a workshop talking about fundraising, MCTV’s story, and sharing ideas about what other communities are doing. The keynote speaker was Gloria Tristiani, a former FCC Commissioner from 1997 to 2001, who now works for a law firm in the Washington area. A topic brought up was the February 2009 deadline, which requires everything to be broadcast digitally. Many TV’s will be out of date. If you use an antenna, you’ll need a converter box. Coupons will be sent out to help people buy converter boxes in January, but the boxes will not be available until spring. Cable TV subscribers will not be affected. Another workshop Beacom attended was on YouTube which offered suggestions on how it could be used to enhance our access station and how we could help our producers put clips on YouTube so their show gets coverage beyond local cable access. It was also suggested that YouTube could be used to find local producers that are not aware of the opportunity to put shows on our channel.
1. Next Friends of MCTV meeting is November 28th at 7pm in the Library conference room. Anyone interested in joining can contact MCTV or visit the city website for a member application.
The next regular meeting is February 13, 2008, at 7pm.
Bedford moves to adjourn meeting, Granstra supports. Meeting adjourned at 7:27pm.