CABLE ACCESS ADVISORY COMMISSION
Approved Meeting Minutes
February 13, 2008
PRESENT: Ernest Bedford; Bob Granstra; Roy Green; Linda Malekadeli; Norm Neher
ABSENT: Don Deibert
ALSO PRESENT: Melissa Barnard – Library; Judy MacDonald – Secretary
Ron Beacom – MCTV Director
I. CALL To Order
By Malekadeli at 7pm.
II. APPROVAL - of November 14, 2007 Minutes
Minutes approved as submitted.
III. PUBLIC Comments
IV. OLD Business
1. CAAC Goals, 2007-08
Beacom reviewed the goals (see agenda packet). Goal #1 is completed; reports will be presented on goals 2, 3 & 4; nothing specific lately regarding goals 5 & 6; and this commission already participated in goal 7.
2. Cable Communications Fund
Beacom briefly discussed what has been happening with the fund lately. The following outlines what has been received compared to budget:
· Charter’s 1st Quarter Franchise Fees - $129,300 (Budgeted $470,000)
Second quarter payment has not been received yet; however, if the trend continues as it has in the past, we will be well above budget.
· Access User fees - $2,925 (Budgeted $3,000)
Renewal notices have just been mailed and it is expected that this will also exceed budget.
· Taping fees $3,930 (Budgeted $3,000)
· Training Fees $1,110 (Budgeted $1,200)
· Underwriting $0 – (Budgeted $10,000)
A mailer will be sent out shortly to initiate this effort. For financial support of MCTV, an underwriter will receive recognition on MCTV’s message board.
Beacom submitted his budget to the City Manager’s office; the City Manager’s office makes any necessary changes and then submits the budget to City Council on April 14th with the goal to adopt a budget in late May.
3. Friends of MCTV
Beacom stated the Friends of MCTV operating fund balance is $17,592. Goal is to raise $50,000. The application for 501(c) (3) designation has been filed. The Friends are researching more fundraising opportunities and the next meeting will be held on March 26th at 7pm. Malekadeli stated the next step is for them to start writing grants and approaching local foundations for financial support.
4. Video Franchising Law
Beacom reported on the video franchising law aftermath. An attempt by Comcast to move the PEG channels to the 900 range was blocked by a temporary restraining order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Roberts. There are some proposed amendments to the Michigan video franchising law which will address the funding mechanism and channel locations.
The Michigan Public Service Commission submitted their first annual report to the governor which was filed February 1st and is available on their website. A survey was conducted and a list of complaints was compiled which includes: 1) Providers not willing to pay the requested PEG fee in the Agreement, 2) The provider is removing PEG channels from the basic tier and moving them to a digital format, 3) New providers inability to demonstrate that they can have PEG programming on their systems, 4) Providers closing PEG facilities, 5) Cities having to assist PEG centers financially because providers are no longer providing PEG assistance, 6) PEG facilities are incurring higher costs for transmitting their shows to new providers, 7) PEG channels unfairly being placed in obscure locations, 8) PEG channels being provided with a lower quality of service, as compared to other channels on the providers’ systems, 9) Overall actions by providers toward PEG could ultimately diminish these channels for good.
U.S. House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet had a hearing on January 29th with representatives from the Alliance for Community Media, the City of Dearborn, AT&T and Comcast. No action was taken, but it was a good hearing.
AT&T is building boxes that can provide video service in Midland on private property and in the public right of way. The City is evaluating this placement on a case by case basis. Beacom restated our concerns with AT&T; 1) the problems getting our signal to AT&T, 2) how it is going to be transmitted to the public - right now it is through channel 99 which we think will make it difficult for some people to access the channels, and 3) the fact that AT&T won’t be paying the franchise fees the way Charter is until they take a certain amount of business away from Charter. Malekadeli questioned if AT&T is obligated to air our channels. Beacom stated that it would be a difficult decision since it would be costly to get our signal to AT&T and there are so few subscribers to start with. Neher commented that it would be beneficial to AT&T if they made it easy for us to get our signal to them so Charter does not gain a competitive edge by being the only provider to carry our channels.
V. NEW Business
1. Expired Terms/CAAC Vacancy
Three commissioners have terms that are expiring in June (Bob Granstra, Roy Green and Norm Neher). Beacom needs to know by early March if you wish to be reappointed for another 3 year term. Jason Brown has vacated his position so an opening is available that has a term which expires a year from now. Neher stated that he will probably be reappointed by the schools. Malekadeli suggested that a committee get together to put together psa’s to promote the use of MCTV. Neher stated he is willing to work on the committee.
1. Alliance for Community Media is having a Trade Show/Workshop/Meeting on March 11th in Grand Rapids.
2. Analog to Digital Workshop - March 25th at 7pm in the Library lounge. MCTV will be working with the Library to present information on the digital transformation that will begin in February of 2009. An analog TV getting its signal by antennae will require a converter box. Speakers will be in to talk about all the differences.
The next regular meeting is May 14, 2008, at 7pm.
Neher moved to adjourn meeting. Meeting adjourned at 7:33pm.