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RE: Marshfield cable TV controversy
At 01:53 PM 10/21/2003, you wrote:
>Still, an interesting topic-- what happens when
>a cable TV company puts on a controversial show
The real issue with access companies is prior restraint. If we tell
someone "are you *really* sure you want to air this", we become
responsible; the courts have ruled that to be prior restraint.
If a board of directors tries that, well, let's just hope their insurance
is up to date. (I was on the board of our station for 3 years, and yes, I
would've been the object of any suit.)
I'm not that concerned about how this goes down, even if I lived
there. What I'm more worried about is politicians and the perception of
"equal time" in public access facilities.
We have a producer (disclosure: a good friend and crewmate of mine) who
does a community show, "Salem Now"; it's been a very successful show that
has spawned its own spinoff, so my friend is now doing two different shows
A councilor-at-large wanted my friend to do a show on him and the Charter
Commission on short notice. My friend turned him down; he has a tight
production schedule and some guidelines that the councilor could not make
on the short notice he asked for. The councilor was very upset and said
that "SATV [our studio] should be MADE to put him on!"
SATV doesn't own my friend's show, my friend does. His signature's on the
reservation form. And the courts have ruled that the Fairness Doctrine
doesn't apply to cable access. My friend pointed that out, and there was
At one time in my involvement with SATV, I would have produced for this
councilor, but I've been burned out by too many years of doing every public
affairs show we have (4 at last count) and being stiffed and mistreated by
these same elected officials, most of whom only considered me the hired help.
That councilor--and *all* other elected officials--gets five minutes in
front of our cameras every election cycle from us. They can air as much
other footage as they want as long as *they* produce it. No one's stopping
Joe Official from griping to Bob Official over the air.
The only concession we do make to politics is to not run "political"
programming immediately before and during Election Day. I'm not sure where
that came from, but it is done by people in our business.
David Moisan, N1KGH ARES/SKYWARN email@example.com
Invisible Disability: http://www.davidmoisan.org/invisible_disability.html
ATS-909 FAQ: http://www.davidmoisan.org/radio/sangean/ats909faq.html