[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

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 month.

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 
much unhappiness.

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.

Take care,


David Moisan, N1KGH   ARES/SKYWARN             dmoisan@davidmoisan.org
Invisible Disability:  http://www.davidmoisan.org/invisible_disability.html
ATS-909 FAQ:  http://www.davidmoisan.org/radio/sangean/ats909faq.html