NC: Local governments withhold public access TV funds

Posted on May 15, 2008 - 5:50am.

from: Orange Politics

Local governments withhold public access TV funds
by Ruby Sinreich on Mon, 05/12/2008 - 11:50am.

It seems like Chapel Hill and Orange County are giving our local public access provider quite the run around, when they should be giving them money! The programming on The Peoples Channel includes a wide variety of creative output and civic endeavors by local residents, plus they also carry the essential Democracy Now! If you don't find what you want on channel 8, you can march right in to the station, get low-cost training, and fill that gap. This nonprofit TV station is a tremendous asset to our community, and it deserves to be fully funded by our local governments.

Both Chapel Hill and Orange County received money for Chapel Hill channel 8, on which The People's Channel broadcasts.

Yet neither government has passed that money on to The People's Channel. The law says local governments must spend the supplemental money on PEG channels, but it doesn't specify which channels.

Chapel Hill spokesperson Catherine Lazorko says the town manager and town council have yet to decide how to distribute PEG funding. Chapel Hill operates its own government channel, 18, which broadcasts public meetings.

Orange County, which certified a total of three PEG channels, decided to spend all $29,400 of its supplemental PEG funding on its own government channel, 265, which broadcasts county commissioners meetings. The annual budget for Channel 265 is approximately $40,000.

- Independent Weekly: Legislature to consider future of public TV channels, 5/7/08

If you read the article you'll see this is especially cruel since Chad Johnston, who runs TPC, helped lobby for this legislation and is very familiar with it's provisions. He expected this law to provide much-needed stability to the channel, but instead Chapel Hill and Orange County have pulled the rug out from under him!

It's amazing what a meager budget The Peoples Channel asks for (they operate on $160,000/year). Let's show how much we value community media by giving a little of the direct financial support that our elected officials ought to be providing. Use the widget below to donate now.