FL: Local Network's Warnings About TV Unheeded - PEG Channel Change

Posted on January 2, 2008 - 8:53am.

from: Tampa Bay Online

Local Network's Warnings About TV Unheeded


Published: December 25, 2007

Regarding the Tribune editorial, "Bright House Snubs Public Good" (Our Opinion, Dec. 13):

In this editorial about Bright House Networks moving local government channels to the 600 tier, you neglected to let your readers know that their own local public access channels have also been moved from Bright House channels 19 and 20 to digital channels 949 and 950 or Outer Mongolia on the TV channel lineup.

To view Tampa Bay Community Network's programs, which are produced by the local community, Bright House subscribers who don't currently have digital boxes, will have to rent them for $1 per month.

Or, perhaps, and more likely, make the switch to Verizon FIOS, where they can still view Tampa Bay Community Network on channels 30 and 36.

It is on TBCN that viewers can watch alternative news programming like Democracy Now and Free Speech TV, learn (in both English and Spanish) how to access nonprofit and government services, enjoy University of Tampa sports, take in a sermon or local band, "attend" (via TV) local community events and, perhaps most importantly, watch local debates and political forums that may help them vote in the right people come November.

As we previously told your editorial board, there is no question that our legislators made a huge error when they passed the so-called Consumer Choice Act of 2007, which your paper supported.

As our governor suggested when he signed the bill last May, it needs to be amended to protect the public, education and government channels. Hopefully, that will happen.

And, just maybe, then the county's Board of County Commissioners, which eliminated residents' free speech rights on cable when they de-funded the people's channel, will come to its senses and restore their constitutional rights by reinstating TBCN's budget.

As your own editorial pointed out in a different context, why would anyone want to "slam shut a wonderful window of public access"?

Louise M. Thompson is executive director of Tampa Bay Community Network.

( categories: FLORIDA | State Franchises )