On September 28, 2015, Mike Wasenaar, President of the Alliance for Community Media, sent the following note of thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio in the newsletter:
“TWC’s lackluster history of supporting [PEG] providers – which provide unparalleled opportunities for media education and content production for City residents – raises serious questions about whether the newly-merged entity will partner effectively with these institutions.
Specifically, the City is concerned that in recent years TWC has shifted numerous PEG providers to higher channel numbers that have decreased visibility. These channel shifts create significant challenges for PEG providers, who lack the resources to develop and distribute notification materials and who risk losing audience members with every switch. In addition, PEG providers have had to struggle with TWC and other providers to secure access to the high-quality recording and transmission technologies – such as high definition – that are available to other content providers.
Charter must commit to maintaining PEG channel capacity at levels in the current franchise agreements, guaranteeing identical quality for PEG and commercial providers and keeping PEG channels in easily accessed, stable locations. In addition, Charter must commit to providing meaningful and stable financial support for public access services regardless of shifts in the cable markets driven by concentration of market power.”
Mayor de Blasio has reason to be concerned. According to a report we are releasing this week, Charter has a long history of treating PEG and local communities harshly. You can find the report here.
Thank you again, Mayor de Blasio for supporting the communication needs of your residents, and for supporting PEG!
As public access stations across the nation fall dark due to lack of funding, and others suffer from lack of adherence to franchise agreements, Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to democratic ideals and free speech is refreshing and much appreciated. We echo the Alliance for Community Media’s note of thanks to Mayor de Blasio, and hope that other communities take inspiration from his broad vision on the importance of free speech and public access.