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Chicago Inks New Cable Agreement Momentum Builds for Community Media Nationally

Contact: Andy Schwarz





Chicago Inks New Cable Agreement

Momentum Builds for Community Media Nationally

[McLean, VA, May 15, 2012] Alliance for Community Media (ACM) members in Chicago and New York recently entered into cable renewal agreements that will improve the quality and availability of critical local programming. Following historic public access television deals in New York City last year, the City of Chicago ratified a renewal agreement with cable operator RCN on April 24, 2012, dramatically expanding local community access to new media technologies.

Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV) will roll out Video on Demand (VOD) services and High Definition (HD) channels during a ten-year renewal term for RCN.  “RCN’s support means CAN TV will stay current as technology evolves, expanding its position as a bridge between cable and Internet viewers,” said CAN TV Executive Director Barbara Popovic.  “Funding will grow as RCN grows, increasing CAN TV’s future stability.”

New York City set a high standard with its 2011 cable renewals with significant funding increases to support public access centers, an increase in the number of channels, HD and VOD functionality for channels, and live transmission capabilities from remote locations.

The Chicago and New York City franchise renewal are among new agreements that are turning the tide for community access channels after years of eroding regulatory protections and discriminatory treatment from telecom giants like AT&T.  A Benton Foundation study last year found more than 100 Public, Educational and Government (PEG) stations had closed nationwide since 2005, largely as a result of new state franchising laws. More than half of the remaining PEG centers participating in the study had suffered funding cuts.

With cable revenues strong, New York City and Chicago determined to enter the next decade with cable agreements that benefit the public.  Officials set terms that protect the primary outlet on cable for community based news, local health, housing and jobs information, digital literacy training, educational programming and artistic expression.

“In these cable franchise renewals, New York City and the City of Chicago are putting their communities first.  We challenge other cities and municipalities to do the same,” said ACM Executive Director, Sylvia Strobel.

For more on the Chicago RCN franchise renewal, see:

For more on NYC, see:

About the Alliance for Community Media:  Founded in 1979, the Alliance for Community Media is a national, non-profit membership organization committed to ensuring access to electronic media for all people.  The Alliance for Community Media carries forth its mission by educating, advocating and acting as a resource for the more than 3,000 Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) cable channels nationwide. For more information, visit ACM’s new website at

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