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Weekly News from the President- Change Ahead

It may seem to be a cliché when you hear the words “Elections Have Consequences,” but it may be very true for the 2014 Elections and PEG community television.

The new Republican majority in the U-S Senate will mean a new Commerce Committee chair in South Dakota Senator John Thune, and different compositions of the committees themselves in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.    Brian Fung from the Washington Post had a nice summary of what we may be seeing in the coming Congress here:

What does this mean for PEG community media?   We’ll know more about committee make-up in the next six weeks or so, but at the very least it means that video reform will move up the list of priorities for the Senate and the House.   While the House of Representatives Commerce Committee leadership has been meeting this last year to discuss ideas for video reform, there’s been little action in the Senate because of the priorities of current Senate Commerce chair Senator Jay Rockefeller from West Virginia.   That will probably change now under Senator Thune.

That means that PEG operations around the U-S have to get engaged in the policy discussions to come, and to do that, we at the Alliance will be bringing allies and communities together to protect and strengthen Public Educational and Government Access media.

We are asking all our members to collect success stories of the good work you are doing in your communities, to help us tell your story to policy makes in Washington DC, and help us reach out to members of Congress in your home districts.    We will be coordinating visits with key communities in the next few weeks to help tell our story, and will be visiting with leaders on all sides in the next Congress to help inform their work.

Our work at ACM though is strengthened when we have strong connections with PEG operations throughout the U-S.  That’s why we are increasing our efforts to reach more members and colleagues – some of whom are not really connected with other PEG operations – and are continuing to improve the services our members get through the Alliance for Community Media.

What’s one example?  In early 2015, ACM will be rolling out a Mentor Network for our members that will strengthen the relationships they have with colleagues around the U-S.  The idea is to benefit new staff members at all levels by building professional knowledge and friendships with colleagues they don’t yet know.  And by doing so, we provide a way for more seasoned members to give back to their profession.

Expect more examples ahead in 2015, including expanded learning opportunities for members, and more tools to help organize our work and publicize the power of community media.

And thank you for being a member of the Alliance!   It’s your investment in ACM that allows us to grow our field and defend community media.

Mike Wassenaar- President