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Weekly News from the President: LPFM and PEG Community Media Webinar

Join ACM for a webinar on low power FM operations on Wednesday April 27th at 3:30pm ET (12:30pm PT). You’ll get a chance to learn more about how you get your radio operation on the air and keep it on the air. We have four panelists from a variety of perspectives that will be discussing governance, policies and operations for low power FMs within a Public Educational or Government Access center.

Speakers:

Vanessa Maria Graber, PhillyCAM
Ann Theis, Open Media Foundation
Jeff Shaw, Davis Community Media
Sabrina Roach, Brown Paper Tickets

You can register here

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Ten Years After in Texas

It’s been a decade since the passage of Senate Bill 5, the Texas state cable franchising bill that severely limited local community rights in the Lone Star state.Texas loves BIG, and irony runs big here as well: Ten years after passage of the bill, its main corporate sponsor AT&T has begun walking away from the UVerse cable television product it claimed would compete with cable providers – it’s now promoting DirecTV, a system with no local community channels.

And yet, PEG community channels still operate in Texas, both Government and Education channels, as well as some Public Access channels. I visited two of our members in Texas this past week to look at the future of community media in their state.

Austin Public is the newly remade Public Access provider in Austin, Texas.The City of Austin maintains a building on the east side of the city which had been the home of Channel Austin for the last ten years. In 2015, the City put forward a Request For Proposals for access services – and the non-profit Austin Film Society won the two year contract.

AFS has a history of contracts with the City of Austin – they also operate the film studios that occupy a former airport the City decommissioned about 15 years ago.

Austin Public became ACM members soon after to network with colleagues across the country – you may have met some of their staff at the National conference in Pasadena. The group is running classes and has hired many of the former staff from Channel Austin. Their hope is to use the outreach and marketing resources of the Film Society to grow their operations and programs in coming years.

Houston Media Source is now celebrating its 27th year in the fourth largest city in the U.S.They were host to the ACM National Conference in 2002 and now have a staff of ten people led by relatively new Executive Director Tom Richard.

HMS is getting half the franchise revenue the City generates – the other half going to Houston’s Government channel – and has studios near Minute Maid Park.They are just getting through a studio renovation that includes internet radio operations.

What’s their major concern? Like many PEG centers, it’s operating funding – and the restrictive definition of support from PEG fees. Texas law maintained a 1% PEG fee, and for a city like Houston, that amounts to a lot of money. And like other operations across the country, HMS needs flexibility to keep its doors open.

I’m looking forward to working with our Texas members in the coming year.Thanks for the Lone Star hospitality!

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A big Thank You to all our members who are promoting the Hometown Media Awards with their producers and staff. Some channels are even subsidizing entries for the public!

The deadline for entries is coming up in ten days on April 21st. Be sure not to miss out and enter into the festival!