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Weekly News From the President: PEG Channels Are Getting Slammed Across the Na

PEG Channels Are Getting Slammed Across the Nation

I use the phrase “From Maine to Maui and Manhattan in between” quite often when I talk about PEG and community media…it roughly describes the scope of communities we serve and the diversity of our channels (to be fair and to stay alliterative, I should reference our most Westerly member organization and say, “From Kauai to Kennebunkport”).

But now we can say that channel slamming PEG operations is nationwide, and is spreading from our member organizations in Maine to the Aloha state.

Charter Communications is continuing its practice of moving PEG channels from prime lower tiers to tiers that no viewer knows about or can find.  The motive?  I believe they want to market the lower tiers to make more money from commercial channels, and they will benefit from lower use of PEG channels over time.  This time, they are picking on Hawaii, and local officials and community channels are fighting back.
Olelo on Oahu has launched a #NoChannelSlam campaign asking the public to put pressure on Charter to stop the move. Each of the islands that Charter serves in the state will be affected, and our members at Olelo, Akaku (Maui), Na Leo (Hawaii) and Hoike (Kauai) are all concerned about the harm that will be done to communities, the loss in services and viewership, and the economic harm to each of the brands they have built over decades.

Our friends in Maine are experiencing a similar situation with Charter (which took over the Time Warner systems there two years ago).  You can find video coverage of the situation and the impact on local communities here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBNWqhHbqnA&feature=youtu.be

Other PEG channels in former Time Warner systems should be concerned about similar threats in their service areas.  The only remedy that exists right now is public pressure to shame the company into doing the right thing – unless there is a local franchise that has provisions to protect local communities from harm.

In the meantime, spread the word: #NoChannelSlam 

Sincerely,
Mike Wassenaar
President & CEO
The Alliance for Community Media