Keep promoting ACM's Petition to Congress

February 25, 2019

MCAC vs. Halleck Updates

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in MCAC v Halleck this morning.  I stood in line for four hours this morning in 50 MPH wind gusts and chilly temperatures along with ACM members Tony Riddle from Brooklyn, Gretjen Clausing and Antoine Haywood from Philadelphia, and Nantz Rickard from Washington, DC. However, because of a tourist group that got to the court the night before (!) we were only able to observe the oral arguments briefly.

Here is a transcript of the arguments if you want to review the record.  Recordings will be released on Friday.

If you read the transcript you see a lot of references to hot dog videos (really!) and public access scheduling questions.  Only Justice Elena Kagan seems to have a firm handle on the idea that franchising authority and control of public rights of way are related to PEG channels.

Some observers are looking at the case because of possible impact on free speech on social media, but some reports say the justices were skeptical of applying the case to other platforms.

I'll try to pass on other analysis from ACM Board member Jim Horwood who was in the hearing room.  We expect to get a ruling from the court before the end of June.

ACM & ACMNE Road Show Recap

Erica Jones, Antoine Haywood and I met with close to two hundred PEG channel operators in New England last week on the ACM-ACM NE Road Show.  It was great to see a variety of different operations and hear about the needs people have in communities across the region.

I outlined three scenarios all PEG operations have to consider as they think about their immediate and long-term futures.  We talked about strategies for raising revenue and reducing costs that operations are considering around the region.  We concentrated on what action ACM members can do to convince members of the US House of Representatives to oppose the FCC's rule-making on cable franchising.

A big thank you to Hartford Public Access, Vermont Access Network, Derry Community Media, Portland Media Center and Belmont Media Center for the hospitality this past week!  A special thanks goes to New Hampshire Coalition for Community Media for your $1,000 donation to ACM for public policy work!

We'll have video of some of the presentations to share with members soon, along with recommendations and materials members can use to help their operations.

In the meantime, please keep promoting the ACM Petition to Congress on the Rule!  We have 4,500 messages to Congress in a little less than two weeks!

And just to show that your constituent works - we just heard that Rep. Anna Eshoo in the Silicon Valley area has written the FCC to express her disapproval of the rule-making!  Here's her letter.

ACM Hometown Media Awards Reminder

I hope you are working on your Hometown Award applications this week!   The deadline comes in like a lion on March 1! 

Mike Wassenaar