President's Message | June 4, 2019

Anti-Discrimination Bill Protecting PEG Access Channels Passes Legislation   

Some good news from Maine this past week:   

LD 1371, an anti-discrimination bill that protects PEG Access channels has passed out of the Legislature with overwhelming support and now awaits approval by the state's governor.  The bill has been championed by advocates for channels in the state; led by our friends at Community Television Association of Maine.
The bill was provoked by channel slamming in the state by Charter similar to what has occurred in a number of other states, and the bill moves affected access channels back to where they were before the company's unilateral move to relocate the channels.
Significantly, the legislation also says that cable companies may not diminish the signal quality of PEG channels and should show them in the same fashion as broadcast or other cable channels on the system; that their distribution system not set up unequal treatment of local PEG channels.  It's a major win if it passes into law this summer.
We'll be talking about this legislation and other state public policy developments at the ACM National Conference in Portland next month.  My hope is we can emulate this great work in other states across the country. 

Other Updates in Public Policy

Later this week on Wednesday morning, the US Senate Commerce Committee is holding hearings on "The State of the Television and Video Marketplace".

I expect that much of the hearing will be taken up by disputes between broadcasters and the cable industry. Don't be surprised if the cable lobby makes a call for yet more deregulation.  Look too, to see if our allies on the committee and the witness list stand up for community media.

We're also watching the US Supreme Court every Monday to see when there is a published opinion on MCAC v. Halleck.  The court issues opinions every Monday and there are only a few days left for their opinions on the case in this year's session.

We'll pass on analysis as soon as an opinion is issued in the case. In the meantime, please note that our next ACM Public Policy call is this Thursday 6/6 at 4pm ET.   Contact me at if you want an invite to the members only call.

ACM Member Wins Nextant Legacy Prize

Kudos to ACM member Kathy Bisbee of Brookline Interactive Group and Public VR Lab for receiving the Nextant Legacy Prize at the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, CA this past week.  The prize is awarded by the Virtual World Society to a "a person whom others can turn to for inspiration, guidance and role modeling, (and) whose compassion is a compass to guide others' passion for building the future."

I think that describes Kathy and her work pretty well - and it's why we are continuing our partnership with Public VR Lab at the Portland conference this summer.  We're featuring an introductory training in VR for community media work on Friday at the conference.  Attendance is limited, so register today on our website