Immediate Action Needed! PEG Access Funding is Under Threat
from Mike Wassenaar, President & CEO, Alliance for Community Media
PEG Access funding has not had this serious a threat for many years, and we’ll need every organization in the region to mobilize over the next few weeks. Read on for the specific actions we’re asking you to take, but first here is some background to help you understand the issue.
The FCC’s “Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FNPRM) on Cable Franchising” was published in the Federal Register on October 15. This means that the deadline for comments will be November 14. This proposed Rule seeks to redefine and place a value on cable franchise obligations that have been traditionally defined as “In-Kind” (backhaul of signal, IPG, possibly our PEG channels themselves). The result would be to charge these “expenses” back against the franchise fee and essentially undermine the intent of the Cable Act. The national impact on PEG Access and local municipalities could be devastating.
US Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts knows community media and why it exists. He was on the House committee that helped enact the 1984 Cable Act that supported PEG across the United States. That’s why he’s outraged at the actions of the Federal Communications Commission to destabilize communities in its FNPRM on Cable Franchising.
Among other things, the rulemaking proposes to define “in-kind” support so broadly it will allow cable companies to deduct just about ANY support against franchise fees – thus defunding municipalities AND community television.
Senator Markey is trying to organize Democratic US Senators to support a letter to the FCC disapproving of the proposed rulemaking. ACM wants to thank him for the effort. He’s been a champion of our cause for many years! Here are the Senators who so far have agreed to sign on to the Markey letter:
- Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI)
- Senator Ben Cardin (MD)
- Senator Maggie Hassan (NH)
- Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow (MI)
- Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden (OR)
- Senators Patrick Joseph Leahy & Bernie Sanders (VT)
- Sentaor Elisabeth Warren (MA)
- Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT)
We want to thank all the ACM members who’ve been contacting their US Senators about signing on, but we need more! Please contact your US Senator about joining Senator Markey’s effort to oppose the FNPRM. You may notice some Democratic Senators who are not on the list! If you need assistance or background information about the FNPRM, please contact Mike Wassenaar by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTER TEMPLATES & WHERE TO FILE COMMENTS
You can submit a comment to the FCC before November 15th with these steps:
1. Go to this link: Save Community Media
2. Click on ‘+ Express ‘
3. Fill in your information and send
You can also the template found here!
You can find other sample letters you can get from your local lawmakers about the rulemaking to enter into the record. Let us know if you have questions!
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