The Bill Passed!!

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Maine State House of Representatives and the Maine State Senate have both officially passed bill LD1371 without amendments, and it will soon be on the way to the Governor for her to sign into law. http://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/dockets.asp?ID=280072679

Following that, Charter (Spectrum) will be required to put the Community Television Channels back where they were 24 months ago and transmit them in HD if an HD signal is provided to them by the PEG originator. In addition, they will need to cable down to 15 homes per mile on all new cable franchises and comply with the other provisions outlined in the bill.

If your town is in the process of renewing their franchise, it is important that you are aware of this so you don’t sign the contract provided by Charter first which will not contain these important provisions.  

Thanks to all who contacted their legislators and provided testimony at the EUT Committee hearings. Your support made the difference!

In addition, LD 832 (also attached) was passed by the House today, this bill requires that cable television system operators offer subscribers the option of purchasing access to cable channels or programs on cable channels individually, you can follow its progress here:

http://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?paper=HP0606&SessionID=13  

Congratulations to CMMA’s Mt Blue TV for their New TV Series!!

Super excited about this new television series CMMA is producing that will begin airing next month! We will begin formal publicity in the coming weeks. It will air in all CMMA member municipalities and throughout participating CTAM member stations as well as will be accessible online! Stay-tuned!
http://cmma.me/new-series-lisa-keim

Above pictured: JP Fortier, Executive Director of CMMA; Shiloh LaFreniere, Town Manager of Jay; Senator Lisa Keim; “Twinkle” Marie Manning, Director of Development

New Our Town’s Series with Host Senator Lisa Keim

Gratitude to Tony Vigue

This man, Tony Vigue, former President of CTAM, is the driving force behind the pursuit to save Community Television and PEG Access in Maine. Thank you for all you are doing on behalf of Municipalities, Subscribers and Stations.

Seeking TV Talk Show Hosts

Would you like to become a TV Talk Show host in Maine?

We are seeking hosts for three new programs being developed in Central Maine.

Show topics range from interviewing elected officials, non-profit leaders and entrepreneurs.

If you would like to be considered as one of our hosts, please do the following:

Email us at twinkle@centralmainemedia.org with the Subject line: TV Talk Show Host Application

Include in the body of the email:

  • a paragraph explaining why you would like to be a talk show host
  • detail any experience you have with PEG Media and/or entertainment and/or other relevant details about your skills and history that will make you an ideal talk show host.
  • a link to a video clip featuring you

NOTE: PLEASE: Do Not attach video clip – – rather, please post it on Youtube, Vimeo or Facebook and email us the link only.

The video clip should be you speaking directly to 
the camera with the opening script:

“Hi, I am ________________(say your name). 

I reside in __________________ (say your town) 

and (use your own words...anything from farming to 
business to politics to the environment, 
to health and wellness, to your community, etc. 
to fill in the next two sections): 

I am passionate about ______________________________ 
because ____________________________________________
____________________________________________________.

Experience is not necessary, yet if you have experience please email us links to footage of your work on-camera.

Central Maine Media Alliance (CMMA)

Plan to Attend Public Hearing in Augusta!

LD1371, “An Act To Ensure Nondiscriminatory Treatment of Public, Educational and Governmental Access Channels by Cable System Operators” is scheduled to be heard at the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, Room 211 in the Cross building next to the Capitol in Augusta on April 10 at 8am. 

April 10th at 8:00 am

Room 211

Cross building (next to the Capitol in Augusta).

Details about this bill are found at the Central Maine Media Alliance (CMMA) post.

Attached is a copy of the bill:

LD1371 – non-discrimination bill

Open Letter to Municipal Leaders

Greetings Municipal Managers, station managers and staff,

The possible loss of franchise fees seems difficult to comprehend after years under the present system, set up by Congress in the Communications Act of 1984 as a rental fee for the use of the public right of way for commercial enterprise by the cable operator. The majority (3) Republican commissioners at the FCC have rendered a “broader” interpretation of the Act which allows Cable operators to count ANY PEG services such as free cable drops to municipal or school buildings and any equipment or bandwidth provided to the municipality as part of the 5% franchise fee cap. Regardless of how your municipality uses these funds, their loss will place an additional burden on taxpayers.
The following is a well researched article that explains the ramifications of the FCC ruling for Colorado municipalities and their local channels if legal challanges or Congressional action fails to prevent it from taking effect. Much the same applies here in Maine.
Several members of Congress have written to FCC Chairman Pai (see attached Markey letter), Representative Pingree has co-authored a letter of opposition (also attached), Senator King plans to do likewise, Senator Collins and Senator Golden have only recently been contacted with no reply as yet.. I would urge you to make your Congressional representatives aware of your thoughts about this ruling by the FCC. If you wish to write to the FCC directly, a sample letter is attached for your reference.
The FCC comment period has passed, however comments for proceeding 05-311 are still being accepted and you can file yours here:
Over 9,000 comments have been filed in this proceeding to date, you can view them here:
Any significant updates will be issued and as always if you wish to be removed from this list, please reply with the word “Remove” in your first line of text. So far, none have been received!
Thank you for your interest and support.
Tony Vigue
Former President of CTAM

This is an excerpt from a letter to the editor by CTAM former president

Unhappy with Spectrum? You are not alone. If you are a Charter/Spectrum customer, since November, you have most likely seen an annual price increase of 12% on your basic cable rates, not counting increases in internet and box rental fees. According to news reports

and the Los Angeles Times,
Spectrum will increase its “broadcast TV” fee, which subscribers pay to access local network broadcast channels, from $9.95 to $11.99, (more than 20%), on March 1st. This shouldn’t surprise cable subscribers but this increase comes just four months after the same fee was increased from $8.85,regardless of what you were promised when you signed up for your package deal. The inflation rate for all of last year was 1.9%.

But wait, there’s more, if you have the Charter Silver or Gold package, 13 Cinemax movie channels plus on demand will be removed from your channel lineup in February according to a recent notification from the company

https://www.satelliteguys.us/xen/threads/want-cinemax-on-charter-show-them-more-money.380340/ (which does not indicate an accompanying price reduction). When contacted, the Charter CSR said there will be a $5.13 reduction, however Cinemax, as an a la carte offering, is an additional $15.47 a month.
The August 2018 cover story of Consumer Reports stated, “Dear Cable TV, You’re Fired”
https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2018/08/index.htm
and the story outlined alternative ways to watch TV. These continuous insults to consumers, non-compliance with State Statutes, coupled with the recent disregard for local municipal, school and public access programming by “Slamming” the local channels up to the 1300 block (so they can rent those lucrative single digit channel slots to shopping networks) has prompted the Community Television Association of Maine into action. While federal and State laws prevent price regulation, legislation will soon be announced to protect consumers in other areas while benefiting the municipalities that big cable operates in. Stay tuned.

CTAM + CMMA at KVCOG

The Community Television Association of Maine (CTAM) is presenting a workshop at Kennebec Valley Council of Governments (KVCOG), 17 Main St, Fairfield, Maine 04937, on February 4th, 2019. The featured speakers will discuss a Legislative initiative to regulate Big Cable as well as inform about the recent FCC Rulings that will reduce Municipal revenue, and potentially begin costing towns millions of dollars. Attendees will be guided through The Cable Franchise Renewal Process and will discover how having a Central Maine Media Alliance (CMMA) Media Hub in their municipality can enhance community outreach, promote municipal identity, and be pivotal to economic development. The expert panel is comprised Tony Vigue, former president of CTAM; Michael Edgecomb, Cable Franchise and Broadband Consultant; Randy Visser, Sales/Engineer Tightrope Media Systems; “Twinkle” Marie Manning, Director of Development of the Central Maine Media Alliance (CMMA/SVTV);  and JP Fortier, Executive Director of CMMA & Mt Blue TV Station Manager. (pictured right to left) For more information: www.ctamaine.org  www.CMMA.me