Re: Cable Access

From: Chuck Kleinhans (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Feb 13 2007 - 07:24:53 PST

On Feb 12, 2007, at 3:49 PM, 40 Frames wrote:

> More money won't fix the problem for Access, as the current issues
> have to
> do with mis-management of resources. More money would make the problem
> worse.

This seems like a rather perverse argument. In Chicago cable
operators have deliberately withheld contributions they were required
to make to access, more or less with impunity. Obviously having less
money than you are supposed to have makes any management of resources

> I am saying that cable TV channels are not the best means for
> delivering
> content given that the people who use access facilities do not
> themselves
> subscribe to cable TV. They have decided its not worth the money to
> subscribe to cable, depsite the fact that they produce content for
> cable.

This is a remarkable claim and I'd really like to see some data to
support it. In my experience, there are various levels of cable
service (and dish services), and in Chicago, again, it seems that
almost everyone has at least "basic cable" which includes the access
and city government channels. Is the situation really different in
Portland OR where 40 Frames is located?

> I caution you from assuming too much about what people from the
> community
> want to produce. In many cases, it's "commercial" content that they
> are
> interested in producing. They want to promote their friends
> products and
> services, or their own business interests. Commercial is not so
> abstract
> in this regard. People want to make a living, and they will often view
> access as a low-cost means of promoting the services they provide or
> products they produce.

Again, this seems like a skewed way of looking at things. Access
does provide very low cost training and access to equipment and
skills. It's not ideal or very imaginative in many cases--the two
people sitting in chairs talking seems like the norm. But I've seen
things on Chicago Access which wouldn't be shown elsewhere, and some
of it is very interesting, even if in a kitschy and perverse way.
Yes, a gal explaining for half an hour why high colonics are good for
you. Yes, someone demonstrating strict vegan cooking. Yes, a jovial
old guy discussing the week in local motor sports (surrounded by
skimpy dressed "babes" who don't match the expected standards for
female presenters in the convention and exposition industry). And a
show about local labor issues. Political discussions from people
outside of the two party system, etc. etc. The PBS station has a
weekly program. "Image Union," that shows artist based work. But
there's no restriction on people making up their own programming for

> Locally, there is a cable commission that gives large grants to the
> arts
> community, so I'm not interested in seeing the franchise fee go
> away. But
> I also don't want to overstate the benefits of public access.
> Access has a
> lot of problems which it needs to overcome.

But then, who would be the agent for change? Is there some kind of
restriction on people getting involved in cable access in Portland?
Is it just question of who shows up? Or are you saying that somehow
access should just change because you don't like its current format
and protocols?


For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.