August 15, 2013

CMA Members Attend Cable Compliance Hearing

CMA Members Carole Herhold, William Brown, and Gwendolyn Chubb attended the August 14 Cable Compliance Hearing at City Hall and testified to the importance of CAN TV as a local resource. They noted the importance of Comcast committing to a strong community benefits agreement in the upcoming franchise renewal. CMA's past activities have helped secure a substantial community benefits agreement from RCN in 2012.

Commissioner of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Rosemary Krimbel and Deputy Commissioner Jim McVane were present, as well as Comcast representatives.

Ms. Herhold made a compelling case for the value of the public’s channels, and reiterated CAN TV's founding principles:

a) That cable operators give a public benefit through providing CAN TV channels and support for public use, and
b) That these channels be directly funded and independently managed, without any interference in content.

She also noted that CMA wants the public’s channel to grow as cable grows to increase support for public access television, and that CMA is seeking cable company’s commitment that the public’s channels be capable of changing as technology changes so the public is not left behind. Finally, Ms. Herhold expressed disappointment at the recent proposal of the Illinois Cable and Communications Association, of which Comcast is a member, which would have harmed PEG channels, and she applauded the state’s rejection of that proposal. She stated that Comcast, as the nation’s largest cable company, is in a strong position to meet or exceed the benefits provided by RCN.

Mr. Brown testified to the importance of CAN TV channels and services, particularly training, to seniors that participate in Senior Network. He noted the importance of funding support to the community.

Ms. Chubb reiterated Ms. Herhold’s thanks for Commissioner Krimbel’s leadership and RCN for the strong public commitment they made in recent franchise negotiations. She made clear that CMA fully expects “that Comcast meet or exceed the standard set by RCN.”

CMA Members will soon meet with Comcast to discuss the future of CAN TV.