January 31, 2014

Maria Guerra Lapacek set to be confirmed as BACP Commissioner next week

CMA Members met multiple times with the prior BACP Commissioner, Rosemary Krimbel, and had a very positive relationship with her.  Her strong support of our public access TV channels at CAN TV helped secure a good agreement with RCN. We hope for the same with the Mayor’s new appointee, Maria Guerra Lapacek, who appeared before the Committee on License and Consumer Protection on Wednesday for preliminary confirmation hearings. She will be headed to the City Council meeting next week for final council approval. 

We will be requesting to meet soon with the new BACP Commissioner to discuss the public’s priorities in the Comcast negotiations that are underway. 


January 22, 2014

CAN TV’s future still uncertain, meanwhile Comcast relaunching local resource EveryBlock in Chicago

Yesterday the Chicago Tribune reported that Comcast is resurrecting EveryBlock – the local community website that NBC shut down last year because it was not profitable – starting with a Chicago site. EveryBlock looks like a great community resource, but is this just a move to undermine CAN TV in the ongoing franchise negotiations? We certainly hope not, but it does seem like eerie timing to be relaunching this site in Chicago alone. 

Comcast executives are quoted in the article saying that EveryBlock “fits in the company and the localness we have,” despite the site being pulled last year citing “'considerable' financial losses and the lack of a strategic fit with its digital portfolio.” Why is Comcast bringing the site back now of all times? Especially interesting because the article notes that Comcast executives – including Matt Summy, Comcast’s VP for Government Affairs with whom CMA members met last August to talk about the future of CAN TV – “still hasn’t figured out how to make the site profitable.” 

If Comcast is so keen to support “hyperlocal news” and “user contributions,” without a profit motive, they need to look no further than the public’s channels at CAN TV.


January 13, 2014

BACP Gets a New Commissioner; Rosemary Krimbel Takes Up New Post

The Commissioner of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, Rosemary Krimbel, will be leaving her post later this month to head a new initiative to modernize and streamline city code, according to a press release from the Mayor’s Office. Her replacement is Maria Guerra Lapacek, from the Mayor’s Office of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs.

CMA Members with Rosemary Krimbel (third from left) in 2012. 
The Committee for Media Access has had a great working relationship over the years with Ms. Krimbel, and we are sad to see her go.  “We met multiple times with Commissioner Krimbel  to discuss our concerns about the future of CAN TV, and it’s clear that she cares about the public,” said Jake Austen, CMA member.   We thank her for her involvement in the 2012 RCN franchise deal that provided important public benefits to CAN TV.

We look forward to getting to know the new Commissioner, Ms. Guerra Lapacek, and working with her on the Comcast franchise renewal to maintain strong public access television benefits for the people of Chicago.

Best of luck to Ms. Krimbel in her new position, where we are sure she will be just as effective and responsive as she has been during her tenure with BACP.