February 28, 2014

CMA Members Meet with Commissioner Guerra Lapacek

CMA members Gordon Quinn, Alejandro Molina, Robbie Smith and Jake Austen met with Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek on Wednesday, February 26.  We spoke with her about the City’s negotiations with Comcast, briefed her on the history of the group, and explained CMA positions and history with CAN TV.  Deputy Commissioner Jim McVane was also in attendance.

During the meeting, CMA members expressed concern that the public’s issues remain unresolved to date, and asked why it is taking so long to work out issues directly related to CAN TV.  We discussed the importance of holding public hearings given the pending 3-month extension of Comcast’s franchise.  Most importantly, we stressed the importance of the City holding Comcast to its public obligations in Chicago to ensure sustainable support for the public’s channels during the next decade. 

We were pleased the Commissioner was able to meet so soon after her appointment to her new position, and look forward to working with her more to make sure a Comcast franchise renewal agreement that benefits the public is reached.


February 26, 2014

Still No Commitment from Comcast to Protect CAN TV

CAN TV yesterday sent out this e-blast to its constituents, with an update about the Comcast negotiations.

It is highly concerning that even though Comcast’s franchise is set to run out in a little more than two weeks, it appears that no progress has been made in the renewal negotiations. Comcast has failed to support other public access centers nationwide. The stakes are high for the public in Chicago. 

CAN TV warns that Comcast has yet to make a commitment on the direct payment of operating support. Comcast is Chicago’s largest cable company and thus CAN TV’s largest funder. This must be a baseline requirement of the City’s agreement with Comcast if the public is to be served. 

In a letter to his constituents Dave Kraft, a CMA member and Executive Director of the Nuclear Energy Information Service, said “CAN TV is an invaluable asset to the communities in Chicago.  No City can claim to be a ‘world class city’ that does not value its citizens and residents, does not provide opportunities for them to excel as public citizens.  CAN TV provides that outlet.  The City needs to recognize this by securing adequate funding for this priceless institution.”

Over the last 30 years, Chicago has established itself as having some of the best public access channels in the country. The City and Comcast need to step up and strike an agreement that provides a fair deal to the public.


February 24, 2014

CMA Member Urges Aldermen to Support CAN TV

Robert “Cooch” Kuczera preps packets for distribution in City Hall carrying the CMA message asking Aldermen to stand up for the public through support of CAN TV in the Comcast renewal.
CMA Member Robert “Cooch” Kuczera of Toys for Tots recently visited City Hall to urge Aldermen to support CAN TV and seek a strong community benefits agreement in the Comcast renewal. 

Toys for Tots has used CAN TV since 1999 to promote their Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade. Click Here to read a recently published letter to the editor of Chicago NewsHound from Chicagoland Toys for Tots President Lester Fortier.