December 30, 2014

CMA gears up for Illinois Cable Law sunset

The Cable and Video Competition Act of 2007 (Illinois’ cable law) expires in 2015 and CMA members are turning their attention to Springfield. At a recent meeting with representatives of Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, CMA stressed the importance of extending public benefits as part of renewal terms for companies that operate under state law.

CMA had representatives at the meeting from NAACP West, Toys for Tots, Washington Park Advisory Council, Free Spirit Media, as well as independent filmmakers and community leaders. Members itemized concerns with state cable law, including the potential for it to weaken public benefits that were hard won at the local level. The importance of customer service protections for moderate and low income people was particularly noted.

CMA reps also pointed to the large number of people that benefit from use of CAN TV, Chicago’s local public access facility, and emphasized the importance of state law protecting the funding of CAN TV's five channels. CMA reps made clear their objection to any industry attempt to prevent equality for those channels as technology continues to evolve.

Finally, CMA reps stressed the importance of a longer term for the state cable franchise renewal than the short two-years granted previously by the legislature. AT&T and Comcast bankroll an army of lobbyists to push their agenda in Springfield. But members of the legislature and the Attorney General are there to look out for the public’s interests. CMA representatives urged the strengthening of the law, and creation of greater stability with a longer term.

CMA members sought support for the following conditions as part of 2015 state cable franchise renewal:

  • No change in the funding for Chicago of an unrestricted 1% PEG fee.
  • Technical parity for public access channels that meets the equivalency standards of the law, such as being simulcast on HD and SD like local broadcast channels. 
  • Strong monitoring and enforcement of customer service and public access channel requirements.
  • A longer term to ensure greater stability.


December 12, 2014

Robbie Smith Recognized for Ongoing Support of CAN TV and Media Access!

Congratulations to Robbie Smith, who has spent countless hours helping organize and inform CMA members.  Robbie was recognized at the December 10, 2014 annual CAN TV board of director’s meeting for over 20 years of involvement with CAN TV.  The board noted Robbie’s many “hats” as a former board member, prolific producer, consultant, organizer and advocate.  

In informing CMA members about the recognition, Robbie said the CAN TV board acknowledged “our collective efforts to help protect the future of CAN TV.  I accepted the honor not just for myself, but on behalf of all of us who did something to make a difference.”