Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bayview cable show may end

Last night's "Life on the Block with James Ross," a public access cable show that Quesada Gardens Initiative co-organizer, James, hosts every other Friday, may be the last.

ACCESSF, San Francisco's public access cable station, is threatened with closure as a contract with Comcast that supports the public benefit programming comes to an end.
This Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors will consider Ross Mirkarimi's State Video Franchise Holder Ordinance which is designed to set the level of public, educational and governmental cable access capital and, perhaps, operational funding after January, 2010. According to Zane Blaney, ACCESSF Executive Director, the ordinance does not have enough votes to pass, at least not without serious compromise.
The issue affects communities like Bayview Hunters Point more than those with resources to pay for media attention, and could curtail efforts to correct negative perceptions about life here.

One day last week, Comcast Cable had six lobbyists working Supervisors' offices in, what Blaney calls, "the largest cable operator lobbying effort ever seen at City Hall." Comcast said it will pass along the price of supporting public access cable to its subscribers, a threat that gained traction given the tough economic times.

Comcast, while absorbing the cost of its contractual obligation to ACCESSF, receives about $2 million from San Francisco subscribers each year, and reported $8.8 billion in earnings, and a revenue increase of 5%, during the first quarter of this year.

The ordinance is the first item on the regular agenda of the Board of Supervisors' Tuesday meeting, and should come up shortly after the meeting starts at 2pm in the Legislative Chamber, 2nd Floor, City Hall.

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