What is community media (Public Access)?
In the Cable Communications Act of 1984, Congress established a provision that would permit local authorities to develop requirements for public use of the local cable system. This provision enabled communities to provide a “voice” for their residents and organizations. To meet this objective in Concord, NH, a public access channel is made available for the public to use on the local cable system through our cable operators (Channel 22 on Comcast and channel 2003 on Breezeline). Any individual or organization from these communities can produce a television program, and air it on their local community television channel.
Who owns ConcordTV?
As a 501c3 nonprofit, we are governed by an elected Board of Directors. We are not under ownership or direction of the City of Concord, Concord School District, Comcast, or other organization.
Who is it for?
Public Access gives Concord residents and organizations the opportunity to write, produce, direct, and perform in their own programs. People who normally are not allowed easy access to the mass media find a powerful resource for local expression through Public Access. A majority of Public Access programs are produced locally by non-professionals. Anyone with a non-commercial message or idea can present it on Concord TV’s Public Access channel.
Why is community media important?
Community media is truly a public forum and helps “build” community by providing a speaker’s platform for the community of Concord, NH. It is a place where people can freely communicate their ideas to one another and establish a form of dialogue where democracy can flourish.
What kind of programming can air on community media?
Programming on almost any topic imaginable can air on community media. The content is the sole responsibility of the producer and is protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. All editorial control rests with the community producer. The programming is not censored by cities, or the local cable operator. However, some content, such as obscenity, is not protected by the First Amendment and cannot air on ConcordTV’s Public Access channel, or on any other community media channel. ConcordTV also prohibits commercial programming on the channel.
Who can receive ConcordTV’s channel signal?
Any Comcast cable subscriber who resides within the Concord, NH boundaries receives ConcordTV’s signal via Channel 22. Concord Breezeline cable subscribers receive ConcordTV’s Public Access HD signal via channel 2003. City government programming for ConcordTV can be seen on Comcast channel 17 or Breezeline channel 2002. Concord School District programming can be seen on Comcast channel 6 or Breezeline channel 2001. ConcordTV programming can also be seen on its website: www.yourconcordTV.org and any staff-created content can be found at www.youtube.com/ConcordNHTV
How is ConcordTV funded?
ConcordTV is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, with the majority of funding provided by a percentage of the municipal cable franchise fees and cable company support paid to the City by Comcast. ConcordTV currently receives approximately 33.5% of collected cable franchise fees. ConcordTV also receives in-kind support in the form of rent and utilities from the Concord School District for ConcordTV’s studio and office space, located at Concord High School. Additional revenue comes from donations, sponsorships, fundraising and program services.
What happens if cable franchise revenues decline?
We recognize that more people are “cutting the cord” and switching to digital streaming but fortunately there are still many cable subscribers in Concord. Of course as cable subscribers decline, so too does cable franchise revenue along with it. Without cable franchise fees ConcordTV revenue would be reliant entirely on fundraising, grants, and sponsorships.
Does ConcordTV have the power to censor community media programs?
No. Community media television by its very definition is programming whose editorial content is exclusively controlled by the producer. If ConcordTV, the city, or the cable operator pre-screened programming to determine what should or should not air, they would be taking away the producer’s editorial control. In turn, they would be denying “access” to the public to use the airwaves. ConcordTV does believe it has a responsibility to its producers, viewers, and community to educate the producer as to what content is constitutionally protected under the First Amendment and what is not. However, the final interpretation of what is constitutionally protected is the producer’s responsibility. All producers must understand and adhere to ConcordTV’s Policy and Procedures.
Is all the programming that airs on ConcordTV considered community media?
No. ConcordTV staff also produces original community-based programming. This programming is considered “local origination (LO)” or “staff-produced programming,” and its content is strictly controlled by ConcordTV. Candidate forums, public service announcements, and local sports are all examples of staff-produced programming.
Are there any FCC regulations regarding censorship that community media stations, cities, or cable operators must follow?
No. In the 1984 Cable Act Congress specifically prohibited cable operators from “exercising any editorial control over any video programming provided” on any access channel, supporting the fact that access channels are a public forum. Cities and community media stations have followed suit. Sections of the Telecommunications Act of 1992 attempted to give censorship control back to the cable operators for indecent programming, but in June of 1996, the Supreme Court struck down those sections, citing that indecent speech is protected under the First Amendment and cannot be censored.
In 1973 (Miller V. California) the United States Supreme Court developed a three-part test to define obscenity, which is not protected by the First Amendment. Under this test a community media station could prohibit programming considered obscene, but the Supreme Court’s definition is extremely broad and community media stations have generally had difficulty applying the three-part test. In turn, many community media stations do not attempt to censor obscene programming. Also, in 1993, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that the judicial system must be used to deal with obscenity.
If I see something on the channel I don't like, can I do anything about it?
Yes. We respect our viewers’ rights as well as those of our producers, and ConcordTV welcomes and encourages viewer comments. It is important that the station and producers receive feedback for the programming aired on ConcordTV. If you see something you do not like, please contact the ConcordTV Executive Director and express your concern. If the Executive Director determines that the program in question egregiously violates any station policies, the program may be pulled from the schedule until the violation is resolved. The viewer or producer can initiate the Grievance Process as defined in Concord TV’s Policy and Procedures if they are unhappy with the Executive Director’s decision.
Why do some shows on ConcordTV’s Public Access channel come from other cities and states?
Quite often, community residents and organizations acquire pre-produced programming they want to air on the channel. This programming is often produced in neighboring cities and sometimes other states. Any program produced outside of ConcordTV facilities can air on the channel, but the program must be sponsored by a resident or organization of Concord.
Can any individual or organization produce a show at ConcordTV?
Yes. Any individual and organization can take ConcordTV’s workshops and produce any programming that is of interest to them.
Diversity and Inclusiveness: Democracy is most effective in a society in which all members can participate. ConcordTV encourages understanding and collaboration across barriers of race, culture, language, class, gender and age.
What does it cost to produce a Public Access show?
The use of the TV studio and equipment is free, (except for the cost of classes to be certified with our equipment). ConcordTV also offers many classes in TV and Video production. Although there is a fee for many of the classes and workshops that helps to cover cost of materials, etc., class fees can be waived in exchange for volunteering. One way to learn all about TV production is to work with staff as crew on other shows. This provides an excellent opportunity for you to learn what goes into the production of a TV show, and provides the training you (and your prospective crew members) will need to begin working on your own TV show.
Can I make money off my show?
No, you cannot make a profit from your public access show. You are also prohibited from using public access equipment and facilities on other projects which can generate revenue. Can I use public access equipment or facilities for my own interests? The equipment and facilities are provided to you SOLELY for use in producing public access programming. They are not intended for use in producing school projects, family videos, or other hobbies — unless you intend to SHOW said projects on the public access channel.
Can I use my own equipment to produce my show?
Yes, you may use your own equipment to produce your show. The final video must be in a format which is acceptable for playback on the access channel.
How many people do I need to crew my own show in the ConcordTV studio?
The more people you have to crew your show, the easier it will be to produce and the better it will look! Depending on the complexity of your show, you will need a minimum of 2 to 4 people.
How can I find crew members to help me produce my show?
The best way to find crew for your show is by “networking.” We encourage the “buddy” system, where producers help each other on their shows. By doing so, your chance of finding a crew is increased.
Can ConcordTV provide any help if I can’t find crew to start my show?
ConcordTV can provide a technical director up to once a month for your studio program through our Producer Support Program initiative. But we highly encourage producers to find their own volunteer director which allows for more studio availability.
Does Concord TV provide internships?
Yes, we have an internship program for unpaid interns to work in a hands-on media environment. All of our interns are given the opportunity to take the lead on a production, giving them an opportunity to develop skills in video production as well as professional development skills.
- Qualifications for Internship Consideration:
- Preferably 18 years of age or older and enrolled in College/University courses;
- Able to work as part of a team in a professional setting;
- Mac proficiency preferred;
- Preferably pursuing a degree in the field of Communications or a related field
- Additional Skills:
- Experience/Interest in Adobe Premiere Pro;
- Experience/Interest in Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, After Effects, Encoder, etc.);
- Experience/Interest in field equipment (Canon XA15, lighting, tripods, audio)
- Qualifications for Internship Consideration:
How can I support ConcordTV?
Several ways! First, if you want to create your own show or volunteer please schedule an orientation with our staff. Second, we appreciate you considering not “cutting the cord” in showing your support for ConcordTV. Third, please subscribe to our Youtube channel and follow us on social media. And lastly, any donations go a long way to ensure we’ll be able to continue providing staffing and equipment for community media use.