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Dec-22-2009 01:15printcomments

Local TV Station Engages in Turf War With Cable Access Station (VIDEO)

David versus Goliath?

Salem-News.com
Meeting at CCTV with the Cable Regulatory Committee heard differences between the heads of CCTV and KWVT over high school sports access. Salem-News.com photo by Jerry Freeman

(SALEM, Ore.) - Salem residents may be surprised to learn that cable subscribers are footing the bill for a fight against the area's only local broadcast TV station, something Salem residents lacked for years. KWVT Channel 17 has been on the air in Salem since 2004.

Ken Lewetag and Mike Mattson, the owners of KWVT, have faced the most unusual form of competition; that is Salem's Community Cable Television group, CCTV, and its Executive Director Alan Bushong, in its quest to cover local sports.

CCTV is a cable access programmer that falls under what is known as "Public, Educational and Governmental" television or "PEG TV". These community cable stations are a requirement from the FCC, and the purpose aside from the three mentioned above, is to provide a place for members of the community to learn how to produce and run television shows, all in a non-commercial setting. In Salem, there is a very serious approach to PEG TV.

The truth is, Salem is a place where there traditionally has been sparse TV coverage, and as a result of that, the volunteer CCTV programs have seen a decent amount of popularity. CCTV producers cannot add commercials to their programs, and everything is performed in a volunteer role, except for the agency's paid staff.

With economic times getting harder, the idea of a cable-subscriber funded volunteer amateur cable station stepping on the toes of a local commercial broadcaster and locking them out of covering local sports, may be unreasonable.

Alan Bushong of CCTV and Ken Lewetag of KWVT exchange words during Monday's meeting

One basic point is that KWVT is free for anyone who has an antenna. CCTV is only available for cable subscribers who write a check to Comcast every month. CCTV is trying to give cable viewers the advantage, but the cable company is anything but a public entity. KWVT reaches the public at large, not just those who choose to spend their money on cable.

And all the while, that same cable company, Comcast, refuses to put Salem's only local broadcast TV station into their lineup, preventing KWVT from finding a place on the local cable dial, thus denying Salem cable subscribers a chance to see the only local station.

CCTV is not a "TV station", regardless of what it is sometimes referred to. It really is only a service for Comcast customers.

As previously mentioned, the controversy at hand mainly stems around sports coverage. When Salem-Keizer high schools were built, they apparently didn't leave much spare room, so TV live trucks sometimes have to be parked in tough locations.

As a result, at least one school in the local area has a "one TV truck" rule. Lewetag says KWVT is trying to provide an essential role in Salem, with free broadcast over-the-air TV, and advertising opportunities for local businesses, but they are finding themselves in a turf war with this non-commercial PEG station. Bushong believes CCTV should have a good selection of the year's games, and that KWVT should not be allowed to cover those particular games.

Regarding football games and small spaces, Lewetag says he went to great pains to provide a "clean feed" to CCTV, but Bushong refused to take it. If he had, CCTV viewers would have gotten the same product, but it would have been shot through the new state of the art HD cameras that KWVT purchased at great expense.

Bushong said that Lewetag and he exchanged emails earlier over the contested football games, but that Lewetag suddenly quit writing back. Bushong says there has been a lack of communication.

Lewetag says he does not feel like he can easily approach Bushong, and that when there have been dealings, Bushong assigned a CCTV employee to work with Lewetag, one of KWVT's principals, instead of dealing with the matter on a personal level, as Bushong is the top executive at CCTV.

Big Money, Older Formats

Older TV's have 3x4 screens. Courtesy: bradschwede.com

Interestingly, CCTV is still shooting in the older 3x4 television format instead of the new FCC mandated 16x9 digital signal. CCTV is not a broadcaster, and cablecasters are not under the FCC mandate.

So as KWVT struggles along, investing big to have incredible new cameras and equipment, CCTV is spending $400,000 to specifically purchase cameras that still have the option of shooting in the older non-widescreen format.

CCTV's demand for a 3x4 TV signal is the breakdown; Lewetag has been told by Bushong that he has to convert the signal from modern 16x9 to the older 3x4 format before it gets to CCTV.

While Lewetag's station is extremely unique and a huge investment for the local community, he was told by Bushong that he is "just another content provider" in Monday's meeting, and that if Bushong helped prepare the product for viewing, "he would have to do it for everybody".

Again, Salem has gone decades without a TV station, and KWVT is the only one.

It appears that volunteers are being used to edge out an actual Salem TV station, something residents have longed for as the decades have passed. To many in broadcasting, this is just flat out wrong. In a city like Portland or Las Vegas, you will see that the TV broadcasters are provided room and whatever else they may need, and the PEG crews with their smaller, generally inexpensive prosumer cameras are there too, but they don't get in the way of the pros.

Modern 16x9 Widescreen TV set. Courtesy: satcure.co.uk

Of course after the meeting that I attended at CCTV today, I learned that I may be mistaken about the cost and size of local PEG equipment. CCTV just saw the one year anniversary of its brand new, gleaming building in downtown Salem. I don't know how much that cost, but it is nicer than anything I have ever seen like it. Portland's cable access station on MLK is a rambling old building in a semi-tough neighborhood, very very different.

Bushong took the time during the meeting today to show two awards that CCTV had won for their work in local sports.

CCTV is currently spending $400,000 on new equipment. Bushong claimed today that their 9-12 year old gear is very much in need of replacement, even going so far as to suggest that it has almost no value at all.

I looked at our News Photographer Jerry Freeman and winked, as he knows the TV camera we were taping the meeting with was at least 15 years old and still in superb condition. My personal camera that I've drug through Iraq and Afghanistan, is 12 years old. After the meeting, my friend Rod Stevens from KGW told me his Betacam SX camera was also 12 years old, and would be in use for at least two more years at that station. He travels the world a lot more frequently than I do.

Of course if the Comcast subscribers are paying for all the toys, the cameras and decks and vehicles may not get the level of care that a Salem-News.com or KGW camera would. Heck, I think it is unheard of for a PEG station to have any type of vehicle - this one has several. I must be in the wrong business.

And all the while, cable rates keep going up.

I guess living in the real world where we don't have time to volunteer in things like PEG TV might cloud our view of why money is being used this way, and why replacing equipment of that age would be so important.

It was also announced that CCTV is spending roughly one hundred thousand dollars to re-equip the city council chambers with new TV cameras and switching equipment because "it is very old" also according to Bushong, though people with cable tell me they watch it regularly and it looks as good as any other city council meeting generally does during a cablecast.

Salem City Councilman Brad Nanke headed the Cable Regulatory meeting today, and these officials had possibly hoped to resolve the matter between CCTV and KWVT. That did not come to pass, and the words between Lewetag and Bushong did become heated more than once. Nanke asked the two sides to not argue during the meeting, and they complied. The matter will be revisited sometime between now and next football season. Nanke did stress that he was unsure of whether or not the city actually had authority over CCTV, and they agreed to have city staff investigate the matter.

Broadcast TV in Salem

I was a Photojournalist/Reporter for Portland's ABC station when I first moved to Salem. I represented KATU Channel-2 News for three and a half years in this community. I could never count the number of times during that period that people in Salem, upon seeing my news truck or camera, would say, "Must be a slow news day?"

That's how people come to see themselves and their community when "their" TV stations are all located an hour away, in Portland. Cable access TV is great, but it isn't professional and in some places, cable access stations show really bad programming that includes, in some cases, rank sex, and that is supposed to be a right of the producer, but it never made it the serious thing that you would find in a program funded by actual business revenue.

Bushong says most high school sports are covered by PEG stations, yet Salem is the only place where I have ever seen it. Bushong said no CCTV footage can air on a commercial station, and yet I used to pick up DVD's from CCTV that we aired on KATU.

There also have been situations where CCTV footage showed up on the Statesman Journal Website, and that at the time struck all of us here as scandalous. Of course the paper is owned by the single biggest newspaper ownership group in the country; for all I know they are still doing it, blatantly breaking all of the rules while CCTV maintains that it is non-commercial.

Five years ago when we started Salem-News.com, the Salem Monthly Newspaper was launched, and KWVT also debuted on television. Three diverse media groups all set up operations in 2004 and five years later, we are all still here. It is not easy doing what we do and I'm sure it won't get any easier.

It is shameful if any media group were to fail because of shenanigans like this; where a lack of a TV station led to an amateur cable PEG station becoming extraordinarily powerful - to the point that it battled the broadcast TV station that finally did arrive.

Is Ken Lewetag a friend of mine? You bet he is, and I am proud to say so. Same goes for Mike, and the rest of Ken's crew. I've known him and worked with him off and on for years. This is an opinion piece, as cited at the top. If local media groups don't stick together, we are in trouble. If we do, then maybe we can accomplish something meaningful. It is a time for solidarity.

Salem can be what other cities are, with real paid media, and by the way, there is nothing unusual about a commercial radio or TV station covering local football, as Bushong implied during Monday's meeting.

Our economy is suffering, and a business and local employer has to put up with competition in a very unique way; it sure doesn't seem fair for KWVT or for the growing population that relies on broadcast TV for the only TV they have.

Welcome to corporate America, Salem. If you don't like it, call CCTV, Salem City Councilman Brad Nanke, Marion County Commissioner Sam Brentano, and above all Comcast, and tell them you want KWVT added to the cable lineup. Tell CCTV there is a place for them, but not an exclusive one, and their purpose in this community is not "exclusive coverage" of local football.

=================================================
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several other awards including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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regzooka April 24, 2013 10:08 am (Pacific time)

I could not agree more with you. I am so good to hear that I'm not alone in saying this. I enjoyed your post. Please, keep up the awesome work. regzooka


Darren W. December 25, 2009 2:29 pm (Pacific time)

I would just like to say that if Alan had put half as much energy as he put into arguing how taking a non-commercial high school football feed from KWVT's truck can't be done and instead focused on trying to make a cooperative way to make it work he could have easily aired double the coverage of local sports for the community. Unfortunately he chooses to be combative to the idea and continues to be resistant to cooperating. It seems to me as though if Alan really cared about providing community coverage he would have tried to make this work.

Tim King: Well last night, on Christmas Eve, CCTV aired a 16x9 program, it was the holiday performances at the state capitol. It clearly had black space above and below the picture and in seeing that, I saw Alan's statement totally contradicted, by his own cable station. The next program was back to 3x4. I think the most insulting part is Alan's statement that the city's only TV station, after all of these years, is strictly viewed as "another content provider" and there is no recognition of it as being the only thing like it. Alan also implies that there are people running around all over doing the exact same thing as KWVT, and I have no idea why he would try to downplay the commitment required to perform a multi camera shoot. We have more coming out on this, and it is important that people understand what is taking place in their community, how so many hundreds of thousands of dollars are passing through the hands of this company, and how actual businesses are struggling, with CCTV literally pulling the strings, specifically setting out to damage the profit and future of KWVT, Salem's only TV station, while Alan and company have no issues with cash flow, OBVIOUSLY. It is a case of extraordinary ego and we should all be embarassed that this is the Salem of today. Maybe cable viewers will put two and two together. I think Comcast clearly is also party to helping keep this station down, by refusing to add it to the cable lineup.


Oregon Reader December 24, 2009 6:54 pm (Pacific time)

Tim,

Just a note: The longer postings are difficult to read without paragraph marks. Is there any way you can incorporate them in your format?

As far as Comcast, I stopped being a customer years ago due to their poor corporate policies. I thing that others will probably stop using their service after reading this article. Unbelievable that they would use a service that the government REQUIRES of them to push around legitimate businesses. Maybe its time for CCTV's charter to be rewritten to eliminate any programming which conflicts directly with a local broadcaster.

 

Tim King: Thanks for pointing that out, the comments are compressed by our system but if I open them, the paragraphs expand.  Sometimes I open them and there are no paragraphs!  So, thanks for pointing this out, I will try to pay attention. 


Tony Lones December 24, 2009 6:12 pm (Pacific time)

I love the video and the story that has been posted on here!


Michael Mattson December 24, 2009 11:35 am (Pacific time)

Tim and Salem-News.com,

Thanks for taking time to bring this matter to the attention of the public. I would like to respond to the reader who said KWVT seems to be asking for “special treatment”. That is exactly what Alan Bushong at CCTV wants you to believe.

In written comments to the Cable Regulatory Commission (CRC), Alan claimed that KWVT is seeking exclusive production rights to Salem-Keizer High School Football games. His wording was strategically chosen to suggest that we seek exclusive production of all the playoff games. Alan further postulated that KWVT was asking the CRC to grant these exclusive broadcast rights to KWVT. This is not true. This year, KWVT only sought to cover one Salem playoff game, and we had no concern if it was exclusive. As noted below, we also recognize the OSAA controls the broadcast rights for playoff games.

As for exclusivity of the broadcasts, this year KWVT made many improvements and changes to our production that would allow CCTV to air our coverage in a non-commercial format. First of all, any commercials are added only at the time of air on KWVT. We also removed the KWVT logo from the video, and no longer promote other programs that air on KWVT. This was offered to CCTV at no cost, but Alan still refuses to use our video, in spite of the fact that CCTV’s own coverage uses commercial radio station audio for the play by play.

Alan notes a difference between CCTV and KWVT, saying that CCTV shows the games the same night as they are played, an obvious attempt to show the supposed superiority of CCTV. While KWVT could broadcast the games live, we listened to concerns of the athletic directors that our coverage might affect gate revenue, and chose to air the games later in the weekend. Airing the games in prime time on Saturday also gives more people an opportunity to view the broadcast.

Our latest conflict with CCTV involved our desire to cover the West Salem vs. Roseburg playoff game. Broadcast rights for High School playoff games are granted by the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA). KWVT had been in discussions with the OSAA, and we were granted rights to broadcast the game. However, CCTV instead coordinated with the school athletic director who told us there could only be one television truck at the game and that it would be CCTV. In order to avoid conflict with the schools KWVT decided not to pursue the production. Alan now claims we cancelled plans to broadcast the game due to lack of commercial sales, a fallacy that permeates comments by Alan.

Alan paints KWVT as a greedy commercial station that only desires to cover the games in an attempt to sell commercials. If this were true, KWVT would not broadcast High School events, as we have lost money on every game we air. Alan later admits that “…public school work… does not lend itself well to commercial sales,” negating his own assertion. KWVT is a growing business. However, the owners have not yet received a salary or other income from KWVT and must continue working other jobs to support their families. The assertion that we’re only in this for profit is laughable.

Alan suggests that KWVT has randomly made last minute decisions on game coverage based on commercial sales, thereby potentially causing CCTV to lose games due to their need to quickly schedule the games. The fact is, this year, apart from our dropping the Perrydale vs. St. Paul game, every change KWVT made to our coverage schedule was to accommodate CCTV.

Had KWVT been allowed to broadcast the West Salem vs. Roseburg game, it would also have aired on KEVU, allowing the Roseburg community to watch their team. As it was, only the home community had an opportunity to see the game.

Alan told the CRC that KWVT only uses three cameras in our productions, another allusion to the assumed superiority of the CCTV coverage. KWVT used five cameras this year. While our signal continues to be transmitted as standard definition, it is digital, and preserves most of the superior image quality provided by our High Definition cameras. Our camera crew are experienced paid personnel, and therefore are better able to produce professional coverage using fewer cameras than CCTV and their unpaid volunteers. We also use server based recording to eliminate many potential problems with tape formats.

As for viewership, Comcast only covers 43% of Marion and Polk County. More than 2.3 million dollars are passed from local Comcast subscribers to CCTV each year. For the cost of an antenna, KWVT’s signal can be received in over 90% of Marion and Polk county households. KWVT is supported by advertising revenue.

Alan claims we have stated that CCTV should not work with the schools, again a false accusation. KWVT is aware of and recognizes the contribution of CCTV in covering school events. We have no desire to prevent CCTV from continuing to cover High School events. However, we do take issue with Alan’s position that CCTV should automatically get the top three games each week.

Michael Mattson, co-owner of KWVT


Nick Clark December 23, 2009 10:06 am (Pacific time)

Tim, What is the level of ADS in Salem and is KWVT on the Dish or Direct lineup? If so, bring together a partnership campaign to convince Salem residents to DUMP Comcast Cable and make the move to ADS. As the viewers leave cable...Alan loses his BULLY pulpit and will wither away and hopefully never to be seen or heard from again.


A.C. December 23, 2009 8:25 am (Pacific time)

To Oregon Reader and To Tim There's 2 sets of rules that apply to original content played on CCTV. The ones that always apply have to do with the content being appropriate to air on public access (non-commercial, not infringing on someone else's copyright, not invading anyone's privacy, proper play time and warning if adult content, etc). This only applies to what you give CCTV to air, and has no effect on how you can use it elsewhere. The second set of rules is essentially things you agree to in exchange for the use of CCTV production equipment, including editing system use, music libraries, or using the studio to shoot in. They don't apply to anything produced entirely with non-CCTV gear. They also don't effect anything 'upstream' of the point at which you used CCTV equipment, so if you shot on your own gear and then did your editing on CCTV equipment, you could later go back to your original tape and re-create your show from scratch on your own system and be free of any restrictions on use. The 'subsequent use' restrictions came into play about 5 years ago, in a way that was inconsistent with the stated motives for making the change (which, BTW, was supposedly to avoid being seen as in any way competing with private business, something they're not too shy about these days, based on this article). Basically, don't use CCTV for anything but a dropbox for your completely finished videos if you ever want them to ever see the light of day more than 10 times, ever, anywhere. All that gear, that big station, huge staff: it's for staff shoots, political screed, church sermons, non-profit PSAs, and anything else with a short shelf life. And yes, it's clearly in the communities best interest to let KWVT shoot games with it's superior gear and then let the games play over the air as well as CCTV. If CCTV would otherwise be committing staff and gas/wear on the truck anyway to record the game, then they obviously would be getting more show for less staff time if they took the feed and cut the commercials. But then CCTV wouldn't be the only game in town. Mr. Bushong has shared many times that "get the kids on TV" (cover High School sports and graduations, etc) was a key and long-term element of becoming seen as an indispensable part of the community. Allow KWVT to cover even a few games, let people start to realize there's another alternative that doesn't cost the city anything and gives local business an alternative to going to Eugene or Portland TV stations to advertise, allow local content producers to make money from making TV shows (currently a priviledge that only CCTV staffers enjoy while frowning disapprovingly at anyone else who dares dream of it), maybe even get some TV News that contains more than a thimble of local coverage. Well, people might start to wonder why CCTV is doing so little with so much. *poof* Back to the library basement with a staff of 3. So yeah, he's going to stonewall you and use whatever leverage and goodwill he has to freeze you out of ever getting that first good foothold (while pretending you're irrelevant), because that would be the beginning of the end of life as he knows it.


JimD December 23, 2009 7:39 am (Pacific time)

Tim, I worked at a local cable company that was purchased by Adelphia, then Comcast. The original owner knew that local TV was the ONE thing that satellite could not provide, so he set up stations at all of his cable headends. Not cheap junk either, we had all brand new DVCPRO gear, and a hand-me-down news set that came from a top ten market and looked great. We did football, basketball, commission meetings, home improvement shows, cooking shows, the works. We were NEVER a PEG station, weren't intented to be. Instead, we were run as if we were a commercial venture, but were rarely allowed to sell advertising. When we did, it went straight into the cable advertising side, not to our bottom line. So, when Adelphia hit town, it took them about 6 months to can the whole thing. Then Comcast came along, and everyone hoped it would come back. Didn't happen. Since we never had a local broadcast station, this has left our community with no local tv at all. The moral of this story is that folks there better watch Comcast. At some point, a bean counter could notice that nice building, and the vehicles, and pretty much can the whole thing. Yeah, there would be repercussions, but it wouldn't stop them, I'd bet. Folks there might want to put a little pressure on Comcast to pick up the local station, which is, I'd bet, more responsive to the local community.


Oregon Reader December 22, 2009 9:35 pm (Pacific time)

Tim,

I wonder if those who are using CCTV to produce their own content have complete ownership rights to what they produce, or are they somehow giving away broadcast rights to CCTV?

Tim King: I think that it all comes down to whether or not it was produced on CCTV equipment.  A person still probably owns the project, but they can not turn around and market that same product commercially, does that make sense?  I actually investigated this at Portland's cable access studio way back in the very early 90's when I had a box full of 3/4" video, a documentary to produce for OPB, and no access to video tape decks for less than $35 an hour.  My how things have changed!  I went to their orientation to learn basically what is stated above.  OPB is public broadcasting, very different from public access, and it was not permissible for me at the time to produce on cable access gear and then use it for Oregon Public Broacasting.  On the other hand, a producer can create a program with their own gear and run it on cable access, they have to get in line I'm sure, so to speak, but if they made it without CCTV gear, and without copyright infringement or many other considerations of a producer, then I think they are very much in the open.  On CCTV, if I am not mistaken, producers who are compensated for their work by a person or group in the community can mention that group, but not create a commercial for them.  They certainly can give credit to different parties in the credits also.  If I am not correct in what I just stated, I hope someone lets us know.    


Clay Leander December 22, 2009 9:33 pm (Pacific time)

Tim: I appreciate the reply, and your position. There was a time I myself would have written something similar, and so I understand. Perhaps 'hate' is a strong or inappropriate term in this context, however I didn't suppose this was your actual position, but I still offer the concept as a caution to all stations and professionals who are frustrated by the byzantine landscape where media spectrum meets public policy, competition, and cable companies. Digging deeper here, it sounds like some of the contention stems, in part, from being shut out not purely by Comcast, but a twist of the FCC's own 'Must Carry' rules, which I myself find strange and unfair in situations such as KWVT, are somehow refused carriage by Comcast in certain areas. Has the station's legal counsel looked into this?  Or perhaps, Comcast is carrying one-too-many Shopping or News channels? Other than must-carry and PEG/Public Access, they can make space for whatever they want.  On the Public Service side of things, CCTV of Salem, like other non-profit 501(c)3 community media channels nationwide, does indeed serve a public benefit aspect of this. The downside of course, is that most PEG/community access operations are unfortunately limited to the cable medium only, whereas a broadcast license from the FCC inherently positions a station a little higher up on the food chain. Some of us believe there should be PEG access available across all communications spectrum, we would willingly use it, as does PBS, LinkTV, FSTV, Public Radio, etc. etc. Again there is, or should be, room for more.  But, such trade-offs aside: do consider that whereas commercial operations are about the bottom line, noncomm/nonprofit operations are all about 'Giving it away'. Most of us committed to this mission and field are living on Nuns' Wages, whereas the real 'profit' is the benefit for availing the spectrum to the community at large. Surely, not all professionals want to compete for THAT. Of course not everyone is interested in Public Access, most actually still prefer commercial operations for certain program offerings.  Having also worked with major and minority broadcasters in a highly competetive market, my advice in addition to quality, is to be relevant, and daring in whatever you do, whether one is commercial, or non-commercial. Ultimately, since ALL forms of broadcasting are inherently a 'Public Interest' or 'Public Service' venture, we have to remember that the world does not owe us anything, least of all a living. Like others, some of my own past jobs were downsized to automation, competition, legislation, or - yes - 'Consumer Choice': there was simply not enough of a demand.  Whatever the situation, the old adage applies, 'Grow, or Die'. This is not to say to walk away from what you have, esp. in a tough economy.  But thankfully I chose to grow, stay abreast of the technologies, trends and challenges in the industries, and in some ways it feels I've lived 4 or 5 different lifetimes.  I think that KWVT should find in themselves some sort of leadership to offer some sort of partnership with other local and independent media, like CCTV. There are actually successful examples of commercial and nonprofit media working together for the overall public good, that is a win-win for all involved. Good luck with all this. I believe there is a mutually-beneficial outcome waiting to be discovered from this situation, as opposed to deteriorating to some kind of mutually-assured destruction.

Clay Leander
San Francisco Bay Area

Tim King: Good conversing with you Clay, and I am familiar with the Must Carry provision, and unfortunately it only applies to full power stations.  Another case of the small business really taking the brunt of the FCC's decisions.  I hope that groups can work together also, and that very point is a bone of contention in this division, that is for sure.  Again, your career sounds very interesting and we appreciate your point of view and your comments.  


Clay Leander December 22, 2009 8:07 pm (Pacific time)

Ah yes: the same old same old - the perceived threats, and the mutually exclusive competitive mindset, rather than a collaborative mutually beneficial approach... Interesting, some of the parallels mirrored with what happened in the Recording Industry some years ago: With the advent of Digital Audio technologies, it became possible for any musician to have a recording studio in their own home. However in the early 90s, in Southern California and parts of New York, lobby groups of some 'professional' studio owners launched several legal and legislative efforts to prevent small studios from catering to starving musicians. Some may remember that a recording might have cost in excess of $10k or $20k to produce.  In the long run, those studio owners, hellbent on maintaining their perspectives, lost out. Other forward thinking major studio owners - namely those associated with SPARS organization, looked at it as 'major league' and 'minor league': rather than shutting the minor leagues down, they found a level of comfort and collaboration.   Further, let's consider that the advent of Word Processors and personal computers vs typewriters, although did level the playing field, didn't necessarily turn every 'writer' into a Toni Morrison or Ernest Hemmingway.  I myself have worked for years in professional post production facilities, for access facilities, and independently. The good news is, in our multichannel/multiformat universe, with increased opportunities with a 'Narrowcasting' approach, that there is (or should be) room for all.  I myself when starting up Access centers, deliberately went about planning in a way to anticipate creating our best competition: after all, true competition is overall good for the overall pool of biz and media, offers options, and makes for a support system. With this approach, perhaps Salem could become the next Media Capitol of the Western States, with an outpouring of expression. With all this, I dare say and appeal to the writer: indeed, blaze new paths, and best to concentrate on the quality of your own work, for you will attract the type of clientelle you deserve to work with, and who would be most appreciative of your fine work. But, if you choose to be a hater, and especially for a Public Service, well you're going down the wrong path. To hate is to drink poison while expecting THEM to die... it is self-defeating.  From personal views spanning from Public Access to LucasFilm, and back...

- Clay Leander
Producer/Director
and occassional Access Manager...

Tim King: Clay, thanks for sharing your thoughts, I thought you would work back to the cable access thing after the analogies to the computer industry, etc.  I would just like to clarify that I did not use the word hate in the article.  Also, you are missing one very key thing; that is the fact that cable access TV is strictly a service for cable subscribers; people who choose to pay for cable  You use the term Public Service and in reality, it is a Comcast subscriber service.  The programming is absolutely not available to the public at large, only to Salem area cable viewers.  I believe any resident can participate if they pay the fees and spend their time doing so, but their product still only reaches cable subscribers.  I too have a lot of background in television, over 20 years in fact, and most of it has been in commercial broadcast TV.  God bless the hobbyists, but some of us have to make a living in this industry.     


jeff shaw December 22, 2009 4:13 pm (Pacific time)

I still think you are picking on the wrong enemy with your article. If Comcast cannot carry a 16:9 format, then that is what CCTV is limited to- take your case to Comcast. You say your main point is that KWVT should be given a chance, but your article seems to go to great lengths to slam CCTV- saying public access airs "rank sex, " no channel you know airs local football (in fact, many public access channels do run football), their building is shiny and new (perhaps you should have visited them a few years ago). KWVT seem to be asking for "special treatment" in this case. I'm sure a compromise can be found but to trash an longstanding community effort seems in poor taste, and certainly not a smart way to build support within KWVT's market.

Tim King: Well Jeff, it is hard to find common ground when we stand solidly on opposing sides of the issue.  That part about the Statesman Journal, that is where I lost my ability to believe in this concept any longer.  I do not believe that CCTV has been playing fair and when it was hard to tell the SJ videos from the CCTV videos on the SJ site, I knew we had a problem.  The rank sex statement was made in regard to cable access at large, and you know it is true, but it isn't the point. There is rankness in all of TV, but some of the east coast cable access programs in the early years made print, they were outrageous, and their producers were protected.  Those shows generally always ran late at night.

 Salem is one unique community and I'm sure we all agree with that.  People for years have talked about how they wished there was a TV station here and now there is.  But as they struggle, and CCTV struggles with how to spend all of its hundreds of thousands of dollars, while trying to block KWVT from access, I'm speaking up.  I did not trash CCTV, that is not the case, I have great admiration for a lot of what I have seen come out of there.  But I don't get the connection between a public access studio and scheduled sports coverage, when it is hurting a local business.     


Oregon Reader December 22, 2009 12:14 pm (Pacific time)

I think the tv station should also work to provide streaming content... if they are not already.


Oregon Reader December 22, 2009 11:44 am (Pacific time)

Interesting story! I think the CCTV staff should be ashamed of themselves. They are a PUBLIC SERVICE, not a business entity. They should not be able to compete in the business arena.


jeff shaw December 22, 2009 11:53 am (Pacific time)

I work in community media as well. The equipment we loan out to the public gets far more USER HOURS than anything privately owned. Imagine a 12 year old popular book at your public library vs. one at your home.

Tim King: Jeff, the main point is that Salem now has a real broadcast station and it should be afforded its due.  These guys have spent huge amounts of money getting things set up and they deserve to be able to be the voice of their community.  Salem has a fairly low cable penetration rate, something like 57k households total, and it is getting smaller with the failing economy.  I personally support the efforts of community cable producers, but I want them to be aware that CCTV is not the only game in town.  


Mike December 22, 2009 4:19 am (Pacific time)

It's a small world, Alan is our landlord.

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