Did You Know? Public Access 101

Did You Know? Public Access 1012017-12-20T16:50:42+00:00
  • Video equipment was made portable, making it easier for people to transport their own equipment to create their own programs
  • Community video makers were bringing their videos to the cable companies to play on one of their vacant channels and getting the door shut in their face. This caused them to approach their city councils and demand that they include public access in the next cable franchise contract. The FCC later mandated public access channels on the larger cable systems, bringing a more personal cable channel into homes.
  • Public access channels are typically run by the town and they air certain programs that would not be large enough to air over a large network corporation.
  • A station can have more than one channel. For example, one channel for government topics, one for educational topics, and one for public use. Common programs produced on the government channel would be town meetings and/or city council and school committee meetings.
  • As far as funding goes, most jurisdictions fund their operations through a franchise fee paid by the local cable operator.
  • Large local access budgets are dependent on the local government’s commitment to public participation. For example, not every large city has a large public access budget.
  • The use of government access television has been the single greatest contributor to positively increasing public participation in local government decision-making.