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Friend of Access Award Recipients

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin named WCM's 2012 Friend of Access

Representative Tammy Baldwin (D - Madison) has been named WCM's 2012 Friend of Access for the tireless work she has done on the federal level for community television nationwide. This is the second time the congresswoman has received the Friend of Access Award. Rep. Baldwin was the first person to receive a WCM Friend of Access Award in 2006.

Representative Baldwin is the co-author and co-sponsor of the Community Access Preservation Act with Representative Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio). This is the second session Representative Baldwin has authored and championed the CAP Act. The bill would undo many of the most egregious harms that befell community television in Wisconsin after state franchise legislation was passed here in 2007.

The 2007 law was modeled after ALEC legislation and eliminated local control over community television. Today's stations are unable to collect fees from cable subscribers to support community programming. Cities must also pay for any new links that carry local programming to cable operator systems. Besides relieving cable operators of much of their public interest obligations, the law also emboldened Charter to move the access channels from long-held low-numbered spots on the line-up to the 90s and 900s, where reception problems have been common.

The CAP Act would restore the right of local governments to establish a limited PEG fee on subscriber bills to pay for local access channels and would require cable operators to supply all upstream links.

WCM will be presenting the Friend of Access Award to Representative Baldwin or her representative at the WCM Spring Conference on May 3 and 4 in Marshfield. To see the letter sent to Congresswoman Baldwin, go HERE.

To learn more about the CAP Act and Wisconsin's State Cable Franchise Law and Community Television, see our articles elsewhere on the site.