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Sen. Kathleen Vinehout to speak at WCM's Fall Workshop
Wednesday, October 12 in Eau Claire

Online registration is open! Click Here!
MORE INFORMATION:  Print-friendly brochure  Web-friendly brochure

Wisconsin Community Media is extremely excited to welcome long-time public access television champion, State Senator Kathleen Vinehout, to our Fall Workshop on Wednesday, October 12 at Chippewa Valley Community Television in Eau Claire.  Sen. Vinehout will be speaking about collaborating with WCM on plans to introduce a PEG bill next session to undo some of the harms from 2007 Act 42 and how WCM and member media centers can work effectively for passage.  

Sen. Kathleen VinehoutIn addition, WCM is featuring two seminars:

Steve Betchkal on "How to Produce Video in a Facebook World."  With interest mounting for media access centers to fill the void in local coverage, there is heightened interest in finding a way to produce more public affairs features despite the greater investment these type of shows require.  Steve will talk about how he develops a treatment for and successfully executes short-form feature programs. 

About Steve:  Steve recently joined the staff of CVCTV as its Chief Videojournalist.  Over the course of a 30-year career, Steve has won numerous awards, including several regional Emmys and Wisconsin Broadcasters Association awards.  In 2015, he received the the Best Videojournalist Regional Emmy for his work at WQOW News 18 in Eau Claire. 

Tom Loucks on "Capturing the Image that Speaks Volumes."  Photos have become an essential social media marketing tool.  How do we get the shot that not only looks good, but captures what we want to convey?  How do we incorporate picture-taking into our production process and our workday to tell the story of who we are and what we do?  Tom will also talk about his use of photo montages on the city’s access channel to rave reviews. Attendees will be encouraged to take some photos during lunch. Many of these will be reviewed during Tom's presentation later in the day.

About Tom:  Tom is the Director of Wisconsin Rapids Community Media (formerly RCCA) and the City of Wisconsin Rapids' Multimedia Coordinator.  He worked as a photojournalist on daily newspapers for fifteen years and owned a professional portrait photography business for five years prior to taking the reins in Wisconsin Rapids in 2011.

Election Coverage "Dos and Don'ts."  The Fall Workshop will also feature a brief refresher on election coverage.  Members will be encouraged to share their plans for publicizing the elections, informing residents about new voting regulations, and showcasing the views of the candidates for office. 

Bi-Annual Membership Meeting.  For the second year in a row, WCM is holding a bi-annual membership meeting during the workshop.  The meeting provides an opportunity for lengthier discussions on WCM plans and member collaborations. The agenda is included in the Fall Workshop brochure.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016 09:38 AM

WCM submits comments to the FCC on the need to be carried in the Electronic Program Guide

WCM submitted reply comments in FCC Docket 16-41 yesterday to voice the need for Wisconsin's PEG access channels to be carried on the Electronic Program Guide.  Currently only 17% of WCM's 51 member access centers have their programming schedule carried in the guide. 

WCM provided the FCC with the results of a survey that asked access centers what the stumbling blocks have been to carriage.  

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WCM announces the 2016 Best of the Midwest Media Fest award winners

Wisconsin Community Media has announced the 2016 Best of the Midwest Media Fest award-winning shows.  Award winners will be honored at the Best of the Midwest Media Fest Banquet and Show at the Madison Sheraton Hotel on Thursday evening, April 28.  Tickets.

 “It’s the fest’s 18th year and the fourth year we have opened it to a nine-state region. It’s also the first year we have accepted LPFM radio entries.  Seven of our 51 member PEG (public, education, and government) access centers also operate LPFM radio stations,” said Mary Cardona, executive director of Wisconsin Community Media, "so we decided to branch out to reflect what media access centers are doing.  It's not just cable TV!"  This year WCM received 185 entries from 26 Wisconsin and eight Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, and North Dakota access centers.  “Wisconsin shows still make up the vast majority of the entries,” Cardona said.

 Thirteen media access centers assembled judging panels of four to review the entries.  Depending on the score, entries receive an “Excellence Award,” an “Achievement Award,” or a “Merit Award.”   This year, 75% of the entries won one of these awards.  Programs may also win a “Best in Show” in their category as an amateur or professional entry.   The fest also recognizes “Significant Community Programs.” 

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Legislators go on record supporting PEG Television Reforms

In an end of session statement that will serve as a springboard to a renewed effort next session, nineteen legislators have signed on to sponsor legislation called the "Restoring Wisconsin PEG Channels" bill. 

The legislation - SB 783 and AB 1007 - would reform current law in various ways, most importantly by requiring video providers to transmit PEG channels with the same quality reception as local broadcast channels, require providers to list PEG program schedules on the Electronic Program Guide so that viewers can find programming and record it for view later, and allow cities to pass an ordinance to collect a dedicated PEG fee for the support of local channels. Sen. Kathleen Vinehout and Rep. Gary Hebl authored the legislation.

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State capitolWE HAVE A PEG BILL in the State Legislature!

WCM has some VERY exciting news! 
Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D – Alma) and Rep. Gary Hebl (D – Sun Prairie) have authored a bill for community television called "Restoring Wisconsin PEG Channels" and are now seeking sponsors.   We urge you to take this opportunity to contact your state senator and representative by phone or email about LRB 4426/1 and ask them to sponsor and support it.  Use this link to FIND MY LEGISLATOR OR, GO HERE to use an email generator that will find your legislator and email a letter of support from you that's already written! 

What’s in the bill?  There are twelve changes to current law in this bill.  To view a complete list of the changes click here.  In short, the bill restores much of the support Public, Education, and Government (PEG) channels lost when 2007 Act 42 was passed.  The 2007 law made state government the “local” cable franchising authority and in that role, the state ended assistance for local PEG channels. 

Why are PEG Channels important?    As Sen. Vinehout eloquently stated in the sponsorship memo, Public, Education, and Government (PEG) access channels enrich the lives of Wisconsin citizens. These one-of-a-kind community channels televise local meetings, discuss issues, promote the work of area non-profits, and publicize local businesses. They reflect the artistic, cultural, and religious interests of a community. Television is one of the best methods for communicating important news and publicizing events. PEG channels provide that crucial link between a community and its citizens.   In places where local newspapers have scaled back local coverage and no longer publish daily or even weekly, and in rural areas not served by local broadcast stations, access channels are a key source of news and information. High school and college students interested in media careers get work experience.  Residents who want to make a contribution to community life volunteer at PEG centers because PEG access centers always cover what’s going on.  Many people with disabilities and seniors depend on PEG channels to cablecast local church services and cover events they can no longer attend personally.

WCM would like you to emphasize the following three “talking points.” The bill would:

1)  Require video providers to transmit PEG channels with the same audio and visual quality as (the primary SD signal of) local commercial TV stations.

2)  Require video providers to put PEG access channel program schedules on the electronic program guide.

3) Require video providers to collect from subscribers up to 1% of its gross revenue from its “cable tv” income to support community programming as determined by a municipal ordinance. 

For more detail on these three points, download this talking points sheet.

While it is late in the session, this is a golden opportunity for community television supporters to talk with their legislators about the value of PEG television and to set the stage for another effort next session.  Please help us get the ball rolling by making contact with your legislator.  Either call or email your legislator.  What you do matters the most because your legislator will act only if he or she believes their constituents care about this issue. 

Questions?  Contact Mary Cardona, 608-215-5594, [email protected]


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