The Federal Communications Commission has ordered rule changes that would allow cable operators to treat funding for cable-related costs as “in-kind” donations. This means they are allowed to deduct an undefined amount from monies that traditionally have been used to fund the efforts of community media.
Senator Ed Markey of MA and Representative Anna Eshoo of CA have filed legislation that would hopefully undo any potential damage to funding caused by the FCC’s actions. You can help by calling your federal legislators to ask that they support the Protecting Community Television Act.
Municipalities and Media Centers should examine their current contracts with the cable provider(s) and see if there are items or services in there that now might
be considered “In-kind”.
Thanks in part to donations from our member organizations, MassAccess was able to hire legal counsel to file comments on the order. Although these comments did not prevent the order in its entirety from being adopted, the show of strength did make an impact on what the FCC decided they could deduct.
The Alliance for Community Media is monitoring the situation very closely.