Buncombe County Kills Public Access TV
Press Release (April 25th, 2011)
with follow-up information
Number of hits since
April 28, 2011:
Community Public Access Cable Channels Exist?
Public Access TV and our First Amendment Rights
We the people are being
disenfranchised from our 1st Amendment Rights to our Freedom
of Expression as Public Access Cable Channels are being shut
down across the country by County Governments. The
same thing that happened to the Public Access Cable Channel
in Pinellas County Florida in 2007 happened here in
Asheville Buncombe County in 2011 for the same nefarious
reason. Here is Pinellas County's story - does it
sound familiar? Does it appear to be a master plan to
silence our freedoms of expression as guaranteed by the 1st
Amendment to our Constitution? Since 9/11 our freedoms
have consciously been taken away by those who would silence
and block our right to be heard by our fellow citizens in
open community public access
cable channel forums.
HISTORY OF PUBLIC ACCESS CABLE CHANNELS IN THE USA
The Antidote to Apathy is
not about us the citizen but the
barriers of intentional exclusion put in place to discourage us from
participating in Asheville Buncombe County local government
FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS
TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
OF LOCAL CITIZENS ARE BEING TAKEN AWAY
IN THE NAME OF CUT-BACKS BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT
County Citizens ask,
"Where has our
Public Access Cable TV Channel Gone?"
Continue on for the full
story of how a small community in Western North Carolina lost its public
access cable TV channel. Which was created to promote first amendment
rights to freedom of expression - was killed by local government's
politically motivated censorship. Denying citizens the right to
speak openly among themselves on issues and topics coming directly out of
The Political Demise of
Community Public Access Cable Television (WNC Community Media Center) in Asheville
Jonathan Czarny - WNCCMC Operations Manager
Terra Weaver - Citizen Media Center Video/Radio Producer
Broadcast - Asheville FM News Hour - July 28, 2011
Asheville Buncombe County
Information Filter Bubble
What we have here in Asheville Buncombe
County is an informational filter-bubble which is also present on
the Internet as an automated algorithmic gateway keeper to filter
you need to know to be an informed citizen.
It's vital to our freedom of
expression as citizens in the community to have an open public
access cable channel were we can come forth to speak openly and
freely among our fellow citizens without institutionalized and
politicized informational filter-bubbles which restrict citizens
participation to provide information of possible interest to our
ponder this 4th of July We must defend
and protect our hard won freedoms from within - from those who would
deprive us of rights to freedom of expression from
institutionalized commercial and politically motivated filtering
of our 1st Amendment Rights.
The headline for following article
government destroys public access cable television
destroys public access TV then reappears to save it with a
disingenuous RFP which guarantees failure without the
public's access cable channel. Let’s hear it for our 1st amendment
rights to freedom of expression in our community!
Its all about local media
ownership and control of our need to know...
What voice do the people have in
our community where any citizen can speak openly among their fellow
Do you think local media wants
our community to have an open voice in our community to
speak to issues and concerns without commercial media filtering?
Do you think local government
wants citizens speaking out among themselves on their own public
access cable channel - which is paid for by public utility right of ways
access from commercial franchise fees
paid by cable companies to have access to our homes?
Do you think these two groups
want the citizens in the community to have a real voice to speak
directly among themselves on issues and topics which may well be of interest to the
Look around - where can you go
as a citizen in this community to speak openly among your fellow
citizens without the constraints of media for profit and local
government machinations where you don't have a real opportunity to
speak - to be heard - to organize around an idea or observation that
goes beyond narrow mainstream interest by control of publicity?
Your public access cable TV
channel is now on the ground – while citizens stand around in a circle
watching it bleed-out while the County holds back funding which is
mandated by national and state law.
Are we as a community going to
ignore it by standing by or watching it die?
Are we as a community going
to hold our County Commissioners accountable for killing the community’s
only public access cable TV channel because a few are offended by what they
see or hear?
Whatever happened to our 1st
amendment rights to freedom of expression and our right to be
informed - while a premeditated extermination of our open public
cable access channel in Asheville Buncombe County takes place?
Are we witnessing our
Constitutional freedoms dying before our eyes as it bleeds out
and runs out of time. Our community is a small microcosm of what’s
happening across our country. Let’s stop it here where we as
citizens of Asheville Buncombe County can turn this sinking ship around.
Change begins at the grass roots.
Find it hard to believe
– here's proof - see video and
POINT OF VIEW -
Public Comment Session
BCC Meeting - June 7, 2011
Q: Why is Asheville Buncombe County the only
County out of 100 having funding issues with their
Community's Public Access Cable Channel?
Buncombe County Commissioner's
Subject: Asheville Buncombe County's
Public Access Cable TV Channel Disposition
POINT OF VIEW - OBSERVATION
Something to Ponder...
The Buncombe County Commissioners (BCC) seem to be misinformed,
misguided and disingenuous.
Now that the County stated its position through its chairman,
take a look at the law and see where the majority of “public
access TV” (PATV) channel funding actually comes from by
comparing others like it in other communities in North
It is unrealistic to think a PATV cable channel can operate to
serve the citizens of Asheville Buncombe County from the amount
of funding the county claims to be set aside for PEG (Public,
Educational, and Government) channels. To make the point - you
don't see any group from our community rushing forward - to take
up the cause - it's fiducially unrealistic! This whole
situation is politically motivated gamesmanship being played out
under the guise of budget cuts.
The County claims they want Public Access TV - but the reality
is, through their actions, they do not want the citizens of
Asheville Buncombe County to have a cable channel where citizens
can speak directly among themselves on community issues. How
can there be an effective and efficient people’s government if
there is no place for citizens to come together within the
community to practice their 1st amendment rights to unfiltered
freedom of speech among themselves which does not exist in our
local mainstream media today? How can we as citizens make our
local government better and more accountable if we don't have an
open platform for open citizen community dialogue so we can see,
hear and feel each other’s concerns and issues?
Ask the County about the 7.5% sales tax added to everyone’s
cable bill after the transition from local to state cable
franchise agreements where the state funds PEG and the
communities Public Access Cable Channel through the Video
Programming Tax Revenue sent back to the County for distribution
Now the clock is
running out for the county who is about to lose Video
Programming State Sales Tax Revenue for the County by not having
a certified PATV cable channel for PEG in place by July.
Today, if we have stayed informed, we are witnessing the
country's transformation into a Corptocracy where our most
sacred constitutional tenants are being monetized at the demise
of our constitutional democratic republic - of the people - by
the people. It's time we take back our government from those,
in the guise of budget cuts, who would take away our rights
silences and enslaves our freedom of speech to allow us to
speak directly among ourselves in addressing issues and topics
of interest in our community.
Press Release from BCC
stating BCC position on WNCCMC contract and funding
(Click image or link just below to open document PDF file)
ITEM #2: Response to
Reference from BCC Press Release:
“…there is no directive…concerning division of…funds among
qualifying…access channels….” Image below taken directly from
“State-Collected Local Taxes: Basis of Distribution – prepared by the NC
League of Municipalities” – March 2010
image or link just below to open actual document as PDF file)
WNC Community Media Center
Board of Directors
Meet in Executive Session
tonight May 12, 2011 @ 6:30pm
31 College Place - Suite 20A
(828) 255-8488 x102
Posting from Facebook
"WNC Community Media Center Producers"
May 13, 2011
Last night the board of directors for the WNC
Community Media Center voted to close down studio operations while
keeping the cable channel alive. This action was taken to
drastically reduce operating cost as a result of severe budget
constraints in funding by local government - in order to keep the
communities public access cable TV channel alive in our community.
This decision was painful for us not only as a board but as fellow
citizens in our community. Before this decision was made
alternative ideas for resolution were presented and discussed at
length. But in the final analysis studio operations could not be
maintained without a reliable ongoing stream of funding to
maintain the studio complex whole and complete.
Click image below to open PDF file of
Official Press Release of Studio Closing
May 16, 2011
Why has Asheville Buncombe County decided to monetize our
1st amendment rights to freedom of expression for
the citizen's open access cable TV channel?
What's the greater tragedy?
SOMETHING TO PONDER:
Why is that the contractor (URTV/WNC Community
Media Center) that provided in 2010 over $1,000,000 of documented
community media service value to Asheville Buncombe community for
the Counties $104,000 on a declared budget under $225,000
Why did they not terminate
contract with just performance cause, or
hold public hearing
as to future funding for public access in Buncombe county?
obvious from the actions above the county made a conscious
decision to under fund the media center.
under this political assault was not able to continue to provide
core services as defined in contract and state PEG laws, which led
to the politically motivated submission to the county by the
contractor and ultimate termination of services due to disingenuous actions.
question to put to the County now is, "If not WNCCMC (who provided
all of the above services) then where is the money going? If
not WNC Community Media Center - then who ? What are the reasons
for the termination of funds as per contract and law? The citizens of Asheville Buncombe
County have the right to a public access cable TV channel as
stipulated by law.
CLOCK IS RUNNING
Now the clock is
running out for the County who is about to lose their Video Programming
State Sales Tax Revenue for not having a certified PATV
cable channel for PEG in place by July. Also, as a side
note, the cable subscriber's bill for PEG went from 43 cents per
household to a flat 7.5% state sales tax on all cable
bills. As these taxes went up - our community's freedom of
expression was taken away in the guise of budget cuts.
Also, it has been said - not verified by proof of contract to date
- the cable providers (Charter / AT&T) can take back their cable
channels for Public Access Television if there is no broadcast
signal present for 60 days and use for their own purposes.
The channel went blank approximately May 23rd, 2011. Another
clock for the County to consider in deciding to fund PATV as
stipulated by law and contract.
The PEG channels
were provided to the community by local franchise agreements
with the County (which are now done at the State level) by the cable
company's at no cost to the citizens of Asheville Buncombe County
in exchange for the use of "Public Right of Ways" to run
the cable company's cable lines on power poles throughout our
If our County
Commissioners don't get on the stick we will be locked out as a
community from our freedom of expression in having a place for
citizen's to practice their 1st amendment rights to freedom of
expression on their public access cable channel. As you can
see, there is much more going on behind the curtain than what our
elected officials are willing to reveal to us. It's a smoke
screen of evisceration to the real game being played against the
citizens of Asheville Buncombe County.
North Carolina's PEG supplemental fund increases from
$2 million to $4 million beginning in July 2011
Counties and municipalities must file to become
certified by July