EVENT ALERT: Peggy Dodson of UBC ln Call-in Show to End Cable's Stranglehold on Multicultural Programs

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

This just in!!  I've always wanted to say that - and literally, I just received this information online a scant 20 minutes ago - and it's now 4:00 AM!

But this is serious and you need to know, be aware, participate and take action about this.  Especially you who have Cable TV subscriptions, which keep going up and up and up, but don't provide you with programming that reflects who you are, your culture, your interests, and even your budget.

There's a not-so-quiet battle going on in DC with the FCC leading the charge against the monopolies of the Cable Companies that have been trying to block smaller TV venues from having access to the Set Top Box as a means by which subscribers can select them for some of their preferred programming.

Once such station owner, an upstart in the eyes of "big cable," is Ms. Peggy Dodson, founder and owner of Urban Broadcasting Company, based in New York City.  Ms. Dodson valiantly stepped into the fray a few years ago, and declared that she was starting her own television network, that would be reflective of the interests of African Americans and communities of color throughout the US - with New York being the starting point.  She has done quite well in her efforts, but has been seriously hampered by the  Cable companies conspiratorially combining to prevent her from becoming a part of the viewers' choices.  Ms. Dodson is one of several hundred small media companies that are providing content throughout the country.

  • http://gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com/2012/07/ubc-tv-urban-broadcasting-to-launch-new.html#.Vz17K5G-tvc.gmail
  •  Peggy will be appearing on a call in show, Thursday, May 19, at 11:00AM, along with Eric Easter, of the National Black Programming Consortium, discussing why this is so essential to opening the doors of opportunities to multicultural television providers throughout the country; and why Big Cable is trying to prevent them from doing so.
Eric Easter, Chair of th National Black Programming Consortium

Below is an excerpt from PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE's posting that gives even more in depth information about what's going on, and why you should not only care, but take action:

"Media Alert: PK Hosting Press Call on Ending Cable’s Multicultural Programming Stranglehold


Public Knowledge will host a press briefing Thursday, May 19 at 11 a.m. ET featuring minority programmers who support the Federal Communications Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to unlock the set-top box market so consumers can access the cable content they’re already paying for on the device of their choosing -- without a gatekeeper. It marks a necessary step to promote and protect multicultural and independent programmers currently at the mercy of cable.
These experts include Peggy Dodson (CEO/President, Urban Broadcasting Company) and Eric Easter (Chairman of the National Black Programming Consortium).
Press Call Participant Information:
WHEN: Thursday, May 19 at 11 a.m. ET
DIAL-IN: 1-712-432-3071
PASSWORD: 676292
INSTRUCTIONS: 5* to queue questions, please state your name and outlet clearly
Large cable companies hold a disproportionate amount of leverage in the video marketplace, enabling them to take unfair advantage of most programmers. This imbalance has been highlighted frequently in many recent proceedings at the FCC, but for the independent programmers and diverse content producers it affects, it is a reality of their daily lives. 
The internet has provided some relief, facilitating alternate outlets for voices that cannot get carriage on traditional media, but there is still a long way to go. This proposal opens the door for multicultural and independent programmers, enabling them to reach wider audiences through online video distribution in the digital age.
Public Knowledge’s Chris Lewis, Vice President of Government Affairs, will present a group of experienced media and programming business leaders to review how the FCC’s set-top box proposal will improve diversity on-screen and help independent and multicultural programmers access wider audiences.
 Participants will also be available to answer questions.
  • Peggy Dodson, CEO/President of Urban Broadcasting Company 
  • Eric Easter, Chairman of the National Black Programming Consortium
  • Press Call Participant Information:
  • WHEN: Thursday, May 19 at 11 a.m. ET
  • DIAL-IN: 1-712-432-3071  -  PASSWORD: 676292
  • INSTRUCTIONS: 5* to queue questions, please state your name and outlet clearly

If you’d like more information, please view our recent fact sheet on the set-top box proposal (see below).
It is no secret that the abysmal lack of competition in the cable marketplace frustrates most Americans. This frustration extends not only to the lack of choice in access provider, but to the stranglehold those providers hold over the device market as well. The bottleneck power cable companies control results in surging prices for consumers1 and a quelling of technological innovations and diverse voices.
Currently, consumers are overpaying between $6 and $14 billion dollars annually in set-top box rental fees for devices that are not only rarely updated, but also offer features and user interfaces that are years behind what is available from devices in other competitive markets, such as smartphones.
This is in spite of a 1996 statute that directed the Federal Communications Commission to ensure a competitive market in devices that can access and display subscription TV programming. The FCC’s current implementation of that statute (Section 629 of the Communications Act, as amended) is the CableCARD system,2 which has not achieved Congress’s purpose. 

Public Knowledge has long argued that the best way to promote competition would be for the FCC to move away from the CableCARD regime to a more modern, capable solution.

Happily, with the passage of STELAR,3 Congress created the opportunity for exactly that. Among other provisions, that bill directed the Commission to "establish a working group of technical experts" to detail a "downloadable security system designed to promote the competitive availability of navigation devices in furtherance of section 629 of the Communications Act of 1934." Public Knowledge was a member of the Downloadable Security Technology Advisory Committee (DSTAC) STELAR established, and throughout 2015 worked closely with other stakeholders on the "competitive navigation" proposal.

The competitive navigation proposal is a lightweight, IP-based protocol based on existing and widely-deployed technologies. As a testament to its feasibility, proponents of the competitive navigation proposal have put on demonstrations of it working with various pay TV systems using existing hardware. Under this proposal, any properly licensed device in a viewer’s household would be able to directly access subscription television content without needing to be attached to a rented set-top box. For instance, devices like the Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV or Roku, smart TVs, and mobile phones and tablets would be able to display cable content directly. Like CableCARD, the competitive navigation proposal would allow each device to present its own user interface and program guide

Unlike CableCARD,  however, each device will not require a separate, physical piece of hardware, meaning that viewers would be able to access programming on multiple devices within their households. 

Additionally, the proposal is only a requirement that pay TV operators support third-party devices for those subscribers who want to use them; operators can continue to offer whatever devices and services they want to, without change.

With the filing of the DSTAC report, the technical questions were largely resolved. However, there still exist a variety of discrete issues that must be addressed in order to ensure a truly competitive device marketplace that equally serves the rights of consumers, tech innovators and content creators. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is the appropriate forum for the agency to initiate a thorough examination of such policy questions.

For instance, the FCC must create deadlines so that customers who want to use competitive devices know when they can. It must make sure that pay TV providers don't shift fees and try to overcharge customers in other areas. And it must make sure that the licensing and certification processes associated with creating a competitive device are reasonable, open and fair while respecting the legitimate rights of programmers. The rulemaking process is the best way the Commission can consider how to address issues of this sort. Public Knowledge applauds the FCC’s ongoing progress to find the modern solution for competitive set-top devices. We will continue to weigh in on how best it can achieve this goal, and encourage others to do the same." ###

There has been some consternation on Ms. Dodson's part that members of the Congressional Black Caucus may have been given mis-information from the major Cable Corporations, and are acting in opposition to the Black owned independent media companies, instead  of recognizing this as an opportunity for infinitely more participation, better quality programming, and increased relevancy to them and their constituents.  It would be an egregious error if that is the case, given that there needs to definitely be a critical mass of African American/Caribbean/African and other cultural programming, produced by and for people of the cultural base - for us by us.

It wouldn't be the first time a member has weighed in on the wrong side of the discussion - but once they are aware of the implications - they generally make a midcourse correction and get it together.  I'm saying this in hopes that if there are any who are laboring under any illusions that the cable companies mean these small Black media companies any good; disabuse yourselves of that concept right away.  And conversely, the unfortunate truth is that what is motivating most of these cable companies is greed - there is very little damage any of these media companies can do to their bottom line.  They are pretty much monopoly minded.  But in this current climate, it does not bode well to find Representatives who have been elected to act in our behalf and best interest, standing with the opposition instead.  So, to all my brothers and sisters of the CBC, if you're one of those, time to buy a clue; straighten up and fly right.  Check in with your people.  ASAP  (I hope I've made myself clear).  
It is significant that Bob Johnson, founder and former owner of BET is supporting the FCCs effort to make it possible for more Multicultural programming, and has stated that access to the Set Top Box is one of the most significant avenues making that happen.
So tune in tomorrow (or later today) at 11:00AM, EST, and make sure you are aware and involved - remember, you're one of the people paying that $14 Billion annually.  Shouldn't you have programs that are relevant to you?
Now that you know, what are you going to do about it?
Stay Blessed & 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank YOU For Visiting Gloria Dulan-Wilson Eclectic Black People VIP Blog. We Would Like Your Views, Interests And Perspectives. Please Leave A Comment Below.