The operations of Public, Educational, and Government (PEG) access stations depend in part on franchise fees collected from cable providers. A recent FCC order changes how franchise fees are calculated and will now also include cable-related in-kind contributions provided by the cable companies. Including these non-monetary contributions in the fee calculation will bring down the amount of funding dollars access stations receive. The cuts to cash flow will put financial strain on stations, and some stations may not be able to survive. According to an update provided by the Alliance for Community Media (ACM)’s national office, the FCC decision will have a larger impact on PEG stations outside of California, but future amendments to the ruling could have significant repercussions.
Midpen Media Executive Director Keri Stokstad states “The order will go into effect on September 26 and will need to be overturned through appeals and reaching out to our Congress to better educate them on how this affects our communities so they push to reverse the ruling”.
The ACM is partnering with coalitions to file lawsuits to appeal the determination. ACM President Mike Wassenaar shared an outline of next steps that access stations can take to protect themselves. Along with taking legal action, ACM will help stations analyze how they might be impacted and look for ways to diversify revenue streams.
Reach out to your members of Congress and ask them to stop the FCC’s attempt to defund PEG channels.