The Bigger Picture: Expanding the Outreach of Grassroots Media By Offering More Platforms

The Open Technology Initiative develops policy and recommends regulations that support open architectures and open source resources for communications networks.  On February 9, OTI released its study: “Full Spectrum Community Media: Expanding Public Access to Communications Infrastructure” and has invited comment from a variety of experts.  One of these experts is the Alliance for Community Media’s own Executive Director Sylvia Strobel.  ACM advocates for its network of over 3000 Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) stations.  Watch the video of Sylvia and other experts at the New Media Foundation’s discussion delivered via ustream yesterday. Sylvia appears at about 26 minutes into this 87 minute video.  So get your popcorn and your knitting ready and settle in.
Why is this policy paper significant?  The findings report that in order for community media centers like us to survive we need to expand beyond our original role of public access television providers and participate in the full spectrum of local media services, including broadband and other communications infrastructure.  People are watching TV on their IPhones, computers, on a variety of platforms, but those entertainment providers are relieved of offering us on those platforms, although they could if they were  compelled to.  No one’s volunteering yet.  They are happy to deliver us via traditional (and possibly soon-to-be-obsolete) methods.  It’s not a question of our competing, it’s a question of our survival, of grassroots productions being offered on all the platforms, just like the media giants.
So we have people working for us.  It’s very encouraging to watch our watchdogs discussing these and other important issues.  Other open media advocates presenting are:  Sascha Meinrath of the New America Foundation, Steven Waldman of the FCC, Joshua Breitbart of OTI, Brady Doyle of the Prometheus Radio Project, Laurie Cirivello of Grand Rapids Community Media, and Tom Glaisyer, a Knight Media Policy Fellow.

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