FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
ANDREW BARBANO (775) 786-1455
ON-AIR (775) 682-4144
(Barbwire.TV, Reno-Sparks-Washoe Channels
16 & 216
M-F, 2-4:00 p.m. PST / 22-24:00 ZULU/GMT)
So sue us: Charter tells Reno and Reid
RENO, NV Without waiting
for the Reno City Council to make a settle-or-sue decision next Wednesday,
Charter Communications has begun implementing its plan to move northwestern
Nevada public, educational and governmental (PEG) access television to
the low-audience, high-cost digital tier.
Yesterday, Charter basic and expanded basic customers received a
mailer notifying them that community television would be moved to the
inaccessible digital tier on Dec. 15.
"The simple facts are that Charter has side-swiped the city of Reno,"
stated Sierra Nevada Community Access Television
(SNCAT) Executive Director Les Smith. (775-828-1211)
" In all their offers, Charter stated that they would provide free
installation. But there is no offer of installation anywhere in the mailer,"
he noted in a memo to the Reno City Council.
"In addition, by requiring those who wish to redeem the coupon (for
a one-year waiver of Charter's $5.00 per month per digital converter fee)
to bring it to the Charter offices, they have effectively put this offer
out of reach of all but a handful of the at-risk, core viewership that
Councilman David Aiazzi and the City of Reno
have sought to protect all along. Charter's offer is no solution and was
obviously planned and executed prior to last Monday's council meeting,"
Charter sent the council a letter dated
Nov. 7 that the company would mail a "waiver letter" to
"all residential analog customers" which would offer "FREE
installation." (No emphasis added.)
"The SNCAT board asked me to recommend that the City of Reno take
whatever legal steps are necessary to stop this move," Smith said.
The Charter issue is still
on the Reno City Council agenda (items J15 and J15-.1) for Wednesday,
Nov. 19. Those wishing to make their opinions heard should plan on attending.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has promised to
join the City of Reno in potential legal action. (Statement
to Reno News & Review posted at ReSurge.TV)
Please contact Sen. Reid, Reno Mayor Bob Cashell
and members of the Reno City Council. Ask them to keep their promise
to go to court to stop Charter cable from killing community television
in northwestern Nevada. Residents of Sparks, Carson City, Washoe and Douglas
counties should contact their state and local officials.
in Michigan have successfully sued to stop Comcast, a potential buyer
of Charter's Nevada operations, from moving the PEG channels.
Please consider joining the ratepayers advocacy organization, ReSurge.TV,
where complete information on these issues may be found.
Be well. Raise hell.
Contributions to the ratepayer legal defense fund may be sent payable
P.O. Box 10034
Reno, NV 89510
You may also use your debit or credit card
via PayPal at ReSurge.TV
(all area code 775)
U.S. Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Sen. Reid-Reno 686-5750
Sen. Reid-Carson City 882-7343
Reno Mayor Bob Cashell 334-2001
Councilmember Dave Aiazzi 334-2016
Councilmember Dwight Dortch 334-2015
Councilmember Dan Gustin 334-2011
Councilmember Pierre Hascheff 334-2014
Councilmember Jessica Sferrazza 334-2012
Councilmember Sharon Zadra 334-2017
Manager Charles McNeely 334-2020
Charter cable channels 16 & 216
2:00-4:00 p.m. PST, 22:00-24:00 ZULU/GMT/CUT/SUT
may well be the first marriage of talk radio, talk TV and webcast
Contact: Les Smith
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHARTER SIDE-SWIPES CITY OF RENO IN PEG DEAL
RENO, NV NOV. 14, 2008 Charter Cable has bypassed the
Reno City Council and sent a mailer, announcing that it will be moving
the public, education and government (PEG) channels to the digital tier
on December 15, 2008, with a coupon offer that falls far short of any
of the offers presented to the city council.
Councilman Dave Aiazzi has been working with Charter to set up an equitable
agreement that left no one behind. But on Thursday November 13th,
a volunteer public access producer for Sierra
Nevada Community Access Television (SNCAT), received a mailer that
was apparently sent to all Charter analog subscribers. The mailer stated
that the PEG channels (and only the PEG channels) are moving to the
digital tier on December 15th.
Charter is offering coupons in the mailer, redeemable for free rental
of one digital box per household until December 31, 2009.
"For people like me, the disabled, the elderly, shut-ins and those
wont understand or even recognize this is some kind of an offer,
this coupon will be no help at all," said Tyler, who walks with
crutches and uses a scooter to get around.
"What happened to my
voice? I took the time to go to
the city council and let them know my concerns. I expressed my concerns
directly to Charter and they have chosen to ignore me, Dave Aiazzi and
the Reno City Council."
On Monday, November 10th, the Reno city council voted to continue this
issue to allow for negotiations with Charter and the signing of an agreement.
But, Charter's mailer was apparently planned and executed prior to last
Monday's council meeting.
"This is an obvious move on the part of Charter to head-off that
process and avoid entanglements for any potential future sale of Charter
services in this market," said Les Smith executive director of
"And, Charter is desperate
to move the PEG channels as a fait-accompli before the new and decidedly
less sympathetic legislature has a chance to rework this issue."
In all previous offers, Charter stated that they would provide free
installation. But, there is no offer of installation anywhere in the
mailer. In addition, the requirement to bring the coupon into the Charter
offices makes it virtually impossible for those who cant get out
or have difficulty getting around. This effectively put the offer out
of reach of all but a handful of the at-risk, core viewership that Councilman
Aiazzi and the city of Reno have sought to protect all along.
The Charter issue is still on the Reno City Council agenda (items J15
and J15-.1) for Wednesday, Nov. 19. Those wishing to make their opinions
heard should plan on attending.
devil and the deep blue sea
City Council deal vs. Charter's offer:
Both lead to the same damned place
by Barbano / Special Internet Edition
City Councilmember Dave Aiazzi
made an offer to Charter Communications
which he presented at the Oct. 22, 2008, Reno City Council meeting.
letters of Nov. 7 and Nov. 10 constitute the company's counter-offer.
All of the above kill the community TV system by banishing it to the low-audience,
high-cost, thinly-surfed digital tier.
Charter is offering to do a mailing for its stopgap offer, knowing full
well that most ratepayers won't or (in the cases of the elderly, the poor,
the handicapped or apartment and motel dwellers) cannot respond.
Direct mail offers usually
experience response rates of less than one percent.
Charter, with its stock down in the pennies range, is close to bankruptcy.
The company could not afford to purchase 30,000 to 35,000 digital boxes
to serve the entire analog (basic + expanded basic) ratepayer base in
this region, so the offer of free digital box rent for one year is phony.
Charter executives say the boxes cost about $800 each, or about $28,000,000
to service northwestern Nevada.
It' s much cheaper to pay off Mr. Aiazzi and Reno City Hall. In the Daily
Sparks Tribune Nov. 11 online edition, he asserts that the $650,000
in ratepayer money he demands in his settlement offer will go to Sierra
Nevada Community Access Television (SNCAT).
However, his proposed local
franchise novation earmarks it for "access capital grants."
The City of Reno used similar ratepayer money (obtained in 2005 from granting
Charter a lucrative, new and very advantageous 15-year franchise) to rewire
the black tower now known as Reno City Hall. SNCAT received only a minor
Worse, Mr. Aiazzi's proposed
deal would give the City of Reno control over all community TV in the
Truckee Meadows, including two remaining analog channels, one of which
would be for exclusive Reno City Hall use, the other to be split between
Reno, Sparks, Washoe County and SNCAT public access basically promising
to stuff 20 pounds into a five-pound bag.
From the revised city
proposal handed to me by Councilman Aiazzi at the Nov. 10 council meeting:
agrees to establish and maintain one (1) analog channel for joint use
by the cities of Reno and Sparks, and Washoe County. The City agrees
to work with Sparks and Washoe County to establish a mutually acceptable
broadcast schedule and programming. The use of
this channel shall be determined by the City of Reno or its designee.
On March 2, 2009, Charter may move the Combination Channel from the
analog tier to the digital tier.
(Emphasis added.) [Contrast
the Oct. 22 and Nov. 10 versions, below.]
diversity of points of view which have been the trademark of the nationally-distinguished
SNCAT system will be a thing of the past as elected officials and bureaucrats
control content through both management of the channel and diminished
availability of broadcast time.
rights of viewers, producers, Sparks and Washoe County ratepayers would
be thus reduced to second-class status.
The Federal Communications Commission has mandated that the analog tier
(single and double-digit stations accessible without renting the digital
box) remain available until at least 2010 and perhaps until 2013.
Community TV should remain
on the analog tier as long as that tier exists.
ReSurge.TV's position is that
federal law requires it. A federal judge in Michigan recently agreed.
Sierra Nevada Community Access Television produces and broadcasts public,
educational and governmental programming. It has trained countless citizens
in producing their own shows. In conjunction with TMCC, SNCAT recently
launched KJIV.org, the webstreaming prototype
for what will be an over-the-air, non-commercial community radio station.
We need your help to take these
guys to court if necessary. If you can afford it, please consider contributing
to the ReSurge.TV ratepayer defense fund. You may donate
with your debit or credit card via PayPal at this website. You may
send a check or money order payable to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno
Thank you and spread the word.
Be well. Raise hell.
Rubbing in the salt: As I conclude composing, integrating and uploading
all this, the IFC Channel on Charter's system is broadcasting an installment
of Getting Away with Murder.
NAACP opposes Charter channel switch