Dec 19, 2010

Cookie Monster gets his fave treat, live from New York

Cookie Monster's campaign to host Saturday Night Live didn't work -- but did get him on the show. He made an appearance on Dec. 18 next to host Jeff Bridges at the opening of the popular NBC show. What did Cookie want for Christmas, Bridges asked. "An iPad!" Cookie replied, quickly changing his mind to "A cookie!" Of course. Cookie Monster and Bridges also sang a duet, check it out.

More than 90 percent of large cities can view government meetings on PEG channels

Of 276 U.S. cities of 100,000 or more residents, 256 of them — that's 93 percent — televise routine meetings of one or more of their governmental bodies on PEG (public, educational and government access) channels, says Rob McCausland on the Sustaining Democracy in a Digital Age blog. McCausland, who has been involved in community access television since 1979, continues mining facts in his comprehensive study of PEG channels nationwide. Check out his ever-growing database. Local cable access channels have been struggling in recent years as support wanes: Since 2005, some 600 community access stations have shut down, according to the Alliance for Community Media.

After a decade, Local Community Radio Act is on its way to the president

It's official: After nearly 10 years on Capitol Hill, the Local Community Radio Act has passed both the House and Senate and now heads for the president's signature. The House approved it Friday (Dec. 17) and the Senate, on Saturday.

Free Press released a statement that said in part, "Woo hoo!"

The law will repeal restrictions on the LPFM (low-power FM) spectrum approved by Congress in 2000 at the request of commercial broadcasters. The restrictions limited the frequencies available to LPFMs to every fourth frequency instead of every third. When low power FM was approved by the FCC in 2000 (Current, Jan. 24, 2000), commercial broadcasters complained that the stations would interfere with their broadcasts. NPR and CPB also opposed LPFM "with gusto," as Current wrote.

The Prometheus Radio Project ("Freeing the Airwaves from Corporate Control") has a complete timeline of the LPFM history here, going back to October 2009.

“We are thrilled that Congress has finally passed legislation that will put the airwaves back in the hands of our communities," said Candace Clement, outreach manager for the Free Press Action Fund. "The Local Community Radio Act will make it possible for hundreds, if not thousands, of new local radio stations to go on the air."