LAPA Leased Access Programmers Association

Need for Congressional Intervention

By Charlie Stogner, President, LAPA

 

The following is a copy of a letter sent to Steve Hunt, regional representative for New York Congressman Bill Owens.

 

The manner is which some cable sites have treated leased access users since the cable industry was able to ‘stay’ the new rules only days before they were to have gone in effect in May, ’08, is worse than that prior to adoption of the ‘stayed’ rules. I contend most, if not all, of this lies with the Media Bureau refusing to fairly administer and/or even discuss ‘terms and conditions’ now imposed on LAPers by cable operators.

In a few days I’ll take time to compile a comprehensive report on how the Media Bureau responded to a letter from my attorneys that only asked for clarification on a published FCC statement.I’ll also share how the Media Bureau responded to questions by my U.S. Senator, seated on the committee overseeing FCC where if I were the Senator I’d be astounded and insulted. Problem is my senator has never taken time or had a staff member take time to understand the basics of leased access.

Anyway, for now this is the letter written by a New York state legislator to the aide of his Congressman, pointing out the unfavorable treatment the cable company is imposing on a LAPA member.

 

If you feel you’re begin mistreated, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and I’ll see if maybe helping you write your member of Congress might begin to force FCC’s Media Bureau to treat LAPers with the respect it appears the law intended and insure we’re treated right.

Here’s the letter


To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Subject: television coverage in St. Lawrence County

Steve,

I'm the St. Lawrence County legislator for district 15 and one of my constituents came to me with a problem that may be served by your office.

In St. Lawrence County, the local news is controlled by only two corporations. The Johnson newspaper company controls all of the local papers and has begun a news service that further limits local items. Martz communications operates many of the local radio stations, especially those with an interest in local news, but they use the local papers as their primary sources for coverage.

That leaves television, but there are no local tv affiliates in St. Lawrence County. The nearest stations are located in Watertown or Plattsburg, which I'm sure you know because this is campaign season and ad buys are starting.

A local group has been trying to start a local cable access station, but they are having issues with Time Warner cable in Northern New York. All of the corporate action seems to say that they don't want to be bothered with this little station, but they plan on providing a necessary service to the county.

The station has been relegated to digital cable rather than the more subscribed packages. Time Warner's digital package contains channel numbers 100 - 208, but the local station was given channel number 1501. Despite following industry standards for sending content to the local Time Warner affiliate in Massena, the Time Warner corporation forces them to send DVD copies of their content by mail to Syracuse where they have to pay a Time Warner employee each time a DVD is inserted or switched for playback. This seems like an unfair practice of corporate bullying.

I know that in broadcast areas, the FCC has jurisdiction, but I believe they also work with cable companies to ensure broadcast standards for the cablecast content. If the Congressman's office could help in this area it would be happily accepted and lauded.

I should also include that the constituent I talked to was my brother. I didn't want the appearance of preference, so I have actually kept from writing you until it seemed like nothing could resolve this situation. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Daniel Girard
St. Lawrence County Legislator
District 15