A Hard Day’s Crash

The unthinkable happened — a power outage crashed the civilities hard drive this weekend. I had two systems on the same UPS, and there wasn’t enough time to properly shut down Civilities. The casualty is on its way to CBL.

Prix Foxe: The $850 Million Gift to Fox News That You Don’t Know About

Every cable network has a contract with cable carriers, not viewers, and thus it caught little attention outside the trade press that last October, Fox renewed its contract with Cablevision, the nation’s fifth* largest cable system, tripling its carriage fee from 25 cents a month per subscriber to 75 cents.

Raiders of the Lost Archives

Here's a brief suggestion how video news archives could better market themselves in a YouTube world. Archive catalogs have, after all, content to license and sell, and a growing number of amateurs (not to mention the next generation of professionals) are seeking to use it.

Why is there no universal video news search?

There are a few sites which provide a summary of, and a search within, print/online news stories: Google News and Topix are the obvious leaders. But there’s nothing comparable for television video, let alone audio.

Do Process: Notes from the Beyond Broadcast conference

I caught a few bits & bytes of the Berkman Center Beyond Broadcast conference, for a handful of reasons. Beyond the Civilities work, my employer underwrites WBUR 90.9 and I’ve also been a regular community contributor to Radio Open Source on WGBH 89.7. Lastly, I’ve just had a habit of crashing Berkman conferences.


Evolving Community at Radio Open Source

I’ve been leafing through a six-year old copy of Brill’s Content— a goldmine of hindsight-foresight, grist for an upcoming Civilities piece– and I couldn’t shake loose a media prediction for 2005 from the August 1999 issue: “TV AND THE WEB WILL FINALLY CONVERGE BUT IN UNEXPECTED WAYS.” That’s hedging your bets. Maybe the unexpected ways would be it would be not television, but radio, which would first convervge in a natural way with the web. And the best example of that today may be the five-month old Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon.

Schooled ya: Maynard’s Radio Station Needs a Boost

For community journalism, there’s no easier story to carry than the one I’m about to describe. The ol’ “Mainstream Media” broke it first. Now we would expect the blogs to enter stage front and take the case, maybe organize some advocacy journalism. Heard of made-for-TV? This one’s made-for-blogs: it’s got an underdog community media effort against an out-of-town one trying to push it out. The Maynard (MA) High School radio station is about to lose its license to a California-based religious broadcaster which has been scouring up licenses nationwide, with the FCC’s neutral approach enabling it.

Interactive C-SPAN: Beats blogging, baby!

I just had an interactive conversation in a community forum about the subject of the blogs, with the one individual who asserts that I am a blogger– and the whole conversation hapened without a blog!

Distributed Media Monitoring

This is a outline of an Internet project which would facilitate real-time monitoring of broadcast media.

When it comes to cable reform, the Cato Institute fears the free market

In October, the Government Accounting Office investigated a number of possible reforms for the cable industry, including à la carte cable pricing. As I write in my review of à la pricing, it is supported across the spectrum, by left-leaning consumer groups and by Republicans in Congress. Nonetheless, libertarian groups like the Cato Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute have objected to a proposal which would introduce read competition in cable programming.

AlHurra Satellite Television: Getting the Message Out (slowly)

Recently, I was curious about what sort of programming was going out on the U.S.-sponsored Arab satellite television channel, Alhurra. (I had wanted to suggest certain movies to be aired in place of news). I had a look at its website, which was rather abysmal for a network with so important a mandate. It has an email address which appears to bounce and lists no phone number. I figured that Americans ought to have some oversight of our newest outreach effort to the Arab world.

Seven Days in May: is it in al-Hurra’s prime-time lineup?

When I heard that President Bush had given an interview on Al Hurra television, I recalled that this was the Arabic satellite channel funded by you and me, the American taxpayers. So I was curious what sort of programming we were sending out this evening, or any evening. How popular the 3 month old network is has not been well reported, but early reviews derided it as poor propaganda.

Worth publicizing: à la carte pricing for cable

In the town of Brookline, the cable company had given an ultimatum to customers to convert to digital, and pay extra per month to rent the convertor boxes. This has caused a bit of rancor, as cable television is expensive enough as it is. When everyone has a digital cable box, the cable company will be able to fine-tune each viewer watches; no longer will a subscriber be able to simply hook up to a cable-ready set and watch channels. This could be a cause of deep concern. Or it could be a great opportunity, to finally introduce a real market in television by using à la carte pricing, where users can choose to only pay for the channels they want.

Patriots nip pussycats

Thoughts on an otherwise exciting football game. Had I not watched the halftime show, I would have skipped writing this and been happily asleep with the Patriots win. And a party mostly cleaned up.

Simple thank-yous for millionaires

They’re vulgar, increasing in frequency, and containing shameless displays that shouldn’t be shown to impressionable young children. No, I’m not talking about the variations on profane words which Congress wishes to ban on broadcast television. I’m talking about celebrities making impromptu speeches on televised award shows.

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