On September 25, the FCC issued proposed rulemaking (Docket 05-311) that could have a catastrophic impact on BCTV and all Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) cable access channels and community media centers around the country. We are calling on supporters to take a moment to file comments with the FCC expressing your disapproval of their proposed actions. Instructions for filing comments are available on this page. Initial comments had to be filed by November 14, but "Reply Comments" can be filed through December 14 at 11:59 PM.
What's at stake?
The new FCC rulemaking allows cable companies to assess the value for 'in kind' services related to providing PEG channels and deduct that amount from the Franchise Fees passed to municipalities and nonprofits like BCTV to run PEG stations and channels. These loosely defined 'in kind' costs can include the 'value' of the cable channels themselves as well as any other services provided. The FCC fails to set any guidelines or limitations to the values that cable companies can assess, and it's conceivable that station operating funds could be eliminated.
We need your help!
Here's how to submit a letter that supports BCTV's filed comment in opposition to the proposed Rulemaking.
1) Download the template for your letter here. Customize the parts in red and print it on your letterhead with your signature. Letters from organizations are especially important at this stage.
2) Either email your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org (by end of day on Thursday, December 13) and I will submit it for you, or save your letter as a PDF and submit it directly to the FCC before 11:59 PM on Friday, December 14.
Steps to file:
Enter the following information:
- Proceeding(s) 05-311
- Name(s) of Filer(s) Your Name or Organization
- Law Firm(s) leave blank
- Attorney/Author Names leave blank
- Primary Contact Email Your Email Address
- Type of Filing choose 'Reply to Comments'
- File Number leave blank
- Report Number leave blank
- Bureau ID Number leave blank
- Address of choose 'Filer'
- Address Your Address
- Address 2 Your Address
- City-State-Zip Your Address
In the 'Upload Documents' area, click to select your PDF file from your computer or drag and drop the file into the box.
When a dialog box appears, add Description: Reply Comment opposing FCC proposal and in support of the Comments of Brattleboro Community Television, Inc. File ID 1113560010350.
Check 'Email Confirmation'
Click on 'Continue to Review Screen.'
Click on 'Submit'
You should receive an email confirmation. Please forward this confirmation to email@example.com.
Thank you for supporting Commmunity Media in Vermont and across the nation!
Read the FCC Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Second FNPRM),
Read Comments already filed for RM 05-311
FCC Proposal Could Hurt BCTV's Bottom Line (Brattleboro Reformer)
BCTV: FCC Action Threatens Future (Vermont Business Journal)
Media Alliance Article on this FCC Action
A Proposed FCC Rule Change Could Put An End To Local Access TV Stations
FCC is at it again: Proposed changes to benefit big cable, harm local access channels
FCC Rule Change Could Limit Funding for Public Access Programs
In the Cable Act legislation of 1984, Congress established Franchise Fees and PEG Fees as a condition for cable operators providing commercial cable TV services. Franchise fees are often described as 'rent' for the commercial access and use to the public right of ways within a municipality. These fees help cover the associated costs to cities from cable TV installations and also help fund other municipal public services. PEG fees can optionally be established by a municipality to provide for the capital equipment necessary to the operations of local PEG channels. Both Franchise and PEG fees are public interest obligations that ensure the commercial media being pumped into residents homes is balanced by meaningful non-commercial locally originated content. Non-commercial PEG channels are unique, they provide an important means of free speech via the public channel, government transparency and communication with residents via the government channel and an educational channel available for use by local schools and universities. It's important to note that Cable companies do not pay Franchise or PEG fees, these fees are paid by cable subscribers and merely pass through the cable companies to the cities and nonprofits. The new FCC rulemaking will not change the amount currently charged to cable subscribers, it merely allows cable companies to keep this money. The FCC explained that its proposals "are intended to place new entrants and incumbent cable operators on an equal regulatory footing and remove obstacles to the deployment of broadband."
The FCC's press release and supporting documents can be found here: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-seeks-comment-lfas-regulation-cable-operators
Here are some local programs for the Thanksgiving holiday season:
25th anniversary of Project Feed the Thousands:
40th anniversary of Putney Craft Tour:
13th season of Brattleboro Winter Farmer's Market
BCTV's producer award winners are selected by our staff, but this award is chosen by everyone! The nominees are the volunteer productions that received the top five online views. (These are videos created over the past fiscal year, and the views are tabulated between July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018.) The cash prize is provided by Vermont Films, a full-service video production company here in Brattleboro.
The nominees are:
- Here We Are with guest David Blistein. Producer: Wendy O'Connell
- Senior Town Meeting with Bernie Sanders 8/1/17. Producer: Maria Dominguez
- Rock Voices Concert Brattleboro 7/27/17. Producer: Wyatt Andrews.
- Windham World Affairs Council: Jim Freedman - Why China is Rebuilding the Silk Road 11/17/17. Producer: Roland Vollbehr
- The World Fusion Show: Episode 16 with Massamba Diop. Producer: Derrik Jordan.
Here is the link to vote:
Note: Deadline to vote is 10/23/18 at 5 PM. Voting is open to anyone - feel free to forward the link.
Find out who won by coming to the Producer Party - details here: https://www.brattleborotv.org/news/bctv-news/bctv-producer-party-2018
Watch our Producer Awards Night and relive the magic!
The winner of the 2018 People's Choice Award was Wendy O'Connell, producer, for the show 'Here We Are with guest David Blistein.'
BCTV Announces Winners of the 2018 Producer Awards
BRATTLEBORO, VT—In honor of Community Media Day on October 20, Brattleboro Community Television announces its producer awards winners for 2018. BCTV’s annual producer awards ceremony will be held on October 25th at 6:00 p.m. at 118 Elliot, and the public is invited. The People's Choice Award winner, which is a popular vote among the year's top-viewed videos, will also be announced that night.
The following organizations and individuals will be recognized.
Community Partner of the Year: Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) partnered with BCTV this past year to promote awareness of its many activities and programs. BDCC staff worked alongside BCTV to video funding announcements, the Creative Black Tie Gala, the Southern Vermont Economic Development Summit, along with producing PSAs to promote their workshops and other programs. BDCC staff members are also becoming “familiar faces” on Channel 10, as they are frequent presenters at local Select board meetings covered by BCTV. Jennifer Stromsen, BDCC Director of Programs, explains: "Storytelling and video are critical to helping us reach the people, towns, and entrepreneurs we serve across the Windham region. When people see the words "economic development" it may not resonate. But when they see interns working in a local company, young professionals celebrating at the gala, or hundreds of stakeholders at workshops at our annual Summit, they start to understand how the work of BDCC & SeVEDS connects to their lives and goals. BCTV helps us make that connection."
Municipal Partner of the Year: River Valleys Unified School District Board
River Valleys Unified School District Board was created last summer following the unification of Dover and Wardsboro School Districts under Act 46. The River Valleys USD Board turned to BCTV to video their bi-weekly meetings as a way to engage and provide transparency. And, in fact, thanks to the Board’s promotional efforts, most of the meetings have received hundreds of views. Board Chair Richard Werner notes: "It's gratifying to get so many views, and critical that those who can't attend can get the full flavor of the somewhat complex process. In addition, it’s been a benefit to all of us to be able to review the videos as work progresses."
Nonprofit Member of the Year: Rotary Clubs of Brattleboro
Brattleboro Rotary Club past chair Marty Cohn, who’s also a producer at BCTV, created the show "Rotary Cares," producing 10 episodes since October 2017. Each monthly episode features two members from Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary or Brattleboro Rotary Club to talk about Rotary International and discuss local projects. Cohn says, “Not only do we reach the viewers in Brattleboro, but we also reach a world wide audience by posting the link on our website and social media pages." The video director for the series is Rotary Club member Kevin Yager.
Volunteer of the Year: Russ Grabiec
Russ Grabiec is a familiar face to anyone who attends Brattleboro Selectboard Meetings. He’s the one who cheerfully operates the camera all meeting long, no matter how long it goes. Grabiec is also one of BCTV's most prolific producers, recording and editing 25 shows this year about Veteran's Events, the Brown Bag Lunch presentations at the River Garden, and Dover Free Library Lectures, to name a few. When the call goes out for a volunteer producer, he is often the one who steps up. Finally, Grabiec deserves special recognition for learning a new editing platform this year, Adobe Premiere, after resisting for as long as possible. He invites others to join him: "Our cameras record moments in history. Come to BCTV. Record your moment. Learn to edit (we have people...). It's rewardingly addictive!"
Producer of the Year: Alfred New
Alfred New is the engine behind the success of BCTV's longest-running weekly show, St. Michael's Catholic Mass. The Mass is recorded by a team of volunteers, and is available for parishioners to watch that same Sunday, either on cable or online. Over 9 years and almost 450 episodes later, New has updated the video equipment at the church and kept up with technological changes, including uploading the service to YouTube. This year, New started a new show, "5 Mics Songwriters Series," which showcases live music in Brattleboro. As a BCTV volunteer, he runs a camera for The World Fusion Show and covers events when requested. As he says, "St. Michael’s Catholic Church of Brattleboro is a warm, welcoming and vibrant community. Our original goal was to record the Mass for those who couldn’t attend. We’ve found that many who did attend, also watch; and that people all over the country also watch. Being able to share our wonderful church with others is very rewarding." For the Songwriter Series, he notes that "Brattleboro has a great number of talented musicians and I wanted to find a way to support them and the venues where they play. BCTV has given me a way to do this."
'St. Michael's Mass' videos: https://www.brattleborotv.org/st-michael-brattleboro-catholic-mass
'5 Mics Songwriters Series' videos: https://www.brattleborotv.org/5-mics-songwriter-series
Series of the Year: Here We Are - Brattleboro's Community Talk Show
Wendy O'Connell, who has a background in audio editing but no TV experience, didn’t let that stop her from creating a weekly talk show at BCTV. In the past year, she's produced 44 episodes of her interview show, "Here We Are: Brattleboro's Community Talk Show." O'Connell says, "The show is a way for us to get to know each other better. I invite a diverse selection of local people to tell their stories and create connections in our community.”
BCTV's 50+ local producers were nationally recognized in 2018 and together with staff produced more than 1200 hours of local programming over the past year.
The BCTV awards ceremony is fashioned after the Emmys, and dress up is suggested to honor the talent and dedication of local producers. Audience members will enjoy dinner by Hazel, a cash bar, and the chance to mingle with creative types and community volunteers. A $5 donation is suggested.
Brattleboro Community Television is a community media center serving Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Jamaica, Newfane, Putney, Townshend and Vernon. BCTV's mission is to promote civic engagement and transparency, and to empower community members to share their knowledge, views and creativity, without prejudice. To learn more about BCTV, visit brattleborotv.org or call 802-257-0888.
BCTV Annual Members Meeting
When: Thursday, September 20, 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Where: Room 306 of the Brattleboro Municipal Center (on third floor with accessible elevator).
Who: All BCTV members and nonprofit members; open to the public.
What: Light refreshments, State of the Station Report, Board Elections. Member comments and questions are welcome throughout the meeting. If you can't attend, you can submit comments and questions live via Facebook @brattleborotv.
Board elections: There were three open at-large seats, each for a three-year term.
Candidate statements are below.
Find the updated board list at http://www.brattleborotv.org/board
I am interested in serving on the board of Brattleboro Community Television. I very much enjoyed my previous service on the board and especially getting to know the staff and board members. I’ve had a 30-year career in public relations, publishing, marketing and television and continue this work to today. I also serve on the Inner Fire board, which is a proactive, healing community in Brookline, VT offering a choice for adults to recover from debilitating and traumatic life challenges without the use of mind altering, psychotropic medications. And I serve as citizen’s commissioner for tourism at Windham Regional Commission. Recently, I’ve begun to use video to help promote various projects and would love to learn more. I believe my background and experience, and history with BCTV, would make a valuable contribution to BCTV. I’m particularly interested in helping to explore new opportunities and community engagement for BCTV.
I am interested in joining the BCTV Board. To give you some background history: I was the General Manager at The Auto Mall in Brattleboro for over 7 years and previous to that I was in the car business in all capacities for approximately 20+ years. I not only have a strong background in business but also in computers and technology. I currently am the Station Manager/Station Engineer for WTSA Radio and have partnered with Kelli Corbeil in running the Four Seasons Media Company. I have a strong sense of community and feel that WTSA and BCTV are similar in our missions to serve our communities. Like BCTV we are always looking to do more programming that directly benefits the people in our area at WTSA. I look forward to learning more about BCTV and helping to service our area even better.
As a lifelong print and broadcast journalist who's made a home in Brattleboro, Vermont, I am delighted to be nominated for one of the open seats on the BCTV board. I know our community has a lot of talented people in it and I am honored to be among those asked to join the BCTV family. In recent years, I've been lucky enough to get to know and work with many of the current and former BCTV board members. I consider them colleagues, friends and wonderful neighbors. I look forward to learning, to sharing ideas and insights, and to undertaking initiatives that will allow BCTV to continue to broaden its impact and grow. Thanks so much for considering my candidacy.
Watch Brattleboro's home town July 4th Parade live, starting at 10 AM!
On Facebook (for the first time ever):
Channel 8 on Comcast and Southern VT Cable
Brattleboro Union High School 2018 Graduation
Friday, June 15
Leland and Gray Union High School 2018 Graduation
Saturday, June 16
The big news at the station is that Roland Boyden is moving away from the area after 12 1/2 years as our Production Manager. Yes folks, the day has come - everyone's favorite video guru and tech helper is moving to Philadelphia so that his partner can attend nursing school. We are happy for Roland and Paige to start this new and exciting chapter in their lives, but it's hard to imagine this place without Roland running around and making everything work here at BCTV since way back in 2006. Please join me in congratulating Roland for making this big decision and thanking him for all that he's done to make BCTV one of the most productive small community TV stations in the country. We have scheduled a farewell party on May 30th so that everyone can say goodbye and thanks in person.
Click here for the Job Posting - We are looking for the right person to succeed Roland as Production Manager, knowing that the job will be done differently by whoever occupies the position. The deadline to apply is April 13, and we hope to hire for a May 1 start date to have a month's overlap with Roland before he goes.
Watch your 2018 meeting (and previous meetings) at these handy links. Check the TV schedule for cable broadcast times here: https://www.brattleborotv.org/schedules
BCTV teamed up with The Commons to present a Selectboard candidates forum on Wednesday, Feb. 21, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., at the BCTV studios on the third floor of the Municipal Center, 230 Main St. in Room 303. The forum was live on cable channel 10 and streaming live on Facebook and on BCTV's HD channel stream.
Randolph T. Holhut, news editor of The Commons, moderated. Olga Peters, host of “Green Mountain Mornings” on WKVT Radio, asked questions, along with community activist Anne Braden.
Brandi Starr, the lone candidate for the three-year seat on the Selectboard, appeared live, along with two of the candidates for the two one-year seats, incumbent Tim Wessel and newcomer Shanta Lee Gander.
A third candidate for the one-year seat, William Forchion, was unable to appear, but offered a pre-recorded candidates statement, as well as answers to some of the questions from the panel.
Audience questions for the candidates were submitted in person during the forum at BCTV’s studio or as comments on Facebook Live, streamed on Brattleboro Community TV and The Commons Facebook page