February 27, 2014 3:29 pm
Over thirty years ago Kartemquin Founder and Artistic Director Gordon Quinn participated in the community struggle to establish a public access television in Chicago. The result was the creation of Chicago Access Corporation and CAN TV and Gordon served on the 1st board. Today, as cable franchise renewals nationwide move towards defunding or eliminating public access television, he continues to advocate for access as part of the Committee for Media Access (CMA).
Currently the City of Chicago is in negotiations with Comcast, the city’s and nation’s largest cable provider, for a ten-year franchise renewal. With CMA, Gordon will be attending meetings with the cable commissioner and encouraging Kartemquin interns and staff to show up at city council meetings to show support for CAN TV.
CMA is primarily seeking the following from the Comcast renewal:
1) Direct and unrestricted funding to preserve the independence of CAN TV.
2) A funding agreement that meets or exceeds the RCN agreement passed in 2012.
3) Technological equality to ensure the public’s channels aren’t left behind.
Many public access centers in cities served by Comcast have suffered funding cuts or station closures, and CMA is committed to making sure that doesn’t happen in Chicago. CAN TV produces 140 hours of new, local, non-commercial programming each week and is a valuable asset to community groups, social justice organizations, and Chicago residents exercising their right to free speech. CAN TV is an innovator in the use of the cablecast and web and for under served communities and provides initial training and an entry point to the media industry.
Read Gordon Quinn's letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune on this issue, and listen to an interview with him below.