My first visit to Contra Costa County was thirty years ago when I met with a gentleman about television. At the time the very last UHF TV Channel was operated by a commercial religious broadcaster. Channel 42 was supposed to be a regional station for all of us and he wanted to change that quotient. Not to be. Eventually, when it all faded away at Contra Costa's own local station, it was taken over by Azteca Television and is now a Spanish language station. At least somebody is getting served in Contra Costa.
So the last resort is what a lot of people have worked for and that is a regional television presence such as the public access channel 26 that serves a potential audience of 144,000 people. Do the numbers- 144,000 is a major market folks and it is about to be dumped for no good reason at all.
A major market station is probably worth 5-10 million dollars. The County Cable Commissioner has suggested a multimillion dollar valuation to a PEG channel.
And it is not only headed for the trash bin. Its preservation is not seen as being very valuable - not a big priority. What better excuse could a city have for hoarding PEG funds than to dismiss the whole thing as unnecessary because 'there is the Internet for public expression.'
Excuse me. If that is so then why do Comcast subscribers pay $.71 a month, (times lot and lots of folks) for PEG channels if the people that take our money don't believe it themselves.
The value of community communication is evidenced by the rise of so many blogs and postings on viral sources like YouTube and Blogspot. There is more than a little yearning for community awareness. Its a big yearning and more and more people are learning that no one will inform them better then they inform each other.
Television has a place in that infrastructure and cable access television may be the remaining way to actually have a television presence worth calling our own.