Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Community Media?
2. Why do communities include access requirements in cable franchises?
3. How is PEG funded?
4. What is the preferred management structure for a PEG access operation?
5. What are the advantages of the nonprofit corporation/CMAC model?
6. What services will CMAC provide?
7. What is the relationship between CMAC, the JPA, and local cities?
8. How will CMAC protect the community from potentially “offensive” programs on PEG Channels?

Q. What is Community Media?
A: Community Media consists of video and audio programming and other electronic information created by and for the community to address local issues, needs and interests. The term “PEG access” is specifically identified in the Federal Cable Act as “Public, Educational, and Government use” of cable system assets. For over 50 years, PEG access has been a resource available to citizens in hundreds of communities across the country. The Fresno-Clovis area has been a rare exception for a community of our size until CMAC launched in 2012.

Public access consists of video and audio programming created or acquired by community volunteers, non-profit community groups, neighborhood organizations, social service agencies, and individual citizens. It focuses on many aspects of community life, ranging from the services and activities of community organizations to the opinions and beliefs of individuals in the community.

Educational access is created or acquired by school or college employees, students, and volunteers. It typically focuses on school board meetings, distance learning, school activities, sports, and information that the school wants to get out to the community.

Government access is created or acquired by local government employees, elected officials, and volunteers. It typically focuses on information about services provided by local, state, and regional governments, issues faced by local governments, and public meeting coverage.

The content of the material carried on PEG access is determined by the individuals, groups, or organizations that produce it. PEG access is non-commercial in that there is no commercial advertising. Access channels may provide PBS-style credit for underwriters and sponsors.

Q: Why do communities include access requirements in cable franchises?
A: The Federal Cable Acts of 1984 and 1992 and California’s 2006 Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act (DIVCA) permit local governments to include requirements for PEG access channels, equipment, facilities, services, and funding for their communities. The federal Cable Acts explain the purposes of PEG access channels in this way: “They provide groups and individuals who generally have not had access to the electronic media with the opportunity to become sources of information in the electronic marketplace of ideas.”

Q: How is PEG funded?
A: Since cable companies are for-profit businesses, they are required to pay “rent” to cities in exchange for the use of taxpayer-owned “public rights of way” to run their cable lines to homes and businesses. California law sets this “franchise fee” at 5% of a cable company’s local revenues and provides for an additional 1% to be used exclusively to support PEG access within a community.

Q: What is the preferred management structure for a PEG access operation?
A: The creation of a nonprofit corporation is broadly recognized as a highly advantageous approach to facilitating Community Media/PEG access in a community. These nonprofits are created specifically to manage access channels, facilities, and equipment and to provide access services. They are tax-exempt and are identified as 501(c)(3) organizations. Such corporations exist in hundreds of communities both large and small. This is the management structure of CMAC.

Q: What are the advantages of the nonprofit corporation/CMAC model?
A: CMAC was formed specifically for the purpose of managing PEG access channels and facilities for Fresno-Clovis communities. There are many advantages to this model, including:

•    Demonstrated track record of achievement in many other communities creating a truly cooperative relationship among public, educational and government access users;

•    Elimination of unnecessary layers of bureaucracy associated with multiple access management entities, providing most efficient use of available equipment, facilities, and funding; also assures the ability for each participant, whether a resident, a community group, a school district, or city government, to maintain control of their own program content and, at the same time, have all the benefits derived from collaborations with other groups and entities.

•    Operations and programming efforts are more responsive to the community’s needs.

•    Nonprofit Board of Directors is broad-based and representative of the community, providing greater accountability and a collaborative approach to decision making.

•    Insulates local government from actual or perceived liability for program content. Allows local government to focus on accountability rather than arbitrating programming and content issues.

Q: What services does CMAC provide?
1. Manage Public, Educational, and Government Access Channels
Administration of cable access resources on a non-discriminatory basis under the guidance and direction of a representative, community based, non-profit board of directors.

2. Operate One or More PEG Access Production Facilities
Facilitate use of shared PEG production facilities and equipment in accordance with operating policies established by the Board. Operate facilities in a way that encourages collaboration between PEG entities where appropriate and reduces costly duplication of services and facilities.

3. Enforce Operating Rules and Procedures
Apply established rules and procedures for use and operation of access equipment, facilities, and channels fairly and consistently.

4. Provide Training
Teach video production techniques to Fresno and Clovis residents and other eligible users including city staff, school personnel and local agency/organization members. Provide technical support for PEG production activity.

5. Coordinate Playback/Cablecast of Programming
Provide for daily scheduling and telecast of programs on the access channels.

6. Maintain Access Equipment
Provide regular maintenance and repair of all video equipment.

7. Conduct Promotion/Outreach Efforts
Actively promote the use and benefits of the access channels and facilities to access users, community groups, local government, educational institutions, and the general public.

8. Develop Volunteer and Internship Opportunities
Develop and manage an ongoing pool of skilled volunteers and student/community interns to create community-based programs and assist with other productions as needed (including government and educational content, if requested).

Q: What is the relationship between CMAC and local cities?
A: CMAC, as a non-profit corporation, operates access channels and facilities and provide services under contract with the Fresno-Clovis Community Media Authority, a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) between the Cities of Fresno and Clovis.

Q: How will CMAC protect the community from potentially “offensive” programs on PEG Channels?
A: CMAC takes its PEG management responsibility very seriously and encourages only the highest and best use of the resource. CMAC’s PEG Access policies prohibit obscene, indecent and slanderous material. Programs designed for mature audiences will require an on-screen message alerting viewers to the nature of the program. In addition, programs with mature themes will be restricted for airing only between the hours of 10pm and 5am. These protections are equal to, or greater than, those offered by any broadcast, cable or satellite service currently operating in Fresno County.

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