Skip to Main Content.
PACT: Public Access Community Television

Juneteenth


19 June 2007

It’s two days till the official start of summer and already its hot – hot – hot. It’s not the weather, though, that’s hot here at public access. It’s Kids Make TV Camp and the incredible and even remarkable programming these kids have produced.

The first week of camp we had twin siblings and a young fellow returning from last year. This guy tells us the very first day:

“This is my life.”

Pretty amazing. And he means it. He is twelve years old and has already asked to come to work at PACT.

These kids did such an excellent job recording Producer, Rodney Rash’s magic act, interview, and behind the scenes of magic that Rodney wants to use the footage on his personal web site to promote his magic business.

These kids did such an excellent job that they finished the shoot, edit, titles, and music in one day. So – we sent them into their neighborhoods to produce a story for PACT’s ATX Edition – our up and coming public affairs program – for TV, radio, and the Internet – for neighbors, by neighbors – issues that affect community and beyond.

One kid did a story about gymnastics and how her gymnastics team is her “family” – her community.

Another kid produced a story about how all the kids in his neighborhood play catch the flag.

And the third kid told the story of his journey from his home to his elementary school and on to his new middle school.

All this – shot – and edited in one day. Absolutely amazing.

The second week of camp we had eight kids – and they naturally divided themselves into boys and girls. A little older – and a little more independent and from their most creative minds PACT has the honor of airing four Kids-Make-TV-Camp promos for next year, a Mystery Date show complete with a Kung Fu Fighting Movie Preview and the Women’s Canadian Bacon News-News, with a crazy squirrel, Paris Hilton and a weather report where its raining cats and dogs.

This week we have three teenagers, already knowledgeable and skilled in camera operations and editing. So who knows what remarkable programming will be premiered Friday, June 22nd at 4:00 PM?

Everyone’s invited to the Premiere – Friday, June 22nd at 4:00 PM in the Main Studio.

And a reminder: PACT will be closed Monday July 2nd at midnight until Saturday July 7th at 8:00 AM.

One last thing – PACT plans to host the second annual imPACT Awards. This is scheduled for October 13, 2007 – and all producers are encouraged to enter. There will be free Producer IDs to the winners, your video posted on the web for all to see, as well as incredible raffle give-aways for all entries. Details to come….

Survival


19 August 2007

Once again, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a blog and a lot has happened since the May posting.

It’s getting very scary out there now that we are seeing the actual impact of Senate Bill 5, signed into law by Governor Perry in September 2005.

First a bit of background:

Texas was the first state to enact legislation that dealt with the video services offered by AT$T and other telecommunications corporations.

There’s quite a bit there – but what impacts Public Education and Government (PEG) access is the absence of local input and control and the funding for PEG. In other words, once a local franchise agreement expires, the video services provider (cable company) can then – and will – apply for a state permit and the allocated operating funds are no longer earmarked for PEG operations – as has always been the case since the beginning of cable.

So for PACT this means our City Council will have to determine whether or not they wish to provide operations funding for public access out of the general fund and in competition with all other important and necessary needs a city faces.

OR

PACT will need to raise about $70,000 A MONTH to maintain operations as they are today – August 2007.

The City’s franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable ends in August 2011 and so we look to the future and our very survival.

Houston’s Media Source (Public Access) and HTV (Municipal Access) have been told in no uncertain terms that Houston’s City Council will NOT provide any operational funds for either Public or Municipal Access – once their franchise agreement ends with the cable provider.

That happens April 2008.

Dallas’ Public Access has been given a ZERO (0) budget from their City Council for 2007/2008.

San Antonio is still struggling to come back from the disaster of their Public Access channel going to black and all services suspended when the San Antonio franchise agreement ended with Time Warner Cable. They did go back on the air after almost 7 months, and they do have 1 employee and they do have 4 or so cameras – but – the city is still not providing the funds to operate a fulltime, fully staffed and full access public access station.

And on top of all that – the FEDS are now involved. In December 2006, the FCC issued a bureaucratic ruling that is actually worse for PEG than Texas’ own SB 5.

And all across America, other states have enacted their own versions of SB 5 that seem to be getting worse for Public Access and Community Media.

Here’s what PACT is doing.

We were awarded a small grant in partnership with Dr. Martha Fuentes, to study the impact of SB 5 on PACT as a pilot project. We are partnered with Dr. Laura Stein and Dr. Martha Fuentes on a larger grant to study the impact of SB 5 on all of PEG in the state of Texas.

The data from this research study will be used by advocates across the country to verify the relevance of community media and much more.

We are one of only five community media centers in the entire country asked to file an amicus brief in the lawsuit against the FCC’s bureaucratic ruling. This was filed by the Alliance for Communications Democracy and the Alliance for Community Media.

PACT’s Board of Directors is meeting in September to develop a Strategic Plan for Survival.

And – PACT is asking all stakeholders in independent and community media to get involved – to present positive feedback to government officials and decision-makers – to keep up the excellent work with incredible programming that builds community and represents the underserved and speaks with the voice of our community – and to support initiatives to keep public access alive.

Thanks everyone – more to come.


good things


29 May 2007

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a blog. It’s kind of hard to decide what’s so important to post – what information is relevant and significant and should be out there and what’s negative and serves no purpose.

So I think I’ll share the good news.

Poet extraordinaire and producer Farid Mohammadi has been nominated for an award from the Texas Humanities Society.

Producers Isadore Lopez, Michael Lofton and Marie Hejl continue to receive positive and constructive press about their contributions to community.

The summer series were scheduled with aplomb by programming and producer services with no major glitches and in a very organized manner.

The playback system seems to be operating quite efficiently now – and the majority of issues seem to be resolved.

Though the Bizarre Bazaar did not generate oodles of money – there was a great deal of camaraderie and coming together of new and old producers, board members, great music, teamwork among staff and volunteers and the knowledge that we have to find another way to raise money.

PACT is extremely fortunate to be the recipient of a grant award from the Social Science Research Council to study the impact of Senate Bill 5 on public access in Austin. We are also working with doctoral candidate Martha Fuentes and Dr. Laura Stein from the University of Texas to prepare a proposal for a statewide study of the impact of SB 5 on all public education and government access.

And we look to the summer as a time to regroup, enjoy the antics of Kids Make TV Camps, and work to get new equipment, repair existing equipment, and reconfigure the mini studio.

We’re also working on ATX Edition – where community media meets your neighborhood – and PACT’s version of neighborhood news. This community-based digital storytelling project is In keeping with PACT’s Mission:

Public Access Community Television (PACT) is dedicated to building community through media: providing avenues for self expression, presenting diverse points of view, promoting the principles of democracy and an informed electorate, and nurturing artistic vision. PACT strives to provide the community with access to the tools, training, transmission, and programming it needs to join in the PACT mission: Building community through media.

And for the Fall – there’s the upcoming imPACT awards, scheduled for Saturday, October 13, 2007 – a time for producers to celebrate their achievements and to be acknowledged for their incredible dedication and good works.



board report



September 23, 2006

General Manager & Executive Director
REPORT

ADMINISTRATION

Susan Saenz is now fulltime in producer services. She replaces Elena Wyatt. The fulltime position makes it possible for PACT to offer full service, including payments and reservations, on Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Aaron Jaques was hired fulltime in programming. The intention was to have Aaron work at Grande, to learn their playback system, to oversee the interests of PACT and to be available when Grande transitions playback to PACT fulltime later this fall. At this time, Grande is reconsidering paying for this position. This position has allowed programming to operate much more efficiently and to schedule the new series season much quicker.

The new series season was scheduled in record time. A series status grid was designed and displayed on the web site, to keep producers informed about the standing of their applications and to streamline the workflow for staff. The number of series also increased over the summer season and reflects the number of series from last year at this time.

PACT continues to benefit from the free supplies and furniture available from the City of Austin Salvage. The furniture in the Producers Lounge, new chairs for the edit suites, and the coffee service were all obtained at no charge.

The General Store in the front reception area is now up and running. The custom designed cabinet was completed and installed and now allows producer services to display and sell miscellaneous production supplies, videotape, and PACT items.

The PACT Personnel Policies Handbook is now ready for distribution. The Employee Performance Appraisals have also been produced. Garry and Linda will begin annual employee evaluations this week and will continue these throughout the year as each staff’s anniversary date comes due.

Susan Harper, Office Administrator, has been working to reformat and re-design all PACT forms for efficiency, continuity, and clarity. This will help streamline all PACT workflow. The Program Contract needs review and we will ask Board Member, Daniel Scardino for help with the legal aspects of this producer contract.

OUTREACH

PACT hosted the Alliance for Community Media’s Southwest Region Meeting. Folks from Dallas, Houston, Sherman, Enid, Oklahoma, and PACT attended the afternoon meeting. The goal is to build a strong regional presence among public, government, and education access centers, to share programming and to work together to advocate for the survival of public access funding.

Reunion and Free Speech Forum
The reunion and free speech weekend, combined with filming for the documentary on the history of public access and the friends of access brunch was a success all in all. The pioneers who actually incorporated ACTV in 1973 attended and were interviewed for the documentary.
Friday night at Scholtz’s, we met for happy hour, a bit of socializing and to view past access shows.

Saturday, PACT held it’s first official Open House and hosted Stand Up Speak Out! An opportunity for staff, visitors, and guests to step up to the open mic – live -- on Channel 10.

On-going interviews were recorded in the Mini studio throughout the weekend and the Free Speech Forum in honor of John Henry Faulk began with the keynote speech by LBJ Professor, Gary Chapman. His speech was taped by Clay Leben and a link to the video can be found on our web site.

Two breakout sessions followed the luncheon with discussion on the issues of “Beyond Television” and What Makes a Community Media Center.

Dinner was held at the Historic Victory Grill, with Alex Jones hosting and a compilation of producers’ shows as the entertainment.

The weekend ended with a brunch on Sunday morning for Friends of Access, hosted by Jackie Goodman. Jackie did an excellent job outlining the issues confronting the survival of public access in Austin and the steps that need to be taken to ensure our future.

PACT has now received the Texas History Quiz six segments for air. PACT helped with the production back in late April. The shows will air in partnership with AISD’s Educational Access TV.

Outreach Director, Stefan Wray, continues to represent PACT with the Austin Partners for Media Justice. The Media Justice Project and Austin Free Net are meeting to enter into a partnership to provide a mini studio for an affordable housing project. This studio will serve as a resource and video diary for those involved with the project. The video recordings will provide information to the project administrators and possible access programming. PACT is looking at all available opportunities to partner with Free Net.

PACT is also partnering with Austin Free Net to present Beyond Television! This seminar will include a studio audience and live cablecast and will explore the interconnectivity of TV and the Internet.

Garry Wilkison helped producer, Pam Thompson, organize and record friends and family of John Henry Faulk. Green Pastures catered the informal conversation, and Garry directed the production, recorded in the main studio with volunteer crew and with our new HD cameras. The conversation included reminiscences from family and friends and will be included in the documentary Pam is producing.

Outreach Director, Stefan Wray and grant applicants Pam Thompson and Clifford Gillard, along with Linda Litowsky received both grants for the City’s Cultural Arts Program. The first is collaboration between PACT, as organizational sponsor, and producer Clifford Gillard of Another Option Productions. The grant helps create a partnership with KAZI, community radio and Friends of the Victory Grill. The partnership will culminate in a live simulcast on public access TV, radio, and the Internet. The event is Gospel to Hip Hop: the Musical Evolution of a People and the events will take place at the historic Victory Grill. In February in honor of Black History Month. The primary goal is to help train youth and young adults in television production, marketing, and promotion for the underserved local Hip Hop music scene. A “rehearsal” concert of Gospel music in December is also planned.

The second grant award is a partnership with Producer Pam Thompson. Her goal is to use historic footage from the Alternative Views access show of interviews with John Henry Faulk. This will culminate in a documentary event at the Zilker Hillside Theater next summer in celebration of John Henry’s birthday. The project will also allow for this footage to be archived. Pam and Linda met with the Cultural Arts Panel to answer questions as they considered the grant application.

On Monday, September 5th, PACT was honored with a visit from media professionals from South Korea. The International Hospitality Council of Austin in cooperation with the U.S. State Department hosted the event. Our guests toured the facility and asked many questions about public access, the programming, the resources, and the equipment. It seems one of our visitors was an executive with South Korea’s sole network, MBC, and was interested in providing public access channel space for the citizens of South Korea. One of PACT’s producers was invited to attend because he is an immigrant from South Korea and speaks only Korean. It seems this gentleman is famous in his country of birth and was a celebrated commercial director there.

Deborah Hill brought her Capstone Class from ACC to tour PACT’s studios as well. This class studies the business of media, and RTF Chair, Deborah Hill, brings the class to PACT each semester to learn about public access in Austin.

Linda Litowsky and David Griffin produced an eight-hour panel discussion in partnership with Kaye Beneke and the Disability Policy Consortium. PACT was hired to produce the video of this meeting and to make the show available for streaming on the Consortium’s web site. The HD cameras were used in a multi cam configuration and the project was an excellent source of staff training and team building.

PACT now offers “Producer Care,” a mentoring program provided by all PACT staff for new producers. Each staff has a “case load” of new producers. We will call or visit with each person on a monthly basis, to ask if they have any questions, or need assistance with any issues they may have. Garry and Linda hope this will help with producer retention and alleviate any issues new producers have when they attempt to navigate PACT’s training, resources, and/or equipment.

TECHNOLOGY

PACT’s General Manager has been involved in on-going meetings with contractors and city staff, to coordinate all infrastructure, environmental and equipment issues prior to the final installation of the communications room and playback system. The playback system has now been ordered by the city.

The two rooms have been painted, air conditioning has been added and the electrical contractor is completing installation for lighting and a UPS system.

CoComm Cabling is currently re-locating the communication services de-marc from the old crowded telephone closet to the new Telecommunications room. This includes brining in the multi-entity Greater Austin Telecommunication Network (GAATN) into the building. In addition we will have a direct fiber link to the building next door that will aloow us to interact and possibly share services with Austin Free-Net.

Technology cabling building distribution is in the works and will hopefully occur before the holidays. These systems include new standardized voice and data cabling and new CATV video distribution.

The Austin Convention originally was going to donate the phone system handsets (which is usually more than half the cost of a new system, but has now also agreed to provide the main control unit or switch. The will greatly reduce the final cost of the new phone system, scheduled to be installed once the building distribution system is installed. PACT will need to purchase some of the accessories systems and storage for the new phone system.

The contractor for the video surveillance system is still on stand-by for installation as the city wants to have the building distribution system in place before this contractor comes in and pulls cabling and installs cameras. This will provide for a much cleaner and easier to maintain cabling infrastructure.

The city as of 9/20 released the equipment list to the contractor for what we have called the “loose equipment”. This equipment is roughly $100K worth of replacement gear, with additional production and post production equipment. See attached list. We hope most of this equipment will be in in the next 30 to 45 days. Although the funding at this point is rather small, it will go a long way in helping with the large number of equipment issues we currently have.

TRAINING

Karla Saldaña is now offering free “refresher” courses to bring producers up-to-date on the audio, lighting, dub rack and black burst equipment. These courses have been extremely well attended and the feedback from participants has been very positive. The producers are now asking PACT to make these refresher courses available throughout the year for free.

Training continues to draw steady numbers, and really picked up in late August and throughout September. The income generated by training and the new season series is reflected in the August revenue.

Additional courses will be added this fall to include training on the new HD Cameras and How to Shoot a Music Video. The music video training is closely linked to PACT’s EXSE Music Showcase, planned for March to coincide with SXSW. PACT plans to pre-record bands throughout the Fall and Spring and will use this production time to train producers in how to record music acts.

PACT has entered into a contract with ACC RTF Professor Dr. Richard Cutler. Richard will teach TV101 beginning in November. This course is designed to teach new producers about preproduction, production, and postproduction, as well as the basics of generating a budget, production plan, and location scouting. Richard will also incorporate the Program Warranties Seminar, currently taught by Stefan Wray, and the Commercialism class, taught by Marion Nickerson, into the six-hour, three-day course. TV101 will be a prerequisite for producers to complete prior to taking any technical courses.

The documentary seminar put their training to practical use with a well-organized Production Book prepared for the reunion shoot and with two-days of on-going interviews. September provided a break and beginning in October, the documentary seminar will be taught in two parts. Part One will meet the first and third Tuesdays of each month and will offer training for a fee in how to make a documentary. Part Two will meet the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month and will be free. This will provide the actual hands-on training with continued production on the history of public access.

Linda Litowsky and Stefan Wray attended the Crossroads Conference, presented by Greenlights. Linda received a one-on-one consultation on how to produce a strategic business plan and Stefan worked with an expert on marketing plans. The one day conference was very informative and included a seminar in how to work with your Board for fundraising.

OTHER

The Telecommunications Commission Chair, Chad Williams, held a third Task Force meeting to work on future funding for Public Access. The Task Force discussed PACT’s proposed evolution to a Community Media Center and the possibility of acquiring a Production Truck to generate revenue and allow PACT and producers to provide programming throughout Austin.

The Commission presented two resolutions to the City Council for their budget review. One asks that the City pay PACT’s utility bills because PACT is the only contracted manager housed in a city-owned building that pays their own utilities. The resolution also included recommendations that the money saved be used for Equipment and for a voting membership in the Alliance for Communications Democracy. The second resolution asks the Council to provide an in-depth energy audit to assess and make recommendations on modifications that will bring PACT’s building up to City standards.

The Council did not approve the resolution to pay for PACT’s utility bill, but will provide an in-depth energy audit.

PACT continues its contract with the City as crew and equipment for the Friday noon Music in the Plaza.

HiFi High is back on the air after their summer hiatus.

FUTURE

Stefan Wray will present a Seminar: Beyond Television, a look at podcasting, video blogging, and other cutting edge distribution methods. Chip Rosenthal from the Telecommunications Commission is working with him.

PACT is planning to go live from Fiesta Gardens for ADAPT’s 21st Birthday Bash on October 15th. We are coordinating volunteer producers to work on the multi-cam show.

imPACT, PACT’s newsletter will be mailed this week.

A one-day grant-writing seminar is planned for December.

PACT is looking at producing a monthly public affairs show called Neighborhood News where we will work with neighborhood associations to train them in TV production so they can produce news segments about their association. PACT will compile these into a show that represents the neighborhood communities throughout Austin.

July 24, 2006

July 24, 2006

Austin was well represented at the International Conference for the Alliance for Community Media in Boston, July 4th – July 9th. Anyah Dishon made her own way and was an incredible representative for the Producers Council and the producers’ point of view. Pam Thompson attended as a producer for “Real Life” the on-going documentary seminar that is taking its first steps towards production. We just couldn’t pass up this opportunity to interview George Stoney, the “father of public access” now 90 years old, and Alan Bushong, who started at ACTV in 1979 and later, became General Manager before moving to Portland, Oregon to establish the PEG Access there. Board Member Emanuel Limuel, Jr. also attended and represented PACT’s Board, the Producer community, and was involved in the documentary production.

Stefan Wray went and was quite excited about a new software in development, Drupal, that will help access centers nationwide. Garry and I both attended and in some ways it felt like old home week. Garry and I attended the National Federation of Local Cable Programmers (NFLCP) in 1987 when we were represented Public, Education, and Government Access for Austin and Travis County. The NFLCP was held in Dallas, Texas, in coordination with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). The NFLCP then evolved into the current Alliance for Community Media (ACM).

I think the most important thing I took away from this conference was the evolution of Public Access television, currently on cable, to Community Media Centers, structured with distribution methods that go beyond cable and with community partnerships that bring public access full circle back to its origins. Public Access was originally established to represent community institutions that did not have a voice in corporate media outlets. Over the past thirty years, this community based media, that represented free speech and guaranteed non-censorship slowly evolved to the public access TV we have today that is primarily about the individual and their programming. Somehow we have to have both, programming that does both – representative of those community institutions that are underserved and disenfranchised and those individuals who wish to exercise their right to free speech and to be guaranteed a platform to do so. And we have to look to the immediacy of distribution, like V-logging and streaming and how to connect all this new technology.

The Documentary Seminar is also hosting, along with PACT, a Producers Reunion, scheduled for August 18th, 19th and 20th. This producers’ reunion grew out of a need to try and find those folks who were the movers and shakers behind ACTV in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. It affords the opportunity to interview lots of folks about the history of ACTV and to share their personal stories. And so we decided to add PACT’s first official Open House and Live Soap Box to welcome the community to PACT. We’re hoping to host a keynote speaker for the luncheon who can share some insight and hope for the future of public access. And while all this is going on, we will also initiate the Friends of Access, a non-profit organization that will help PACT raise funds and advocate for public access at the state and national level. In addition, PACT will host the newly formed Southwest Regional meeting for the Alliance for Community Media. With all that is happening, we plan to join forces to fight for public access television and folks from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas will meet at PACT to get started.

But it is the producers’ showcase, Playback that should be the most fun. We are appealing to everyone who ever produced or appeared or had anything to do with a show on ACTV, ACAC, or PACT. Please send in your 2 to 7 minute clips and we will present everyone’s work on Saturday night, August 19th.

So please save the date: August 18, 19, and 20. The invitations were mailed out on Friday, July 21st and we hope y’all can join us.


Public Access Survival


June 26, 2006

Seeing the joy on one producer�s face � the excitement and energy � was worth everything.

This producer approached me the other day and shared with me that she had directed her first live show. Though she didn�t know it at the time, the producer had actually been switching live as she helped another producer with his main studio show. Pretty amazing what this particular producer has accomplished in ten short months. Maybe it has something to do with her open heart � and her willingness to learn and participate and volunteer for just about everything that happens at public access. Maybe it�s her unwavering faith. Whatever it is, her excitement and energy and pure joy were worth everything.

Saturday, June 24th, the City of Austin�s Telecommunication and Regulatory Affairs (TARA) Office and the newly renamed Austin Community Technology and Telecommunications Commission presented:

Austin Community Media Forum:
Public Access Television in Austin

Anyah Dishon volunteered to videotape the forum and it will be shown on access TV. Thank you, Anyah. You are a remarkable volunteer. And thanks should go to all those at the City and on the Commission who worked to pull this together.

The morning was dedicated to speakers who gave a brief history of public access in Austin, and attorney, Joseph Van Eaton, who gave an overview of the legal framework and issues that impact public access television.

Joe�s presentation was especially informative. He explained that there were originally three underlying principals for public access television:

1. Community Building: To serve the underserved communities
2. Preventing Media Concentration: Reopening the medium of speech with no editors
3. First Amendment Right: Allowing the community to participate in the public debate

He explained further that the First Amendment principal was the least consideration at the time PEG was developed. Joe then spoke about the issues that have always been under scrutiny where public access is concerned:

1. Commercial versus non-commercial
2. Producer versus community (including controversial programming)
3. Copyright concerns

All this sounds familiar but what really sparked interest was when Joe spoke about the copyright issues and how cable operators have to cover the ASCAP and BMI concerns for all channels, including public access. But � and here�s the catch � do these rights to broadcast over the cable system carry over to the Internet? It appears it does not. And that�s scary.

So, as PACT looks to stream all three channels when the playback system is up and running, we must first look at the repercussions of copyright as it pertains to the web.
Jackie Goodman spoke about the role of public access in the community and Garry Wilkison spoke about the technological advances PACT plans to implement. Lon Berquist spoke about the ultimate survival of public access and the issues of funding, digital convergence, regulatory concerns and new technologies.

I can�t remember all the specific names of the afternoon breakout sessions, but some of the big issues were building communities and representing the institutions, widening public access to include other distribution methods and sites, disability issues, and what we can do to help public access survive.

The City will issue the breakout sessions and their outcomes in a report about this forum. As soon as that�s available, PACT will make that available on its website.

Some of you may have been waylaid by a group of teens in the excited frenzy of filmmaking last week. On Friday, June 23, PACT hosted a red carpet, world premiere of The Tape. It was pretty amazing to see what the second week of Kids Make TV Campers produced for their project. Think Hitchcock and public access, horror without the blood and guts, and extremely well trained creative minds ages 13 and 14 and you have The Tape. If this is the future of public access television, then I can say with certainty it is very, very good.

Access Denied? Public Access TV Reunion and Free Speech Forum is coming together. Stefan Wray has worked very hard and successfully in finding many of the original folks who actually started public access in Austin. It is pretty exciting to think about those whose vision and energy culminated in this incredible thing we now have in public access TV. Though many of us now take this remarkable gift for granted, with the very survival of future funding, channel space, and resources in question, the reunion, free speech forum, and the creation of Friends of Public Access is more important and essential than ever. I encourage all to attend and participate.

August 19 and 20, 2006.


Directors Update

There's a lot of activity around the Access Center now, so I'll try and bring you up to date.


COPE Act Update

The Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (HR 5252) aka the COPE Act,
passed by a 321-101 margin in the U.S. House of Representatives last Thursday, June 8.
Friendly amendments supported by the Alliance for Community Media (ACM) failed.

One of these, the Baldwin amendment, would have protected PEG (Public Educational Government) channels.
As it stands now, under the COPE Act, there will be a flat 1% franchise fee for PEG in local communities.

According to an ACM study, in this scenario funding for local public access stations around the country
would be cut by anywhere from 35% to 75% and even higher.
The majority of the 321 votes in favor were from Republican representatives.

However, it is important to note that the COPE Act received significant bipartisan support.
This is especially true in Texas. Nine Democrats in the Texas delegation voted for the act.
Lloyd Doggett, who represents southeast Austin, was the only Democrat to oppose the COPE Act.
This speaks to the tremendous power of the telecommunications lobby has
and to the comparative lack of strength that PEG advocates have been able to wield in this state.

Now similar legislation is before the U.S. Senate.
The Senate Commerce Committee is in hearings for S.2686, the Communications, Consumers' Choice,
and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006. The next hearing is scheduled for June 13, 2006 with a tentative mark-up scheduled for June 20th. This is where the wrongs of COPE can be righted.

Texas' senior Senator Kaye Bailey Hutchison sits on the Senate Commerce Committee.
She has already heard from some Austin access producers, but she certainly could hear from more.
To contact Sen. Hutchison, go to:

contact Sen. Hutchison


Kids Make TV Camps:

Starts today, 12 June, for ages 10-12.
The camp teaches basic camera and I-Movie and the kids will videotape PACT producer, Rodney Rash, the Magician, interview him and show some secrets of magic.

The 2nd Kids Make TV Camp begins 19 June, for ages 13-15.
The camp teaches basic camera and I-Movie and the kids will meet with Emily Hagins, the young lady who produced her own feature length horror movie was she was 12.



Series NEWS:

Thanks to all producers who are starting their summer series this month.
I know the scheduling took a bit longer than normal, and Marion, Maria, Garry and I are working together to try and streamline the process.
We hope to have Series Packets available to producers by the end of June for the Fall/Winter Series.
If we can get packets in early, Producers can then be scheduled quickly and have plenty of time to promote their upcoming series timeslots. We are working towards this goal.



Policies and Procedures:

The PACT Board meets Thursday, 15 June, to finalize and approve the Policies and Procedures.
PACT will enforce these once the Board approves them. Work Sessions went well between Board, staff, and representatives from the Producers Council and the final Policies reflect this compromise and willingness to work together.



Playback:

It looks like PACT will take over playback of all three channels sometime in early Fall.
The City is working very hard to make a lot of improvements to the building with new wiring and cabling, the rearrangement of some of the edit suites and a look at our energy needs.

More about the newest in technology to come - but we will be able to stream all three channels on the web and do lots of promotions.



Promotions:

Javier Rivera is now Director of Promotions and Post Production.
He will be holding a workshop sometime in July to teach Producers how to effectively promote their programs.
Look for this promotions class on July's Training Calendar.



Production Plans

I will begin teaching a Production Planning class soon.
A Production Plan is required for every Special Request, so we'll offer these one-hour courses free of charge.
If anyone is interested, please sign up with Producer Services.
The Production Planning Class will be held the first and third Tuesday of the month from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
in the conference room, Free of Charge, beginning in July.



Producers Forum

Garry and I invite all Producers - but especially New ones - to join us
on Thursday, 29 June in the Conference Room, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
We would like to know how things are going, if you're having any problems or concerns, and how we can help you.
Please stop by to meet us and feel free to come with any questions that are on your mind.



REUNION

PACT, in coordination with the Documentary Seminar class producing the History of Public Access in Austin documentary, and the Producers Council, want to let everyone know we're having a Reunion and Free Speech Conference on August 19/20, 2006.

The Reunion is for anyone who has ever been an access producer in the 33 years ACTV/ACAC/PACT has been around.

We're looking for folks - and if you know of anyone from the past and how to contact them
- please let Stefan Wray know. His email is:

stefanw@pactaustin.org
512. 478.8600 X 13

The Reunion will be held in conjunction with:

PACT Open House, Saturday
19 August 2006, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Free Speech Forum Luncheon
19 August 2006, 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Survival of Public Access Workshop
19 August 2006, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Breakout Sessions to Find Solutions
19 August 2006, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Plenary Session to Share Solutions
19 August 2006, 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Producers' Showcase Dinner
19 August 2006, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Friends of Public Access Founding Brunch
20 August 2006, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

We encourage all Producers to attend and tell other Producers about this. We are asking everyone to submit clips from their shows, two to ten minutes long - to present at Saturday night's showcase dinner, sponsored by the Producers Council.



Rondella Hawkins Manager of the Public Access Contract, invites everyone to join TARA and the Telecommunications Commission at a Forum about Public Access, scheduled for Saturday, 24 June 2006. To register, please visit:
sign up

14 May 2006

Apologies for not writing anything these past two weeks, but things have been a bit hectic with the Policies and all.

Our workshop with board members, Producer Council representatives and staff was very productive last Saturday, May 6th.

Some of the issues we worked on and agreed to are:

- The Access Studios will be open 24/7 the week prior to every new season�s series application. Weekends are already available 24/7, but PACT will be open 24/7 for the five weekdays before the Series applications are due.
- The fees for violations were lowered to:
� 1st violation warning
� 2nd violation $50
� 3rd violation $75
� 4th violation $100
- The fees for severe violations being considered are:
� 1st violation $100
� 2nd violation 30 day suspension
� 3rd violation 60 day suspension
� 4th violation expulsion w/board approval
- If a producer is renewing a taped series, only two (2) original, non-repeat tapes are due with the Series Packet.

The Board will meet on Thursday, 18 May, for review and adoption of the Policies and Procedures. All producers are welcome. The meeting begins at 6:00 PM in the conference room, where the Board will take care of the monthly business and eat dinner. The meeting will then move to the main studio for the remainder of the meeting to review the policies.

There have been a lot of things going on behind the scenes that I�d like to share with you.

The Telecommunications Commission met on Wednesday, 10 May. Rondella Hawkins, TARA manager, and PACT�s contract�s manager, presented information about national legislation concerning public access. Though she said at the end of her report that the bills currently before the House and Senate do not adversely affect public access, there is more to the story than this. The bills do adversely affect the municipalities who currently have franchise agreements with local cable providers. Once these franchise agreements expire, it is now proposed all cable providers go to a national franchise agreement, overseen by the FCC. Texas has already moved to state franchise agreements and although there are conditions for funding, there are no specifics as to how that funding will find its way to the individual cities. This is not a good thing. If it goes national, it will be even more difficult to see any funding for PEG channels.

And we can never forget that Time Warner Cable would love to get its channels back. This is very valuable real estate and making lower tier channels available for access, whether it is public, education, or government is not what Time Warner wishes to do as a good corporate citizen. If producers are wondering why PACT is looking seriously at the 25% rule � it�s because of the current franchise agreement between Time Warner and the City of Austin, which reads:

Time Warner Cable Franchise
The PEG Access Channels shall be placed under the authority of the City for use related to governmental and educational purposes or individual expression. Access Channel use shall include sponsorships and underwriting. . . No restrictions shall be placed on these Channels for a public purpose of governmental entity or curriculum requirement of an educational institution, except as provided in this Franchise. As provided by law, Grantee shall not exercise editorial control over programming of any Access Channel.

A Public Access Channel shall be considered to be minimally utilized when twenty-five percent (25%) of the programming is non-repeat programming (over 24 hours). A Public Access Channel shall be considered to be fully utilized when eighty percent (80%) of the programming is for non-repeat programming (over 24 hours). The calculation of the minimum and maximum described shall be measured in each one-week period averaged over one (1) calendar year.


Jackie Goodman, PACT Co-President, spoke eloquently about public access, even comparing our plight with Harry Potter�s Goblet of Fire challenges. The most important thing she said was that we were being set up to fail. And that did get a response.

Garry and I met with Terry Dyke and Rondella Hawkins on Friday, 12 May, and we hope to have some very good news for all access producers in the coming week. We are working very hard to find a way to get playback at the Access Studios, to allow for streaming of all three channels and archiving. And most importantly, control of public access playback. We�ve been working with TARA since September on this. We are also looking at the equipment fund and aside from spending a large percentage of this fund on equipment repairs and how to best expedite this process, we looked at the possibility of buying new equipment as soon as possible.

McCallum High School has agreed to allow PACT to house their five G5s, fully loaded with Final Cut Pro Studio software, for the summer. We will have these systems available for training from May 30 till August 11 and are thrilled about this. It allows for more training and more systems for editing. The producers who are certified on Final Cut will have much more access now.

At the Board meeting in April, Secretary Cathy Beaudoin agreed to take on the daunting task of the Producers Choice awards. These will replace the previous video awards. The gala is planned for October 2006 and we will be getting this information out to the producers soon.

The Board is also looking at sponsorships and scholarships for PACT Producer IDs and training. As the guidelines are developed, we will get this information to the Producers.

And RealLife, the on-going documentary class, is planning to host a Producers Reunion this summer, the weekend of August 18th. All producers from 1973 to 2006 are invited to attend. There�s even some talk about a First Amendment Seminar on John Henry Faulk�s birthday, 21 August. More details to come.


1 MAY 2006


First � an important announcement:

We really want and need your input and appreciate your comments and feedback.


PRODUCERS FORUM

TO REVIEW THE POLICIES & PROCEDURES

SCHEDULED FOR TUESDAY MAY 2ND

6:00 PM TO 9:00 PM

CONFERENCE ROOM

If you can�t make it to the Producers Forum Tuesday night, please send your feedback via email to:

policies@pactaustin.org

until Friday, 5 May. Thank you.

I�ve worked with one producer this week that has a long running live show. She was concerned she would be violating the rules if she continued to allow her son to act as her audio guy and all around helper.

We decided to have her son do an internship for this next season. The producer will train the intern in the main studio. At the end of the series� season, the intern will take a main studio proficiency test to become main studio certified. And that�s it � that�s how easy it can be.

For any producers out there who are working with volunteers, family members, or friends as their crew for their studio shows, you too can have your very own intern. It�s up to you, the producer, to train them, and to make it formal with PACT. Just come by and visit with me or write an email. Let me know whom you would like as your intern and what you would like to train them to do. At the end of the series, your intern can take the proficiency test and place out. This will work with main and mini studios as well as the multi cam.


On Saturday, 29 April, a group of 7 producers and a few staff helped out with the Texas Quiz Show at the Bob Bullock History Museum. It was really cool. This Jeopardy-like game show was very well organized, the tech crew from the Spirit of Texas Theater were excellent and our partner and Board member, Oscar Poloma, was incredible. Oscar brought his remote truck and we all got some valuable, hands-on, professional experience. We encourage anyone who�s interested to ask Maria or Elena in Producer Services about these volunteer opportunities.

CINCO DE MAYO

We still looking for folks to help out with Cinco de Mayo � Jerry Avila is going live from the Main Studio from 10 am to 6 pm on Friday, 5 May. He�s lined up some fantastic music, Gonzales Barrientos, and delicious food for volunteers � so any help you can provide is truly appreciated.


FRAMEWORK


25 APRIL 2006


Stefan Wray put together these points as a framework for which the policies were considered and written. I think the following is an excellent illustration of the issues PACT is attempting to address.


POLICY FRAMEWORK


U.N. Declaration on Human Rights
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

U.S. Constitution: First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Texas Constitution: Bill of Rights
Every person shall be at liberty to speak, write or publish his opinions on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that privilege; and no law shall ever be passed curtailing the liberty of speech or of the press. . . .

Time Warner Cable Franchise
The PEG Access Channels shall be placed under the authority of the City for use related to governmental and educational purposes or individual expression. Access Channel use shall include sponsorships and underwriting. . . No restrictions shall be placed on these Channels for a public purpose of governmental entity or curriculum requirement of an educational institution, except as provided in this Franchise. As provided by law, Grantee shall not exercise editorial control over programming of any Access Channel.

A Public Access Channel shall be considered to be minimally utilized when twenty-five percent (25%) of the programming is non-repeat programming (over 24 hours). A Public Access Channel shall be considered to be fully utilized when eighty percent (80%) of the programming is for non-repeat programming (over 24 hours). The calculation of the minimum and maximum described shall be measured in each one-week period averaged over one (1) calendar year.

PACT Contract to Manage the Community Access Television Facilities
Contractor shall promote the public�s opportunity for interactive participation through electronic media resources in the overall community dialogue as a function of day-to-day management and coordination of the City�s three public access channels, including equipment and facilities on a first-come, first-served, nondiscriminatory, content-neutral, non-commercial basis.

Contractor shall provide equipment and channel time to qualified producers who have completed all necessary training and whose skills and knowledge meet minimum criteria established by the Contractor, approved on a content-neutral, nondiscriminatory basis. Contractor shall, in general, provide equipment and channel time on a first-come, first-served basis. Contractor�s obligations with respect to channel organization, attractive scheduling, providing suitable outlets for controversial programming, special needs, group oriented workshops, and community outreach needs may be exempted from the �first come, first served� rules, but only if such exemption is granted by a majority vote of the Board.

Quarterly Activity Reports. Contractor shall file with the City no later than fifteen (15) working days after the end of each quarter throughout the contract term a report detailing important benchmarks of the Access Network operations. Each quarterly report must include, at a minimum:

1. the total number of programming hours made available to the public on each channel and through the use of other technologies such as webcasting;

2. a summary of the programming sources and hours for each channel, including:
a. new programming produced using City facilities or equipment, including original and repeated playback;
b. programming acquired from local and non-local sources, including original and repeated playback;
c. event, program and any other form of text listing; or billboards;



24 APRIL 2006

Now that there have been three producer forums � I wanted to write about what issues and concerns have been presented � the timeline for the Policies and Procedures and some of the process.

First � an important announcement:

PRODUCERS FORUM

TO REVIEW THE POLICIES & PROCEDURES

SCHEDULED FOR TUESDAY MAY 2ND

6:00 PM TO 9:00 PM

CONFERENCE ROOM


Garry, David, Marion and I met with five producers at the first Producers Forum. It went very well and here are the two primary issues we discussed:

1. How can a Producer get certified crew for their productions in the main or mini studio? (Of course this also relates to multi-cam shoots, as well.)
2. Please clarify the proposed policies and procedures for walk-in and same day reservations?

Although no absolute solutions were reached, we did come up with the following possible answers:

� Temporary, seasonal crew certifications that would be issued for:
o Camera Operation
o Audio Board Operation
o Switching
o Assisting with microphones in the studio
These are just some of the skills that would be certified. All this is still under consideration, but we want to make sure the producer gets the help they need.

� Interns, either assigned to the producer directly, or available to the producer, scheduled to work on specific productions at specific times
� Crew Call, organized through Producer Services, that would partner producers wishing to volunteer on other productions with producers who need crew
� Volunteers who are working off any violations, assigned to specific productions to help crew
� Multi cam, mini and main studio students must work on two actual productions to complete their certifications

At the second Producers Forum, Friday, 21 April from 12 � 2:00 PM, one producer attended and didn�t have any specific issues per se � but wanted to come to see what was going on. We ate cheesecake and talked with Board Secretary Cathy Beaudoin about what was going on in the world and at public access.

The third Producers Forum was held Saturday, 22 April from 3:00 PM to about 4:45 PM in the Main Studio. Board Members Emanuel Limuel, Jr. and Celia Hughes attended. Staff included Garry, Linda, Maria, Marion, David, and Stefan. There were about 20 producers present.

The issues discussed were:

- Producers are responsible for all content and copyright � PACT must stay content neutral and not prescreen any programming.
- Questions about prescreening � specifically Freeman�s show with Homer Simpson footage � Marion responded to all questions about what happened and Freeman also explained the situation. Freeman was called because he had not completed his contract.
- Program Contract is confusing � needs to be clearer
- It was suggested we ask Peter Kennedy to help design and approve a Program Contract that works and is legal
- Lots of folks spoke up about who was responsible for content � the legal ramifications if PACT or the City got too involved
- Hours of Operation � why does PACT close now between midnight and 8 am Sunday through Thursday? Discussion led to cost versus use � and need.
- Customer Service Plan is needed from PACT before going into new policies and procedures. It was also said PACT should provide a Customer Satisfaction Survey
- One producer explained he was just learning about new rules that are being enforced � major changes that he�s just now finding out about
- Lengthy discussion ensued about the old Rules and Procedures under ACAC and the fact that these were never really enforced fairly across the board with everyone.
- One producer asked that the new policies be tabled and keep the old ones in place until October 1st to give everyone enough time to review and make suggestions.
- Everyone talked about how 2 hours wasn�t enough time to go over everything and more time was needed

The points made above are noted in their most stripped down version. Here�s some of the suggestions that were offered:

- There is absolutely no prescreening
- Crew certifications solutions were offered, please see info under first night�s producers forum
- PACT will call Peter Kennedy to ask for help on the Program Contract and to get a legal opinion about content
- PACT will continue to maintain the hours of operation and will provide surveillance cameras for the front desk and hallways
- Customer Service Plan is a part of the PACT personnel policies
- It is a part of PACT�s contract with the city to provide a Producer�s Satisfaction Survey at the end of the fiscal year. This was also written into PACT�s proposal to the city.
- The Policies and procedures, whether the new ones are used � or the existing rules from ACAC � must be voted on by the Board of Directors and put into place by June 13, 2006. That is part of the contract and the May 18th Board meeting is the last time the board meets before that deadline.
- Much of Saturday�s Producer Forum discussion centered around enforcement. So � we all need to look at that. If we are operating under the existing ACAC rules, any producer who does anything that adversely affects another producer is automatically suspended for 90 days � no questions asked � no warnings. Many many producers have returned equipment late and would be hurt by this.

The timeline for the Policies & Procedures:

May 2nd 6-9 PM Conference Room Producers Forum

May 6th 1-5 PM Conference Room Producer Council + Staff
+ Board meet to discuss
all input from producers

May 18th 6-8 PM Conference Room Board Meeting dealing only
With Policies

It seems the most critical problem we�re having with the Policies and Procedures is the OLD versus the NEW. Much of the old has been rewritten and is part of the new. However, much of the old is much more strict than the new.

I�ve gotten feedback that these are just too long. Yes, I agree. We�ll try and find a way to shorten and condense them

I�ve gotten a lot of feedback about crew certification. In both the new and the old � regardless of enforcement � it states clearly that only certified, active Producers may use the facilities and resources. Now to help with that we propose the following:

- Grandfather in that policy over a 6-month period, so producers have time to get their volunteer crew certified, or have them act as interns for a season for the experience � then get certified with Karla. We�re planning to do that. There may be other policies we think should be grandfathered in as well.

We�ve gotten a lot of phone calls about the Tucson Model. Please write or call and we�ll be glad to explain and to provide a one-page synopsis of this POSSIBLE allocation plan. Stefan Wray wrote an excellent explanation and we�ll be glad to make that available to anyone. We�ll also make sure it�s up on the web.

The Tucson model is not a part of the policies. We do not plan to adopt this before October 1st. We were just trying to get the information out there for review. Tomorrow I will put an addition to this blog to include the areas of the contract and franchise agreement that we need to pay attention to when developing policies and procedures.

We hope to incorporate the producers� input into a second draft to present to our Board of Directors at the May 18th Board meeting.

If you can�t make the Forums, but would like to let us know what you think, please send an email to:
policies@pactaustin.org

Another timely matter:

WE NEED CREW
SATURDAY APRIL 29TH � 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
This is for the Texas History Quiz
Remote Truck + Jeopardy-type Game Show + Bob Bullock History Museum
+ Partnering with AISD + Lots of on-site Experience + Middle School Kids
PLEASE CALL PRODUCER SERVICES � 478�8600 X 10 FOR MORE INFO & TO SIGN UP

There�s a lot happening these next two months that I�d like to tell you about.

On April 29th, PACT is partnering with the Austin Independent School District, the Texas Historical Society, the Bob Bullock Museum, and Bill Crawford to provide the technical expertise for the Texas History Quiz for middle school children. AISD is providing their remote truck, the action takes place in the theater on the 3rd floor of the State History Museum, and Bill Crawford acts as emcee. This Jeopardy-type quiz show is the culmination of the past year�s history quizzes given at individual middle schools throughout central Texas. PACT is excited to work on the project and will air seven � half hour programs of the contest in early June.

And YES � we do need help. So for all producers who wish to volunteer for Saturday, 29 April, please give me a call at 478.8600 Extension 18 and sign on to crew. We also need some help Friday night, 28 April, to set up at the Bob Bullock museum. We�re looking for folks who wish to learn to floor manage and work together with a large crew to shoot real-time programs based on a quiz show format.

Jerry Avila is producing an eight-hour live Cinco de Mayo show on � yes, Friday 5 May from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM in the Main Studio. We welcome everyone who would like to help crew, work with talent, help keep the green room in order, run audio, pull cables, switch, run camera, floor manage, etc. If you�re interested, please call Producer Services to sign up.

On May 20th, Clay Leben is producing the O�Henry Pun Off. He�s got the multi cam reserved and could really use some help with crew. If you need to work on a multi cam production for certification � or love puns and all things �punny� � please call Producer Services to volunteer. Clay�s put together an incredible production plan that explains everything and will be holding a pre-production meeting the first week of May to organize everything.

We�re putting out the word for our Kids Make TV Camps this summer, June 12th through the 30th. The flyer is available at the studios and we�d appreciate y�all getting the word out.

And for High School kids, Jegar Erickson and I have come up with a pretty cool concept to give them something to do this summer. It�ll be a pilot program during the summer and if it works, we�ll implement it throughout the school year too. It doesn�t have a name yet, but just think American Idol meets Indie filmmaking � live judges � basic camera + Final Cut Pro training and throw in a coffee shop, live audience and a bunch of aspiring filmmakers. I�ll explain more as the ideas firm up, but this could be something pretty remarkable.

City Council passed TARA�s request for money for a playback system on consent a couple of weeks ago. Now we�re looking at how best to implement all this into the workflow at PACT. We�re talking with the City about painting the facility � and re-cabling the building to allow for the installation of the playback system, once Purchasing gets the bid out. And yes, we are working diligently to try and get the lights and dimmers and all that fixed in both the main and mini studios.

And for you gardeners out there � I�m planning to make the front �lawn� into a small garden space � with a table and chairs � possibly a place for exterior interviews. If anyone likes gardening � I could use some help. First, we have to kill off all the weeds and get folks to donate the rock bricks and dirt and once we�ve got that � we�ll plant some native perennials, buy a table and chairs and make it happen. Let me know if you�d like to help.


2006-04-19
APRIL 19, 2006
I�m going to add a bit � and make sure this is dated.

Garry, David, Marion and I met with five producers last night at the first Producer Forum. It went very well and here�s the two primary issues we discussed:

1. How can a Producer get certified crew for their productions in the main or mini studio? (Of course this also relates to multi-cam shoots, as well.)
2. Please clarify the proposed policies and procedures for walk-in and same day reservations?

Although no absolute solutions were reached, we did come up with the following possible answers:

- Temporary, seasonal crew certifications that would be issued for:
o Camera Operation
o Audio Board Operation
o Switching
o Assisting with microphones in the studio
These are just some of the skills that would be certified. All this is still under consideration, but we want to make sure the producer gets the help they need.
- Interns, either assigned to the producer directly, or available to the producer, scheduled to work on specific productions at specific times
- Crew Call, organized through Producer Services, that would partner producers wishing to volunteer on other productions with producers who need crew
- Volunteers who are working off any violations, assigned to specific productions to help crew
- Multi cam, mini and main studio students must work at two actual productions to complete their certifications

We plan two more face-to-face Producer Forums to meet with producers who wish to give feedback concerning these Policies. The meetings are scheduled for:

- Friday, April 21st 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM Conference Room
- Saturday, April 22nd 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM Main Studio

We�ve gotten a lot of phone calls about the Tucson Model. Please write or call and we�ll be glad to explain and to provide a one-page synopsis of this POSSIBLE allocation plan. Stefan Wray wrote an excellent explanation and we�ll be glad to make that available to anyone. We�ll also make sure it�s up on the web.

We hope to incorporate the producers� input into a second draft to present to our Board of Directors at the May 18th Board meeting.

If you can�t make the Forums, but would like to let us know what you think, please send an email to:

policies@pactaustin.org

Yes, that�s right � we�ve changed our web address � though all will be directed from the old to the new. There seemed to be some confusion about the �official� website, so we are now �officially� pactaustin.org � pactaustin.com � pactaustin.tv � pactaustin.net, etc.

Another timely matter:

WE NEED CREW
SATURDAY APRIL 29TH � 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
This is for the Texas History Quiz
Remote Truck + Jeopardy-type Game Show + Bob Bullock History Museum
+ Partnering with AISD + Lots of on-site Experience + Middle School Kids
PLEASE CALL PRODUCER SERVICES � 478�8600 X 10 FOR MORE INFO & TO SIGN UP

For those who have been searching the �archives� for your programs, please call the Program Department � or me � to find your �lost� or missing tapes. And I just want to say � there are no lost or missing tapes. If you haven�t seen your show air lately, give us a call before jumping to any conclusions and let us know your concerns. We will be glad to help you find your shows and will happily print out recent program logs for you. PACT airs about 504 HOURS of programming each week � with about 250 HOURS of NEW PROGRAMMING and I know it�s hard sometimes to see everything that airs.

And good news � Time Warner has finally fixed the program guide to read PACT � Public Access Community TV on the TV guides. Hopefully they will soon provide Program Information for each show that airs. We�re working on that.

There�s a lot happening these next two months that I�d like to tell you about.

EXSE Spoken Word is scheduled for April 28th. Karla Salda�a is the lead producer and she has gathered crew to go live for a poetry and spoken word showcase. This is to honor April as National Poetry Month.

On April 29th, PACT is partnering with the Austin Independent School District, the Texas Historical Society, the Bob Bullock Museum, and Bill Crawford to provide the technical expertise for the Texas History Quiz for middle school children. AISD is providing their remote truck, the action takes place in the theater on the 3rd floor of the State History Museum, and Bill Crawford acts as emcee. This Jeopardy-type quiz show is the culmination of the past year�s history quizzes given at individual middle schools throughout central Texas. PACT is excited to work on the project and will air seven � half hour programs of the contest in early June.

And YES � we do need help. So for all producers who wish to volunteer for Saturday, 29 April, please give me a call at 478.8600 Extension 18 and sign on to crew. We also need some help Friday night, 28 April, to set up at the Bob Bullock museum. We�re looking for folks who wish to learn to floor manage and work together with a large crew to shoot real-time programs based on a quiz show format.

Jerry Avila is producing an eight-hour live Cinco de Mayo show on � yes, Friday 5 May from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM in the Main Studio. We welcome everyone who would like to help crew, work with talent, help keep the green room in order, run audio, pull cables, switch, run camera, floor manage, etc. If you�re interested, please call Producer Services to sign up.

On May 20th, Clay Leben is producing the O�Henry Pun Off. He�s got the multi cam reserved and could really use some help with crew. If you need to work on a multi cam production for certification � or love puns and all things �punny� � please call Producer Services to volunteer. Clay�s put together an incredible production plan that explains everything and will be holding a pre-production meeting the first week of May to organize everything.

We�re putting out the word for our Kids Make TV Camps this summer, June 12th through the 30th. The flyer is available at the studios and we�d appreciate y�all getting the word out.

And for High School kids, Jegar Erickson and I have come up with a pretty cool concept to give them something to do this summer. It�ll be a pilot program during the summer and if it works, we�ll implement it throughout the school year too. It doesn�t have a name yet, but just think American Idol meets Indie filmmaking � live judges � basic camera + Final Cut Pro training and throw in a coffee shop, live audience and a bunch of aspiring filmmakers. I�ll explain more as the ideas firm up, but this could be something pretty remarkable.

City Council passed TARA�s request for money for a playback system on consent a couple of weeks ago. Now we�re looking at how best to implement all this into the workflow at PACT. We�re talking with the City about painting the facility � and re-cabling the building to allow for the installation of the playback system, once Purchasing gets the bid out. And yes, we are working diligently to try and get the lights and dimmers and all that fixed in both the main and mini studios.

And for you gardeners out there � I�m planning to make the front �lawn� into a small garden space � with a table and chairs � possibly a place for exterior interviews. If anyone likes gardening � I could use some help. First, we have to kill off all the weeds and get folks to donate the rock bricks and dirt and once we�ve got that � we�ll plant some native perennials, buy a table and chairs and make it happen. Let me know if you�d like to help.

I�m adding the Accomplishments List Garry and I turned into the City for our six-month report. And please, if you have any questions, or concerns, give me or Garry a call � or stop by to visit.



SIX MONTH REPORT
April 2006

LIST OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS

- During the first thirty (30) days of operations, PACT provided the following:

o Maintained on-air operations,
o All resources, facilities, and equipment were available to producers,
o Orientation and Open Studio continued, and
o Re-established all utilities, phones, and office services.

- Held six Board of Director meetings,

- Met with all ACTV staff and reviewed employee performances,

- Established payroll as direct deposit,

- Set-up all the financials and bookkeeping,

- Became incorporated as a 501(c)(3) with the Internal Revenue Service,

- Adopted By-Laws for the Corporation,

- Provided Health and Life insurance for all fulltime employees, and the option for Dental and Vision,

- Held open house the same weekend as the East Side studio tour,

- Met with the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired High School students. Arranged for students to do a live newscast here at the access center�s main studio, April 2006. Also met with the fifth grade class to help them produce a video about teasing kids who are blind. The High School students toured the Access Studios in February 2006, in preparation for the videotaping of their show.

- Garry and Linda were the featured presenters at the November Reel Women meeting. There was a lively discussion and many questions were answered. Four Reel Women members came to our next Producers� Forum at the access center and an additional three came to the following Orientation session. A few members also attended the Final Cut Pro demonstration.

- Garry and Linda have held four Producer Forums since October 1st. Attendance has increased at each subsequent forum. There is an apparent interest in meeting with management and each Forum has resulted in lively discussions.

- Offered the Final Cut Demo in partnership with local vendor ProTape. Although this was scheduled on �ice� day, with seventy original registrants, fifty actually attended. VSA also partnered with PACT to present another Final Cut demo in February and local vendor, Texas Media Systems presented a demo with Avid and HD Cameras in March.

- Hired a new training specialist, Javier Rivera who began work December 1, 2005. Javier did a very professional job composing the music for and editing our new orientation video. Javier holds a Masters in Education and to date has demonstrated excellent skills in final cut editing and the ability to train diverse populations. All scheduled training classes for January filled up immediately. Had to hire free-lance trainer for additional classes, specifically in Final Cut Pro.

- Linda made a presentation to the Mayor�s Committee on People with Disabilities. PACT offered to showcase the award-winning videos once they�re brought to access.

- By the end of December, Garry and Linda have met with over 100 producers, one-on-one. This includes preproduction meetings for First Night Austin, folks who have dropped by the office, Producer Forums, attending Orientations and being available and on site throughout the workday and into the evenings.

- Implemented a new philosophy concerning producers and violations, except where damaged equipment is concerned. PACT has not suspend producers or charged fines for violations. Instead, producers are asked to volunteer, whether it be to help out in general, mentor other producers, crew open studio for community non profits, or work in coordination with PACT to produce community event

- Finalized all details with McCallum High School for HiFi High. Provided orientation, camera training, and programming instruction for over 40 students, on site. HIFI Hi goes live from McCallum High School on January 12, 2006, from 5:00 � 6:00 PM on Channel 16. Have also partnered with McCallum to help train the students through short-term internship programs during Spring Break 2006 with work on SXSW live events.

- PACT presented First Night Austin live on Channel 16 for two hours New Year�s Eve. Over 30 producers volunteered their time, energy and expertise to produce an incredible show. Field Producers and Camera Operators shot over ten (10) hours of video of the events, demonstrations and installations along Congress Avenue. Interviewed Anne Graham, Executive Director, and Ann Wynn, Board President of First Night at the beginning and end of the evening. PACT producers also interviewed the Mayor twice, once live and a second time as he participated in the party hat event earlier in the day. Producers also interviewed most of the participants in the procession and many of Austin�s children and citizens about their experiences with First Night. The greatest accomplishment was in the way all these diverse access producers worked together to make this event available to the Austin community and to do so live. Although everyone who worked on the project was an Access Producer, most of the folks had never met before. This was an excellent beginning to PACT�s wish to build a strong, committed producer community.

o Those vignettes are now being edited into the showcase of the entire event to be replayed on PACT. The Final Cut Pro Advanced graduate classes are using the footage shot for First Night to hone their editing skills. This skills� exercise combines the use of actual footage with student editors to benefit both the new editors and PACT.

- PACT�s logo was designed free of charge by Kelly Toombs. He agreed to do this because of PACT�s work with McCallum High School�s Fine Arts Program and HiFi High. PACT is now in the process of getting their letterhead, business cards and other print materials for the non-profit.

- Meet with representatives from the Austin History Center and agreed to help produce public service announcements about the Mayor�s Reading Program.

- Helped bring together an access producer with Paramount Pictures. This resulted in a mutually beneficial partnership.

- Completed a comprehensive Inventory and assessment of all equipment and facilities. This resulted in an agreement with Time Warner to allow equipment repair to be handled by a new vendor, Ground Zero. This has expedited and organized the repair process.

- Initiated and stayed on top of building maintenance to make up fort years of neglect. PACT is now maintaining a janitorial service to keep the building clean. The workflow in the Equipment room is improved with the addition of a new counter top. Producer Services was moved to accommodate producers more readily and all floors were waxed and carpets steam cleaned.

- The exterior of the facility has been power washed, the excessive signs in the parking lot have been removed or replaced, the shrubs have been trimmed, the trash and litter is gone, picnic tables are now available and accessible for producers� use and the grass was mowed.

- PACT and VSA Arts of Texas have agreed to partner on two projects. The first is a grant application with TARA. VSA is requesting funds for closed captioning equipment. This enterprise will be used to train people with disabilities to provide closed captioning for public access programming. PACT will house the encoder for the captioning process. Once the service is established, closed captioning will be made available to the community to generate revenue.

- PACT is now filling summer camp sessions for Kids Make TV camps. These three, one-week sessions will be held in June and are filling fast. The first session is for 10 � 12 year olds; the second for 13 � 15 year olds and the third is for 16 � 18 year olds. The older campers will learn Studio Production, and PACT will partner with VSA Arts of

Texas. VSA Arts is sponsoring a 3-week camp for Actual Lives, performance of personal life experiences. PACT�s high school students will use their skills learned in studio production and tape or even go live with the Actual Lives performance.

- PACT is working with High School students to supervise the production of a Reality series for youth. PACT will provide the skills training in basic camera and editing, provide the resources and supervision, and the young people will be free to produce a weekly reality series about their lives.

- A partnership is now coordinated with America Youthworks, to train one of their classes, provide basic camera skills and to provide producer ID�S. In turn, these students will work as TV Guides, to mentor and work with the younger students at the Kids Make TV camps this summer. America Youthworks is responsible for producing a 15-minute video about the Digital Face of Austin and PACT is coordinating all efforts with them to make this video available to the World Congress scheduled for April in Austin.

- PACT worked with Knowbility in the Accessible Internet Rally to make PACT�s web site universally accessible. Although PACT did not win the rally, we were winners, in that PACT now has an incredibly designed and functional site that includes training on how to light, the Executive Director�s blog and easily accessible information for Producers, viewers, and interested community members.

- PACT coordinated with Producer Jegar Erickson to go live for all five days of the SXSW film festival. Jegar coordinated over 20 producers for a daily, two-hour live show from the Access Main Studio where he interviewed filmmakers from around the world, previewed film clips and generally put PACT on the map with SXSW. The Press Director from SXSW had to contact PACT to get directions for the studios because so many filmmakers were asking how to get to the Austin Film Show. It was a very well attended event.

- Producer Ross Wilsey and PACT staff organized over 50 volunteer producers to present EXSE (East By Southeast) for twelve hours a day over three days during SXSW. There was an additional three days of pre-taping that brought the total number of local bands and Austin music acts to 50. Seventy bands applied and fifty were interviewed and given the opportunity to play a thirty-minute live set. PACT not only brought a segment of the local community that has been at a loss since the demise of AMN, but made the live local music scene available to the movers and shakers involved in the SXSW Music Festival.

- Three volunteer producers are covered the Martin Luther King parade as a community event and eventual playback on public access.

- Linda�s one-year Documentary Seminar began January 31, 2006. This seminar is very popular and is well attended. To date, there have been sixty attendees over six seminars. The on-going seminar will produce a feature length, theatrical documentary about the History of Public Access in Austin, Texas. The classes have included real world skills such as creating a production plan and actual budget, grant writing, research, and learning about the various types of documentaries on the market today.

- PACT is now requiring all producers to attend the seminar entitled Program Warranties and the Future of Public Access. Stefan Wray conducts these with legal advice and a taped interview with Peter Kennedy. These seminars serve as a preventive measure, and insure all producers are aware of the legalities concerning their responsibilities � and the guarantees they make when they sign the Program Contract. This also provides information about the federal, state, and local climate for the future of public access.

- A Media Attorney and a group of lawyers have agreed to provide pro bono advice to access producers concerning copyright and other legal issues.

- PACT will mail it�s first quarterly newsletter in April.

- The Producers Council held elections in January and nine producers now form the council. They have provided four pages to be included in the PACT newsletter.

- The Telecommunications Commission is expected to pass a Resolution for the City Council, authored in part by Garry Wilkison, in support of PACT�s automated playback system and archiving with the Austin History Center.

- PACT wrote and delivered to the City of Austin, the specifications for a surveillance system.

- PACT�s General Manager provided complete and full research of all inventory items� replacement value for the City of Austin�s insurance coverage.

- PACT worked with the City of Austin to develop budgeting for new equipment systems, including playback with full robotics, web streaming, and archiving capabilities.

- PACT�s General Manager is currently working on the design of equipment systems for procurement.

- PACT bought new equipment, including a high-end microphone, video projector, two projector screens, two new computers, and a color laser printer.

- PACT bought new furniture, including matching conference room chairs, new desk and conference room executive chairs, and a small conference room table for the administrative area to allow for more training and meeting space.

- PACT�s General Manager is working with the City�s Communications and Technology Management Department, received a quote for new wiring systems, to re-wire the building, and to procure new services.

- PACT was awarded a contract with the City of Austin�s Channel 6 to provide production equipment and crew for live coverage every Friday, for the Music in the Plaza series to run April through October.

- PACT has partnered with Austin Independent School District, the Texas Historical Society, the Bob Bullock History Museum and Producer Bill Crawford to provide expertise and crew for the Texas Quiz Show. This will bring together middle school students from across central Texas to compete in a game show, which will provide AISD and PACT with seven (7) thirty-minute programs for the youth market.

- PACT has been working with Producer Karla Salda�a to organize EXSE Spoken Word, a live showcase featuring poets and spoken word artists in homage to April�s National Poetry Month.

- PACT�s training has grown so much an additional full-time trainer was hired, as well as two contract trainers to meet the demand.

- City of Austin Building Services, with PACT�s oversight, has now provided two new doors, a new lock and key system, and an administrative area. Building Services has now replaced the ceiling tiles in both the Main and Mini studios.

- PACT dismantled, inventoried, transported, delivered and stored the Austin Music Network�s playback system until incorporation into PACT�s new playback system.

- PACT also removed and delivered to the City a truckload of unusable office equipment and materials.

- PACT has now established a General Store for small, expendable production items and videotape.