Thursday, March 12, 2009

Minutes of February 19, 2009, telecom-board meeting

Telecommunication Board Meeting Minutes
February 19, 2009
Room 219, 113 West Mountain
5:30 p.m.

Board members present were Sales, Graves, Shepherd, Hilton and Mayes. Also in attendance: University Of Arkansas Television (UATV) Station Manager Dan Phillips, and Community Access Television (CAT) Manager Sky Blaylock.
Approval of January 15, 2009 Minutes
Graves moved to approve the minutes.
The second was unidentified and the motion passed.
Adoption Of The Agenda
Sales moved to adopt the agenda
Graves seconded the motion.
The motion passed.
UATV Television Report
Station manager Dan Phillips reported that the station is seen 126 hours a week with six hours a week as first run, original programming.
The station has one new program, Beyond the Sound Bite, a one-hour long panel discussion with the first topic being illegal immigration.
They also have a new import from Drexel University that is 30 minutes long.
UATV recently installed a new audio board and are close to having all programming on the internet at
Fayetteville High School is airing their Friday basketball games live.
UATV is currently aired in Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville as well as Fayetteville on channel 14.
Mayes expressed his appreciation for UATV’s flexibility allowing FHS to air the games.
Phillips said the UATV contract with the City is unsigned because it is thought to be out of date and not representative of the station. He said revisions were made and sent back to the City but with Dr. Thomas leaving last December, it is uncertain where those revisions are. UATV however, is willing to continue negotiating the contract should the City wish.
Graves moved to gather the information on the suggested changes to the UATV contract for board review and recommendation on how the City might proceed.
The second was unidentified.
The motion passed

AT&T U-verse
Hilton said that AT&T’s information on this service mentions a site visit and wondered if it has happened or if it is planned. Hilton also noted that the U-verse agreement with AT&T states there is supposed to be an annual report by AT&T about the service.

Blaylock said the Alliance for Community Media has followed U-verse and found PEG channels are not available to everyone who subscribes, Peg channels are in an inferior channel (99) spot and it is documented that AT&T has bypassed local franchising authorities in many places.
Hilton also asked if written notice has been received that AT&T has the capability to provide technical access.

Shepherd said he would send a written request for a report on the items Hilton mentioned.

Cox Communications Report
Shepherd said Cox was invited to the meeting but was unable to attend but will again invite them to the March meeting.

CAT Report
Blaylock reminded the board of the Community Media Summit March 27 & 28, 2009 and added that CAT got an $8,000 grant from the Benton Foundation. She said they are seeking access channels outside the region as there are so few within the region. Lastly, she said the FAT CAT awards will be awarded during the summit.

Shepherd suggested to Blaylock that the Short Take program be not recorded on re-recordable DVDs as appearances could be taped over and unseen due to something like the recent January power outage.

Blaylock agreed and will change the practice at CAT.


Shepherd read the AT&T response to a previous complaint about the availability of
U-verse service in Fayetteville.

Hilton suggested that the board vote on whether complaints are adequately addressed.

Mayes suggested that when AT&T reports to the board they give an update on the rollout of U-verse in Fayetteville.

Hilton moved that they approve the response to the complaint.

The second was unidentified.

The motion passed.

Subcommittee Report on Forum Planning
Hilton said that Walt Eilers will be the moderator of the February 24, 2009 forum on the Governance of the Government Channel. He said and that there has been no word from the Mayor’s office on having a representative there and the City Attorney has said he is not available. Participants will be
Angie Graves, Telecom Board member
Fred Cusanelli, Telecom Board member
Andy Mayes, Telecom Board member
Marvin Hilton, Telecom Board member
Aubrey Shepherd, Telecom Board Chairman
Jim Bemis, Citizen Representing Complainants

Hilton read the list of questions formulated by the subcommittee.

1. Which City of Fayetteville entities shall have administrative responsibility for recommending and implementing the Fayetteville Government Channel Policy and Procedures?

Hilton moved to accept this question for the forum.
Graves made the second.
The motion passed.

2. What are the formal working relationships between the City Council, Telecommunications Board and the City Staff as established by City ordinances?

Hilton moved to accept this question for the forum.
Graves made the second.
The motion passed.

3. What is the definition of “policy” and what is the definition of “procedure”?

Hilton moved to accept this question for the forum.
Graves made the second.
The motion passed.

4. Which of the following entities, City Council, Telecommunications Board, or City Staff has “ownership” and legal responsibility for the FGC policies and procedures?

Hilton moved to accept this question for the forum.
Graves made the second.
The motion passed.

5. Which of these entities (mentioned in question #4) define the “policy” and “procedures” that apply to the Fayetteville Government Channel and other PEG Center electronic media facilities?

Hilton moved to accept this question for the forum.
Graves made the second.
The motion passed.

6. What are the reasons for having issue forums on the Government Channel that are requested by citizens?

Hilton noted that the complaint that this forum came from was that the process was not properly followed in constructing the new policy.

Graves thought this last question should not be asked at the February 24 forum.

Mayes agreed as did complainant Jim Bemis.

Mayes moved to omit question #6 from the forum.
Graves made the second.
The motion passed.

Hilton asked that since the forum will take place within the context of a TCB meeting should the board allow votes to be taken.

Mayes said that was discussed in the forum planning meeting and it was decided that no votes would be taken.

Graves agreed that the special board meeting would not be merged with official business.

Hilton asked how they planned to use the information that comes out of the forum.

Shepherd said the notes of the forum will give them ideas for board motions.

Graves said she hoped they would get to some working relationships, protocol and process between the entities. To that end, she suggested re-inviting the City Attorney’s office, and a representative of the Mayor’s office and City Council.

Mayes agreed and said at least they should get written responses to the questions.

Bemis also agreed that dialogue is needed.

Shepherd stressed the desire for public input at the February 24th forum either in person, by phone or email as it will be aired LIVE.

Internet Subcommittee Report
Shepherd asked for a volunteer or nomination to chair the subcommittee as former member Bell was the chair but is no longer a board member. He has the DVDs of the three subcommittee meetings for the new chair to review in order to get up to speed. He added that the subcommittee does not need to meet before the March TCB meeting.
Other subcommittee members are Bemis, Shepherd, Ward 2 Alderman Petty, and CAT Board Vice Chair Leaf.

Mayes volunteered to chair the committee as long as it is not a committee of one.

An informal voice vote was in favor of Mayes as Internet Subcommittee chair.

Policy & Procedures Subcommittee Report
Hilton suggested that any further work in this subcommittee should follow the February 24th forum and the yet to be scheduled brainstorming session.

Graves and Bemis agreed.

Hilton suggested roundtable seating at the PEG Center studio for the brainstorming session.

Bemis suggested the board discuss and define what a brainstorming session is since it is not mentioned in the policy & procedures.

Mayes said the nature of a brainstorming session is unstructured and moved that the session be scheduled before the March 19 TCB meeting if possible.

Hilton suggested that the brainstorming session should follow the March TCB discussion of the February 24 forum.

Mayes suggested the board address all the outstanding items of the Bemis complaint before they attempt to take any action.

Graves agreed.

It was then decided to tape the session for replay on the City 16 channel.

Hilton made the second to Mayes motion.

The motion passed.

Shepherd said he would make the reservation “at the CAT studio.”

Old Business
Bemis suggested that his complaint dated Nov 17, 2008 be taken up at the next Policy & Procedures Subcommittee for resolution.

New Business
Bemis referred to a Mayes comment of how the city can get more bandwidth for another education channel. He claimed AT&T and Cox could provide it with the switch to digital television.

Mayes said the school system would like an additional channel but the board should deal with current issues before considering an additional channel.

Citizen Comment
Shepherd said he thought this a useful agenda item and so added it.

Agenda For March Meeting
Hilton suggested the UATV contract and AT&T U-verse update.

Graves suggested reports from the forum and brainstorming session.

Bemis suggested the board send a representative to the Community Media Summit in March.

With no additional agenda items or discussion, Shepherd declared the meeting adjourned at approximately 7:10 p.m.

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