Monday, August 17, 2009

Telecom Board minutes from June 2009

Telecommunications Board Meeting
June 18, 2009 Minutes

Mr. Aubrey Shepherd called the meeting to order. Members present were Andy Mayes, Aubrey Shepherd, Marvin Hilton and Angie Graves. There was a quorum present and Mr. Shepherd declared the meeting would be an official meeting and action could be taken. Mr. Shepherd read the names of the new board members coming on board in July, Mike Russell, Justin Tennant and Don Bosseau.

This was Ms Graves last board meeting and Mr. Shepherd acknowledged her service.

The minutes for the Telecommunications Board meetings from February 2009 through May 2009 were approved by a motion from Hilton and seconded by Mayes. Motion was approved.

A motion to accept the agenda was made by Graves and seconded by Mayes. Motion was approved.

UATV Contract/U-Verse

Mr. Shepherd asked for a representative from UATV and there was none present. Shepherd asked for comment from staff on the UATV contract. Mr. Gisler, Government Channel Manager, stated he would save his comments till his staff report.

Mr. Shepherd asked for comment from Mr. Mayes regarding Fayetteville High School portion of the educational channel. Mr. Mayes said he would wait till Mr. Gisler gave his report but that he (Mr. Mayes) was interested in an update on U-Verse negotiations with UATV and any lack of interest by UATV in that service.

Ms Graves asked if a meeting took place. Mr. Mayes responded there was no meeting and that the discussions were taking place between the city and AT&T headed up by Don Marr.

Community Access Television Report

CAT Manager Sky Blaylock reported the PEG Center was being overhauled with painting going on in the lobby. Ms. Blaylock reported they were trying to generate income streams because of the economy through participation in a Facebook Page and have several hundred people who have joined their page. Ms.Blaylock also reported that CAT is one of the non-profits that the AMP Concert venue is considering for donations through ticket sales at their upcoming concert featuring Lee Ann Rhimes. Ms. Blaylock also reported that CAT is able to receive donations through Flower Power Fundraising by people buying bulbs and that CAT receives part of the proceeds. Blaylock reported on state video franchising and the harm that has been done to local video franchising.

Government Channel Report

Mr. Gisler reported that he and the staff are looking at making the technology pay and becoming more efficient.

Mr.Gisler stated that CAT TV is now the public face of the building and that CAT is making the public space their own. Mr. Shepherd asked about the efficiency of CAT now that they have front desk responsibilities. Mr.Gisler stated they were really already providing that service because most people were only coming to that building to see CAT but that CAT now actually has the front desk space.

Mr.Gisler stated that there had been some confusion with Jones TV, which provides programming for Channel 16 in other municipalities and on Channel 22 in Fayetteville, referencing a graphic which had been seen on Channel 22 indicating that Channel 16 & Channel 22 would be off the air while some upgrades were taking place. Mr.Gisler stated some citizens in Fayetteville saw this and were concerned that Fayetteville’s Government Channel would be off air but that he communicated with those citizens and corrected the misunderstanding. Mr.Gisler stated he also reached out to Jones TV about preventing the confusion in the future.

Mr.Gisler stated concerning the UATV contract that Don Marr has reached out to UATV’s Larry Foley but he was not aware of where the conversations are at this time.

Mr.Gisler stated a couple of weeks ago he had a meeting with Cathy Foracker of AT&T and a gentleman who works on their implementation of PEG channels. The status is that once it is finalized where the city is at with the University and Fayetteville Public Schools that AT&T is ready to go forward with engineering site visits at the PEG center where Channel 16 and 18 will originate and where Channel 14 may be originated either from Fayetteville High School or UATV. Mr. Gisler stated he would call next week to schedule site visits. Mr.Gisler stated he was not sure that the determination concerning Channel 14 had been made and that it was 120 days from engineering site visits to full implementation.

Ms. Graves asked what needed to be determined. Mr. Gisler stated AT&T needed to know where to put the equipment for Channel 14.

Ms. Graves asked if Cox had equipment at both UATV and Fayetteville Public Schools, Mr. Gisler responded yes. Mr. Gisler stated that the fundamental question is whether there would be four channels or three channels. AT&T had agreed to implement three channels in Fayetteville and the third channel will originate from UATV or Fayetteville Public Schools.

Ms. Graves stated that the channel now originates from both. Mr. Gisler corrected the statement and said now it originates from UATV only.

Mr. Mayes stated that programming content currently comes from both locations. Mr. Mayes states that there is encoding equipment at both locations and there is a switcher that redirects the source from one location to the other. Mr. Mayes reminds the board that Fayetteville Public Schools is already equipped to push out windows media format stream that is necessary for U-Verse and that it could be potential savings up front for AT&T. Mr. Mayes states that he hopes we are not waiting on UofA to decide what is going to happen with the city’s channel. Mr. Gisler responds that it is his understanding that we are not waiting for that to happen.

Mr. Gisler states that he believes from AT&T’s perspective that where ever the programming is going to originate from is where the equipment should be located. Mr. Mayes responds that will be a significant issue and he would not want to see UATV dropped just as he would not want to see Fayetteville Public Schools dropped. Mr. Mayes states if that is going to be an issue that we need to push back for a fourth channel. Mr. Mayes states that UATV and FHS would both like to have more programming time on the channel. Mr. Mayes states that UATV had expressed concerned about their relationship with Cox and Mr. Mayes states that FHS has had a good relationship with Cox. Mr. Mayes states that he believes that should not have any bearing on the U-Verse educational channel which is a city resource and they (AT&T) are not party to that discussion. Mr. Mayes states if there is any hold up by AT&T wanting to know what the UofA wants to do, that it is not good. Mr. Gisler states AT&T is not waiting on UofA to make a decision and that AT&T is ready to go but he needs to know where to tell them to go. Mr. Mayes responds that AT&T needs to go to both locations. Mr. Mayes states that the board has not been a party to the conversation going on off line and that it is a concern. Mr. Gisler states that he will contact Mr. Foley and Mr. Mayes and see if the technical people can get together to get the details worked out.

Ms. Graves states that if there is a need to try and get a fourth channel because of potential technical limitation that the city should try and convince AT&T of the need for a fourth channel.

Mr. Shepherd asked if there was a motion from Ms. Graves for a statement from the Telecommunications Board stating that the board supported the adding of a fourth channel.

Ms. Graves states she thinks that is true statement but wants to know how that would affect the Cox side and that she would like some more discussion.

Mr. Mayes states why limit the motion to AT&T why not include Cox and ask the city to pursue a fourth channel.

Ms. Graves makes a motion that the Telecom Board recommend that a fourth channel be added so that programming from Fayetteville Public Schools and UATV could be separated into individual channels for both U-Verse and Cox. Mr. Shepherd asks for comments. Mr. Hilton states it is straightforward but it implies that the city needs to start negotiations with Cox again.

Ms. Blaylock states that the city should pursue a fourth channel.

Mr. Gisler states that the staff would support the Telecom Board in the recommendation.

Mr. Mayes seconds Ms. Graves motion. The motion passes.

Mr. Shepherd states that the board would write the City Council.

Mr. Shepherd discussed the differences between Granicus for the Government Channel and Community Access Television. Mr. Gisler states that there has been an update to the city’s implementation to the Granicus service which caused a loss of some functionality of the Granicus implementation but that he is going to try and get some of the functionality back. Mr. Gisler states Community Access Television implements Granicus separately from the city.


Mr. Shepherd asked if there were any compliments or complaints. There were none.

Mr. Hilton states that there is a request from Mr. Bemis. Mr. Hilton read the request that asked that the Telecommunications Board consider supplementary FGC policies and procedures that would provide for establishing a pool of reserve producers to be used only when required by heavy production demands. The reserve producers would only be used when an especially heavy television production demand exceeded FGC resources. Mr. Bemis’ formal written request ask for permission to replay the June 4th Orton Bemis video production of the Fayetteville Forward Subcommittee on Land Use and Green Infrastructure on the Fayetteville Government Channel and board consideration for policy and procedure that would allow airing of FGC programs produced by a pool of FGC trained and certified local producers including CAT staff as well as designated CAT producers and other volunteer local producers..

Mr. Hilton stated that he saw no problem with Mr. Bemis request.

Ms. Graves asked if there was anything in current policy or procedures that prevented it.

Mr. Hilton stated that the current policy does not really say what to do and that it leaves it wide open.

Mr. Mayes states he agrees and these discussions have already taken place and the response he has heard from staff was positive toward any help they could get.

Mr. Mayes states that he does not believe that the board should get into recommending that the government channel play any specific program. Ms. Graves states unless there is an appeal and Mr. Mayes agreed.

Mr. Gisler states that the staff has discussed potential issues (using volunteers) and has come up with solutions for all of them. Mr. Gisler states Mr. Bemis has not come forward with the program that he shot and produced asking to have it placed on the channel.

Mr. Shepherd asks for a motion to support this effort.

Mr. Mayes makes a motion to respond to Mr. Bemis’ suggestion by continuing the work that the board has already begun in the government channel policy rewrite subcommittee. Mr. Hilton seconds the motion and the motion passes.

Internet Committee Report

Mr. Shepherd ask for any comments on the Internet Committee Report. Mr. Mayes states he has his notes from the meeting and that he will post them on the forum, Access Fayetteville Now.

Mr. Bemis’s Complaint

Mr. Shepherd asked for comments. Mr. Hilton stated that the board should issue a brief statement stating that the board has carried out a brain storming session, a forum and now the board is rewriting the government channel policy in response to Mr. Bemis complaint. Mr. Hilton questions whether the statement should be issued before the rewrite or after. Mr. Mayes responds that he believes the board should put the matter to rest. Mr. Mayes makes the motion to issue a statement, Ms. Graves seconds and the motion passes.

Proposed 2009 Telecom Board Goals

Mr. Hilton gave a brief description of the issues that he has heard the board discuss over the last year. The board had a brief discussion of the list. Mr. Mayes stated it was a good working list and Ms. Graves stated she thought it was excellent.

Assessment of what PEG Channel Reports are required.

Mr. Hilton stated that he wanted to clarify that all of the channels should be treated the same in regards to reports and the only thing required would be a written quarterly report following the end of the quarter. There was a discussion between the Telecom Board, Government Channel Manager and the CAT Manager about what was wanted and required.

July Meeting Agenda

Mr. Hilton stated that the board should go back to the old rule of getting the Telecom Board agenda and documents for the informational packet ready a week a head of time. Mr. Shepherd stated he was not sure about a week but that 48 hours is necessary. Ms. Graves stated that administrative rules state a week. Mr. Hilton stated that is more for the public but that details can be added.

Mr. Hilton states that the CAT contract should be put on the agenda in order to set up a meeting date.

Ms. Graves moves to adjourn, Mr. Mayes seconds and the meeting is adjourned.

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