Saturday, December 05, 2009

Recent Item On Westside Cable Access Draws Response From Brian Caterino

This article appeared in

Suburban News on
Nov. 29th.

Click on to read it.

Brian Caterino's response:

If you are familiar with Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” than you are no doubt amused by David Dunning’s remarks in the November 29th article “Westsiders react to changes in local cable access.” Listening to Emperor Dunning describe the overwhelmingly blank PEG channels in the West Side as “pure” public access recalls the foolish Emperor of the fable who believes he is dressed in finery no one else can see. The most appropriate response to Emperor Dunning and the other west side emperors is ribald laughter at their indecent appearance. However the issue is more serious. The vanity and mean spirit of municipal leaders has taken a lively public forum with a wide and diverse array of programs and turned it into an empty wasteland.

The illegal seizure of PEG channels by westside municipalities ignored the need for public input and open discussion. Despite numerous requests there were no public hearings or meetings to discuss this matter. No public initiative was allowed. It was all done behind closed doors by administrative fiat. Yet while the public had no say in this decision you still foot the bill. If you subscribe to Time Warner cable you are still charged the franchise fees yet get no service for this payment.

I have asked Emperor Dunning about public access a couple of times and he expressed no interest in public access and little curiosity about its workings. I fail to see how he could be considered an authority on public access programming or capable of defining its true character. I don't know of any public access operators or analysts who would consider an empty screen good public access programming. Educable ran programming 24 hours a day. Public access channels all over the country use programming like Free Speech TV, DW and others for a variety of reasons. They provide alternative and sometime controversial perspectives and enhance cultural diversity. I guess all these access operators are dummies and only Emperor Dunning (and his tailors) can see the access in its true vestments. In reality, when municipalities intervene to remove programming like Free Speech TV that has an alternative character, they always have political motives. That’s the case here.

Public access was created to provide both a forum for the local community and the means to create programming. Both citizens and legislators realized that the average person had no way to get their ideas on the airways. Yet one has no effective rights to speak if the means and the public space to speak are limited and the opportunities systematically discouraged. That’s why public access includes local facilities for citizens to use, equipment for production and sometimes to loan out, staff to run and program the channels and to aid programmers, and when funding exists and staffing exists, to train area residents in video production. All of these features have been eliminated. Local residents opportunities and capabilities are limited -- not free What Dunning calls pure access is pure bs. It’s nothing but an empty shell.

The claim that there are technical issues is a typical code phrase used is to cover political aims. Since almost everyone can have such technical issues they be brought up at will when needed as an excuse for removing some group that is too vocal is allow local dissent. But technical requirements can be used to foster political aims. They can eliminate ordinary programmers who don’t size up and to discourage use of access channels by programmers. Time Warner accepts only limited number of formats most of which are not accusable to average citizens and the fourth is in the process of being phased out. They don’t accept many widely used formats. The claim that Time Warner has newer technology and that this is crucial to public access is bogus. Time Warner still includes BETA tapes not exactly the cutting edge in technology but not something many local programmers use. In contrast at educable we accepted and converted practically every format submitted. The aim is of access is to get people on the air and we went out of our way to make sure people got on.

Emperor Dunning claims that we at Educable have failed to run programming but does not specify anything. We have never been informed of any such issue by Emperor Dunning and we ask he provide evidence to substantiate his claim, and evidence he has informed us of his concern. To the contrary when Emperor Dunning took office he refused to submit programming or to use the channel. I have invited Emperess Gay Lenhardt to come on the channel numerous times The statements they make seem hypocritical.

Your access channels are being turned into GOP TV, a vehicle for public officials who already have power and authority and access to the media. -- primarily your local municipal and school district authorities The power of initiative which is supposed to lie with the community has been seized by local governments. You can’t have public access where there is no room for public initiative or the facilities for using access. IT’s a contradiction in terms. The claim that its serves just a few is belied by Emperor Dunning’s own statements in the article about taping meetings. Claiming that few care about access is a code phrase labeling those who disagree with GOP tv as few and irrelevant. Clearly they aren’t simply a few but they are the folks whose free speech rights access is meant to protect.

Brian Caterino


Anonymous said...

The Access channels are pretty much a joke now.

NO Free Speech tv. That was great.

Anonymous said...

HA HA. That's funny. But true. I can;t watch those channels anymore

I'm thinking of dropping TW service. The first tier of programs is just local stations and blank channels.

SCATS said...

To 1:18PM ~~ Oh come now! That slide shows up great 24 hrs. day ;)

Anonymous said...

What anyone fails to tell you is that Brian was airing the satellite fed programming illegally, and against TWC rules and regs not to mention agreements with the satellite companies he stole programming from. I am also willing to bet that Mr. Caterino did not have the proper licensing to re-broadcast satellite and nationally syndicated programs. I know everyone here just loves Brian, but before you complain, check the REAL facts.

SCATS said...

To 10:54AM ~~ Why would that have been kept secret all of this time if it were true? I'm intrigued by your accusations. Show me some documentation, please.

Anonymous said...

@SCATS 11:14 - Based on past practice of this site, the accusation is allowed to be made and it is now up to Mr. Caterino to prove otherwise.

I'll look forward to Brian's response to these claims and hope he is open and forthcoming with the public.

SCATS said...

To 11:34AM ~~ After almost 4 yrs. of running this BLOG, I've never had someone make accusations like this so long after so much other rhetoric has been heard. I'm very skeptical and I'm looking for you to document your tardy allegations. I hope you are open & forthcoming with my readers :) Thank you.

PS ~~ When you get your own BLOG, you can employ "past practice" anyway you want to ;)

brian said...

That is a fairly strange accusation.

Once again these accusations have never been made to us and certainly not to me. No public complaints or written ones to this effect have been made.

How do you think we would take shows off a satellite without permission?

In the digital world everything is locked up you have to have permission to access. That makes no sense.

Since my dad was running these shows for many years why wasn't this objection levied against him?

What we have here is a lot of after the the fact rationalization -- an effect looking for a cause.

With the exception of the netherworlds of theoretical physics and science fiction it has to be the other way around.

Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts on here. Brian - please scan and post your "permission to rebroadcast" agreement between EduCable and the Satellite provider. If you don't have that, surely the agreement that you make with the provider when signing on to receive their service should spell out your right to re-broadcast the feeds. That should settle any confusion.

SCATS said...

To 5:32PM ~~ While your idea might settle things, I've put the burden onto the accuser for "proving" their point. As I said, no one has made any such prior accusations over the two years or so that Edu-Cable has been fighting to remain the provider for local access. I'm still waiting for the proof that Caterino did anything wrong. If it doesn't come soon, I will chalk it up to someone who is uninformed & is just spewing BS again.

Anonymous said...

Scats is correct

I won't engage in some bizarre process of justifying something I haven't done wrong. It's pretty much a smear tactic styled after dirty tricks going back to McCarthy and Nixon
Today its are you or have you ever been a LIBERAL (which I'm not)

Use logic

a very few services are free to air. You don't need permission to run free to air programming because well it is free to air

most services are encoded
You need a receiver provided by the originator and programmed receive the signal or a code provided by the programming originators.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested in seeing these documents too Mr. Caterino.

P.S. Found it interesting that the word verification to post was "crooks." How fitting! lol

SCATS said...

BLOG Administration is reposting the following comment minus the expletives, no matter how well hidden they were:

Anonymous said...
Here ya go Xxxxx. The license agreement clearly posted listing Educable as legit. Now you have to eat a plate of xxxx:

Rochester Educable Communications Corp 12, 15 (AOL Time Warner) Not Available FSTV 11am-1pm M-F (includes DN) 10

Now run back to Dunning and Auberger and come up with something tangible.

12/07/2009 8:10 PM

C'mon folks, you know better than this when it comes to my rules. Fight hard, but play nice ;)

Anonymous said...

Now you're making accusations that you can't support SCATS. I didn't post that. All I said was you don't ask others to prove their accusations. You ask the accused to prove it is false instead. That's a fact. To change your decision now makes you a hypocrite, plain and simple.

I see Brian chose to respond. Good, but he instead asks questions instead of saying if it's true or not.

Simple response Brian. Is it true or false. Thanks.

SCATS said...

To 12:18PM ~~ EXCUSE ME!? I don't know who wrote that comment since it was "Anonymous." I see nowhere that I specifically accused YOU or any other individual, since it was "ANONYMOUS." I guess you have a guilty conscience.

I've already stated what is different about this case and since I AM IN CHARGE HERE, it would be best for you to adopt a different attitude if you want your future remarks to see the light of day. Brian does NOT need to prove anything. The accuser is quite a few days late and several dollars short of having a case with this silly charge and I'm sure you realize it too.

So once again, the person who is making this claim needs to substantiate it, period. Unless or until that happens, this thread is FINISHED. (That means no more comments will be posted on this topic unless you substantiate the accusation as I requested, capisce?)

SCATS said...

Well, well, well ... it's been nearly 48 hrs. since I asked the person accusing Brian Caterino of "illegal" activity to provide some documentation to that effect. Since then, ALL I've received are more allegations worded in a variety of ways in a feeble attempt to get around my request for proof. Given that, I guess we'll have to conclude that the accuser did not possess any of "the real facts" the accuser suggested we check. I'm not surprised ;) Some people just can't let their grudges go.