Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Idaho House Votes Unanimously to Defund Public-Access TV

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 4:54 PM

The full Idaho House voted 67-0 on Feb. 28 to approve a bill that would eliminate the capital funding source for local public-access organization Treasure Valley Community Television. The bill now moves to the Senate.

The bill's purpose is to open up competition for cable providers in Idaho, said officials from CenturyLink, the bill's sponsor. But TVCTV supporters are concerned about the loss of the 10 cents per cable subscriber fee, which keeps public access on the air.

"It probably will or could have an effect on the PEG funding," said Boise Republican Max Black, who chairs the Business Committee. "The cities have agreed in the compromise that was made that they would work to make the PEG stations remain on the air."

But for fans of public-access television, support from the community doesn't constitute a steady funding stream the way PEG funding does.

In today's issue of Boise Weekly, we caught up with TVCTV supporter Nancy Richards, who said she watches the channel "24 hours a day."

If the bill passes, according to Alex McNish, TVCTV executive director, Channels 11, 95 and 98 will be forced to go dark.

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