Professional Development

PhillyCAM is in DC testifying before the FCC today

The public access TV and radio station is opposing a proposed rule change that would would allow cable companies to deduct "in-kind" costs from their current franchise fees.

FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C.

(Photo by Mark Van Scyoc via Shutterstock)

A contingent from PhillyCAM, Philadelphia’s public access TV and radio station, is heading to D.C. today to oppose the FCC’s vote on a rule change they say would would hurt Philly’s local public, educational and government (PEG) access television channels.

PhillyCAM says that the proposed rule change would “essentially rewrite” the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 and hurt PEG access channels while benefiting cable giants.

In a release, the organization said the change would “alter decades of past practice between cable operators and local governments, significantly reduce public benefits, such as access television and institutional networks,” and “significantly reduce cable franchise fees paid to the City of Philadelphia by 20-30% or more.”

At the end of 2018, PhillyCAM asked the public to get involved. City spokesperson Mike Dunn told Generocity at the time that though it’s impossible to predict how much revenue PhillyCAM stands to lose, “there is a very real possibility that PEG operators like PhillyCAM will see other negative consequences, such as the reduction or elimination of public access television channels.”


Now, Congressman Dwight Evans has gotten involved. In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, he wrote that if the rule is enacted, PEG channels in Philly could be “threatened or completely eliminated.”

“More specifically,” he wrote, “Philadelphians would lose coverage of local government proceedings, community happenings and other locally produced programing. This includes the loss of emergency alerts and directives, which also presents a public safety concern.”

Interested in watching the hearing? Starting at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, you can do that here.

Companies: FCC, PhillyCAM
People: Mike Dunn
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