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Get Re-grooved With The Tube--cable Tv

Get Re-grooved With The Tube--cable Tv image
Parent Issue
Day
21
Month
July
Year
1972
OCR Text

Get up late Sunday afternoon, can't find any transportaron, too far to walk - well, f you couldn't make t to the free concerts at-Otis Spann Memorial Field in the past on occasion and you got bogued out from missing another killer get down, you can at least hear the event love over WNRZ-FM; and in the future we will be able to lay back with some sacraments in our homes and imvibe the gathering over the community access tube! That's what Cable TV (CATV) is about in an instance, though there are some who lurk just out of focus who primarily see $$$$$ in this new communications medium. Electronic aborigines have an deal tooi available with video tape recording units (which are cheap compared to movie cameras), since public access CATV (and commercial CATV for those with resources and clout) can transmit video tapes. This is the altérnate image which will eventually make Hollywood pale: the culture of the spectacle will give way to communalism brought about by technology in the hands of the people. But let's backtrack a bit from the ideal and take a gander at what CATV is, and at the present controversy in AA concerning community access and control. How does CATV work? The local CATV company (Michigan CATV Associates - more on them next article!) builds a large antenna (on top of the AA Sheraton Hotel on Huron & 4th). That picks up signáis from CBS, NBC, ABC, educational channels, channels from Lansing, Flint, Toledo, Detroit, and Ann Arbor area and retransmits them via a cable that is strung along with telephone wires and enters each subscriber's home (presently at $5month n AA, with moves to base rates on income so poor people can enjoy CATV). Local programming, directly from the CATV studios, can also be transmitted, and this is where we reach the question of access. Under the present CATV ordinance in AA a Cable Casting Commission was appointed by City Council in 1970. It has control over four of the 24 (?) channels in the system now being strung around AA (which, incidentally, is capable of converting into a two-way Communications system!). These four channels are for public service use, and persons or organizations will be granted licenses. After being in existence two years the Commission is only now trying to créate licensing procedures and rules, since the CATV system is supposed to go into initial operation around Labor Day. Such a rush-job has caught the community unprepared on one hand, but on the other hand it has encouraged close scrutiny of the whole CATV operation n AA & area. Let's start by looking at the Commission members and their past practice, and at the plan for stringing cable throughout AA; for both concerns reveal a biased representation and service which disfavors Black and poor people especially. The commission is five people and their meetings are supposed to be public. I say 'supposed to be' because in effect they have not been conducted to facilitate public input - Examples: The last meeting was at the AA City Airport way out State Rd. past 1-94; the meeting prior to that was publicized very poorly and was held in a small room at City Hall which could not accommodate all those who wished to attend. And to add insult to injury, the Commission spent time considering adopting rules which would restrict the use of video recording equipment at their so-called public meetings! And whether be design or ignorance, institutionalized racism is at work in regards to the plan for stringing cable, since the last area of AA to be served will be the Northwest side of town which houses the majority of the Black population. It is to these kinds of concerns that the Human Rights Party presented a resolution to City Council on July 10 concerning the CATV casting commission. ' The resolution called for a moratorium on the powers of the Commission, and i was mainly ntended to insure truly lic hearings on the nature of the Commission (with intentions of demanding the expansión of the Commission to make t fully representative of the AA community), and on licensing procedures and rules. The elephants and the jackasses on Councii voted against the resolution last Monday, but Mayor Harris ndicated that a joint working session with the Commission and Councii might better deal with questions concerning rates, public access standards, new franchises, etc. It is also possible that Councii will agree to expanding the Commission, though not until the presently unrepresentative Commission has already adopted licensing rules and granted licenses. The Commission's next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 2 at 7:30 in the City Council chambers and people should try to attend n mass. The next Commission meeting will be a public hearing on licensing rules procedures. These rules will determine many things, including: questions about what criteria should be used to determine what gets programmed when, censorship, length of license grants, whether the UM or the AA Public Schools, or the City should be granted use of 3 of the 4 public access channels, how to make available to poor people & groups equipment resources & subsidies for the production of video tape programs, partisan political use of CATV, etc. People shouid come prepared to suggest rules which will insure community access and control of programming and allocation of resources. Video tape recording transmitted via CATV will allow us to define our own reality; not only for the Rainbow Colony but for all other cultural groups who care to look. It is a way to re-groove our heads, to get de-brainwashed. The potential is a sensory overload: we can créate decent drug education programs, live broadcasts of community meetings which people cannot easily attend, news programs, and on & on. In my next column, l'll try to deal with some more background information on the sordid history of CATV & community control around the country and in AA. Because one thing to remember in this struggle for self-determination is that much of the technoloyg now on the verge of public availability was developed for and by the military and the space program, and Howard Hughes and his crew of monopoly capitalist bandits who presently control the production and distribution of this advanced technology are notorious for dousing the collective progress of the people's revolutionary culture instead of relinquishing their greed-head controls. Witness Indochina. Marx said that philosophers define the world and it is up to us to change it. Video & CATV defines the world, and in ;hat it can allow for this definition to be made by the people instead of the chomps and culture vultures it serves to change the world. This is indeed a battle for the hearts and minds of the people. Enough with the twentieth re-run of John Wayne & Shirley Temple and Ronnie Raygun & Lucy, and all tnose puds. GIVE US EACH OTHER. Unity in Struggle.