LETTER: New Federal Rules Threaten Watertown Cable’s Funding, Station Seeks Support


Good Afternoon,

On behalf of WCATV, I am reaching out to you today in regards to a policy proposed by the FCC. This policy will eliminate a major source of funding from Comcast and RCN and could result in Watertown Cable and other community media centers closing their doors in every community across the country.

The policy will change the “franchise fee” structure that has been in place since the 1980s, and would allow the cable companies to charge cities for access to historically “in-kind” resources such as cable channels, I-net services, and access to their system to deliver content to people’s homes. The current franchise fee structure is the lifeblood of community media centers across the country and without that funding, it would be nearly impossible for stations to continue the important work they provide for all communities. This would cost our local governments millions of dollars, and would force them to choose whether supporting community media is more valuable than the millions of dollars of lost revenue.

Watertown and cities all over the country are preparing to fight this legislation. This policy could eliminate the free access that community media centers provide citizens to create their own media and broadcast it over the cable system. One of our most powerful, most democratic local resources could be lost.

We are looking for your help to take part in a PSA explaining why community media is a vital part of the Watertown community and communities alike. We strongly value the opinions of all the people who live and work in Watertown; it is your voice that matters and your voice that will make a difference.

If possible, we would love to have you come by our studio this week to talk about how WCA-TV and community media has impacted you and the people of Watertown. We will be open for comments from 3pm to 8pm on Tuesday 12/4. Let us know what time works best for you.

If you are not able to make it that day but would still like to make a comment, we will be available to do off site interviews wherever you are able to meet us on Thursday 12/6 from 12pm to 8pm. We will also be stationed at Town Hall on Wednesday 12/5 around 4pm before the School Building Committee meeting taking comments from residents if you would like to stop by there.

If you would like to refer anyone to talk to us, please have them give us a call at 617-923-8610.

Thank you for your continued support. We hope to see you in the coming days.


One thought on “LETTER: New Federal Rules Threaten Watertown Cable’s Funding, Station Seeks Support

  1. What is the reasoning behind non funding of public access cable? Democracy is only as good as the information put out to the citizens and residents. Local information is very important. Do we know the impetus behind such a change? What is not working? I looked into this and found this document: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/10/15/2018-22356/implementation-of-the-cable-communications-policy-act-of-1984-as-amended-by-the-cable-television which has no public comments but one can not also comment(which I find very disturbing, The doc went up Oct 15 and public comment down 14th which is a very short period IMO for public comment that will affect millions of folks). I agree that public access, which broadcast our Govt meetings/School meetings/Local news, is of grave importance to our democracy. The argument against this is that the cost is forwarded to the consumer. This may be true(and is true of many cable costs, of which I do not agree with, and must pay none the less). If I were to complain about my Cable company it certainly would not be for having local Access TV!

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