Advocates urge Pinellas to keep public access TV

09/05/07 Arielle Stevenson
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

Public access advocates gathered at the Clearwater courthouse Tuesday night to try and save Pinellas access television from the budgetary chopping block.

With the final vote on the budget coming up in two weeks, the downstairs lobby of the Clearwater Courthouse was filled with about 150 people, and more seated upstairs in the commission boardroom for the Pinellas County Board of Commisioner’s public hearing. Many were there on behalf of public access, to try once more to save what many described as one of the few remaining public soapboxes.

Dave Figueroa, who seems to have become the spokesperson for Pinellas Community Television (PCTV) presented a plan to save public access from the chopping block.

One woman who favored saving public access said public access is a great alternative to commercial television.

One proposal: the equipment used to produce programming should come from personal resources and not require any purchasing of new equipment or the use of the city’s multimillion-dollar studio. However, the commissioners seemed to have mixed feelings.

Mike Fox, who is a member of Veterans for Peace, was there as advocate of Access Pinellas. He says public access allows for more public debate than corporate media.

The final vote on the budget, which will decide whether public access television will retain county funding is on Sept. 14.

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