Hillsborough's Cable Access TV in danger?

08/01/07 Robert Lorei
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Good afternoon, welcome to Radioactivity. I’m Rob Lorei. Coming up today we’ll talk about the plan to cut funding for two access cable TV channels in Hillsborough County.

We’re joined by Louise Thompson, executive director of the Tampa bay community network and Ann Goldenberg, executive director of the Education Channel, which serves Tampa and Hillsborough County. She's joined by the Education Channel's marketing director Laura Tierney.

Faced with mandatory spending cuts ordered by the state Legislature, Hillsborough County Administrator Pat Bean last week proposed a list of spending cuts to county government, including the total elimination of county spending on public and educational access channels.

Yesterday Commissioner Rose Ferlita asked commissioners to restore half of the $355,000 cut from the Tampa Bay Community Network, a public access TV channel. Commissioners initially approved adding the money back in, but Commissioner Al Higginbotham later asked that the vote be reconsidered.

Ferrita’s motion lost on the second vote, plunging the network back into economic uncertainty.

According to the Tampa Tribune, the county is exploring plans to take over some educational programming from another station slashed in next year's budget.

County officials proposed cutting more than $500,000 in payments to the Tampa educational cable consortium, which airs Hillsborough school board meetings and a popular math help hot line.

Money for the network was not restored yesterday, although several commissioners signaled they want some of the station's programming to be moved to the county's channel, HTV22.

On this program we'll talk about the mission of the local accesss channels, the programming, funding sources, recent changes to the state cable television laws and what might be done to save the channels.

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