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Main Entrance to the Studio:
Wales has many good things Holland doesn’t have; Dave Worth’s show is one of these things.
You may have never heard of Dave Worth’s show. Dave is a resident of Wales since birth and his show aired for more than 15 years. The show does not really air, the show is available in Wales and Brimfield on the Public Access Channel, one of the three so called “PEG” Channels.
“PEG” stands for Public, Education, and Government.
Every Friday night at 20:00 hours, the show is live fed into the Charter cable TV network and watched by cable customers in Wales and Brimfield. Viewers of Dave’s “Upside-Down Show” can call in and interact with the host and his guest(s) live. The show runs for 60 to 110 minutes and is replayed over the cable network 14 times (every day at 8:00hours and at 20:00 hours) during the following week.
Unfortunately, Holland is not a franchise of Charter Communications Inc., hence Dave’s show can not be broadcast in Holland. The town of Holland is the only town in Massachusetts who has a contract with Cox.
Dave has a broad spectrum of guests and themes of interest to the community and his live show is produced in a small studio located off Lynch Road in Wales.
There is a sign on the left as you drive north on Lynch Road pointing to the studios location:
Friday, February 5, 2010, The Holland Blog was invited as a guest to appear in Dave’s Upside Down Show.
I was in the studio two weeks earlier to watch the show’s production. As you enter the small building you step into a small office. At the opposite side of the building is the studio and in between the two rooms is a third small room with all the control and recording equipment.
There is not really a place for spectators to watch the production of the show.
View from the office through the equipment room into the studio. Dave is in the process of demonstrating the mystery tool of the day:
Kathleen McLean, Senior Technician, and Leon Givner, Executive Director of the Public Access Channel, were nice enough to let me watch the production and live transmission of the show. Kathleen McLean acted as video editor, her husband as cameraman, Leon Givner as the producer of the show. After the show, I did get to meet Dave Worth, the host of the show. After a while he suggested I should be a guest on his show and invited me.
Dave Worth is the husband of Kaye Worth, Executive Secretary of the Board of Selectmen in Wales, and is also a member of the Board of Health and the Cemetery Commission; Leon Givner is a former chairman of the Finance Committee. Kathleen's husband Joseph operated the cameras and is a volunteer member of Channel 5. Not present was Lynne Serrenho, Senior Producer.
Members of the Public Access channel Commission are appointed by the Board of Selectmen.
I did some research and found that town governments sign contracts with cable companies and act as “franchising authorities.” As such, the town has the right but is not obligated to request from the cable company to “provide adequate public, educational, and governmental access channel capacity, facilities, or financial support.”
(See U.S.Code Title 47, section 541(a)(4)(B).)
The purpose of the provisions included in Title 47 are defined as,
“establish[ing] franchise procedures and standards which encourage the growth and development of cable systems and which assure that cable systems are responsive to the needs and interests of the local community.”
Interested readers will find regulatory provisions
pertaining to cable TV under U.S. Code, Title 47, chapter V, Part I, II, II, section 521 through section 573.
As such, these laws are Federal Laws and applicable in all states throughout the United States.
In Title 47, Section 531(a), under the heading “Authority to establish requirements with respect to designation or use of channel capacity,” the reader will find the key to the question whether a town government is obligated to provide the residents with a public access channel to give them a voice:
“A franchising authority may establish requirements in a franchise with respect to the designation or use of channel capacity for public, educational, or governmental use only to the extent provided in this section.” The word “may” used by the legislator does not create a mandate, the selectboard may or may not choose to provide a voice for the community.
And under U.S. Code, 47 541(a)(4)(b), the reader will find more of the same language:
“A franchising authority may in its request for proposals require as part of a franchise, and may require as part of a cable operator’s proposal for a franchise renewal, subject to section 546 of this title, that channel capacity be designated for public, educational, or governmental use, and channel capacity on institutional networks be designated for educational or governmental use, and may require rules and procedures for the use of the channel capacity designated pursuant to this section.”
All equipment as well as the studio itself does not cost the taxpayers of Wales anything!
If the selectboard of a town chooses to require a cable company to provide “PEG” channels and the infrastructure is in place, every member of the community has the right to use such channels on a “first come first serve basis.”
Individuals then have the right to use such channels to exercise their First Amendment Rights. This of course would not be possible under the current oppressive regime.
Subsection 531(e), provides:
“Subject to section 544 (d) of this title, a cable operator shall not exercise any editorial control over any public, educational, or governmental use of channel capacity provided pursuant to this section, except a cable operator may refuse to transmit any public access program or portion of a public access program which contains obscenity, indecency, or nudity.”
The selectboard of Holland utilizes the opportunities offered by this federally regulated scheme only in a limited and decreasing way for their own purpose; they only use the “G” channel of the “PEG” channels to feed their selectboard meetings live into the cable network. The selectboard does not even replay the meeting later for those unable to watch it live. Furthermore, the selectboard even did away with recording the meetings. Some claim the selectboard is afraid to have the recordings used as evidence in court proceedings against them selves, the Board of Selectmen.
The Holland Blog will try to post videos of selectboard meetings here on the Holland Blog. This will enable residents not only in Holland but all over the world to watch the meetings. This will be welcomed news for retired residents of Holland who spend winters in Florida.
The current trio forming the Board of Selectmen is clearly not interested in an “open government” and views opposing their own. It doesn’t surprise that Holland has not what is available to the Communities of Wales and Brimfield.
As a matter of fact, two members of the selectboard of Holland tried to prevent airing of the show by bullying members of the selectboard in Wales. They claimed the show did violate the contract between Charter and the town of Wales.
February 14, 2010, Peter Frei