Hannah Sassaman — Banned from the National Association of Broadcasters Since 2002


Full Power Lift Off — and Low Power FM!
October 12, 2007, 4:18 am
Filed under: fcc, radio, rants

Over here at the Prometheus Radio Project, we are lucky enough to have an amazing team of interns, volunteers, staff, and allies who have been working to tell as many folks as possible about their last chance to get a big, noncommercial radio station for their communities. One room of our three room office was converted into a call center — just in time for hundreds of calls, from Florida to Maine to Kansas to Alabama to Wyoming and beyond, to pour into our basement office.

The full power team is waiting, now, for the moment where the FCC opens up their website to receive the painstakingly-filled-out applications, from social justice coalitions working for community rights in Mississippi — to ACORN affiliates in Connecticut — to symphony orchestras without an outlet for classical music in towns across the nation. Now that the Commission has decided to limit the number of applications that any one group can file, strong, local groups have a much better chance of getting that construction permit from the Commission — their ticket to begin putting up a tower, assembling a studio, and finally going on the air.

But as focused as the full power team is right now on the details of getting these applications together, one by one, with groups across the nation — the largest part of our movement’s work to build strong local radio is just beginning. As Zane Ibrahim, founder of South Africa’s legendary grassroots radio station, Bush Radio, likes to say — community radio is 10 percent radio — and 90 percent community.

“Why do people want community radio stations?” I get asked that all the time — usually by guys with Bluetooth cell-phone adapters in their ears, and personal electronic devices in each hand. “Can’t people connect online? On blogs? On MySpace?” People do connect online, and we have to make sure that people’s power over the internet grows, rather than declines in the face of big broadcasters. But while these technologies are more and more available across the nation and around the world, we’ve found that a bricks-and-mortar community radio station makes different people come together to share a resource — kids and grandparents, immigrants and politicians, Christians, 80′s hair metal enthusiasts, science-fiction hip hop connosieurs, and your local superintendent of schools. Community radio builds community, in our cities and towns — at least, that’s the idea.

For every full power FM radio station that goes to radical infoshops in Kentucky and youth music collectives in Michigan, there are dozens, if not hundreds, more groups that lost out this time around — possibly the last time that the FCC will ever give out full power FM radio stations for free to regular people with something to say in their local area. In many cases, their city had too many stations on the dial for them to be able to apply for a 5000 or 50,000 watt frequency. Other groups deliberated over the cost of hiring an engineer to fill out their application — a few thousand dollars — money that’s hard to come by for a collective just starting out — radio a twinkle in their eye.

For all these groups that won’t get a radio station as a result of this rare, full power FM window — and for all the thousands of other organizations that have been waiting for years and decades to build their own radio stations — we have to turn to the next phase of the fight to expand community media — low power FM radio (LPFM).

Back in 2000, groups like the ones I named, and scores of other people across the country, organized at the FCC untill they started the low power FM radio service — an inexpensive, local way for community groups to build their own radio stations. Broadcasting at 100 watts, these stations were meant to serve small communities in America’s biggest cities — and thousands of smaller suburbs and towns across the
nation.

However, our country’s biggest broadcasters did what they usually do when real people want to use a resource reserved for the American people — they cried ‘interference’ — pretending like there would be a technical problem if thousands of churches, municipalities, and other non profits took to their own airwaves. They said that if you put a small station on the air — at 100 watts or less — next to a big station in a big city — that the little station would cause ‘oceans of interference’ — making the Clear Channels and NPR’s of the world unlistenable for thousands of people in the area.

The FCC thought that that the claims of the big broadcasters were unfounded, to put it politely, and fought to keep the service the way it was. Still, our legislators thought that there was enough concern about LPFM to limit it to places like Opelousas, Louisiana — rather than New Orleans – Chanute, Kansas, rather than Kansas City — and so on. Because of the Congressional restriction on how we could use our own airwaves, over 70 percent of the potential licenses were lost — thousands of new community voices
were silenced.

Congress ordered the FCC to study what potential interference LPFMs might cause if they were allowed to be licensed closer on the dial to big stations. They commissioned an independent firm, the MITRE corporation, to determine whether or not LPFMs would cause interference — once and for all. Their study came back crystal clear — there was
plenty of room for LPFMs all over the country — and now was the time to expand this service all across the nation.

We’ve been waiting since 2003 for bills to pass in Congress, but now, because of the media organizing people like you are doing around the nation, we have a real shot. Congressmembers Mike Doyle, the Democrat from Pittsburgh and Lee Terry, the Republican from Nebraska, introduced a bill this summer which is poised to expand LPFM to your community and across the nation. Their bill, the Local Community Radio Act of 2007, House Bill 2802, would take the MITRE study’s findings into account, and allow thousands more groups to get a small slice of the airwaves that they own.

The Senate is acting on this too — Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has joined with Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to introduce their companion bill in the Senate — Senate Bill 1675.

The House bill has over 50 cosponsors, and the Senate bill is due to move fast — but, just like we’ve been doing at the FCC, we need to keep pushing our legislators to cosponsor these vital pieces of legislation. No big lobbying groups are going to win more community
radio for us — we need to come together to ask our legislators to bring radio stations to us.

Believe me — your letter or phonecall to your legislator is 100 times more powerful than anything that a lobbyist in Washington, DC can do. Let’s win more community radio stations for all of us — today — by asking our Senators and Congressmembers to cosponsor the Local Community Radio Act of 2007!



Play Ball: Responding to Nancy’s Post at Huffington
June 29, 2007, 4:44 am
Filed under: 'media reform', NCMR2007, radio, rants

So Nancy Scola wrote a really interesting post at the Huffington Post yesterday — all about talk radio and its relationship to the ownership infrastructure in our corporate media. On my way back from hanging out with the Future of Music Coalition and the wicked charming gentlemen of OK Go, who were stumping for low power FM radio on Capitol Hill and spending some quality time with Local Community Radio Act of 2007 sponsors Mr. Lee Terry and Mr. Mike Doyle, I wanted to comment there. Sadly the Huffington peeps only let you post 350 words at a time, and no room for links! Here’s my thoughts on the relationship between low power FM and opportunities for ‘progressive’ talkers to learn their trade and gain opportunities to succeed on the radio dial:

I really like the baseball metaphor here, Nancy. Let’s take it one step further: We don’t just need double and triple-A teams for progressive (and dare I say local?) talkers to hone their craft — we need Little League.

Cities and towns band around things like high school plays, public school and community sports, and city council meetings not because there’s nothing better to watch on HBO or because there isn’t an arena rock concert or Broadway-caliber show in town. We get a chance to celebrate, appreciate and learn from our neighbors in the most vital ways when we wholeheartedly support their political, athletic, and creative work. Municipalities, local businesses, and churches fund enterprises like this because they are the lifeblood of healthy communities — and when personal or community-wide crises strike, relationships built on the bleachers at the soccer field or in the pews at church end up saving lives.

This is why we need to expand low power FM radio — now, today. Low power FM (LPFM) radio stations are broadcasting in over 800 communities across the United States. They serve broadcast ranges of about 5 miles, at 100 watts, with noncommercial content, always licensed to local nonprofit organizations. From Radio Free Moscow in Moscow, Idaho, to Radio Bird Street in Oroville, California, to the Historic Radio Museum of Ligonier, Indiana, to Portsmouth Community Radio in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to La Voz de la Gente of Woodburn, Oregon, to the Black Chamber of Commerce’s station in Sacramento to WRFU in Urbana, Illinois, and beyond — local radio stations are reflecting, involving, and improving the daily discourse in their local communities. (Notice how these stations are thriving in communities where conservative talk has an unquestioned iron grip on the airwaves?)

(In some cases — like Immokalee, Florida and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi — these stations save lives — because they are run by volunteers, able to stay on the air through terrible hurricanes and storms, and deeply relevant to their local communities, so the go-to place to turn for local emergency information.)

Without a healthy distribution of high school and college radio stations, these venues are often the only places where a young hotshot can learn to handle a mic as well as to handle a well-turned phrase. If Clear Channel and their ilk dominate the hiring and training process of new talk radio show hosts, producers, and corporate domineers, then it is deeply unlikely that our young Future Talkers of America, whatever their political stripes, will find a place to shine in their chosen career.

Our friends at the National Association of Broadcasters — the lobbying group that represents the consolidated broadcasters who have killed progressive talk — have deeply limited low power FM radio to only the most rural areas, convincing Congress in 2000 that these stations could interfere with full power broadcasts if packed onto the radio dial. Even though the FCC designed the program to serve cities too, and for low power FM radio in America’s big cities and suburbs, as well as small, rural communities, Congress has not moved to expand low power FM to the thousands of places that need it.

Luckily, Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE) and Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA) just joined Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), John McCain (R-AZ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in cosponsoring the Local Community Radio Act of 2007 — HR 2802, and S 1675. This bill would bring LPFM to almost every major American city, and to hundreds, if not thousands, of other communties.

I want to turn around in 20 years and see vital debate on the airwaves, telling local, regional, and national stories with passion. As Anthony Riddle of the Alliance for Community Media said at this year’s National Conference for Media Reform (and I paraphrase) — if we train a generation of youth to understand that the airwaves belong to them — and we hand them a microphone so they can learn to effect change in their communities — they will expect the next generation of communications infrastructure to be theirs, and in the service of diverse local needs, first and foremost. They will not understand why it should be any other way.

You can call your Congressmembers, and ask them to cosponsor the Local Community Radio Act, by getting started at prometheusradio.org or at Free Press’ great site. Or sign your name to expandlpfm.org.

It’s a small step — but it’s one key tool we need in the fight for more voices on our airwaves. Play ball!



Kenya Reportback
March 7, 2007, 1:54 am
Filed under: kenya, radio, rants, the revolution

All the members of the Prometheus delegation to Nairobi and Kisumu met up tonight at the home of the inimitable Jay Sand, to report to a small but engaged crowd on our Kenya trip. It was difficult to string together the experiences we had, how we felt about them, and to draw conclusions. So we didn’t do that. Instead we talked pretty stream of consciousness, but by sitting together, and by including new voices and interested parties in the conversation, we were able to draw some conclusions. As long as drawing conclusions doesn’t mean that we are wrapping up our experiences in a tight bow and putting them in a drawer, I am okay with that.

I talked about Safi and Faridah (Faridah in background to left, Safi with the mic), two of the women I felt closest two during my time in Nairobi, at the convergence space for the IMC, south of the city in the tree-lined, gated Karen suburb. Both of these women are mothers, living in Kampala, Uganda. They took over three weeks to come to Nairobi. They both learned a huge amount and taught so much more. Tonight I tried to think about and speak about -why- they came to Nairobi. I don’t have a big answer to that but the confusion around it felt pretty real.

The Uganda delegation to the Independent Media Center convergence in Nairobi consisted of a tight group of folks, all of whom were youth organizers with a group in Kampala called Mission for Youth Rights. I was never clear how they found out about the convergence in Nairobi, but I am very glad to have met them and to have learned from them during the weeks we were together.

Were Safi, Farida, and their allies and friends there to build a larger African Independent Media Center network? Were they there to learn technical skills and resources, and to practice teaching them? Both? What personal goals did they bring? I remember Safi pushing hard for us to make certificates proving that everyone had been there, and I couldn’t understand who would sign them. It wouldn’t be the Prometheus organizers, so I made slots for everyone at the event to sign them, including (and especially) Kennedy and John, local Kenya IMC founders who contributed to our gathering by handling a ton of the food logistics, and by lending incredible insight in our meetings, discussions, and private conversations.

It’s an issue of resources, for sure, and we started to talk about that tonight. When tools like computers, minidisc recorders, transmitter kits, internet access, soldering irons, even electrical power, are scarce, you can’t necessarily depend on the solidarity that comes by working with these tools to well up in the same way. Different kinds of solidarity — perhaps more mindful ones — come with direct conversations about why people come together to work, and conversations about what work is possible without ready access to technical tools.

The thinkings on Kenya tonight are matched by a nice article in the Philadelphia Weekly , accompanied by amazing photos by Prometheus volunteer and ally JJ Tiziou. I’m pretty happy with the article and grateful to George for sharing the stories of the trip and the Kenyan and other African colleagues we met with the world, but I regret not pushing to get more voices from our travellers in the article. Also, while Suad did a ton of work with the transmitter, many many other folks (like Andy) taught many other skills. A really cool technically minded guy named Job did a lot of work on that transmitter as well. I was just taken aback with Suad’s thirst for learning, her incredible skill on the transmitter (most of her solder joints were really clean and workable rather than broken) and also with her passion for radio as an appropriate and necessary technology for the community where she’s from, in Somalia. I hope we can work more with her someday…



Sour Grapes from the National Association of Broadcasters
February 23, 2007, 10:12 am
Filed under: fcc, rants

Dennis Wharton and other staffers at my favorite organization, the National Association of Broadcasters, are asking the Federal Communications Commission to make sure that the comments they hear at their current round of official ownership hearings are “verifyably local“. They want all attendees of these rare and valuable hearings to identify what city and state they are from before they offer their two minutes of testimony before the FCC.

As I get ready to run out the door to listen to communities from all across Pennsylvania offer their evidence that consolidation hurts our cities and towns in Harrisburg, the one thing I can think is — bring it on. I think the FCC would be pretty impressed to hear how many people drove, flew, or hitchiked in to give two minutes of testimony to a team of regulators sitting on a high stage at the front of the room. And, I must correct you, Mr. Wharton:

“I was at the Nashville media ownership hearing and there were people from St. Louis and Cincinnati complaining about local media,” said NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton. “That suggests to us that there is something curious about these so-called localism hearings.”

These aren’t the localism hearings — Chairman Powell started to organize those, and fell off around the same time as his Commission started researching the drastic decline in diverse raido station ownership. These are official hearings meant to impact Docket 06-121 — also known as the Quadrennial Review of the Media Ownership Rules . Whether you are from Honolulu or Harrisburg, the facts and anecdotes you offer from your life and your local community are the pieces the FCC is obligated to consider when they decide whether or not to deregulate the media. Every story is valid. If the FCC wants to organize a hearing in Honolulu, I am sure we’ll hear more about the local market there, but I am also sure that NAB suits and other industry lawyers will fly in to listen, monitor, and pat their consolidated members on the back before they fly home.



First Post (On The Way To) Memphis
January 11, 2007, 10:44 pm
Filed under: 'media justice', 'media reform', NCMR2007, rants

I’m writing this from the last leg of a seventeen hour drive to Memphis, Tennessee, haven’t slept much, so this is rougher than I’d like and might get some edits later on! Prometheus, at this point in the game, has developed some expertise in loading a van with gear, volunteers, and enough of a good attitude to get us where we are going. Usually we’re trucking one or two vans worth of radical radio experts to one of our barnraisings, where we build an entire radio station over the course of a three day weekend. This time around we’re headed to the National Conference for Media Reform.

What is a conference, exactly? If my rudimentary Latin doesn’t fail me, it’s an opportunity to confer — to talk to fellow travellers, people with different kinds of knowledge, about problems, how to solve them.

I know I have a lot to learn, and that many of the people that I want to learn from will be travelling to Memphis with the same hope.

When I look forward from my cramped corner at the back of the van and ask people in the van what they’re interested in doing, it’s everything and anything from spreading the word about independent films, to getting the word out about the last chance in a generation that we’ll have to build our own full power radio stations in the USA. Others will be focused on defending and protecting their public access TV stations, or holding local corporate media accountable to youth and to people of color.

I’m always really struck by the deep and broad literacy that many of the activists I meet hold on a deep diversity of issues under the media reform umbrella. When we woke up from our fitful upright naps, squished between boxes of information about full power FM and sleeping bags and irregularly shaped Tupperwares of baba ghanouj, we stopped at a truck stop for breakfast. I spent a lot of time talking to Howard, who had just returned from Jordan, where he and his wife worked with the Prometheus delegation to build radio stations with a women’s community center. Over weirdly sweet sourdough bread and eggs, he argued fluently for net neutrality, solar powered Wi-Max wireless infrastructure in Sierra Leone, and the nefarious history of the founding of the FCC. Howard is multifaceted — on the surface, I might think he would not be at home at a power lunch or a media convergence space, but it’s his fluency and ability to cross-reference in many issues that makes him so valuable as a colleague, and just the kind of person that I hope many people want to meet in Memphis.

This weekend in Memphis, in the background of the essential and huge debates on stopping the consolidation of media ownership, will be a quiet and insistent conversation on the last frontiers of open spectrum in the United States, and how important it is for the grassroots and the policy shapers to come together to claim that territory for the American people. Presenting on over a dozen panels will be pioneers and architects of media justice and media accountability, looking for allies and backup for their incredibly successful work taking down the corporate media that marginalizes their communities.

If we approach this conference with a lot of hope and with open minds, we’ll have the chance to build relationships that bridge distances. Lots of different kinds of distances, like the geography between San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Nashville, and all the way to and beyond Washington DC. I also want to think about what sometimes seems like the insurmountable distances between organizing strategies, different pieces of this movement. Maybe if we treat everyone like experts — pirate radio operators working in Springfield, Illinois, and policy crafters from across the Atlantic — we’ll be able to prioritize and strategize better, together, to win in all the ways we want and need to win.



consequences of the corporate media blackout
November 7, 2006, 5:28 am
Filed under: 'media justice', 'media reform', fcc, rants, the revolution

The Federal Communications Commission has just collected its first round of comments on its most recent set of proposed rules attempting to consolidate media ownership. Comments are coming in from all over the place. You can do a quick scan for yourself by visiting the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System, inputting 06-121 as the docket number, and then get ready to review the over 120,000 comments available on the docket.

I am very glad that I am taking the time tonight to read through a smattering, just some of these comments, because spending time with the voices of the mothers and fathers, musicians and laborers, all these people who are writing in to the FCC, and taking the time to write personal (sometimes handwritten!) comments — is reminding me of one more reason why I continue to be passionate about this work to change our media system.

Just before Halloween, an independent media journalist named Brad Will, working with the New York City Indymedia Center, was murdered by paramilitaries in Oaxaca City. I found out when I got a call from an old friend, an independent media organizer in San Diego, who asked me if I knew any radio stations I could call to get the word out about this terrible and sad event.

At the time I was backstage, volunteering for an amazing pro-choice haunted house/benefit for the Philadelphia Women’s Medical Fund. I couldn’t leave, couldn’t jump online to try to help in whatever limited way I could, so I started text messaging anyone I knew with a connection to a community radio station, or with a press list they could hit.

Many, many Indymedia organizers began coordinating together to fight what they knew would come — the misrepresentation of not just Brad’s murder, but the misrepresentation of the context of why he was killed, and the stories and messages of the organizers and community members in Oaxaca who had been fighting for so long.

Reporters like Romero, author of the article in the last link, seems to be one of, if not the most prolifically disseminated reporter on Oaxaca in both local and national papers in America. A recent search shows communities in Lawrence as well as Olberlin, Kansas; Houston, Texas; rural New Mexico; not to mention Miami, Florida and North Dakota.

Why are these papers all using the same news feed? Because consolidation has forced them to shrink their newsrooms. (Notice the similarities in the style of our hometown New Mexico and North Dakota papers?) Why does it matter to the community members struggling in Oaxaca that our media is consolidating? Because the world depends on an accountable and diverse news media to fight to tell all sides to a story, and no matter what former FCC Chairman Michael Powell might say about the powers of the internet to disseminate information, most people in the United States and around the world are reading the corporate media’s — Rebeca Romero’s — version of why thousands of Oaxacans were encamped in the Zocalo, rather than listening to Radio Appo, for example, which offers up-to-the-second reporting from the streets of Oaxaca, or following the reports from Indymedia itself, which has provided a backbone of excellent reporting for so many struggles, for so many years.

I found this very recent editorial by Mary Sanchez , lambasting response to the media’s coverage of Brad Will. I couldn’t find it anywhere else but the Mercury News, a paper that will lose at least 47 newsroom positions now that it has been acquired by the Media Group. Newspapers, radio stations, and many more media outlets in the United States are poised to suffer deep job cuts if the next round of consolidation goes through. If the United States media consolidates further, for so many millions, and for the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca, it will be that much harder to speak to a global public that can levy the pressure necessary to support popular movements, and to bring those who commit atrocities to justice.

I should have written about this weeks ago, but here at the Prometheus Radio Project we’ve been pretty busy with some things (most notably the full power FM window — also known as the last time in a generation that social justice groups will be able to apply for their own radio stations). We want to work with all of you to help thousands of independent groups apply for their own radio stations this spring, because each new station is a victory not just for our local stories in America, but stories that are fighting for our solidarity from all over the world.

I don’t have the expertise to offer an accurate critique of the consolidated-media reporting around the struggle in Oaxaca — and many others are already doing an amazing job at that. But if you live in the United States, you can take the time to write a comment to the FCC, and tell them that there’s more at stake than profits, contour maps, vertical or horizontal integration at stake as they set up these new rules. As is always the case with our freedom of speech, lives are on the line.

You can send your comments to the FCC here — http://www.stopbigmedia.com.



The FCC Needs A Better Paper Shredder, Please Send In Your Comments Engraved on Sheet Metal Or Something
September 19, 2006, 3:53 pm
Filed under: fcc, radio, rants

As anyone with a passing familiarity with me, this blog, or Prometheus Radio Project likely knows by now, the Federal Communications Commission was caught hiding some research that we would have loved to have seen in 2003, or anytime after the FCC closed its public comment window on whether or not they should consolidate media ownership in the United States. The FCC, anytime between 2003 and today, could have released two studies that were conducted by staff at the Commission — one that demonstrates that locally owned TV stations devote an additional 20 to 25 percent of their newscasts to local news stories than stations owned by distant conglomerates — and another that shows how sharply the number of individual radio station owners fell when Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, widely seen as the most recent and most drastic cause of a paucity of decency, localism, and simple, traditional journalism in American broadcast media.

Why didn’t the FCC, under former Chairman Michael Powell and under current Chariman Kevin Martin, release these studies? Because they demonstrate clearly what Powell and Martin have tried hard to disprove to the courts and Congress (though not to the American people — that when local communities lose local control of their media outlets, their access to the basic tools of democracy falls to the floor.

That’s not a new message — over three million people told the commission, in detail, how deeply it would suck if Clear Channel owned all the stations in their town. Not only would access to our own city councils, schools, and churches dwindle, but our neighbors would lose their jobs, coverage of issues of interest to various minority groups would get a lot worse, and in the event of a disaster, diverse local coverage would become even less local and more consolidated.

Today, Martin finally bent to Boxer’s pressure, ordering a formal study into why the internal reports were shredded, but my instinct is that we should push for a lot more. I’ve been scrabbling with incredible local groups in Senate Commerce districts, groups like Reclaim the Media, in the heart of Seantor Maria Cantwell’s district, to see if any Senators who voted against the poorly-argued and widely-reviled media ownership consolidation package in 2003 would also vote to hold Martin’s renomination until he committed to much more than an official internal study as to why the reports were deep-sixed.

My thinking is this. For low power FM radio, community advocates, churches, civil rights groups, and more had to wait over three years for a study — an independent study commissioned -by- the FCC rather than conducted internally — to clear the way for more low power FM radio stations to be built in America’s big cities, where the broadcast lobby has successfully forbidden them for over six years, despite pressure from the Commission itself and an overwhelming amount of evidence that there is plenty of room for LPFM. We have to battle in Congress now to expand low power FM to America’s big cities, but in the scheme of things, undoing the congressional restriction on LPFM is just a matter of time, because we have an independent study conducted by a third party proving we are right, and thousands of community organizations lined up and fighting for their voice on the airwaves.

What would the same strategy look like for media ownership? We could freeze the media ownership proceeding almost indefinitely if we were waiting for an independent government contractor like MITRE to study the impacts of ownership. This would open a huge amount of time for community members to comment, for local economic studies to be produced and filed onto the docket as well — evidence which is infinitely more valuable not just on the ownership docket but for us as a movement, as we will hear from more and more of our communities the longer they have an official opportunity to make an impact.

In my opinion, the time is ripe to ask for an independent study, conducted by a third party organization, taking as long as necessary to get us guidelines for future regulation of media ownership. If we ask the Senate and the House to force the FCC to commission an independent study on the effects of consolidation — just like Congress did for low power FM — we might change how the FCC regulates media ownership, perhaps breaking the back of the recent trend towards deregulation, consolidation, and a shut-down of community voices.

Because we happen to be right in this case — because whatever evidence the industry tosses onto the record is likely to be baseless and hollow — I don’t see why we wouldn’t want the proceeding to take 2-3 years — as long as it takes the FCC to commission an independent study of
consolidation’s true effects.

While this is going on, and because we now have an extra month to file comments on the current media ownership proceeding (until December 21st), we need to be pushing to make sure that as many comments as possible get into this docket. One way that Prometheus discussed in its recent statement on the last shredded study that came to light was to make sure that the brilliant, diverse, and evidence-heavy comments filed onto the FCC’s localism docket are combined with the media ownership docket of 2006. As the lawyers at the Media Access Project always tell us — the FCC and the laywers representing us can always use clear stories describing how consolidation impacted their communities to push for specific rule changes. The localism docket is packed with comments like that, from Hawaii to Maine.

I heard a rumour that the long-overdue FCC cable ownership proceeding would be included in the current package of broadcast ownership rules the FCC is looking at on 06-121. That means that the testimony being collected by projects like Free the Flyers (by my friend Josh Breitbart) which is gathering microlocal information about how cable consolidation is hurting people in Philadelphia, my hometown, could impact how the FCC regulates cable here and around the country, if it is submitted to the Commission. Other powerful projects like Youth Media Council’s community review of KMEL, the People’s Station, and the media monitoring of the Media Empowerment Project‘s initiatives in North Carolina, Detroit, and San Antonio, could give the FCC the wherewithal to change how the market looks in those communities, just by the FCC taking the data that their communities have already gathered into account.

I feel like these reports, buried by the Commission but coming to light just as they try again to prove the impossible — are tools that our movement can’t afford to wield incorrectly, and without the full brunt of our power behind them. Stay tuned…



viral organizing and the allied media conference
July 5, 2006, 11:07 pm
Filed under: radio, rants, the revolution

I’m at my grandparent’s apartment in northeast Toronto, surrounded by an office park and some solemn bridge playing. My aunt Amelia just died so in the midst of a raucous summer of media justice organizing for so many of us, in the midst of preparation for the last likely chance for community groups to apply for full power FM radio stations in the United States and battles for our control over the fundamental pieces of our communications infrastructure, I’m taking a break in Canada. It’s great to be here and to have the space to think about the past few weeks and the great places I’ve been.

Approval-hungry granddaughter that I am, after catching my grandparents up on what I was up to and yet again gathering another bemused, though proud, ‘that’s nice’ after I tried to impress them with news of how Prometheus moved major legislation that will expand US community radio last week. They kind of blinked at me, smiled for awhile. So I pulled out all the stops and brought out the ultimate grandparent weapon – the actual video of me doing something on national television. My grandparents, retired Canadians who escaped pre-Nazi Poland and ran a Canadian Maritimes dress shop respectively, squinted around their Windows 95 machine to watch me chat with Amy Goodman in my flashy glass earrings and shiny antique plastic glasses. Across an international border, sixty years of context and our very different ways of getting information and sharing it (my grandfather, deaf in both ears and basically blind, tries all kinds of schemes to be able to read the paper, the latest being a contraption that magnifies the letters onto a huge flatscreen monitor on a free lease from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to my grandfather, a veteran), my segment on Democracy Now seemed to have an impact. My grandfather pulled me aside after watching the video clip 4 times (Gram had to call her twin sister from the upstairs apartment and a number of her friends to watch the video before I was allowed to help finish making dinner), and said, “So you and your friends are making sure that no matter what, two or three corporations simply can’t have a monopoly over the media, anywhere in the world, because they’ll be an independent resource available, right?”

Right, Papa Sam – that is exactly it. We build radio stations at Prometheus, but not because we love radio (though we do) or because we don’t want radio to die and are buoying up a fading medium. We are organizing for appropriate technology, appropriate community media, not for easy answers, not for one answer, not even for a rallying cry at a podium that causes us to raise our fists. That cry will hit some straight in the heart, it will wing others and leave them confused and unfocused. Others it will miss entirely. How can we hit everyone? Not with words and policy goals aimed like bullets aimed from one stage. I think we have to turn around and hit each other, or rather, embrace each other. Hugs are remembered so much longer than pithy turns of phrase shot like bullets from high above a crowd. Long conversations and popular education are the way to build allies, instead of an audience.

In the farmworker communities I mentioned on DN! — the communities of Immokalee, Florida and Woodburn, Oregon, where we have built radio stations or are about to be invited to build them — is one appropriate technology that the organizations at the core of labor rights in those towns use to effect change. But we aren’t so stupid as to say that the farmworkers of southwest Florida and midstate Oregon need only a radio station to complete their participation in their local community and global society. These farmworkers are using the phone system to plan and organize with family members around the world. They are walking door to door to gather thousands of workers and allies for state protests and national tours. They are sitting at computers – teaching each other computer literacy, in fact – and remaking the website, the blog, the podcast, in the model of their struggle and revolution.

At the Allied Media Conference in Bowling Green, Ohio, workshop leaders and facilitators offered history, best practices, and proven models – but no cure-alls. For those of us with a foot in local, state, and national policymaking, the need for answers, for strategies that won, burned in our stomachs like an acid. At my own panel I spent time shit talking allies and asking the room – begging it – to get together into awar room. Part of me wants one place where we can all come together with our various strategies for policy wins and success, prioritize those wins and fund them, coordinate them, and set them on the path to victory.

But that doesn’t last. If you are trying to build a media justice and democracy movement with the appropriate technology ethos at its core, you have to start at places like the Allied Media Conference, where no strategy or technology is the only way or even the hot way, the sexy way. There are so many many ways. The organizers there understand that it’s the people we work with and the media they make and how they come to decide that such media is what they want to be doing – that combination of local organizers and space to connect them — that leads to new great ideas like low power FM radio, or like a front of women of color bloggers.

Now that this conference is moving to Detroit, Michigan, easily accessible and in the midst of diverse, well-connected organizing initiatives that cross movements and connect them – I know we’ve created the right petri dish of chemicals for the next intersections of community organizing and media policy. We won’t find one solution but dozens, hundreds, and we’ll use gatherings like the AMC to connect them in important, countless ways.

Looking forward – really looking forward.



so strong
May 17, 2006, 4:11 pm
Filed under: philadelphia, radio, rants

I began working in this media universe against a target so large you might call it a sitting duck, or a sitting gorilla, or a repulsive oozing horrible sitting mockery of what radio was supposed to be — none other than the Clear Channel Corporation. Clear Channel owns almost 1300 radio stations across the United States, in 248 of the top 250 markets, and only terribly effective grassroots organizing and a revolutionary lawsuit based on grassroots arguments was able to keep them from owning eight radio stations, two television stations, all the billboards, the nuclear power plant, and the daily newspaper in your town — and primospace on websites galore.

In my city, Clear Channel regularly spews hate on the airwaves, mixed in with top-40 music and surgically-inserted, blatant instances of payola. Groups like the Social Action Committee and a number of other organizations listed below have fought back against the corporation at its root causes. More examples below.

We can’t be afraid to walk the fine line between censorship and ownership here. As the tumult has risen about Star and Buc Wild, and the potentially criminal and certainly violent and obscene things he has said about a four year old girl, we have an opportunity to remind everyone that the reason that Clear Channel puts people like Star on the air is because they own many to most of the radio stations in our cities and they have decided that they are invulnerable to community complaints. We aren’t asking for the FCC to stop letting Clear Channel hire who it wants and let them speak their mind over the airwaves. We’re asking the FCC to give licenses that Clear Channel would otherwise abuse to local owners who must be responsive to the people of their communities of license, or they’ll lose their shirts, because people 1) won’t listen to that radio station and 2) make it expensive and taxing for that station to keep putting terrible content on the airwaves despite local engagement.

I helped work on nohateradio.org, where you can learn about the ways in which Clear Channel abused our public trust when it aired Star’s comments, and file a complaint on their license in your community. When Clear Channel’s licenses come up for renewal, these comments will give us the standing to challenge their right to our ears and our aiwaves. And when the FCC tries to pull another stunt like it did last time, and tell us that Clear Channel owning more crap is the best way to make sure we have the media we need to engage with our democracy, we’ll have the standing to challenge them in any venue, at any time.

Here’s some other ways in which communties have challenged Clear Channel’s license to ill:

In other license challenge efforts in October 2005 Youth Media Council (http://www.youthmediacouncil.org) tied Bay Area Clear Channel station KNEW 910 AMC’s broadcasting of racist, anti-immigrant, anti-gay content to the problem of consolidated ownership when they filed a citizen petition to deny against their license. This content inculded Bill Bennett’s infamous statements “Abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down,” and “Islam is a religion based on child sexual rape.”

In July 2005, Rick Delgado, the twice-fired producer of “Opie and Anthony” and “Miss Jones in the Morning”, was hired by Clear Channel station Wild 94.9 in San Francisco. Delgado was the guy behind broadcasting a couple allegedly having sex in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the one who created a song that made fun of Asian tsunami victims. (http://www.media-alliance.org/medianews/archives/001302.php)

Clear Channel’s ownership of influential stations and their abuse of the public airwaves through programs like Star and Buc Wild have led to diverse targeting from multiple organizations, including the Social Action Committee in Philadelphia, the citizen coalitionled by Bill Huston in Binghamton, and the REACHip Hop coalition in New York City have been making these claims for quite some time. (http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/view.php?id=10735, http://www.reclaimthemedia.org/stories.php?story=06/05/04/4026074)

Clear Channel uses its consolidated ownership to silence diverse and local voices when they are deemed to impact their market share or political position. After 9/11, Clear Channel corporate headquarters distributed a notorious blacklist of at least 164 songs deemed inappropriate for airplay, including all songs by political rock band “Rage Against the Machine” and John Lennon’s “Imagine”. (http://www.lipmagazine.org/articles/featwishnia_142.shtml). Clear Channel also ripped access to the 800,000 billboards they own away from anti-war groups in 2004 (http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0712-01.htm).

And here’s some evidence of what a local community radio station in the hands of people who live and work there can do for the powers of good: Jack Frost, WKUF-LP, in Flint, MI.



Amendments to Wireless Philadelphia Ordinance: A DISSECTION!
May 4, 2006, 4:27 am
Filed under: philadelphia, rants, wireless

Today, the City Council of Philadelphia's joint committees on Technology & Information services, and Public Property & Public Works, voted to authorize the city's plan to permit the building of a City wide wireless network. While I and a number of other community media and technology advocates have appreciated that the city has taken a long time to examine and understand just what it is getting into, I have to admit a certain amount of glee that the process is moving forward! That means that there'll be a lot of chances for many many people across the city to learn about the network and figure out the best ways to engage with it. More on that as it develops.

The major thing of note that happened at the hearing — besides another palpable experience for me and my Prometheus coworker of watching the city council members ask important questions in a monotone, obviously echoing previously conducted closed-door conversations that council had held with Earthlink, the city solicitor, and Wireless Philadlephia — was that a number of amendments were made to the ordinance. My amendment-by-amendment blow-by-blow rough thoughts on them are below.

If the length of this note terrifies you, my quick opinion is that the city has succeded in preserving the design of keeping the major financial responsibilities of the wireless network between two private organizations (WP and Earthlink), while gaining for itself, and for the Philadelphia community, a considerable amount of public oversight over these companies. I hope to be able to spend more time with these amendments and with the original ordinance, so we can learn from the muscles that our City Council chose to flex in response to this proposal, which muscles other cities might choose to flex.

There are a number of open questions, most notably about how the advisory committee/board system will work. Read on!

———————

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO BILL NO. 060160

Matter added by amendment is in bold
Matter deleted by amendment is in strikethrough

1. Section 4 of the Bill is amended to read as follows:

SECTION 4. The City Solicitor is hereby authorized to include in said agreements such other terms and conditions as he or she deems necessary or desirable to protect the interest of the city. The City Solicitor may make technical changes and amendments to the agreements to conform with technical or legal requirements, to the extent such changes or amendments have no material financial impact on the City and no material impact on the relationships between or among the parties; other amendments of the agreements may be made only if prior to execution such as amendment is approved by the President of City Council; provided, however, that if the President of City Council believes (and such President's determination in this regard shall be final and conclusive) that any such proposed amendment would materially adversely affect the rights, powers, or financial obligations of the City, or materially diminish the obligations of any party to the City, then such amendment must be approved by ordinance prior to execution.

——————-

OK. What this new added text seems to say, is that Solicitor Diaz,a regular fixture on the panel of all of these hearings, is authorized to make changes to the agreements between the City and Wireless Philadelphia, in order to make those agreements conform with -technical and legal issues- that all parties may have missed, or that may come up in the future. He'll only be able to do that if those changes in the agreements are cost-neutral to the city, Wireless Philadelphia, and Earthlink.

Amendments that don't have to do with technical or legal issues would be made with final veto or approval power in the hands of the President of City Council, -if he thinks- they are not financially costly to the city. If he does think they are costly, he gets to open a whole new lawmaking process to deal with the new change in the agreement.

While this is one clear instance of a public elected official building a point of intersection with the wireless plan, man, I hope Frank Rizzo doesn't become the chair of the City Council in that case. If the City attempts to amend the lightpole agreements or any of its relationships with Wireless Philadelphia to materially improve the network, based on new technology developments, etc, or the development of new players in the wireless community who might take on some of the burdens now being held solely by WP, Earthlink, and the City and its departments (PAID, etc), he can use his power to cause a whole new ordinance (the equivalent of a bill in state and federal legislation) to be opened to deal with the question. This could slow to a crawl any major improvements or progress on the network.

I could be reading too much into this — these are changes to the -agreements-, not to the network, and there is language about making sure that Earthlink's obligations to the city aren't diminished. I'm just a bit concerned about abuse here. OK.

——————

2. Exhibit B to the Ordinance is to be amended as follows:

MANAGEMENT AND SERVICES AGREEMENT

- – -

Section 2. DEVELPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF PROGRAMS

2.7 FILING OF REPORTS. All filings by WP of reports with the City pursuant to Sections 2.4 and 2.5 shall be filed with the Managing Director and the Chief Clerk of Council.

——————

OK. So this is referring to sections of the management and services agreement between the city and Wireless Philadelphia. And all it is saying is that when WP files reports with the city on its annual budget for how it runs itself and for the digital divide programs (section 2.4 of the management agreement) and on its actual spending for the fiscal year (section 2.5) that those reports need to be filed with the Mayor and with the Chief Clerk of City Council. That means the Mayor gets to see the budget and the money spent by the nonprofit, and that the official record keeper of City Council puts both the budget and the spending report on record. All members of City Council will then get a copy of this information.

Section 2.5 of the WP Management Services Agreement, by the way, gives the city the power to retain a consultant to review the WP budget and spending records if they are not delivered on time and are 90 days late, and to produce a report on behalf of WP in such a case. Good news.

—————–

2.8 ADVISORY COMMITTEE. In order to protect hte interests of the citizens with respect to the development and implementation of programs set forth in this Section 2, including in particular programs intended to bridge the digital divide, and otehrwise with respect to the operation of WP, WP agrees to establish and maintain an Advisory Commitee, the members of which shall be appointed one each by the seventeen members of City Council, the Mayor the Controller, the District Attorney, the Register of Wills, the Sheriff, and the Clerk of Quarter Sessions, plus such members of the community as the Chair of the WP Board shall select so long as the total number of members does not exceed twenty five (25).

—————

Advisory Committee rather than Community Advisory Board? Do we care?

Wow. So this is interesting. I was concerned that this Advisory Committee would be taking the place of a committee that I'd heard some folks bandy about — a Community Advisory Board. This theoretical group would have some kind of formal status and relationship with WP, and would hopefully consist of community stakeholders and technology leaders who could really help to implement the community internet service programs. Would this Advisory Committee replace that potential board?

I chatted with Councilman O'Neill and Councilwoman Brown, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Committee on Technology & Information Services, after the hearing and the vote. They said they were interested in all opportunities to hear from community members on this issue and that they weren't cancelling the original board. I'm confused about what the role for the 2nd would be.

The other interesting thing to note about the above text is that all of the appointees to this Advisory Committee (except the 2 potential appointees that the WP Board Chair is allowed to make if he/she wants) would be made by elected officials, which gives some comfort if we're looking to understand where the public has potential impact on the direction of the Wireless Philadelphia plan. If elected officials appoint the Advisory members, that's an OK conduit. That is, if the city officials bother to appoint people, let alone good people to the AC.

It's not nearly as good as a Community Advisory Board would be working in partnership with or seeding the members of the Advisory Commitee. If we can't exactly trust that our elected officials will appoint people from a diversity of communities, that they will appoint people who are unexpected but essential stakeholders in this process, we should most certainly supplement the Advisory Committee with another Community Advisory Board. Which is why I'm glad to understand that it won't be elimintated as this ordinance passes and this process begins in earnest. More thoughts on the roles of Community Advisory Boards and an Advisory Committee below:

——————-

2.8 Cont'd. The Advisory Committee shall annually review WP's budget and meet quarterly with the Chief Executive Officer of WP to discuss community concerns and possible solutions thereto, all as they may relate to protection of the community's interests. The Committee shall also serve as the communications nexus for community concerns, will act as the liason between City elected officals and WP and shall perform such other services as the Chair of WP and the Committee shall from time to time agree upon.

——————-

OK, so it looks like the Advisory Committee will review the budget (as will the mayor and City Council, as put forward in the previous amendment and in the WP/City Management Services Agreement), but with specific interest on the broad topic of 'community concerns'. My questions for the designers of this committee:

1) How does the community express its concerns to the Advisory Committee? How do they hear about it and let their councilpeople know that they'd like to be on board?

A Community Advisory Board might put forward candidates for the Advisory Committee, nominating people to City Council, or they might have tasks of finding Advisory Committee members for the appointees, from stakeholder communities like youth, single parents, health care workers, community media makers, etc.

2) how are 'community's interests' defined for the Advisory Board?

We have not yet had a formal chance to speak to the City, to Earthlink or to Wireless Philadelphia on our needs from this network. A community forum is an essential step to defining these interests. These interests must be redefined regularly by Community Advisory Board members and by those people to whom CAB members speak regularly, as well as by the city at large.

3) As a 'communications nexus', does the Advisory Committee take in complaints and shunt them to City Council? To the Wireless Philadelphia CEO? To Earthlink?

No matter what system is established, part of the public outreach campaign to all subscribers, but especially to those who use the Digital Inclusion rate (currently set at $9.95/month but supposedly designed to go down, according to what current WP CEO Derek Pew said at today's hearing) should be a clearly drawn map for all subscribers on how complaints they have about the network get resolved. Much of the time we'll be calling Earthlink customer service directly to say things like "My connectivity is down," and "I want to build a webpage for my cat." But what if my question is, "How do I get the article about my school's budget crisis from the _Philadelphia School Notebook_ on the front page of my neighborhood's wireless log-in page?" or "I feel like I was treated unfairly by the customer service representatives at my ISP?" Clear definition of 'communications nexus' would be awesome.

4) A 'liason between City elected officals and WP' — does that mean that if someone complains to their city councilwoman that their wireless is down that the councilwoman takes it to the Advisory Committee? And vice versa — if a number of complaints aggregate in the 9th district — Counciwoman Tasco's district — does the Advisory Board take the complaints to that Councilperson so that they know that their district isn't being served, and an amendment to the Ordinance might be necessary to amend the problem? Let's clarify the liason role.

5) In terms of 'other services' that this board might do — appropriate ones might be to help with fundraising, if so much of the budget for community internet services will be coming from private funds instead of the profit-sharing from Earthlink. But to engage regularly with a larger group of community leaders and stakeholders that self-organize into a Community Advisory Board — that should be on the list.

————————–

3.1 APPROVAL REQUIRED

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Management Agreement, in the event that WP and/or the WP Members of the Steering Committee request an approval of the City required under this Management Agreement (including without limitation pursuant to this Section 3.1), and the city fails to respond within 30 days after the City's receipt of such request the City shall respond within thirty days after receipt of such request (or if a shorter period to respond is required by an applicable provision of the Network Agreement and such request by WP expressly discloses such shorter response period and such notice is promptly provided, and the City fails to respond by the expiration of such shorter response period, then within such shorter period) either affirmatively, negatively or by certifying that additional time is needed, in which case the City shall have an additional thirty days (or such shorter period as may be provided by an applicable provision of the Network Agreement) to respond, and in the absence of any of the foregoing, the City shall be deemed to have granted its approval and then WP and/or the WP Members of the Steering Commitee shal be permitted in such instance to make such decision or grant such approval or consent under the Network Agreement. In addition to submitting any requests for approval under this Section to the Managing Director, WP shall submit copies of any requests for approvals under Section 3.1 (b), (d), (i), or (j) to the Chief Clerk of City Council within three days thereafter.

————————-

So this section seems to strengthen City oversight over some aspects of the Network that are already pulled out as needing City oversight in the Management Services Agreement. In reading the referrals to Section 3.1 of the network agreement, these oversights extend to the design and buildout of the system itself. There is a process by which Design Control Documents are sent by Earthlink to Wireless Philadelphia for approval. WP can send concerns about the system design and call a meeting for 2 weeks later to discuss those concerns. ("Design Concern Notice"). Earthlink cannot proceed with the Proof of Concept until WP's concerns have been resolved. The Network Agreement states: "The Design Control Documents, that are prepared and amended by EarthLink pursuant to the Preliminary Design Review and that are either (i) approved by WP or (ii) to which WP does not send a Design Concern Notice, will be the only specifications, requirements and schedule governing the installation services in the Proof of Concept Trial." So speak up, or forever hold your peace — they'll build what we don't complain about, people.

More city involvement here is good, but it would be better if the Community Advisory Board or the Advisory Committee got to see Design Control Documents and the like. Community members will be no less technically ignorant than City Council members, and may have more literacy in network buildout. Their oversight may be helpful as the Proof of Concept buildout is pursued and as the whole network is constructed, even for detailed technical questions like this.

——————-

4.2 MINORITY, WOMAN AND DISABLED OWNED BUSINESS PARTICIPATION REPORTS. Any reports from Earthlink with respect to the use of qualifying Subcontractors pursuant to Section 12.2 of the Network Agreement shall be provided to the City and to the Diversity Oversight Committee by WP as soon as practicable. The Diversity Oversight Committee shall consist of five members, appointed as follows: One each by the Mayor, the Director of the Minority Business Enterprise Council, the Chair of the WP Board, Earthlink Inc., and City Council. The Commitee shall be authorized to review and report on Earthlink's diversity outreach activities, including but not limited to those set forth in Section 12.2 of the Network Agreement.

———————-

Councilwomen Brown and Tasco asked many important questions about how the complicated infrastructure of Wireless Philadelphia, Earthlink, and its contractors would be able to respect important minority hiring standards for Philadelphia projects. This Diversity Oversight Committee will hopefully have considerable oversight and power, but this power isn't stipulated here. Could a Community Advisory Board help to collect community leaders with experience in this kind of oversight when it comes to Philadelphia government contracts?

———————–

5.2 Changes to Articles and Bylaws. Any changes to the Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws of WP shall require the written consent of the City (which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed), except that any change to the manner of selection of the Board of Directors of WP shall require the approval of City Council by ordinance.

———————

This refers to a later section in the amendments where the makeup of the Wireless Philadelphia board is changed to have new members appointed by Council. This is another instance where our elected officials are trying to preserve the representation they've established on the board. I'll say it again later, but I hope that we develop a strong mechanism for informing City Council of our desires when it comes to board appointees. Still it's great to see that it's a hard process to change the board of directors, and that any major change would require public oversight. This will keep the board from getting stocked fast, without our potential involvement…

——————–

9.9 DUTIES AND COVENANTS PURSUANT TO 17-1400.

a) WP shall abide by the provisions of Philadephia Code Chapter 17-1400 in awarding any contract(s) pursuant to this Agreement as though such contracts were directly subject to the provisions of Chapter 17-1400, except that the exception set forth in Subsection 17-1406(6) shall apply to WP as if WP were listed in that subsection.

b) Unless approved by the City to the contrary, any approvals required by the Philadelphia Code Chapter 17-1400 to be performed by the City Solicitor shall be performed by WP by such counsel as may be appointed by the Board of Directors of WP; any approvals required to be performed by the Director of Finance shall be performed by WP, by its Treasurer, and any approvals required to be performed by the Mayor shall be performed by WP by its Chief Executive Officer.

———————-

This amendment gives WP a lot of proxy powers reserved for the City when it makes decisions about public, non-competitively bid contracts.

What are no-bid contracts? These contract processes allow the city to make decisions about contractor hires without forcing potential contractors to bid against each other. This allows the city to make decisions about who it hires based on other criteria — including minority ownership, geographic location, or a particular type of social gain that isn't evident in a lowest-bid-wins hiring process. It makes a lot of sense that City Council would ask about adherence to 17-1400 in the same breath in which they asked about minority hiring practices at the various corporations involved in this process if they care about these criteria.

City Solicitor Diaz was worried that a nonprofit the size of WP couldn't deal with the processing and bureaucracy required to process no-bid contracts, but somewhere along the line they worked that WP could perform proxy duties that the city is generally required to do when processing these contracts. Cool.

The Subsection exception listed above streamlines the application for certain not-for-profit city departments,like the Health Department and the Office of Adult Services. So WP would get this exception too, further streamlining processes.

——————-

Exhibit B ("Articles of Incorporaton and By-Laws of Wireless Philadelphia" to the foregoing Exhibit B is to be amended as follows:

SECTION 1. ARTICLE IV — BOARD OF DIRECTORS

* * *SECTION 2. NUMBER, TENURE, AND QUALIFICATIONS. The number of Directors of the Corporation may vary from time to time but shall be no moe than nine eleven . The Directors shall consist of the Appointed Directors, the Elected Directors nad the Chief Information Offices of the City ("CIO"), as provided in Article IV, Section 5. No Appointed Director shall be an elected or appointed public official.

Four Seven Appointed Directors shall serve for four year terms; provided that the initial Appointed Directors appointed by the Mayor shall serve for staggered terms as follows: (i) one with a term ending on December 31st, 2006; (ii) one with a term ending on December 31st, 2007; (iii) one with a term ending on December 31, 2008; and (iv) one with a term ending on December 31, 2009, and the initial Appointed Directors appointed by the President of City Council of the City shall serve for staggered terms as follows: (i) one with a term ending on December 31, 2007; (ii) one with a term ending on December 31, 2008; and (iii) one with a term ending on December 31, 2009.

Four Elected Directors shall serve for four year termsl provided that the initial Elected Directors shall serve for staggered terms as follows: (i) one with a term ending on December 31, 2006; (ii) one with a term ending on December 31, 2007; (iii) one with a term ending on December 31, 2008, and (iv) one with a term ending on December 31, 2009.

The Unless otherwise designated by the appointing authority, the Board shall determine which initial Appointed Directors and initial Elected Directors will serve in each staggered term where such designation is not clear from the nature of the appointment.

* * *SECTION 5. NOMINATIONS, ELECTIONS.

a. Appointed Directors. Four of the Directors of the Corporation shall be appointed to the Board by the Mayor, and three of the Directors of the Corporation shall be appointed to the Board by the President of City Council of the City )each, an "Appointed Director" and collectively, the "Appointed Directors". The Except where such designation is made by the appointing authority the Board shall notify the Mayor relevant appointing authority of the terms of service of each Appointed Director, as determined pursuant to Article IV, Section 2. At the end of an Appointed Director's term of service, the Mayor appointing authority shall either extend such Appointed Director's term or appoint a new Director, in the Mayor's appointing authority's sole discretion; provided that if the Mayor does not set within thirty days after the end of an Appointed Director's term of service, such Appointed Director shall remain on the board as an "Acting Director" (with all of the voting and other rights of a Director) until such time as the Mayor Appointing Authority extends his/her term or replaces him/her reappoints or replaces such director. At all times, each Appointed Director shall have a duty (not incosistent with his/her fiduciary duty) to report regularly on the activities of the Board to his/her appointing authority, including, at a minimum, a quarterly written report addressing the activities of WP with respect to bridging the digital divide.

——————————–

That's the total of the amendments put on the Wireless Ordinance, except for another small amendment that said that any vacancies in the Wireless Philadelphia Appointed Director part of the board would be filled by a new appointment by the Appointing Authority in question — the City Council Chairman or the Mayor, it seems. These provisions extend the appointed seats of the board by 3, raising the total board members to 11 the Mayor gets to appoint 4, who then elect another 4 members; the CIO is an ex oficio member.




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