In this issue:
- President’s Message
- El Vacilón de la Mañana
- New Season Primetime Schedule includes Much Latino Talent
- 9th Annual Impact Awards Gala – Celebrating 20 Years of Opening Doors for Latinos in Media
- From Albuquerque to Hollywood – 2006 Writers’ Program
- Diversity at Public Broadcast System (PBS)
- More on the Nielsen Saga
- Cable Companies Getting Larger and More Powerful
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Media Policy Watch
Bienvenidos, welcome to another edition of our newsletter. Much has happened since the last one and it is a pleasure to bring you up to date on the more significant and pressing issues in which we are presently involved and working.
As you may know, Congress is currently debating a new Telecommunications Act that will potentially affect our lives for decades if it is voted into law next year. You might remember that we have a leadership seat at the Media & Democracy Coalition and have contributed much to the debate to make sure Latino interests and participation in the new technologies are safeguarded and enhanced. Along with our national allies we continue to advocate for amendments to this very important bill, but we at NHMC have changed our focus to the California Sate bill regarding Video Franchise Reform, AB 2987, which will finally allow the telephone companies to compete with cable for our video, telephone and Internet needs. We have decided to support this bill because it will bring down prices, improve customer service and, if we do our job right, prevent the redlining of our community so that it is not short changed when the new technology is rolled out.
Moving on to radio, our battle to ensure decent programming continues. We dislike censorship, but as many of you who listen to Spanish language radio have noted, “radio pornografía”, pornographic radio, has been out of control for some time. Howard Stern’s material pales in comparison to what some Spanish language DJs have put on the air to post higher ratings. We had no choice but to file a petition to deny the broadcast licenses of the offending stations at the Federal Communications Commission. Although some stations have improved their programming since we filed our petition, we will continue to monitor the culprit stations to make sure they stay on a straight and legal path.
Finally, immigrant bashing has become a national past time by many radio DJs and television personalities who masquerade as journalists. One of them, Lou Dobbs, has made it popular to be bigoted by doing what amounts to daily editorials on the subject. He is fanning the flames of hate leaving us no choice but to take him and CNN to task for their lack of balance and decency when discussing and reporting on immigration issues. We will keep you posted on this important action as it develops.
These are the very pressing stories you will be reading about in the following pages and like always, we ask you not hold back with your comments regarding our words and actions. If you feel as strongly as we do about some of these issues, take action. Call your Senator or Congressperson and demand to be heard. Remember, en la union está la fuerza.
Un fuerte abrazo a todos,
President & CEO
El Vacilón de la Mañana
On May 1st
, 2006 NHMC filed a “Petition to Deny” a radio broadcast license to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against WSKQ-FM a radio station in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area. This radio station broadcasts a daily program called “El Vacilón de la Mañana” which can be smuttier than the Howard Stern Show, a program that shocks the conscience on a routine basis while continuously violating FCC regulations on language and adult content. The Catholic Community of St. Agnes – a Catholic parish in Paterson, New Jersey, brought this case to our attention. The Church sent us a petition with hundreds of signatures from parishioners as well as recorded examples of radio indecency on tape. Thanks to the Church’s participation, NHMC was able to file this FCC petition, and include the Church as a petitioner.
Alex Nogales stated “We are not prudes and we believe in the first amendment right of freedom of speech. However, there is a time for everything and a morning radio show is no place to play a parody song about a prison rape, and more specifically about a man being raped by an African-American man and realizing he likes it and wants more. The skits that are being played in this radio show are outrageous and there is no way that these types of parodies would be played in a morning English-language radio station. Enough has been made of Janet Jackson having a wardrobe mishap. More attention now needs to be paid to the Spanish-speaking DJs who are taking advantage of the lack of Spanish-speaking staff at the FCC.”
WSKQ has responded to our Petition to Deny stating, “While some of WSKQ’s programming may have been offensive, none of it was so exacerbated that a hearing on the renewal application is warranted.” They tried to justify their programming by stating, “Petitioners also include an alleged segment that relates to a jail rape. The language used is rough, crude, and undoubtedly objectionable to some. However, the brief song describes a horrific situation in a jail and the kind of circumstances that many men in all communities fear, i.e., prison rape. The language used is not intended to pander to or to titillate. It warns of the brutality that may be occasioned by prison life. As such, the manner and purpose of this presentation neutralizes a finding of indecency.”
Thanks to the pressure put on WSKQ-FM, on May 22, 2006 the company sent out a memo written by one of its executives, stating: …”I am taking the additional step of requiring your attendance at an all-day seminar to discuss on air obscenity and indecency. I plan to have a number of speakers, including legal consultants and representatives present at our meeting; to fully discuss the indecency/obscenity rules and guidelines. Although this may strike some of you as unprecedented, I can assure you that SBS is deadly serious about properly fulfilling its obligations as a licensee of the public airwaves”.
Recently, a parishioner from the Catholic Community of St. Agnes wrote stating: “This is to inform you that it is AMAZING how much this program has cleaned up in the past week, still not enough, but I think they got the message.”
Onward and forward.
New Season Primetime Schedule includes much Latino Talent
Some of the new exciting programs scheduled for the fall include several talented Latinos. Here are some of the new shows you should be watching for in order to encourage and support our Latino talent- an important thing to do considering the fact that new television series need to prove themselves to the networks through an immediate and substantial audience; otherwise, they are quickly cancelled. It has taken a long time for the television networks to put Latinos on primetime TV, but unfortunately it doesn’t take that long for them to yank off a series with these same Latino actors if they don’t see a positive response right away. So this fall, choose the programming you watch by supporting Latino talent. ABC Betty the Ugly
on Fridays at 8:00 p.m. (ET)– New one-hour comedy based on the popular Yo soy Betty la Fea
Spanish Telenovela. In the superficial world of high fashion, image is everything. Styles come and go and the only constants are wafer-thin beauties who wear it. Where could a girl who is less than pretty and a little bit pudgy possibly fit in? Executive Producer Salma Hayek
and the creator of Urban Legend brings the Latino television phenomenon to an English-speaking audience. America Ferrera
(The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
) and Eric Mabius (The L Word
) are the Working Girl couple who tackle the colorful, cutthroat world of fashion head on. Cast also includes Mark Indelicato, Tony Plana, Ana Ortiz
, Ashley Jensen, William Abadie, Alan Dale, Vanessa Williams, Michael Urie, and Becki Newton The Knights of Prosperity
on Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. (ET) – For almost 20 years, Eugene Gurkin (Donal Logue) has dreamt of opening a bar, but his dead end job on the late, late janitorial shift won’t even fund a bottle of premium booze. In the wake of a co-worker’s death, he catches an episode of television. Call it divine intervention, call it a dumb idea, but whatever it is takes hold of Eugene and soon he recruits a group of misfits into his "gang" for a heist to finance their dreams. The target: Mick Jagger’s super-luxe Central Park West apartment. Working together, this band of adorable, new-age Robin Hoods, who have never even shoplifted a candy bar, are soon casing the joint and prepping for their crime. What they don’t know is that there’s a much richer target for them…the chance to find hope, self-esteem and confidence within themselve
Cast includes Lenny Venito, Josh Grisetti, Maz Jobrani, Sofia Vergara
, Donal Logue, Kevin Michael Richardson.
The Nineon Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. (ET) – So much in life is beyond your control. One day you wake up and go to work like a regular day. Suddenly a random moment, an accident, a blessing, even a stranger, comes from out of the blue and redirects your life forever. But it’s up to you to decide if that moment will stop you in your tracks or lift you up to new heights. Today nine people face just such an unexpected twist when they are caught in a bank robbery gone wrong and endure a 52-hour hostage standoff that will leave two persons dead. When all is said and done, these nine people will never be the same. They will always share the common bond of what happens inside the bank…, which only they’ll know. And they will be forever affected and intertwined because of it. Cast includes Lourdes Benedicto, Camille Guaty, Scott Wolf, Jessica Collins, Tim Daly, Kim Raver, John Billingsley, Chi McBride, Dana Davis, Owain Yeoman Six Degrees
on Thursdays at 10:00 p.m (ET) – It’s said that six people separate any one person from another. Considering the millions of people in the United States alone, it’s an amazing thought that we’re connected to anyone and everyone by a chain of six. The cast of six strangers are going about their normal lives but not realizing the impact they’re having on each other – yet. It’s a mysterious web of seeming coincidence and happenstance that draws these people closer to those who will change their lives forever. Even decisions made freely will seem part of a larger design begging the question if there is a greater force at work in our world, guiding us along and connecting our lives. The producers of Lost and Alias create an intriguing tale of intertwined strangers. It’s a story that will prove just how small the world really is and how someone just five people away could be shaping your future right now. Starring Jay Hernandez
(Friday Night Lights
), Erika Christensen (Flightplan
), Bridget Moynahan (Sex and the City
), and Hope Davis (About Schmidt
– Did you ever have a day so bad you couldn’t wait to get past it? The kind of day nothing goes your way, and everything turns out wrong. What would happen if you couldn’t put this day behind you…literally? Today Detective Brett Hopper will be accused of shooting state attorney Emilio Garza. He will offer his rock solid alibi. He will realize he’s been framed. And he will run. Then he will wake up and start the day over again. This time he’ll do it differently – and will continue to – until he finds out who’s framing him, gets his gang witness to court to testify, and until he saves the lives of his loved ones. Hopper has only one advantage in his favor – he remembers everything he did the "day prior" that didn’t work. It’s a painful way to learn because he also carries the bruises and battle scars from every mistake-filled day. Cast includes Ramon Rodríguez,
Victoria Pratt, Taye Diggs, Moon Bloodgood, Meta Golding, and Adam Baldwin.
on Mondays 9:00 p.m. (ET) – They thought they were like everyone else… until they woke with incredible abilities. In Japan, a lowly office worker can teleport at will. In New York, a struggling artist can paint the future. In Los Angeles, a discontented beat cop can hear the thoughts of others. Elsewhere, a high school cheerleader discovers she is unbreakable and a single mom realizes she has a powerful alter ego. Heroes chronicles the lives of these people and the lives of others like them – whose destiny just might be saving humankind. Cast includes Santiago Cabrera
, Tawny Cypress, Greg Grunberg, Ali Larter, Masi Oka, Adrian Pasdar, Hayden Panettiere, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Leonard Roberts, Milo Ventimiglia, Noah Gray-Cabey
on Mondays at 10:00 p.m. (ET) – Aaron Sorkin takes us behind the scenes of a fictional late-night sketch comedy series. Lately, “funny” has been in short supply at Studio 60
. The executive producer just had a meltdown – on live TV. The control room is out of control. The actors are acting up. And that’s just last Friday’s show! Studio 60
’s only hope lies with two wunderkind writers (Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford) with troubles of their own, and the headstrong new network president (Amanda Peet) determined to turn things around. Cast includes Matthew Perry,Bradley Whitford, Amanda Peet, Steven Weber, Sarah Paulson, D.L. Hughley, Nathan Corddry, Evan Handler, Carlos Jacott
, and Timothy Busfield.
on Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. (ET) –The unthinkable has become a reality for Ellie and Conrad Cain – their fifteen-year-old son, Leo, has been kidnapped. Is this shocking crime a business vendetta? Or is it something more personal? Whatever the reason, a child’s life hangs in the balance and the clock is ticking. Nothing is what it seems as the Cain family begins to unravel from the inside out. Desperate to reclaim their son, they enlist the help of an expert named Knapp who is known for his dangerous, yet effective, high-profile rescues. Now Ellie and Conrad must avoid police interference, try to keep the kidnappers in line and deal with increasing suspicions towards each other. This high-stakes, serialized thriller will keep you guessing right up to the very end. Cast includes Jeremy Sisto, Delroy Lindo, Timothy Hutton, Dana Delany, Mykelti Williamson, Carmen Ejogo, Will Denton, Linus Roache
and Otto Sanchez
Law & Order
moving to Fridays at 10:00 p.m. (ET) – Although not a new show, the exciting news to report is that Alana de la Garza
has been added as the new Assistant District Attorney, Connie Rubirosa on our long-running series "Law & Order". CBS
on Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. (ET) – From the prolific producer John Wells (ER
, The West Wing
) comes the fast-paced drama Smith
, which tracks a diverse crew of career criminals as they plot and carry out high-stakes heists at prominent locations around the country. Ray Liotta (Goodfellas
) stars as the team’s no-nonsense leader, looking for that one elusive big haul before going straight–or at least that’s what he tells his wife. He’s walking a tightrope between his present life and the new one they hope is on the horizon. Cast includes Virginia Madsen, Simon Baker, Franky G,
Amy Smart, and Jonny Lee Miller.
on Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. (ET) – James Woods plays the charismatic, supremely self-confident attorney Sebastian Stark, who brings his cutthroat style to the Los Angeles DA’s high-profile crime unit after years spent cutting a wide swath as a defense attorney. Leading a team of new young lawyers, this shark now preys on the notorious among the city’s rich and powerful. Cast includes Jeri Ryan, Danielle Panabaker, Sam Page, Sophina Brown, Alexis Cruz
, Sarah Carter.
on Mondays at 9:00 p.m. (ET) focuses on the mysterious disappearance of the wife of a prominent senator and the investigation into her whereabouts. Esai Morales
will play the head of the FBI team charged with the case. The drama, created by Josh Berman (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
) The heavily serialized conspiracy drama also includes Penelope Ann Miller (Carlito’s Way
) in its ca
on Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. (ET). Matt Flannery and Emily Lehman are the top-ranked negotiators in the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU). They’re trained to talk their way through volatile situations. They’re experts at knowing what makes other people tick. They’re also sleeping together … a secret that they agreed to keep to themselves, until Matt reveals it to the entire world during a tense hostage standoff. The public revelation causes friction between Matt, who relies on gut instinct, and Emily, an academic who analyzes every move. Standoff
combines the relationship banter of audience favorites like Moonlighting
with the adrenaline-paced suspense of hits like 24
. The series advances a fundamental idea: that in life and in love, “Everything is a negotiation.” Cast includes Ron Livingston, Rosemarie DeWitt, Michael Cudlitz,
, and Raquel Alessi. So You Think You Can Dance
on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. (ET) – Last summer’s smash hit, So You Think You Can Dance
will begin another search for the best undiscovered dancing talent the U.S. has to offer. We are excited that two of the judges, Doriana Sanchez and Ron Montez, are Latino. Contestants will endure a grueling 12-week competition to become America’s No. 1 dancer. If you think the American Idol
competition is tough, you haven’t seen anything yet! Some contestants will collapse under the pressure, others will reveal their two left feet; but only one will dance his or her way into America’s heart.
9th Annual Impact Awards Gala – Celebrating 20 Years of Opening Doors for Latinos in Media
Our annual Gala was held on March 3rd
at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel and, as usual, it was a smashing success. The Mistress and Master of Ceremonies for the evening were Jacqueline Obradors and Freddie Prinze Jr. This year’s Impact Award
Recipients included Carlos Mencia of Mind of Mencia
for Outstanding Performance in a Comedy Series, He was introduced by the veteran actress Lupe Ontiveros who plays Carlos’ mom on Mind of Mencia
. Carlos gave a heartfelt speech that included the influence of his father in his life. Carlos said his father told him he could be anything he wanted to be in this country and Carlos believed him. For Outstanding Performance in a Dramatic Televison Series the awardees included Enrique Murciano of Without a Trace
, Miguel Sandoval of Medium
and Benito Martinez for The Shield
; the talented Sara Ramírez of Monty Python’s Spamalot
received an Impact Award
for Outstanding Performance in a Theatrical Production. And Sal Castro received a standing ovation as he received the Impact Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to the Latino Community. Sal’s courage and conviction in helping young Latino students was depicted in Moctesuma Esparza’s recently released movie Walkout
Among those who attended included Nina Tassler, President of CBS Entertainment, Alex Wallau, President, ABC Network Operations and Administration, and Greg Braxton from the Los Angeles Times who in 1999 wrote the now famous article on the lack of minorities on television. This article served as a catalyst for NHMC’s work with the networks. Congratulations to Acasia Flores from the NHMC team, for doing a superb job in coordinating this year’s gala.
From Albuquerque To Hollywood- Writers Program 2006
The National Latino Media Council held its 4th
Latino Writers Program in Albuquerque,New Mexico. The program is administered by NHMC and sponsored by NBC, ABC and Southwest Airlines. Ten writers were selected to participate in the four-week long program. Throughout the entire time, they were housed outside of their regular environment with fellow writers and put to work writing the best television script they could possibly produce. Elizabeth Otero, one of this year’s participants writes:I loved my experience in the NLMC’s 2006 Television Writers Program. Never before have I been in a program where writing was the total focus. It caters completely to the writing process. I never had to worry about meals or driving home. It was such a comfortable environment. My room was beautiful and bigger than myL.A.apartment! I had to pinch myself now and again to remind myself that it was all real. Our mentor of the Program,Geoff Harris, set up our process like the real workings of a writing room. We would meet in the mornings and afternoons to read each other’s scripts and then provide feedback to one another. The rest of the time we’d write. Everyone had a different process and that was respected. The social aspect of us meeting and working together, made me realize how much I would love writing for television. Writing for other mediums can sometimes be a lonely process. The coalition also brought in network execs to speak with us and let us know what they are looking for from writers of diverse backgrounds such as ourselves. The opportunity of being able to ask these executives questions, is one most aspiring writers do not have. Since the program I’ve had a “meet and greet” meeting with a major network. Geoff is still mentoring me, and I know the Coalition is pushing for me. I have nothing but great things to say about the program. I am so thankful to have been a part of it.
Diversity at Public Broadcast System (PBS)
In our previous issue, the National Latino Media Council (NLMC) had been concerned about the lack of diversity in the workforce at PBS. NLMC had sent letters asking for the Latino employment numbers from the PBS strand producers. We had received the data from four strand Producers from around the country. At the time, New York had not been responsive. In March we met with Dr. William Baker, President & CEO of WNET in New York, and his executive staff. Congressman Serrano accompanied us to this meeting alongside representatives from the National Puerto Rican Coalition, National Institute for Latino Policy, Hispanic Organization for Latin American Actors, National Puerto Rican Bar Association and the Committee for Hispanic Children & Families. At the March meeting we also learned that WNET is launching “Viva” a Spanish language television network, which will air on PBS’ digital spectrum. We agreed to help publicize this new network and to provide a list of our creative and Spanish speaking professionals to work at this network, as well as to provide lists of Latino English speakers to work in all categories at WNET. Needless to say, monitoring performance will be essential to making sure Latinos are brought into the workforce. WNET and WGBH in Boston each produce one third of all national programs airing on PBS and we are happy to report that the entities that produced the last third of PBS’ programming were the first to answer our request to provide Latino employment statistics. We are currently fine-tuning a reporting form to allow us to quickly and clearly analyze performance. Dr. Baker has since committed to report the actual number of Latinos working on staff and their positions; the number of Latinos working in front and back of camera in all of their local and national WNET produced programs; devise a plan to diversify WNET’s workforce; accept our recommendations on bringing Latinos to their Board of Trustees; and cross promote the children’s program “Maya & Miguel” with their sister station WLIW so that WNET Latino viewers know the program has moved to WLIW but is available to the WNET audience since its signal covers the same area. Overall we were very pleased with the WNET meeting outcome and we congratulate Congressman Serrano and all of the other Latino leadership that participated in this meeting for bringing about such positive results. We will be having meetings with our friends at WGBH Boston to bring about the same results. On another note, this August PBS premieres Visions of Puerto Rico
featuring aerial and ground footage of the tropical island, narrated by Puerto Rican entertainer Rita Moreno. Visions of Puerto Rico
presents the island’s rich history, architecture and lush natural
beauty against a soundtrack of local favorites, with stops in Ponce, Cerro Punta, the Condado district, El Yunque rainforest and more. Filmed in high definition from all angles, Visions of Puerto Rico
is the seventeenth special in WLIW New York’s acclaimed VISIONS series, which provides a unique pilot’s eye-view of popular travel destinations.
Al Otro Lado
(To the Other Side) tells the human story behind illegal immigration and drug trafficking between the U.S. and Mexico through the eyes of Magdiel, a 23-year-old fisherman
and aspiring composer who dreams of a better life. For people south of the border, the "other side" is the dream of an impossibly rich United States, where even menial jobs can support families and whole communities that have been left behind. For people north of the border, Al Otro Lado
sheds light on harsh choices that their neighbors to the south often face because of economic crisis. Natalia Almada’s Al Otro Lado
has its national broadcast premiere Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2006 at 10 p.m. on PBS as part of the 19th season of public television’s P.O.V. series.
Also in August, WLIW plans to redistribute The Mexican Americans
, originally produced in 2000, nationwide on public television. According to promotional material, actor Ricardo Montalbán, comedian Paul Rodríguez, singers Vikki Carr and Tish Hinojosa, former U.S. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson, director Luis Valdez (La Bamba
), activist Dolores Huerta, artists, politicians, journalists, and community leaders share their personal stories during the program. The Mexican Americans
looks at the Mexican diasporas and their various waves, such as the “accidental immigrants” who found themselves on the other side of the California and New Mexico borders at the end of the U.S.-Mexican war; the miners and railroad workers who came after the Mexican Revolution; and the migrant farmers who came to the United States when their Mexican ranchos were taken from them. The Mexican Americans
endeavors to showcase the challenges they overcame, and the changes that their children have affected in the United States. The Mexican Americans
is the twelfth program in WLIW New York’s series of cultural documentaries celebrating the diversity of America, which also includes The Cuban Americans
and The Puerto Ricans: Our American Story.
It was produced by Roy Hammond, executive producer; Roman Brygider, producer and director; and producers Robin Llompart and Blanca Santos. Check www.pbs.org
for local airdates and times.
The Nielsen Saga Continues
Not much activity has occurred for us with the Nielsen issue. Frank Maggio the Florida real estate tycoon and owner of ErinMedia who has been battling Nielsen’s monopoly on television ratings continues to show an interest in acquiring Nielsen in 18 months when Nielsen’s parent company VNU’s “no-shop” clause expires. We look forward to the opportunity to connecting with ErinMedia and assisting them in anyway we can to improve the television ratings system. It’s time to be counted.
Cable Companies Getting Larger and more Powerful
Last June, Comcast (the biggest cable company) and Time Warner (the second biggest) announced a deal to buy the bankrupt Adelphia cable company and divide it between themselves. They would then exchange properties in different markets so that they could share control of the market. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recent conditional approval of this deal gives control of more than half of the cable lines in the Uniteds States to Comcast and Time Warner. Of greater concern is the fact that these two companies will also dominate the top U.S. regional markets, which would greatly reduce competition. For example, Time Warner would dominate Los Angeles, Dallas, Ohio, New York, Maine, and North Carolina. Comcast would dominate the Northeast, the Washington DC Metro area, Pennsylvania, and much of Florida. According to the Media Access Project (MAP) the FCC’s conditional approval of the sale of Adelphia’s cable systems represents a significant accomplishment for the media reform community. Viewed in light of the initial predictions that this transaction would receive prompt and complete approval, the FCC has actually looked long and hard at the issues and imposed significant conditions on the deal. MAP along with NHMC and other media allies filed a petition to deny asking for conditions assuring that competitors could have access to exclusive programming; including video on demand content and that independent programmers could obtain access to the cable platform. The FCC voted to provide some measure of relief on each of these points.
We are especially pleased that the Commission has voted to breathe life into its long neglected leased access provisions to protect independent programmers. We will inform you more on this issue in our next newsletter.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Media Policy Watch
Below is a list of important legislation that we are monitoring. Please become engaged with these issues! They are too important to allow others to decide for us what is right for our community. Usually these bills are supported or opposed by media conglomerates. The only way we can achieve our purpose is with your support. Elected officials DO pay attention to their constituents. They have to or they know they will be out of a job next time they are up for re-election. Stand up and join the fight for our community, contact your Representatives and let them know where you stand on these issues. We understand that your time is precious, but we are asking you to get involved in several media issues important to our community. If you are only able to get involved in one of the below-listed issues then we ask you to concentrate on the FCC rules on media ownership. Make that call to your Representatives right now and ask them to call Chairman Kevin Martin and demand that an FCC hearing be held in you community on this issue.
The Issue: Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules on media ownership
Each and every American family will be affected by the decisions the FCC is about to make on media ownership. The FCC is planning to propose a new set of rules for media companies that would increase their ability and flexibility to own and operate media entities throughout the country. When FCC’s former Chairman Michael Powell tried to craft media ownership rules in 2003, the public was shut out and denied a chance to be heard. More than two million Americans spanning the political and ideological spectrum contacted the FCC to protest not only the substance of the new rules, but also the Commission’s highly exclusionary rulemaking process. This dismissal of public concerns was one of the reasons a federal appeals court threw out the media ownership rules the agency approved. The mistakes of the past cannot be repeated. The FCC is again trying to change the media ownership rules to let big media get even bigger. They’re preparing to let giant media corporations control more local TV channels, radio stations and newspapers across America. The FCC Chair Kevin Martin has promised to hold a total of SIX public hearings around the country regarding media ownership rules. Six public hearings are just not enough. NHMC, along with our media allies are planning to hold additional Town Meetings on Ownership and plan to invite the five FCC Commissioners. Commissioners Copps and Adelstein have a history of participating and encouraging these types of Town Meetings and we hope the other Commissioners will make the time to attend as well. The National Latino Media Council plans to hold three Town Meetings. The first one will be held in Los Angeles on Thursday August 31st
at the USC Davidson Conference Center. Commissioner Copps and Congresswoman Hilda Solis have confirmed their participation. We are also planning to hold one in Austin, Texas and New York. We live in a democracy and that means that when the FCC is considering making major changes in media ownership they must listen to the public. It is the public that owns the airwaves and it is the public that has a right to a diverse media. There are six mega media companies that control most of the major sources of information in this country and we can’t afford to loose the few independent outlets that still remain. Suggested Action Plan:
Call your Congressional Representatives and ask them to demand that the FCC hold more then SIX public hearings on media ownership. Also, if there are any public hearings or Town Meetings being planned in your community, please attend and voice your concerns about the lack of diversity in the media. In Los Angeles there will be a Town Meeting held on August 31st. Please contact Inez Gonzalezigonzalez@nhmc.org
for more information.
The Issue: Telecommunications Reform
The 800-pound gorilla in media policy is the Stevens Telecommunications Reform bill S. 2686, a Senate bill with over 200 amendments that includes national video franchise reform, universal service fund, network neutrality, and other important media-related issues. A similar yet much less comprehensive bill H.R. 5252 was passed in the House on June 8th
. According to TelecomWeb,
Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) is maneuvering to fast track this bill by using a seldom-used re-numbering/re-filing parliamentary technique to speed up Congressional consideration of this massive 135-page bill that was recently approved by a 15-7 Commerce Committee vote. The Senator has vowed to get the Senate bill passed but had previously admitted he did not have the 60 votes needed to take it to the Senate floor for a vote. What the Senator did was he refilled S. 2686 as H.R. 5252 – the same numerical designation as the smaller, less-comprehensive Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act of 2006. As a result of the maneuver, House members will not be required to hold separate hearings on the Senate-originated bill, but instead, the two H.R. 5252 proposals can head directly into House-Senate conference committee sessions for federal lawmakers to hammer out terms toward a single piece of legislation acceptable to both bodies. Suggested Action Plan:
The Senate bill is a massive and highly volatile bill – especially concerning the lack of network neutrality language and the video franchising reform. There are some positive aspects to this bill, including the inclusion of low power FM. However, there are some items included, such as the lack of network neutrality language that we could do without. Below we have expanded on some of the issues that NHMC has taken a position on. We encourage you to continue reading below and take the action suggested on the different issues we address in this newsletter.
The Issue: Video Franchising Reform (part of the Stevens bill)
NHMC believes that cable needs to have additional competition. As mentioned in theCable Companies Getting Larger and more Powerful
in this newsletter, Comcast and Time Warner are planning to re-distribute the Adelphia Cable company market amongst each other. This means they would split the country in two regions where one or the other cable company will reign and not compete with each other. This is why it’s important that the Telcos be allowed to come in to the market quickly and compete with cable. Competition lowers prices and gives consumers choice. The Telco companies have gone throughout the states and to the federal government to ask for a change in the way local franchise agreements currently work. Instead of having to negotiate a different franchise agreement with each local community they want to be able to go to the states or, better yet, go to the Federal government for a one-stop franchise agreement. We agree that it is burdensome to go to each local community and support the concept of a State franchise agreement; we would even support the Federal concept if the appropriate protections to the consumers and the local communities were included, but currently they are not. If the Telcos want to go to the State or to the Federal government for a one-stop deal then they must be obligated by law to offer the same technology to all those who reside in a community. It is not right for the Telco companies to select where they want to do business; this technology is too important to allow only some to have access to it and not others. We are not just talking about cable television but we are also talking about broadband – a technology that impacts education, jobs and even health. This is why NHMC encourages the quick entry of Telcos to compete with cable but only with the assurance of having build-out language that will guarantee that the majority of the people will have access to the same technology offered by these companies. In California we have been very involved in A.B. 2987, a bill introduced by Speaker Nuñez that would put into effect a State Video Franchise agreement. It has been a hard battle, but thanks to the leadership of Senator Escutia and Senator Murray the California bill now has some acceptable build-out language. It’s not 100% build-out but it’s much better than what we had before. Now NHMC is concentrating on making sure that Public Access television is protected. Once that issue is resolved we will be supportive of this California bill. At the federal level no build-out language has been included and this is not acceptable to us. Suggested Action Plan:
Contact your Federal Representatives and let them know that when it comes to video franchise reform, build-out language must be included because it’s unfair and undemocratic for only some parts of our society to have access to affordable high-speed internet and broadband connection and not others.
The Issue: Network Neutrality (debate on whether to include in Stevens bill)
By now you probably have heard about network neutrality, which is a very controversial issue being discussed in Congress. Network neutrality prevents Internet service providers from giving preferential treatment to some websites over others. Currently, the Internet is wide open. You can access any page you want at the same speed without dealing with any “favorites” that your provider might push on you by providing them faster speed. But if we don’t fight for network neutrality we might find ourselves accessing a much different Internet where the gatekeeper is now your own service provider. What we want to prevent is for Internet providers to work similarly to what we see in cable, where your provider picks and chooses what networks they will distribute and makes you pay additional for some “special” channels. On the Internet, companies such as Google and Yahoo might have to pay your Internet provider for you to have access to their information. If big media companies are allowed to limit the fastest service to those who can pay their toll, upstart Web services, consumers, bloggers and new media makers alike would all be cut off from the digital revolution. This is not a good idea and completely changes the concept of the Internet. Let’s not give this power to Internet Providers. Let’s tell Congress to write a law that protects network neutrality and disallows playing favorites on the Internet. Go to FreePress’ link to learn moreabout net neutralityhttp://www.freepress.net/netfreedom/ Suggested Action Plan
: To maintain network neutrality call your Representatives and ask them to support the following bills and tell them to support the addition of network neutrality in the Stevens telecommunications reform bill.H.R. 5417
Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006 introduced by Rep. Sensenbrenner
(R-WI) and Rep. Conyers
(D-MI) makes discriminatory and anticompetitive tactics that restrict or block access to the Internet a violation of federal antitrust law. S. 2917
Internet Freedom Preservation Act introduced by Sen. Snowe
(R-ME) and Sen. Dorgan
(D-ND) protects Internet freedom by preventing network owners from discriminating against different services and content on the Internet. H.R. 5273
Network Neutrality Act of 2006 introduced byRep. Markey
(D-MA) requires the Federal Communications Commission to implement rules that prevent giant telephone and cable companies from blocking, impairing or degrading your access to the content and services you want.
The Issue: Low Power FM (included in Stevens bill)
The FCC created low power FM radio in January of 2000 as a new class of licenses that could be held by small civil society groups. Since then, hundreds of stations have gone on the air in small towns, operated by groups ranging from schools, to churches, to farm workers unions, highway authorities, and environmental organizations. Low power FM radio is currently excluded from major urban areas by law.On June 28th, the Senate Commerce Committee voted to expand the low power FM radio service. The vote approved an amendment to the Stevens’ telecommunication reform bill currently being considered by the Senate. This vote marks a major step towards the expansion of low power FM radio to the large cities of the United States, and potentially hundreds, if not thousands, of other communities across this country. Senator McCain (R-AZ), a sponsor of the bill, stated that after 2 years and 2.2 million dollars in taxpayer money spent, the Congressional mandated study reaffirmed the FCC’s original conclusions in favor of a full low power FM radio service. "I think we ought to send the National Association of Broadcasters a bill for that study," said McCain.Senator Cantwell, (D-WA), another of the bill’s sponsors, said that low power FM radio was about allowing the diverse voices of America to speak. "The only people left opposing this bill are those who oppose that diversity,” said the Senator. To learn more about Low Power FM radio, visithttp://www.prometheusradio.org/low_power_radio/ Suggested Action Plan:
Call your Senator and let them know Low Power FM is important to your community because it is an important outlet to keep the voice of the local community alive.
The Issue: TV Band “white space” (part of Stevens bill)
The Senate Commerce Committee included in the Stevens bill the “Wireless Innovation Act of 2006”, which directs the FCC to open the vacant, unused TV channel frequencies in each local TV market (also known as TV band “white space”) for unlicensed wireless broadband use. This provision is supported by a majority of both parties due to the enormous potential it holds to spread affordable wireless broadband access, particularly to rural areas. Unfortunately, the broadcast TV and wireless microphone industries oppose the proposal and continue to spread misinformation about it, arguing that allowing unlicensed use of this white space would cause harmful interference to the 13% of American households that continue to rely on over-the-air TV reception (the rest subscribe to cable or satellite TV). New America Foundation,
a media ally of NHMC has released an Issue Brief—authored by three of the nation’s most respected spectrum engineers—that demonstrates why the broadcasters’ technical claims are unfounded. For more information on this Issue Brief and on spectrum policy go to New America Foundation’s link: http://www.spectrumpolicy.org/ Suggested Action Plan:
Contact your Senator and ask them to support the “Wireless Innovation Act of 2006” included in the Stevens bill.
The Issue: Wireless community network (included in Stevens bill)
U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), a former telephone company executive whose wife still works for the same company, has introduced H.R. 2726
titled “Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act of 2005.” A very misleading title to a bill that would let cable and telecom companies shut down municipal and community efforts to offer broadband services. This bill would take away the right of cities and towns across the country to provide citizens with universal, low-cost Internet access if a private company offers service nearby. If a private service provider were overcharging residents, the bill would prevent local governments from offering a low-cost alternative. Giant cable and telephone companies don’t want any competition, which might actually force them to offer lower prices, higher speeds and service to rural and urban areas. This is a bad bill that is not good for communities that are working to close the digital divide. Similarly we find in the Senate that Nevada Republican John Ensign has introduced The Broadband Investment and Consumer Choice Act
S. 1504, a bill which would preempt local governments wishing to offer broadband services to citizens. They would first have to ask the private provider for permission. Existing municipal projects would be grandfathered in, but would not be able to expand services. On the other side of the spectrum is a bi-partisan effort lead by Sen. McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lautenberg (D-NJ). The Community Broadband Act of 2005, S. 1294,
would specifically permit municipalities to offer low-cost broadband service. If this bill passes, it would overturn all state legislation prohibiting municipal broadband systems. Support Community Internet. Contact your senators to co-sponsor the McCain-Lautenberg bill; it is in our community’s interest. We need wireless community networks because telephone and cable prices are too high and the media moguls only want to offer service in the areas that they select. Competition from local communities will bring prices down. High speed Internet and broadband should not only be accessible to high-income residents. As all people have the right to water and electricity, so do they have the right to fast-connectivity. If private companies won’t commit to this then there is no alternative than to bring in local government.. This is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Without it, people are at a disadvantage by not being able to quickly access information that oftentimes is a vital resource for education, job search and health. Wireless community networks are an alternative solution to the very serious issue of the digital divide between the haves and have-nots. For more information on these bills please go to the Free Press’ link at www.freepress.net/communityinternet/=US Suggested Action Plan:
Contact your Representative in both houses and ask them to OPPOSE H.R. 2726 and S. 1504.
Call your Senator and ask him/her to SUPPORT S. 1294
. Additionally, both bills H.R. 5252 and S. 2686 on Telecommunication Reform referenced-above under Telecommunications Reform
would overturn bad state legislation and protect the right of municipalities in every state to offer broadband.
A la carte A la carte is being promoted by some media advocates as a way to reduce consumer costs and be able to restrict family-friendly channels from coming into the home. However, a number of studies, including a 2004 Federal Communications Commission report, show that a la carte will have a negative impact on programming diversity in this country. If a la carte is implemented without any provisions for protecting diversity, the two Latino networks currently on the air, Sítv and LA-TV, will simply disappear because they do not yet command the viewership that more established networks have. The Latino community cannot afford to have this happen. It has taken too long for Latinos to own and/or operate English language networks whose target audience is the English-speaking Latino youth. Sítv and LA-TV reflect our culture, traditions and point of view, instilling price and a grounded sense of identity and belonging to our youth. They also employ hundreds upon hundreds of Latinos both in front and in back of the camera, giving them the experience necessary to favorably compete for any network jobs when, and if, those opportunities are offered. Recently Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) added an amendment to the Stevens Telecommunication Reform bill referenced-above currently being debated in the Senate. The amendment would effectively require cable operators to offer their service à la carte. The Senate Commerce Committee voted 20-2 against the amendment. Broadcasting & Cable
committee co-chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said that he was concerned that channels like History or Discovery might be lost in an a la carte world. There is a possibility that McCain will again re-introduce his amendment on the Senate Floor. NHMC opposes a la carte. We do not agree that it will lower the cost for consumers and we believe it will have a negative impact on the independent networks that can’t compete with the networks owned by the media conglomerates. Suggested Action Plan:
If any a la carte language is reintroduced we will ask you to call your Representatives and let them know you do not support a la carte because it will negatively impact the new, smaller networks that provide diversity in programming that is so important in our society.
The Issue: Diverse Ownership – Spectrum Auction:
Before policymakers sell more airwaves to the media conglomerates, Congress should set aside a portion of the airwaves to promote diversity in ownership. This can be done by ensuring that new entrants, specifically minorities and women, are allowed to participate in this auction by supporting a program, such as the Telecom Development Fund. This program would provide the necessary access to capital needed for minorities and women to purchase set-aside spectrum. Diversity in ownership, we have found, represents diversity in programming and ideas and it is therefore crucial that Latino representation be part and parcel of spectrum ownership. Suggested Action Plan:
Members of the Senate Commerce Committee need to hear from you. Too much spectrum is currently owned by a handful of media conglomerates. You can get a list of the members of the Senate Commerce Committee with the following link http://commerce.senate.gov/about/membership.html
. Whether you are from a state on the list or not, please call and tell the Senators that set-aside spectrum is needed to promote diverse ownership. The small entrants can’t compete with media conglomerates without set-asides.
Calendar of Events
CASA 0101 PRESENTS LITTLE RED:
July 20 – August 20, Los Angeles This fun-loving, familia-friendly twist on the classic tale "Little Red Riding Hood" is inspired by recent marches, protests and current events impacting our community at home and at large. In a world changing faster than an i-Tune download, LITTLE RED is a hip new Heroine for the 21st century. Reservations strongly recommended. Visit http://www.casa0101.org
or call 323.263.7684
The New York International Latino Film Festival:
July 25-30, New York
This year’s festival features some of the hottest Latin talent in the industry, including Roselyn Sanchez, Diego Luna, and Edward James Olmos. Opening this year’s festival is director Carlos Bolado’s SOLO DIOS SABE (ONLY GOD KNOWS), starring Diego Luna, Alica Braga, Jose Maria Yazpik, and Cecilia Suarez. Other festival highlights include the world premiere screening of Yellow
, directed by Alfredo de Villa and starring Roselyn Sanchez, DB Sweeney, Manny Perez, Jaime Tirelli, and Bill Duke. The festival’s Closing Night Presentation is the winner of the 2006 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, Quinceañera.
7th Annual Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC):
August 2-5, New York
The LAMC returns to New York City and will once again feature free concerts in Central Park Summerstage and celebrate Brooklyn Festival at Prospect Park, as well as industry panels and numerous artist showcases. For more information contact:
Los Angeles Town Meeting on Media Ownership
: August 31st, USC
FCC Commissioner Copps and Congresswoman Hilda Solis have confirmed their participation in this important event. Come to voice your concerns about media consolidation in your community. This Town Meeting is a rare opportunity for the public to participate directly in crafting media policies that serve their community.
NHMC Local Impact Awards:
September 14, Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel NHMC will be honoring outstanding Los Angeles media luminaries at its 4th Annual Local Impact Awards Luncheon. For more information call (213) 534-3026.
Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival: October 5-15, Hollywood
The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) will celebrate its 10th Edition this October. The festival will take place at the historic Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, home of the American Cinematheque.
The Boyle Heights Latina Independent Film Extravaganza:
December 8-10, L.A. The Boyle Heights Latina Independent Film Extravaganza is returning to CASA and they are currently accepting film submissions. Films. . must have been directed by a Latina. The submission deadline is September 1, 2006 (postmarked) and there is no fee. Selected filmmakers will be notified by November 1, 2006 and invited to participate in a filmmakers’ workshop where they will meet other selected Latina directors. For more information contact Katynka Martinez, Festival Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org