Community TV may get federal funding

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Although Wisconsin’s congressional delegation has been under fire recently for failing to secure us enough federal dollars, Rep. Tammy Baldwin is certainly not hesitating to ask D.C. to get us some quality TV.

For the past two years, Madison’s local community access television station WYOU has been bracing for Jan. 1, 2011, the date it loses its public funding and has to become self-sufficient.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, introduced a bill Thursday aimed at helping the struggling station and other public, education and government (PEG) channels affected when, in December 2007, state lawmakers passed the Video Competition Act. The law deregulated municipal cable franchises and set a date to phase out the funding secured from cable subscribers that has helped support PEG stations.

The bill would make sure federal cable regulations apply equally to all companies competing for cable customers. It would allow PEG stations to use public fees for any station purpose, not just capital or facilities expenses. It also would require that cable companies not bury PEG stations on their lineups, but place them on channels equivalent to the treatment of standard commercial broadcast channels.

Fundraising may not be necessary after all.

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