Fayetteville's Telecommunications Board will be dealing with a number of issues that may be of interest to local citizens this coming Thursday, July 19 (5:30pm) at City Hall. At the top of the list, of course, is Wi Fi - which we have been discussing for some months, and will be having some public issue forums about. But there is also something that may be intriguing to those who may be interested in the programming on Community Access Television, but don't live within the Fayetteville city limits.
Cable Adminsistrator Marvin Hilton has been pushing the idea of webstreaming for a long time now, and C.A.T. is also interested in pursuing it. Webstreaming means that those who don't have Cox Cable in Fayetteville may soon be able to watch C.A.T. and the Government Channel on their computers.
"What?" you say. "I can watch 'On the Air with Richard S. Drake' even while on vacation?"
Okay, I'm probably the only one excited that that particular proposition. But C.A.T. has lots - lots! - of great programming, most of which is produced by local citizens. It is only limited by the imagination of the folks producing the programming. It covers the entire gamut - from liberal to conservative, religious, entertainment, what have you.
In fact, for over a quarter of a century, public access in Fayetteville has been the region's only true arts, entertainment, public affairs, and religious channel. Public access television serves as a sort of video tapestry of a community.
For a long time, lots of folks living in Washington County were able to watch C.A.T., till Cox Cable, in their "wisdom," decided that it would be restricted to the Fayetteville viewing area.
Many folks from around the area - even those unable to see C.A.T. on their own cable lineup - come to the station to learn how to make their own programming.
Obviously, this will be good on several levels. It will help C.A.T., not only bringing in new viewers and producers, but after watching some of the programming, other communities in Arkansas may begin to wonder why their own cities don't provide such a vital service for their communities.
Anyone wishing a sample schedule of what is currently on C.A.T. can email me, and I'll send along a copy.
Quite a disturbing piece by Greg Harton in the NWA Times this morning, concerning the Fayetteville Economic Development Council, and the manipulation of local news, so that reporters wouldn't look too closely at the FEDC's efforts to bring a new employer to fayetteville. Well, that's not a new tactic, is it?
The truly disturbing nugget comes from this paragraph in Harton's piece:
"The FEDC is that privately funded economic development effort created by local business leaders who pay dues to keep the organization running. The group was set up specifically to avoid receiving any public money so that its meetings and records could be shielded from public view."
Harton reveals that Mayor Dan Coody, Aand lderman Robert Rhoads sit on the board, so as to provide a link to city government.
Resign, Dan! Resign, Robert! Well, from the FEDC, I mean.
A body that can shield its meetings and records from the public is no place for elected officials to be part of.
Resign from the FEDC.
Today's letters section brought another nugget from Jay Cole, Jr.
Jay, while entertaining, is one of those happy folk who seem to inspire frenzied responses from people, when all he truly merits is an amused shaking of the head.
I'm sorry, but I just think that Brother Jay's letters - and letters from folks like him - look like dispatches from the lunatic fringe. Instead of writing long (and I mean long) missives arguing with them, those who feel complelled to respond should follow Harlan Ellison's advice - in essance, to laugh them out of existance.
Don't get hysterical, get whimsical.