Posts Tagged ‘Internet’


Mar 15 – Supporting Indy Media & Community Journalism

March 19, 2009

Supporting Indy Media & Community Journalism

Sun, March 15, 6pm – 8pm
Rosetta’s Cafe
Rosetta’s Soup: Vegan Cream of Mushroom

6:20 : Everything in Asheville seems to run late…. but this is also only the 2nd actual forum.  Evening begins with bowls of Rosetta’s amazing Cream of Mushroom soup. While waiting for participants to finish arriving the group discusses which vegetable they hate the most.  Shout out of ultimate thanks & mad props to Rosetta for hosting half of these forums & cooking incredible nourishing soup.  Especially during these first few conversations while we get our rhythm going & our patterns down.

6:35 : meeting begins & Jen Bowen reads the Mission Statement. Introductions are made.
Three representatives from WPVM 103.5 FM  (two former and one current volunteer) and two representatives from URTV

6:40 : The group begins the discussion of the future of journalism in Asheville.
Community Radio:  WRES 100.7FM & WPVM 103.5
Public Access Channels:  Buncombe County Access, Asheville City Access, URTV
Internet Access to the Community: MAIN (Mountain Information Area Network) , Twitter, Bloggers,
Great Indy Media Provider:  The Mountain Xpress.

6:50 : The internal conflicts of URTV:
Internal issues are seemed to be made bigger than they really are – but he word “doomed” is mentioned several times.
July 2010 is quoted date of when PEG funding will dry up.
City & County Public Access channels are primarily monotonous billboard with an occasional meeting filmed.  Waste of resource potential?  Both stations are said to be in better quality shape than URTV.
Potential resource reallocation with other public access channels. Where does the $$ come from for County & City Channels?  How is it decided how much each station receives?
Very little programming standards, no in-house consistent programming, programming comes from whomever gets involved.
Potential fund raising is tricky as programs are not allowed to be commercial or fund raise, although station can take donations.

6:55 : WPVM 103.5FM
Local ‘progressive’ radio station who’s operating license belongs to Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN).
Internal management issues have been very prominent over the past year.
The potential end of MAIN? Their business model may not be as strong as presented to community.
MAIN does not create programming but WPVM shows must meet “progressive” values.
WPVM acts as resourceful & needed mouthpiece for the community.  WPVM is ‘falling apart’ & running off of bear bone structure.  Volunteers are told to ignore Wally Bowen (MAIN Executive Director) who writes PSA in violation of the law??  {I didn’t catch this but Drew who takes the minutes did – I will have to go back as listen to the video- JB}
The lack of board control over executive director control stems most of the issues, WPVM is ‘taxed without represenation’ on the board.
7:00 : How to be an effective board member?
Both URTV and WPVM have trouble with their board of directors.
Founders of organizations (MAIN more so) suffer from ‘Founder’s Syndrome’
The MAIN board refuses to take training & WPVM in response urges volunteers to disregard Wally Bowen’s views.
“If you solicit volunteers you are marketing yourself as a community based radio station.” WPVM fundraisers have raised 10-$16k which goes to MAIN.  Allegedly the WPVM Fall fundraising went to pay the MAIN pay roll.  This aggravates situation where programming and technical support are crumbling.

7:05 : WPVM is falling apart. Could WPVM sustain without MAIN?
WPVM would get more donations from supporters without Wally Bowen.
Is it possible to make Main 2.0 work?  There’s little to no way of evaluating it by its business model.

7:10 : Community Radio Station  WRES 100.7 FM
Focuses on other aspects of the community, founded by NAACP.
Going into brief history of the three low-powered FM stations that opened up in 2002-2003(?) which created WPVM & WRES.
Is there a chance of any more low-powered FM stations opening up in Asheville?  Very doubtful!!
The Community Radio Act – MAIN keep touting it as a possible savior for WPVM direction but it has been dead in committee since 2007. *see previous meeting notes from March 8
Potential for WPVM and WRES to examine each other’s structure and learn from each other, as well as work together.

7:15 : What about Internet radio?
The digital divide through generations and economy doesn’t make this realistic for optimal use, although that is what many due currently due to low production value of WPVM.
Streaming is better than digital because you need air-wave local radio.

7:20 : How can Asheville move forward in Indy Media?
Internet access should be a utility just like electricity or water.
The internet is useful in a number of ways: Online applications, social and cultural knowledge, social mobility.  Similar to Ben Franklin’s remarks on public libraries – people need access to information!  Can the same argument be made for cable TV access if that is where Public Access Channels are hosted?

7:25 : Discussion on radio signals. Commercial always trumps local.
Third channel agency rule difficult to fight, NPR is even against local radio frequency.

7:30 : What can citizens due?
Demand best practice among board members & demand board training.
The Community Foundation of WNC has a program called WNC NonProfit Pathways which offers Board Best Practices Training as well as other great resources to assist in management of nonprofit organizations.  Board training lasts 2.5 hours.
A need for Digital & Media Literacy programs & outreach.
All volunteers need clear training & a process of grievances.
Possibility of fundraiser telethons to help local media.
Setting up PayPal accounts to accept donations.

*video coming soon*

Next conversations:
Friday March 20th from 6-8pm at Firestorm Cafe
“How to Survive as an Artists in Asheville”

Sunday March 22nd from 6-8pm at Rosetta’s Kitchen
“Public Spaces, Graffiti & Murals”


Mar 8 – Digital Asheville: Information Age Networking

March 19, 2009

Digital Asheville:
Information Age Networking

Sun, March 8, 6pm – 8pm
Rosetta’s Cafe
Rosetta’s Soup:  Tomato Vegetable

6:20 : The meeting begins with a reading of the Mission Statement.
Jen goes over the history of the project and proceeds to cover the future meetings.

6:30 : Introductions (8 members)
Two people from MAIN & two people from URTV are present for discussions.  Others are interested members of the community.
6:40 : Digital Age Asheville Discussion Topics:
How do we keep public informed?
What can we do to better meet the needs of the community?
Looking at broad spectrum of connecting internet, radio, blogs, Wikipedia, and Public Access Channels.
Quote from session: “Asheville’s Wiki is Weak-i

6:45 : Floor opens to discussions. Discussion includes:
Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) wants to provide city-wide Internet Service.
(Internet needs to be considered a utility and thus have federal aid backing to get it to every home in America).
MAIN’s currently has ten (10) operational neighborhoods (less than 10% of Asheville).
The future is having WiFi over cell phone networks and utilizing mobile program technology to connect us (i.e. Twitter).
Quote from session: “The Digital Information Age makes the Industrial Age look like the Bronze Age
6:55 : How we teach our children via the internet (Education in the information age).
Universal access & consolidating resources;
MAIN donates computers to community centers for at-risk-youth;
MAIN is working with Asheville City Schools;
Radio wattage increases and costs;
WPVM vs MAIN;  (barely touched on reorganization issues – too touchy of a subject for this meeting – JB)
Community Radio Act (introduced in 2007 & currently dead in committee)
White Space Act (victory FCC ruling in late 2008 to take effect 2009);
Local RSS feeds & how the City of AVL needs to ‘get on the bandwagon.’
7:10 : What can we do to help support?
Volunteer time and offer monetary assistance.

7:15 : What would we do if money were no object?
Idea of mini-terminals located throughout Asheville-pay as you go internet.
Other options for public access to internet?
Helping MAIN with its 2.0 vision
The disintegration of pulp media (newspapers) & the future of legitimate investigative digital journalism.

The meeting adjourned by 7:30 with time left for personal discussions.

General Questions of Concern:
flux charging for public bandwidth use;
net neutrality;
assisting non-profit ISPs  & threat of Bellsouth Corp;
How to filter through information & not waste time on the internet?
Generation & economic barriers to access technology.
How to connect internet resources of Asheville?
Lack of proper city use of digital information technology.

Potential Solutions:
Internet for Everyone ( which MAIN is staying involved with;
Nonprofit tutorials concerning computer familiarity and the internet;
Western Alliance gives CyberPals Program that gives out computers to disabled community;
Charlotte Street Computers does E-cycling – great local resource for community.

*video coming soon*