Community access television – those hyper-local TV channels created as part of cable TV contracts – gets no respect but it is, in many ways, what the internet was before the online world became a soul-killing greedfest: Very focused on community, often amateurish but as a result not toxic nor shaped by corporate data-gathering.

Most of the income for these channels comes out of the franchise fees that communities collect as part of their cable TV contract. The money is threatened partly by cord-cutting – fewer cable watchers means less fees – and also by a recent FCC decision that undermines the whole idea of paying for community-access TV.

I’ve got a story about Concord’s cable access channel in the Monitor (you can read it here) but the same factors are at play all over the country.

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