Rookie Wisconsin State Journal columnist Chris Rickert hit a home run Wednesday with this column on the Madison City Channel. Facing a severe shortfall due to the phasing out of dedicated funding from cable television providers by the state's wrong-headed 2007 "cable competition bill," the City Channel could find its staff and resources severely diminished in next year's Madison budget. (Disclosure: for the last six months, I served on the Madison City Channel Ad Hoc Advisory Committee, which explored ways to address the shortfall, and recommended ways to mitigate its impacts.)
...paying attention to local government is kind of like voting. There's no valid argument for not doing it, but that doesn't mean people always do.
I have some confidence that Madisonians are a more civic-minded lot. Prove me right and show the City Channel some love: Tell your alderperson to fund it.
Coincidentally, Brenda Konkel posted a teaser yesterday on what she would do if she were mayor. She's not running (yet), but allowed how it was "likely only to happen if I just get mad enough to do it." Of the 101 things she listed, number 67 was:
City Channel and WYOU would be supported at reasonable levels and explore a media center concept or other collaborations between Community, School and Government television stations.
This collaboration was a possibility that was outlined in the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee's report and makes good sense to pursue. The City Channel, WYOU and the MMSD's channel (MMSD-TV) perform valuable public services, and every possibility to help all three survive should be explored.
- Barry Orton