Local
5:00 am
Mon May 28, 2012

Community coalition pushes for Public Access Channel in Wilmington

In 2009, Time Warner Cable made a business decision to shut down Wilmington’s public access channel, which mainly broadcast programming from area churches.

Amanda Greene of Wilmington Faith and Values gives an update on the effort to get the channel restarted by the Southeastern Alliance for Community Change.

State law says if a city requests a public access channel, its local cable company has to provide it on its lowest tier.  SEACC, a community social justice organization, proposed to run a new public access channel, if the city requested one.  But Time Warner contends it asked the city and county to administer the channel in 2009, and the government bodies did not accept.

SEACC board member Steve Lee says getting the channel restarted is a matter of free speech and giving a voice to the voiceless.  Some churches spent thousands in equipment while the channel was operational.  Now that it’s gone, some churches can only afford to broadcast on YouTube.

Recently, city manager Sterling Cheatham delivered a formal review to the Wilmington City Council.  He recommended that Wilmington pass on a public access channel.  He cited possible liability and cost concerns. But SEACC members are continuing their fight, collecting signatures in hopes of giving a full presentation to city council this year.