Minutes from the Montague Cable Advisory Committee (MCAC) Meeting on 8/3/04
Present: John Reynolds, Mike Naughton, Sophie Libby, Chris Sawyer-Lauçanno
Absent: Roy Rosenblatt
Chair, John Reynolds, called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m.
The first item on the agenda was the election of chair and recording secretary. Mike Naughton nominated John Reynolds as Chair, citing his experience in the position and his long-time involvement with the committee. Chris seconded the motion. After a brief discussion, John was unanimously reelected as Chair of the Committee.
Sophie nominated Mike to be recording secretary. Mike turned down the request noting that he was already acting in that role for two other committees. John nominated Chris; Mike seconded the motion. Chris agreed. Chris was unanimously elected as recording secretary.
The next item on the agenda was a lengthy discussion of the Cable Subscriber Satisfaction Survey and the need to assess the performance of both Comcast and GCTV. Chris handed out his draft of a document to the other Committee members and asked for comments. Mike raised the issue of how the survey would be used and how the information would be gathered. Chris suggested that perhaps it could be mailed out in the Comcast bill, noting that this method would ensure that all subscribers received the survey. The members agreed that this was a good idea but that the present length of the survey would have to be cut, and most likely, the Channel 15 specific questions would have to be excluded. John Reynolds agreed to contact Steve Fitzgibbons at Comcast to see if Comcast would be willing to include the survey in the bill mailing. The question remained of who would pay for the return postage.
Further discussion centered on other mechanisms for gathering subscriber information. Among the possible additional collection methods were: 1) a PSA on Channel 15 inviting subscribers to phone in their answers to the survey; 2) disseminating the survey as an insert in The Montague Reporter; and 3) using the Monatguema.net internet site for both posting and acquiring answers. Jeff Singleton, present in the audience, noted that non-subscribers should also be able to have input into the process. Chris, John and Mike agreed but noted that the subscribers pay (indirectly) for local access. Sammy Gilford, also present in the audience, suggested that a person-to-person poll be conducted, perhaps at Food City or other venues. John agreed that this was a good idea.
The third item on the agenda was the Dry Hill Road hookup. John explained that he and Chris had already counted the houses on the road and determined that there were 20 houses within one mile of each other. He further noted that the Selectboard has already received a letter requesting Comcast to investigate. Chris then put forward a citizen request that Chestnut Hill Road also be surveyed to determine whether the resident there also qualified for cable access. Chris volunteered to count houses; Mike said he would go along if a time that was convenient to him could be arranged.
The final item on the agenda was to discuss the charge from the Selectboard regarding local access. The Committee began the discussion by attempting to determine how to approach the charge, in particular the creation of a mission statement and evaluation criteria. Sophie asked what the mission statement was supposed to be, and whether it was a mission statement for the MCAC or for the local access entities. The Committee after some discussion decided that it was a mission statement to which a local access provider should subscribe. John further explained that the goal was to attempt to establish what the town and subscribers felt a local access provider should do. Once this confusion was cleared up, the Committee split up tasks for assessing the community as to what they feel the mission of local access television should be. Sophie volunteered to contact the schools; Mike will speak with board members and producers at both GCTV and MCTV, and seek input from corkboard users; John will contact local town officials and community organizations such as The Brick House, Catholic Social Ministries, the Senior Center and the Libraries; Chris will talk with other nearby local access providers and search the internet for mission statements.
In response to suggestions by audience members Mike Langnecht and Sammy Guilford, the Committee also stated that they welcomed input from the community at large either through email, phone or a letter.
The meeting adjourned at 9:12 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for August 24, at 7:00 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Room at Town Hall.
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