Without more funds, URTV will close in September ***Updated Thurs. 11:30 a.m.***

Without more funds, URTV will close in September ***Updated Thurs. 11:30 a.m.***-attachment0

Unless additional funding is received, public-access channel URTV — now known as the WNC Media Center — will cease operation in September of this year, according to a notice sent last week to the city of Asheville and Buncombe County. Both city and county officials claim that URTV is receiving funding as it always has.

“This letter is to inform you that with the current level of funding, WNC Community Media Center cannot operate beyond September, 2010,” the May 24 memo reads. “The entire access community greatly appreciates your support in the past and looks forward to working with you through the difficult transition period to State franchising.”

The memo lists four factors in the decision to cease operations: “1. Responsible financial planning needs financial stability. 2. Staff consideration. 3. The inability to sign long term operating contracts. 4. Powering down is complex and must be done in stages.”

“Essentially, it’s a lack of financial resources to continue operations past that point in time,” the city’s Director of Administrative Services, Lauren Bradley, tells Xpress. Since the memo, Bradley says, the city’s not received a call for additional funding from the channel.

As for the county, County Manager Wanda Greene says Buncombe’s funding of URTV hasn’t changed: “we get it, we get it distributed [to URTV].” She adds that “around 2005-06 the city got a block of money and gave to URTV to use for capital and the county got a block — it was over $300,000 — and gave it to them to use for operations. I think that money has run out and they haven’t adjusted.”

As for URTV’s future and financial situation, Greene asserts that the channel will have to adjust. “It’s tough, but if you really want to do it, you find a way.”

Bradley also says that despite changes in state law that shifted PEG funds — gathered from cable company subscribers by city and county governments to fund public access channels — from local to state control, URTV’s still received funds (about $30,000 a year) through the city and during 2008 and 2009, received more funding than before. At the beginning of the year, the city extended URTV’s operating agreement 90 days and then, in April, renewed it for another year.

The county’s agreement with URTV expired in February, and they haven’t renewed it, though Greene says that they continue to disburse a third of the PEG funds the county receives to the channel, as before (the city distributes 60 percent of its PEG funds to the channel). The county did, however, refuse a request by URTV for $200,000 more in additional funding.

The county’s fiscal year 2010 budget shows $1.5 million in cable franchise fee revenues. However, Greene says that these are for county operations and are not PEG funds, which come from a separate fee charged to cable subscribers.

During the negotiations over that renewal, Bradley says that URTV Executive Director Pat Garlinghouse informed the city “that they were in need of additional financial resources and that they had planned to seek other revenue options for their needs.”

However, Greene claims the county never received the memo and that the first news she received of URTV’s upcoming closure came Tuesday night at the regular board of commissioners meeting, when a number of people spoke on the issue during public comment, including some calling for the county to give URTV the funds needed to avoid closure.

Of the funds, Greene says “we’re expecting to get the same amount this year we got last year — and [URTV] will get the same share.” But as the economic downturn continues, she adds, cable subscribers could drop, decreasing PEG funds. The commissioners’ next meeting, on June 15, will include a detailed report about the URTV situation.

The memo from URTV says that in 2007 $100,000 was set aside from the initial five-year endowment “to accommodate the transition period to State funding. This amount is being used for FY 2010 expenses” and that “Extreme reduction in expenses were made during FY 2010.”

The memo adds that “The Media Center’s record on this accord is a model that you can match with any major operation in the country. The general community integration period for public access is 3-5 years. Asheville and Buncombe County has accomplished this in 3!”

So far, URTV representatives have not answered calls for comment.

The public-access channel has been the subject of some controversy in recent years, focusing on its management, especially Garlinghouse. Supporters of management, including a number of URTV producers, asserted that they brought much-needed reforms and better practices to the channel. However, a number of detractors, including two ousted board members, accused the management of a lack of transparency — including violations of open meetings law — and financial mismanagement.

— David Forbes, senior reporter

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112 thoughts on “Without more funds, URTV will close in September ***Updated Thurs. 11:30 a.m.***

  1. JWTJr

    Here we go again. I predict this article to be number 1 on the comment list for the month. Another prediction is that no more than 4 people will make 90% of the comments.

  2. Secret Service

    So….where is Davyne the “whistleblower,” to tell the community what happened to the money the County received from the State specifically for PEG?

    Where is David Forbes asking the County Commisioners what happend to the supplemental funding the County received from the State specifically last year for PEG?

    Where is the actual journalism that should seek to find out why the County chose to no longer fund Public Access, effectively shutting it down without so much as a public meeting on it?

    So you mean to tell me that John Blackwell, Tim Peck, Davyne Dial, Herb Johnson and Alan Rosenthal don’t want to blow the whistle on the County’s actions to keep funding (huge amounts of $$) meant for PEG, effectively shutting down everyone’s community media center?

    So they would rather see it shut down? I thought that was a red herring? Unless they apply the same unrelenting pressure to the County to explain where all that money went, I guess it wasn’t a red herring after all.

  3. Mysterylogger

    September can’t come Fast enough, tired of seeing tax money wasted on this mess.

  4. zulu

    For all the drama that has surrounded this difficult-to-watch wreck of a station, GOOD RIDDANCE! May you and WPVM (ooops- That’s “MAIN Radio”)be forgotten! You sucked a lot of energy but offered little in return.

  5. Don Yelton

    Actually it appears that the same thing is happening here as with the video poker. The State wants the control of the money so go figure that one out.

  6. skiplunch

    Darn, where am I going to go to see nut-job, wacko cretins and hilarious not to be believed cooking shows all rolled into one? Oh wait, this is Asheville. I can check that stuff out anywhere.

  7. Isabelle

    “September can’t come Fast enough, tired of seeing tax money wasted on this mess.”- quoted above

    I agree. I think URTV was never managed or directed correctly, from the beginning. I’m glad to see it end even though it had great potential. I suggested giving it over to UNCA students somehow and letting the multimedia/mass comm. students run wild. Cutting location costs and paying people to run it. Students would love the possibilities.

    I honestly do not think it should be that expensive to operate.

    Will they be selling off equipment? :)

  8. Björn

    I’d rather see Tax Money “Wasted” on URTV than Bush’s continued wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, to a tune of 12 billion per month. At least people are only wounded from boredom by URTV!

  9. Let’s be precise here. Not one cent of any tax money has ever gone to URTV. URTV has always been funded by PEG fees, which are paid by the cable companies to the government for their franchises. Their intended, stated purpose is to fund public, educational, and government programming. The county has evidently forgotten about the “public” portion of that.
    The County channel receives hundereds of thousands of dollars in PEG fees, while mostly showing a billboard. They certainly have less viewers than URTV. They also have government employees running it, who are paid with your tax dollars. The County could save itself $100-$150 K per year by fully funding URTV and putting that the information it actually needed to get out as a 4 hour block of programming on URTV. And since that would mean fewer government employees, fully funding URTV (and putting the county information their) would actually SAVE the residents of Buncombe County some taxes.

  10. Asheville Dweller

    Oh that made my day, your boy has the power to end it and hes hasn’t. Can’t go a day without blaming or mentioning Bush, thanks for keeping an ex president relevent.

  11. “…lack of financial resources to continue operations…”

    Does that mean “We’re freaking-ass broke because URTV has been run into the ground by an incompetent Executive Director misappropriating public funds”?

    Hard to say.
    …………………………..

  12. Secret Service

    “Does that mean “We’re freaking-ass broke because URTV has been run into the ground by an incompetent Executive Director misappropriating public funds”?

    Hard to say.”

    ———————————————
    No Tim, it means that the County was funding URTV, and then stopped. More importantly, this community WANTS public access more than anyone anticipated. (which means it requires more money than anyone anticipated)

    Nice speculation (libel) though, considering you wouldn’t know what competence looks like. You aren’t qualified to gauge competence, which is why no one asks you in the first place.

    ———————————————–

    Isabelle,

    Well, i have good news and bad news for you. The good news is, URTV isn’t funded by anyone’s tax dollars. (hard to waste tax dollars if you never got any!)

    The Bad news is, UNC already has its own access (education access, or the E in PEG) and cannot run Public Access precisely because it DOES receive tax dollars.

    So what happens is, URTV goes away for everyone (not just the three people who still think its paid for with tax dollars) Oh yeah, and it never comes back.

    How is that a victory for this community?

  13. travelah

    Does it make one iota of difference if the durn thing is on the air or not? Who to hell watches it anyway??

    Here is a glaring contradiction:
    No Tim, it means that the County was funding URTV, and then stopped. More importantly, this community WANTS public access more than anyone anticipated. (which means it requires more money than anyone anticipated)

    Well, i have good news and bad news for you. The good news is, URTV isn’t funded by anyone’s tax dollars. (hard to waste tax dollars if you never got any!)

    The county just pulled the funding out of their arses or did it come from taxpayers? Now, is it good or bad that the thing isn’t being funded any more. How confusing to stay on top of this crucial issue!!

  14. Travelah, the PEG fees that the cable companies pay the state for their franchises are distributed to the County and the City. If you don’t have cable, you don’t pay for URTV (or for the County or City channels) If URTV goes away, your taxes will not decrease. The stated, intended function of these fees is to pay for public access, educational, and government television (thus, PEG.) The County and the City give a lot of the fees to the City and County channels, I suspect use some more as a slush fund, and gives URTV the crumbs. That’s okay. We’ve become adept at living off crumbs. But we arenow a few crumbs short, as we have not gotten our expected pittance from the County.
    Now, some people may find the difference between these fees and taxes to be a bit fine. I understand that. If someone wants to talk about the legitimacy of the cable franchises, that’s a conversation I’d like to have. But if you accept the legitimacy of franchise fees, then shouldn’t they be used for their intended purpose?

  15. So now, the ED and Board Chair rally their sycophants to go beg the County for money??? Even though they’ve been out of compliance with NC Open Record and NC Open meeting laws since early 2007? Why should the County give them one thin dime????? In my opinion, this non compliance of North Carolina laws regarding transparency is why they are not being funded. The current Board and Management of URTV aka WNCCMC have only themselves to blame.

    Citizens of Buncombe County should be incensed that this valuable resource has been run into the ground.

    Before we hear any remarks from the sycophants, having to shut down Public Access due to non compliance is running an organization into the ground.

  16. merlin smart

    I was ready to print a bunch of “Urine TV” shirts to oppose this lame station that IS wasting my tax money that NC will wait to give me a refund. Too much “tripping on shrooms” shows shows what a waste it is. Look at other public tv stations and get a clue, It’s not about diversity but information in a way that is informative and interesting, not a drug addled mush that will cost us all.

  17. Davyne, you keep shrieking about this, so I did some research. Here is the statute for the NC Open Meeting Law:
    http://www.charmeck.org/charlotte/Newsroom/Open+Meetings+Law.htm

    According to this, all “public bodies” are indeed required to have all official meeting open to the public. A “public body” in this case is defined as:
    “As used in this Article, “public body” means any elected or appointed authority, board, commission, committee, council, or other body of the State, or of one or more counties, cities, school administrative units, constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina, or other political subdivisions or public corporations in the State that (i) is composed of two or more members and (ii) exercises or is authorized to exercise a legislative, policy-making, quasi-judicial, administrative, or advisory function. In addition, “public body” means the governing board of a “public hospital” as defined in G.S. 159-39 and the governing board of any nonprofit corporation to which a hospital facility has been sold or conveyed pursuant to G.S. 131E-8, any subsidiary of such nonprofit corporation, and any nonprofit corporation owning the corporation to which the hospital facility has been sold or conveyed.”

    While this _may_ be applicable to official Board of Director meetings (and I would argue that is debatable), it is not applicable to producer meetings.

    Now, “official meetings” are described as:
    “….a meeting, assembly, or gathering together at any time or place or the simultaneous communication by conference telephone or other electronic means of a majority of the members of a public body for the purpose of conducting hearings, participating in deliberations, or voting upon or otherwise transacting the public business within the jurisdiction, real or apparent, of the public body. However, a social meeting or other informal assembly or gathering together of the members of a public body does not constitute an official meeting unless called or held to evade the spirit and purposes of this Article.”

    I have looked over the archives of the URTV drama, and while there are instances of closed sessions of the board, none of ones I have heard about (and following this story, I have heard about more than I care to) qualify as official meetings. They talked things behind closed doors, yes. They’re allowed to do that. They just can’t make any official decisions behind closed doors, and I have not found evidence of a instance when they have done that.
    And I will repeat- since Pat as come on board, and interestingly enough since you’ve been gone, we have had more active producers, and more original content, than ever before. We are out-producing Atlanta and a lot of other major cities, with a scarce fraction of their resources I might add. Despite being saddled with an badly-designed organizational structure that most other community media centers don’t have to deal with, despite serious mistakes made in the location and beginning resources of URTV, despite a hostile government, despite a lack of needed funds since the beginning of URTV, URTV has survived and thrived.

  18. Secret Service said,
    “So you mean to tell me that John Blackwell, Tim Peck, Davyne Dial, Herb Johnson and Alan Rosenthal don’t want to blow the whistle on the County’s actions to keep funding (huge amounts of $$) meant for PEG, effectively shutting down everyone’s community media center?”
    so you have called me by name..
    hello,
    and what ir your name,please..

  19. R.Bernier opinions

    URTV are reqired to follow open board meeting laws of NC this should not even be an issue. Board members along with myself asked to review the books but the current exective director would not allow – maybe we would not be here had there been a true oversight.

    I would like to see our area maintain public access however the director has no done a good job to get broad support from the community & no grants other than one almost 3yrs ago for 20k.

    Johnny – URTV is required to follow OBML’s of NC
    a director who runs a cable tv outlet is caught on tape breaking the OBML’s of NC.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFfV2Ge4HQI

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KexF4szr9PA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rkh5aPzizYs&feature=related

    Has URTV worked in getting funding outside asking for City & County Govt help? That might be a good place to start Johnny Boy.

    RB

    City Council looks at the issues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te9X7y1jIxQ&feature=related

  20. Jimbo

    “Let’s be precise here. Not one cent of any tax money has ever gone to URTV. URTV has always been funded by PEG fees.”

    This is precisely why URTV is failing. Most or all of the supporters are completely ignorant of the fact that URTV is funded by tax dollars, and they act as if they are entitled to as much as they want. They’re lied to by the station staff about not being funded through taxes, then they preach the same lie not bothering to do 5 minutes research for themselves. The icing on the cake is them bashing others who use tax dollars. And no matter how many times reality is spoon fed to them as I will do below, they continue to preach the lie because they want to pretend otherwise. So once again for all you fact challenged people…

    From the NC legislature as provided by the Secretary of State website:
    http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2005/Bills/House/HTML/H2047v6.html

    http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/cable/ThePage.aspx

    “SECTION 8. Article 5 of Chapter 105 of the General Statutes
    § 105?164.44I. Distribution of part of sales tax on video programming service and telecommunications service to counties and cities.”

    “A county or city that used part of its franchise tax revenue in fiscal year 2005?2006 for the operation and support of PEG channels or a publicly owned and operated television station must use the funds distributed to it under subsections (c) and (d) of this section to continue the same level of support. The remainder of the distribution may be used for any public purpose.”

    As long as your arguments are based on ignorance and lies, you fail, end of story. You’d think the Mountain Express might print these facts once rather than reprinting the lies in the form of quotes from people ignorant to the facts. Just sayin.

  21. Thanks for the clarification Jimbo. I have the first quarter distribution report from the NC Dept of Revenue. (the tax collector)..listing the taxes on cable, satellite and how much of those funds are distributed to the different counties which have PEG stations.
    I will gladly forward it in PDF form to anyone who wishes to view it.

    Some people are so concerned with their little attempt at “stardom” that they will believe anything and do anything to stay in the good graces of a despot.

    BTW @ Johnny Lemuria……URTV aka WNCCMC is publicly funded…the rent is paid by the public, so any function must be open to the public. Your threats to a 75 year old handicapped man reveals a lot about you…..almost as much as the public record of your conviction of stealing from your employer, a couple of years ago.

  22. Just Me

    Most non-profits in the area that receive county and/or city funding have been receiving steadily declining awards the past few years. It sounds like URTV has been receiving the same amount. They are lucky in comparison to other non-profits in the area.

  23. Jimbo, it is a “tax” paid directly by the cable companies. By paying this tax, they get the franchise rights to operate a cable company. It is not paid directly by NC residents, and while the company companies may pass this cost to their customers, they are not legally mandated to do so, and non-customers don’t have to pay it. While it may be called a tax, it is a fairly odd sort of tax, and is more like a business license fee than a normal sales or income tax. Getting rid of URTV will not change the amount the cable companies are charged, and so will not change the amount the cable companies charge their subscribers.

  24. URTV aka WNCCMC is a private non profit, awarded the contract to run the public access station. If the current administrator and BOD cannot run it, then she and they should leave. The City and County could appoint an oversight board to set standards, and run the station till a competnat Executive Driector can be found. Someone who loves and appreciates this community. Why should we lose our public access station because of someones inability to properly manage the funds they are given. The People’s Channel in Chapel Hill operates under their alloted PEG funds. They don’t over spend by $60 to $80,000 annually (with virtually no transparency) and there by depleting the reserves.

    Garlinghouse was hired due to the glowing resume she submitted, that touted how expert she was at fundraising, yet little has been forthcoming since her arrival. Instead she has depleted the $300,000 the County gave that was supposed to be built upon, not spent. Since there has been no access to specifics, we don’t know how or to whom the money was spent….but we are working to find out.

    Public Access, was set up to be something like C-Span but for communities. The founders vision was that citizens would cover local issues, from politics, to arts, neighborhood issues, with a mix of whacked out Waynes World stuff thrown. Instead what our Station has devolved into is a small group of Citizens, some who are valiantly trying to cover local issues, surrounded by a large group of displaced street preachers, who for some insane reason think that now that they have a TV show, they’re on the road to saving the world.

    It’s a crying shame, what has happened, and the citizens rightly to be up in arms over this.

  25. It is not paid directly by NC residents, and while the company companies may pass this cost to their customers, they are not legally mandated to do so, and non-customers don’t have to pay it.

    Charter just tripled basic cable from $10 to $30 and is still I believe in Chapter 11. Maybe someone can do some digging and see what costs are going where?

    And Johnny, I’m neutral on this issue. I want to produce something myself, but with two stores and two kids time is tight. However, most of the programs on right now are not helping your case.

  26. Jimbo

    Johnny, I’m sorry to inform you….again..that you are completely incorrect on all your points. What you describe was somewhat correct several years ago. As described in the numerous documents, freely available at the sites provided, any funding which finds its way to URTV is entirely from video service taxes. Let me repeat…Video Service Taxes applied to all video services in the state of North Carolina. The tax is added to cable bills, direct satellite bills, and other video services exactly like sales tax.

    It is not a tax on the cable company. The tax is applied to subscriber payments just like when you buy beer or cloths. Charter doesn’t have an option to elect to collect it or not, they must. Of course non subscribers don’t have to pay it. You don’t pay taxes on a television you don’t buy either, but that’s entirely beside the point isn’t it. Dish subscribers and others that don’t get URTV pay the tax, and even if they did get URTV, they never asked for it. So please stop trying to confuse the issue by attempting to paint public access as some kind of benefactor to the community. It’s the other way around, and if it were to stay in business, it would need to understand that rather than holding it’s hand out all the time.

    The simple truth is if it’s so important to the supporters and users, they would keep it afloat through funding and volunteer work. If I’m not interested in it, why should my tax money be supporting it? Why can’t you support your own hobby? Tax payer already got you on the air and bought all that equipment for you. How much of a hand out does the public access community expect, especially when everyone is online now anyway at a fraction of the cost to themselves? Maybe that’s what this is all about, there’s little to no demand anymore and some folks can’t let it die a natural death.

  27. shadmarsh

    I’ve got an idea for a show, it is kinda of like Golden Girls meets The Peoples Court. Who can I pitch this to?

  28. AshevilleTV?

    Clearly there is a lot to fix with URTV, but for it to go off the air would be a loss. It is a young station in a city full of creativity and spirited opinions and expressions. Though it might be lacking in coherent organization and maybe the “last season” wasn’t as good as some previous ones, we are better off as a community having a open forum for expression as opposed to not having the opportunity for participation.

  29. Here are three questions from a letter I helped co-write to the URTV Board in the fall of 2006(!):

    > Why does the 2006 – 2007 budget, as well as the
    > six-year budget forecast show membership and
    > fundraising revenue to remain flat? We believe
    > that membership should be expected to grow
    > each year and fundraising must be a priority.
    >
    > Why does the six-year budget forecast show
    > deficit-spending in year two and continuing
    > through year six? Should this continue, URTV
    > will be bankrupt by year 2010.
    >
    > Why did the Board craft or approve a budget
    > that did not include adequate staff, including
    > administrative support and, more importantly,
    > a Development Director to ensure future
    > solvency?

    The six-year budget referred to used to be available on the URTV website for the public to view but was taken down, along with many other early documents, right after Kurt Mann was asked to step down (in Sept., ’06).

    Are the current budget woes really a surprise to anyone who was around four years ago?!?

    As someone with more than 17 years experience as a nonprofit administrator, I know that any board of directors for a nonprofit organization is responsible, in addition to ensuring fiscal responsibility and following all applicable laws, for fundraising, and that a staff development director is essential for the financial well being of any 501(c)3 organization.

    We’ve been told, over and over again, that URTV had no product to sell and, therefore, no one would contribute to such a project, but that flies in the face of NPR, PBS, Pacifica Radio, and other nonprofit media outlets. Citizens of Western North Carolina have repeatedly demonstrated their support for institutions that provide an alternative to the monied interests that pervade our daily lives.

    When board members are denied the right to review the financial documents of their organization–which is their duty–and are subsequently removed by other members of the board, something is wrong.

    And, let’s be clear about this, the board of directors is responsible for the direction of the organization and for carrying out the intent of the mission statement, honoring existing policies, and complying with all local, state, and federal laws. While day-to-day decisions must be made by staff, the board must take an active role in decision-making and must not act as a rubber stamp.

    URTV needs a board of directors comprised of people who A) have nonprofit board experience, B) a proven track record of fundraising, C) a stated commitment to open meeting rules and transparency with regard to financial records and public meeting minutes, and D) experience or an interest in public broadcasting or alternative media.

  30. Just Me

    cellorelio,

    That all sounds very sensible and straight-forward. I wonder if URTV had ever taken advantage of NC Center for Non-profits, or even WNC Pathways? It’s probably too late now if they were not interested before, but those are both great resources and echo the same logic as your post. Then maybe they would have realized that finance nerds are actually a good thing on a BOD, and staff.

  31. The 990s are only what figures the treasurer or whoever submits the figures to the accountant, give. Those figures can be accurate, or they can be garbage in. This is why people live in fear of an IRS audit. Figures must be matched by receipts…and a close audit will show the facts. Facts and figures don’t lie. To verify the figures one must see the financial records. Receipts, credit card statements, check book register, payments made to contract labor, receipt for those payments, etc.

  32. elaneon

    What is not going to happen when URTV dies is a reduction in your taxes- federal, state, local-because none of that has ever supported URTV. The fees on your cable bill aren’t going to come down either.

    URTV meant that a part of those fees (pennies) went to a televised public forum so that anyone in our community could discuss, sermonize, teach, or entertain Asheville and the surrounding area.

    When URTV closes the full amount of those fees will go to the county government channel. Hope you all enjoy paying more to watch a repeating bulletin board of events (that you could read online or in a Mountain Xpress) accompanied with crappy muzak.

    Personally I think I’m done with cable. URTV was about all I watched that I can’t see for free on Hulu.

    URTV is a community resource uniquely relevant to this area. The attitude that you don’t want it here because you personally don’t use it and don’t like to watch- that’s just selfish, mean-spirited, and Anti-Asheville. Please do the rest of us a favor and move far away from here.

    Comparing URTV to Youtube is missing the whole point of local, non-corporate media. This comparison also ignores URTV’s other benefits to this community- the hands on classes, free access to equipment, and community projects like the summer video youth camp.

    Thank to all who supported URTV, especially those who made the shows. Even some of the worst shows were funny, charming, and poignant at times. Some of the best were glorious.

    Global Report, Art-Seen Asheville, Mt. Dungeon, Ashevegas, Green Bistro, Wallpaper Project, Ralph Rides, Mad Scientist, Pleasure Saucer, KC Waters, I Ching Guy, and so many others- thanks for all the time, effort, and magic.

  33. JustMe,

    Why, yes, the small group of people who were demanding answers from the board in the fall of 2006 did suggest that they seek guidance from the NC Center for Non-profits.

    After the hoopla over Kurt Mann’s dismissal, the general public grew tired of the controversy and most people weren’t interested in such mundane things as facts and figures regarding URTV’s financial security.

    Then, just like everyone who has questioned the finances since, we were branded troublemakers and accused of trying to destroy the organization. How that seems logical to anyone is beyond my comprehension.

    Anyhow, to my knowledge, the NC Center for Non-profits was never consulted.

  34. Just Me

    Poor financial planning and a poor budgeting process sounds much more likely and sadly all too common. Sometimes non-profits don’t like having to listen to people who have to ask the hard questions and they imagine that nothing more than focusing on the services/programs is needed to be successful. And they like even less having to do the paperwork and cross the t’s and dot the i’s. I have friends who are producers there and I understand that they are quite happy with their end of things- the creative, fun, visionary end of things. But the reality is that we live in a world that has lots of red-tape, especially for non-profits.

    However, I would hesitate before thinking there is fruad or that the CPA’s were not at least diligent enough to pull some samples and actually look at original documents before they put their signatures on the 990 and their licenses on the line. They would want some level of assurance that the general ledger represented the actual transactions and balances- even if they were not performing a full-on audit.

    It is not their job to financially manage or budget the org. Only to attempt to accurately report the balances. The 990′s can be completely accurate despite the leadership of the org steering it into non-existance.

  35. Personally I think I’m done with cable. URTV was about all I watched that I can’t see for free on Hulu.

    According to Hulu, that will be changing soon.

  36. Pastor Jerry Young, (Chairman of URTV Board of Directors) has sent a letter to the City Managers office, announcing the pending shutting down of our public access station.

    This financial collision was what myself and others who were paying attention, had become deeply concerned about since early 2008. Numerous attempts to alert both our elected officials and paid staff at the City and County of the impending doom, fell upon deaf ears. It’s as if they wanted this travesty to occur. Certainly a powerful forum like a TV channel is something the powers that be may not be keen upon. Instead it was easier to look upon us a “troublemakers” or malcontents.

    I have done some research on the internet via foundationcenter.org by keying in either “public access” or “community television” for fy 2008 (the last 990 I find from URTV to do a comparison), and can find very little in comparable stations (either population size or amount of funding received) who are in such dire financial straits. Taxes are still being collected to fund a public access studio, both by Charter and also satellite TV service. If URTV / WNCCMC cannot manage on the funds they receive then they should step aside, and another entity contracted to run our public access. We must pressure both the City and County to consider alternatives to merely quitting.

    There are other options. This could be in the form of simply dropping DVD’s off to Charter Cable, to combining with either the Govt. channels or the EDU channels orparing back to an eight by eight foot room and having one employee man a much smaller (but functioning) facility.

    Bottom line, URTV / WNCCMC is a private non profit contracted by the City and County to run our public access station. Our public Access station is not permanently wedded to this private non profit. If the management and Board of Directors cannot manage with the funds they have, they should turn the keys over to another entity, that is dedicated to growing our public access station into what it was envisioned to become. The City and County has to power to appoint an interim panel or committee to form and run a revived facility. But they need to know that people care about this.

    Please attend the upcoming City Council meeting and voice your opinion on this important issue. The County has URTV on the Agenda at their next meeting on June 15th. The City can be addressed during the public comment session on June 8th. If you cannot attend, please take some time and write our elected officials and staff about considering alternatives. We still have the equipment and the channel, and the funding which comes to approximately $150,000 annually….there is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  37. Just Me

    Oh, I bet the City and/or County will be having someone monitor the dissolution of assets to be sure everything is accounted for. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Articles of Inc and/or the contracts with the funders dictate where the remaining assets will go in the event of dissolution.

  38. The management agreement stipulates that all equipment; cameras, computers, software, servers, control room equipment, etc. go to the City.

  39. The management agreement stipulates that all equipment; cameras, computers, software, servers, control room equipment, etc. go to the City.

    Dibs on the chroma key!

  40. URTV Watcher

    Will members of URTV start asking questions to the Director & to the Board President as why such a short notice?

    What have they done to prevent?

    I for one would like to see the Director come on air & speek & let us know what has happen to our channel.

    Hkj

  41. Atlas Shrugged

    As someone who has run a video production facility, has over twenty years in the “biz” and was present during much of the initial planning for URTV, I can say without hesitation that what was planned was very problematic. I remember thinking that with the initial ideas, the money would run out quickly. I also thought that the initial plan’s scope was way too large for the resources available and that the management would be extremely top heavy, very cumbersome and prone to all types of local politics, etc.

    It would be a shame to “throw the baby out..” as some suggest. The equipment IS there and there IS a small amount of money. However, they have to scale way back and take a long hard look on how they might survive.

  42. Atlas Shrugged

    I would also like to add that unfortunately, it is not as easy as Pastor Young suggests when he says “drop a dvd off at charter”. Even if you did, it still has to be encoded, scheduled, etc. When you are dealing with a number of shows, this gets very time intensive. Also, this may work for someone who has a produced show but what about those that need to be produced?

    The bottom line: I believe public access tv to be the “last man standing” when it comes to truely local produced programming. However, if the community wants it, it has to be funded. And not as a year by year, beg as you go proposition. You can’t plan that way and keeping good people becomes very difficult.

    In the end, the marketplace will determine the fate of public access tv. If people truly value it, then they will find a way to fund it. If it is a freak show enjoyed by a handful of people, then goodbye public access.

  43. lasereye

    OBSERVATION: Wow, the same old saw comments. It’s like watching a bunch of whining piss-ants not comprehending the giant shadow of an elephant’s foot about to not only squish the piss out of them but everyone else’s 1st Amendment Rights. Wake-up! It’s our Community Media Center and our community’s interpersonal communications which is in jeopardy! It’s time to defend our freedom to speak and our tools to create with and be heard!

  44. Public Access television in Buncombe is under threat of closing. On May 24, 2010, the current management informed the Asheville, NC City manager that they will shut down our public access station in September, if they do not receive an additional $500,000. We all know this is a ridiculous demand. Given both the state of the economy and the complete lack of transparency that has permeated the current management.

    The fact is URTV / WNCCMC is not bonded to our public access channel, they are merely contracted by the City and County to manage it.

    I am proposing we form a grassroots movement to keep our public access station and have a committee of local interested people to run public access under new management. Made up of concerned citizens who care about the power of public access to unite and inform our community.

    According to the County Manager Wanda Greene, the amount of funding URTV has been receiving has not changed, and the channel is still available. We just need community support to keep it running. I have full faith we can manage very well with the allotted fees coming in from Raleigh.

    Please sign this petition so we can show our elected officials and paid staff that we want our public access.

    http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/accessbuncombe

  45. Lasereye

    URGENT – LAST COUNTY COMMISSION MEETING June 15th

    This will be the last time the County Commission meets until August. It’s time to show-up, to standup for your WNC Community Media Center and let the commission know, by your presence, to protect and defend your 1st Amendment Rights. To be heard as individual citizens, unfiltered by outside interest and influence. For once it’s gone – it’s gone forever. Building community among ourselves as citizens is where it’s at. Don’t let it slip away to misinformation and apathy. It’s time to wake-Up and realize what you’re about to lose!

  46. Secret Service

    So, finally the truth does out! Davyne Dial wants control of the Public Access center. Finally, she just admits.

    Looks like it wasn’t a “Red Herring” after all….. Dial has, from the begining, wanted control of the channel.

    Looks like these last two years of incessant, paranoid, demonstrably false claims have really been one long power struggle.

    She recently wrote David Gannt an email pleading to “let URTV die.”

    Looks like the very mature stance of “If I can’t have it, can’t nobody have it!”

    How many times did Dial deny this and call it a “Red Herring?” Seriously, how many? Cuz now she is out-and-out calling for URTV to be shutdown, and the funding/channel be given to her and her “grassroots” movement.

    Newsflash Davyne: there already was a grassroots movement to get Public Access here in Asheville/BC, from 1994 – 2006!

    Since then, hundreds of people have spent tens of thousands of hours building the foundation, community and resources that is the WNC Media Center.

    ….so how does throwing away the fruits of all that work just so you and your friends can start over, create community dialogue?

    How does losing our Media Center make this community better?

    How does throwing away all the hard work from so many people create community? Because to me, it seems insulting, divisive and just plain selfish.

  47. Secret Service, when you have the intestinal fortutude to use your real name, then you can make valid points.

    It would be foolish to not consider all options for public access. The current plea for an additional $500,000 is not reasonable.
    So many of us former, members, producers and interested observers are considering all the options. I personally have no desire to run anything…I’m a designer and have plenty of work to keep me occupied. But helping organize a grass roots group to present options…I’m all for that.

    Wanna join in? If so, state your name.

  48. URTV Watcher

    Secert Service – It seems that the lady wants UNCA or AB Tech to step in and run this venue.

    The director & board has failed – did they do long term mgt.? Your answer should be no unless you are looking for a “Red Herring”.

    Im seeking the truth & you are making it easy to see spin & not the facts.

    You are off track 100%.

  49. my name is john blackwell,
    and i want to take over public access in asheville,just to see how cheaply this thing can be done..
    when the money is all gone,then the people who only care about how much money they can get out of it ,will be gone..we will all be better off for it…
    what bs this is ??.
    {”if you don’t give me $500,000 i will shut down urtv.”}
    this is the plan of a mad woman… can’t you see that??

  50. Good grief!

    Just use You Tube, or if you wanna make longer videos, use Blip TV or Vimeo or any one of several video sharing platforms out there [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_hosting_websites] that are free for the using. Don’t leach off the Cable Company or Local Government or use Other People’s Money, i.e., tax dollars (if you subscribe to that theory) to support your hobby.

  51. “So your name is D Dial music notes? “

    Funny Piffy……you know you inspired those musical notes, and I was green with envy over the cuteness…..they add a touch of flourish.

  52. “Don’t leach off the Cable Company or Local Government or use Other People’s Money, i.e., tax dollars (if you subscribe to that theory) to support your hobby”

    Bobby, Bobby, Bobby……talk about the post calling the kettle black. You use WNC’s library computer/power and library space, to “support your hobby.”

    The fees collected for a public access channel are part of the franchise agreement Buncombe and Asheville has with Charter.
    As long as those fees are collected it is in the county’s citizens to have a public soapbox….ostensibly open to all who wish to participate.

    http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/csgen.html
    “Channels For Public, Educational, Or Governmental Use

    Under the 1984 Cable Act, local franchising authorities may require that cable operators set aside channels for public, educational, or governmental (“PEG”) use. In addition, franchising authorities may require cable operators to provide services, facilities, and equipment for the use of these channels. Many cable systems include several PEG channels.

    In general, cable operators are not permitted to control the content of programming on PEG channels. Cable operators may impose non-content-based requirements, such as minimum production standards, and may mandate equipment user training.

    PEG channel capacity which is not in use for its designated purpose may, with the franchising authority’s permission, be used by the cable operator to provide other services. Under certain conditions, a franchising authority may authorize the use of unused PEG channels to carry low power commercial television stations and local noncommercial educational television stations that are required by law.

    Information relating to PEG channels may be obtained directly from the cable system or the local franchising authority.

    Leased Commercial Access”

  53. Piffy!

    [b]Bobby, Bobby, Bobby……talk about the post calling the kettle black. You use WNC’s library computer/power and library space, to “support your hobby.” [/b]

    Lol. Conservatives aren’t known for their ideological consistency, are they? What a commie!

  54. @Davyne, Davyne, Davyne:

    I don’t know who you’re getting your info from, but whoever it is, is lying or hasn’t spoken to me in well over a year. You really should vet your sources to make sure their information is up to date.

    I haven’t been on the campus of WCU since I went over there to webcast the Young Americans for Liberty GOP Congressional debate in December, and my previous visit before then was in June of 2009.

    I blog from home, or use an air card when I’m doing a remote webcast of Aldermen or Commissioner meetings.

    As to PEG Funds, you’re still using Other People’s Money.

    I think PEG Channels have been rendered obsolete by better, cheaper and more technically advanced options. Anyone can set up their own video or audio channel and broadcast to their neighborhood, city, state or even the world without using a dime of Other People’s Money. And if they’re smart, they can make some money at it.

  55. Thunder Pig, get real. Are you actually advocating closing all libraries, disbanding all police forces, firing all firefighters, shutting down the military, closing all public school? They’re using other people’s money.

    “Anyone can set up their own video or audio channel and broadcast to their neighborhood, city, state or even the world without using a dime of Other People’s Money.”

    Anyone who can afford video equipment, editing software, etc.

  56. R.Bernier opinions

    I strongly suggust that you take the time to read a report that was done three years ago that warned Ms.Garlinghouse about her spending though she states in 2007 that she can bring in monies to cover however when pressed, she passes the buck back to the City of Asheville.

    http://ourasheville.org/071115-urtv/images-data/20071018-urtv-treasurer-report.pdf

    This report shows a former board member in 2007 calling the alarms but he like others to follow was just called out to be a problem maker.

    We will lose public access if the current director stays along with the board president.

    RB

    How many red flags do you see in this report based on were URTV is today?
    Sounds like the repeat of when other board members were removed from the board.

  57. Well goody, glad you got your own computer. But still at one time you were indeed using WCU’s facilities….I believe that would qualify as using tax payer funded facilities.

  58. Considering what I was paying in tuition and parking fees at WCU, I’d say that I more than paid for any use of computers during the semesters I was there.

    BTW, I’ve had computers off and on since 1984, and continuously since 1997. Again, Just who are you getting your misinformation from? Or, is it just some weird attempt at an ad hominem attack so you don’t have to address the issue at hand?

    You still haven’t addressed my point, that PEG Channels have been rendered obsolete by technical means. Anyone with a camera and access to a fast Internet connection can make videos and upload them for the world to see…not just the few local cable TV subscribers in their town.

    Cameras are cheap. You can get an HD camera for less than $200. Video Editing Software is cheap. Windows Movie Maker and iMove are free and there are many open source options available as well http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_free_and_open_source_software_packages#Video_editing, and good editors can be had for under $100.

    Training is cheap or even free if one can use a search engine and is willing to read and then conduct their own experiments to see if they’ve understood what they’ve read about the theory and application of filming techniques and various articles regarding technical aspects of building or operating a studio.

    About your citation of the 1984 Cable Franchise Policy and Communications Act, the full text is available at http://www.publicaccess.org/cableact.html
    You didn’t pay attention to the wording of the Barry Goldwater’s bill. It states “may require not shall require. May require means that it is an option, not a requirement. The local government has the option of keeping the money. Most local governments around the country keep that money.

    PEG advocates may have intended the 1984 bill to save PEG Channels from the Supreme Court ruling against the FCC in FCC vs. Midwest Video Corp. http://supreme.justia.com/us/440/689/ , but it had the opposite effect due to the poor wording of the bill as sponsored by Barry Goldwater.

    Public Access was created to provide a free-speech forum, open to all on a first-come, first-served basis without discrimination or favoritism based on content. I argue that the Internet, along with cheap cameras, free or cheap software and free or cheap training renders PEG Channels obsolete, if not already parochial.

    And, as a bonus, you don’t have to deal with the ever-present internecine bureaucratic struggles for power and control of local PEG programming, facilities, equipment and funds.

  59. “You still haven’t addressed my point, that PEG Channels have been rendered obsolete by technical means. “

    A tv channel broadcasting into homes remains the most powerful form of communication. Many people still don’t have computers. Public Access prime asset is the ability to broadcast programs about local issues in depth. Without time or commercial restrictions of all other channels.

    There is a long history of the powerful keeping the means of mass communication out of the hands of the masses. Look up the history of the flood of 1927. Plutocracies have a tradition of not wanting communicative power in the hands of the people.

    May is indeed the operative word…..it will be up to our local leaders if public access may continue. The fees will still be collected, whether we have a local public access station or not. The power plays are not going away either.

  60. @cellorelio:

    I’d like to see as many of those functions handled by the private sector as possible.

    See my above reply to Davyne re the price of equipment and software.

  61. James Wilson

    “Where is the actual journalism that should seek to find out why the County chose to no longer fund Public Access, effectively shutting it down without so much as a public meeting on it?”

    “Secret Service”, perhaps you should go back and reread the article as it states that even though the county has not renewed its contract with URTV it continues to fund URTV at the same level as previously. Additionally they have not cut funding rather the State Of NC has taken over the distribution of PEG funds.

    Please re read and reexamine your statements before you become one of those posters who just spouts polluted rubbish as so many of these URTV threads turn into. Thanks

  62. James Wilson

    Hey Secret Service…here we go again and you always miss this point or gloss over it because it makes your argument irrelevant. If the money is collected by the public or paid into public coffers, meaning government, it is public funds. It does not matter if it comes from cable subscriber fees, etc which is a form of voluntary tax which you also choose to ignore.

    Also once again if you would bother to read the article you would see that PEG funds and additional funds the county receive are separated by the state. Are you saying the county citizens should just hand you theirs in the form of another open ended hand out for your hobbies at URTV without any accountability from URTV management? I think not!

  63. R.Bernier opinions

    Here is what most likely happen at the Buncombe County meeting this Tuesday.

    URTV will recive the funds because the County has withheld the funds they got from Charter so URTV will live another day.

    The County should require URTV to be 100% transparent however they will not.

    I want to see Public Access,County channel & City channel all go under one roof & one channel – cut cost & use funds in our schools.

    URTV will live until?

    RB

    Small Govt
    Bigger People….

  64. JWTJr

    I don’t care the method to the madness of getting money to URTV. The bottom line is that it is money that URTV did not earn on their own.

    Without a mandatory handout from somebody, they would not exist.

  65. Without a mandatory handout, public schools, police and fire departments, libraries, the military, public parks, most corporations, sewage systems, (wait, that may be redundant), landfills, many utilities, clean drinking water, etc. would not exist.

  66. JWTJr

    “Without a mandatory handout, public schools, police and fire departments, libraries, the military, public parks, most corporations, sewage systems, (wait, that may be redundant), landfills, many utilities, clean drinking water, etc. would not exist.”

    In a time when there are more channels than we can count, you are equating having another channel to having police and fire and water and sewer services?

    Somebody needs to step back and re-evaluate their priorities.

  67. > In a time when there are more channels
    > than we can count, you are equating
    > having another channel to having police
    > and fire and water and sewer services?

    In a time when there are more books that we can count, should we eliminate libraries?

  68. The Welfare Mentality will destroy our civilization.

    One other thing I forgot to mention that makes Public Access totally irrelevant is 24/7 FREE WEBCASTING available via Ustream, Livestream (formerly Mogulus) and Justin TV. There are others that also offer this service.

    You can do live shows, or upload pre-recorded content without having to worry about putting your hands in other people’s pockets for money to bankroll your operation or having to worry about open meeting laws or power-hungry people hiring a private investigator to dig up dirt on you or the person running the operation. You don’t have to worry about childish office politics as people jockey to get a better time slot or use a piece of equipment that Other People’s Money bought for you.

    What people have is the illusion that with a Public Access Channel..is that hordes of people are hanging on your every word, or waiting breathlessly for your next show.

  69. JWTJr

    “In a time when there are more books that we can count, should we eliminate libraries?”

    That analogy doesn’t even come close. Try again. Maybe compare URTV to world peace or something. That would be sweet.

    Asheville will survive unfazed without URTV. I’d rather my cable bill go down instead of up to fund a hobby for a few egomaniacs.

    I love to fish, where’s my handout?

  70. shadmarsh

    I love to fish, where’s my handout?

    probably swimming right by you…you know one of the fish that the NC Dept. of Wildlife regularly stocks the streams and rivers with.

  71. JWTJr

    I’m not one of those country club trout fisherman types fishing for stupid hatchery fish. I like em the old fashioned way, I earn em.

  72. > I’d rather my cable bill go down

    But it wouldn’t unless the UNC and Buncombe County channels (the ‘e’ and ‘g’ in PEG) also shut down.

    And, even if all three were to go off the air, each rate-payer’s monthly bill would go down, I believe, $0.35. Someone can verify that.

  73. An ED who spent between $60,000 to $87,000 annually above what the PEG funds allotted were has left the community with an empty purse. $300,000 in reserve funds have been blown through, while a lazy and uninformed BOD looked the other way. Those of us who tried with all our hearts to maintain some financial controls for the long term were demonized and dismissed.

    Now we know why they wanted no oversight. Garlinghouse (if she’s the expert she claims to be) KNEW this day was coming, but she spent like there was no tomorrow. Now why?

  74. R.Bernier opinions

    Were was Pat Garlinhouse tonight? When they are tough questions to be asked, Pat is always a no show.

    True leadership really shows – will you take URTV ship all the way down?

    RB

  75. JWTJr

    “probably swimming right by you…you know one of the fish that the NC Dept. of Wildlife regularly stocks the streams and rivers with.”

    How many thousands of tourists come to WNC to watch URTV? Find me even one and I’ll be impressed. Fishing draws a world wide audience to spend money here in WNC.

    Comparing those two things is a no brainer. URTV is a pure expense. A hand out with no payback. There is no revenue side to it.

  76. “And, even if all three were to go off the air, each rate-payer’s monthly bill would go down, I believe, $0.35. Someone can verify that. “

    It’s .43ç, but there’s a 99% chance they would still collect and keep it.

  77. JWTJr

    Davyne, To be fair, I’m not entirely against local access TV … I just had to chime in when the source of URTV’s funding was being misrepresented.

    I completely agree with you that spending the war chest was a bad move and those that did it should step aside.

  78. JWTJr

    “And, even if all three were to go off the air, each rate-payer’s monthly bill would go down, I believe, $0.35. Someone can verify that.”

    Trying to spin ‘how little’ it costs each subscriber is typical of those that spend government corralled funds.

  79. R.Bernier opinions

    Thuder Pig,
    Im not hearing much from your friend Ralph Roberts about this matter. Three people stood up & fought very hard to remove the mask off of out of control spending only to be removed.

    Im proud Ms.Dial & our actions which we stood firm on princples & often I would say “go live & debate” which they would not – its easy to see why now.

    RB

    Was it not said that once you remove the troble makers all things would be just find? Maybe you can blame “Bush” for this in some lame way.

    Btw: They are several folks now trying to put together to keep public access alive – we can not expect the current director & board of directors to do what is right when they have been so wrong!!

  80. From what I have observed, Almost Every time I have turned on URTV, its running some christian show.
    I would not mind that if shows put on by organized religions were strictly limited.
    And for every one christian show, there should be one muslim, jewish, buddhist, hindi, pagan, new age, agnostic, etc., etc., show on the air.

    I know they have some decent music shows, regular talk shows, shows about local festivals and art shows, and fringe conspiracy films about 9/11 and Federal Reserve. Thats good.

    But strictly limit time for shows put on by christian groups, and political organizations with a political agenda, be it tea party, libertarians, etc. And, again, progressives, socialists, democrats, etc.,etc., must be given equal air time

  81. ” ……..having to worry about open meeting laws or power-hungry people hiring a private investigator to dig up dirt on you or the person running the operation.”

    Hey Bobby Coggins…trying to start a fire here too??????????????

  82. James Wilson

    “URTV is a community resource uniquely relevant to this area. The attitude that you don’t want it here because you personally don’t use it and don’t like to watch- that’s just selfish, mean-spirited, and Anti-Asheville. Please do the rest of us a favor and move far away from here.”

    Elaneon, how is asking you to foot the entire bill for your own personal hobby mean spirited? Not meaning to be mean but it sure does look like a childish temper tantrum on URTV managements part and some of its members. Give us money or we will close…well close then or get up off your butts and raise your own capital through fund raisers, grants, etc rather then ask the public for open ended handouts without any accountability and transparency.

  83. @Richard Bernier opinions, perhaps he is taking the same approach as the Buncombe Commissioners, washing his hands of the whole affair. I warned you to go slow or it would blow up in your face.

    The “troble makers” have never really been removed. I seem to read about them every other week or so…So things are not “just find”.

    I am against Public Access based on conservative principals (preferring private initiatives over government initiatives any day of the week)…especially now that the Internet can truly make content available to a far larger number of people than the relative few who are on cable. I’ve stated my reasons in this thread, if you care to read them and form a response. I’ve also delineated some of them at http://thunderpigblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/buncombe-commissioners-refuse-to.html

    @Davyne Dial, No…I can’t hold a candle to the fire making ability of you and Bernier, as witnessed in these URTV threads on Mtn X. Of course, I expect no less from those who are unable to argue the issue at hand and prefer the ad hominem attack or via a thinly veiled threat of blackmail. I understand that some people think it is always best to try to intimidate or kill the messenger than to deal with the content of his message. That doesn’t concern me. Fear is something that works only if a person is afraid.

    Your move.

  84. R.Bernier opinions

    Public access can remain with an overcut of 60% & even more after the first year if you have the mgnt.

    As a board member, I wanted public access to “pay it own way” & was the direction I wanted.

    Actions early on was the right thing to do even though it made large waves. Issues matter Mr.Coggins, I would suggust that you go back thru all the stories & see were the board members stood along with your friend Ralph Roberts who by the way has served on many boards.

    My offer to debate the issues along with solutions is still open – flip the switch & film it for air.

    RB

    No ideal about the “hominem attacks” but coming from you on only has to read your blogs to see this.

  85. “Give us money or we will close…well close then or get up off your butts and raise your own capital through fund raisers, grants, etc rather then ask the public for open ended handouts without any accountability and transparency. “

    Pree-xact-ly!!!

    URTV is a private non profit. It is contracted by the City to run our public access. Public Access and URTV, Inc. are not wedded, or bonded in any way. If this private contractor cannot make do, then the officials who let contracts can find some other entity that can. Why should the citizens lose this public asset if the private contractor can make do with the current economy?

  86. James Wilson

    “URTV is a private non profit. It is contracted by the City to run our public access. Public Access and URTV, Inc. are not wedded, or bonded in any way. If this private contractor cannot make do, then the officials who let contracts can find some other entity that can. Why should the citizens lose this public asset if the private contractor can make do with the current economy?”

    And non profits are allowed to do their own fund raising to pay for the cost of there operations.

  87. Thunderpig said: “Good grief!
    Don’t leach off the Cable Company or Local Government or use Other People’s Money, i.e., tax dollars (if you subscribe to that theory) to support your hobby.”

    But Bobby, when you want or needed to use public facilities for your hobby /blog it’s ok. right? You get your turn, but anyone else is sucking off the public teat???

    http://www.123people.com/ext/frm?ti=person finder&search_term=bobby coggins&search_country=US&st=person finder&target_url=http://bloginterviewer.com/north-america/thunder-pig-bobby-coggins&section=blog&wrt_id=262

    In this link you said “I started thinking about blogging just before the Iraqi Invasion in 2003. I finally got around to it on May 14, 2005 from a Computer with 30 MB RAM and a 1.1 GB Hard Drive hooked to a 28K phone line. My current machine is much better, but the phone line has now been upgraded to 56K, but I only get 40 to 42K max out of it, so I do all my multimedia stuff from public terminals and at the local University Library.”

    Your criticisms of others seem hypocritical, to say the least.

  88. @Davyne, still focused on the ad hominem for your arguments, eh? Do you feel that the only way you can win an argument or make a point is to attempt to discredit your opponent?

    Or is it an attempt to use the Fallacy of tu quoque?

    Showing that a person’s views or actions are inconsistent with what he previously believed or did and therefore (1) he is not to be trusted, and/or (2) his new view is to be rejected.

    Using a public library is NOT like using the facilities at URTV. If I’m not mistaken, before you’re allowed to use the facilities and equipment at URTV, do you not have to take training classes on how to use the equipment & facilities?

    The last time I checked, all you need to use the facilities at a library is a library card. To use the computers at the Macon Co Library all one needs is a photo ID…you don’t even have to have a library card. To use the wireless all you need is a device capable of accessing it, no ID needed. When I teach a class or hold a local grassroots meeting, all I need is $20 for a couple of hours to use a meeting room. I must have slept in the day we were told that we were not allowed to use their equipment & facilities w/o first having taken special classes to qualify for using them.

    Your theory would work if just anyone could prove residency and be able to use URTV’s equipment and facilities, if I could just show a photo ID and be able to use a studio, have a show or check out a camera. Not everyone knows how to use a camera, plan for and use transitions in their videos, set a white balance, how to set up a three-point lighting system or edit a video using software programs (although I could make a case that some URTV alumni don’t know how to do those things). The number of people who can use URTV’s facilities to produce material does not even come close to comparing to the number who use a library.

    The point remains that anyone can set up their own television network on the Internet for very little cost…certainly magnitudes of order less than what URTV has burned through and be able to reach far more people than URTV can. At one time, public access served a useful purpose. In the last few years with the rise of easy access to the Internet (even for dummies) with players like the Roku box that connects to your television and can deliver video content from the Internet.

    I don’t think that you are interested in debating the points I have raised. I think that you are far more interested in shutting me up (or at the very least, discrediting me via logical fallacies so you don’t have to address the points I raise) than you are in having a conversation or friendly debate.

    Did you read the entire interview you referenced? (it was conducted in September 2007 and is available on the original webpage at http://bloginterviewer.com/north-america/thunder-pig-bobby-coggins)

    You should have read the answer to the last question. (What advice do you have for bloggers?)


    Don’t ever make the mistake of giving out your personal email address, think long and hard about revealing who you are if you blog about local politics and the court system, because people will try to shut you up…especially if you are a conservative.

    Thank you for proving that point in a public forum.

    Just think about what you could achieve if you spent your time researching ways to back up your arguments instead of digging up stuff to (at least in your mind) invalidate points raised by others? Or, as Barry Summers so eloquently said in a previous thread where you went digging into someone else’s past in an attempt to avoid debating the issue at hand or offering a cogent counter argument:


    Davyne, I’m sorely disappointed. This is low. I had a brief experience corresponding with you during the WPVM/URTV debacles. That ended when I found that you were forwarding my confidential emails to your private investigator friend without my consent. I chose not to make a big deal out of it – I simply chose to go my own way & let you go yours.

    Now, I find that I was right not to get too closely involved with you. Breaching David’s privacy and attempting to embarrass him in public, simply to try to rack up points in some spat you’re having with him? You show a shocking lack of ethics and propriety. Shame on you.

    Source: http://www.mountainx.com/opinion/2009/122309the_news_we_all_make

    It is almost all the way to the end of that thread. BTW, I was monitoring that thread at the time and requested a copy of that letter from you that you refused to send to the person who requested it, and then I forwarded it to him.

    I received several emails from friends warning me not to get involved in a back-and-forth with you because they said you were not capable of a constructive debate. That you would instead focus on tearing me down instead of tearing down my arguments or offering a cogent one of your own. I chose instead to believe in the power of redemption, of positive change that people can change and that they don’t always go for the cheap and easy shot.

    You are better than that. Tell me what URTV does that one cannot do for free (via Ustream, Livestream, Justin TV or Blip TV), or nearly free with cheap cameras and free or cheap software and the multitude of educational material available for free on the Internet that teaches one how to use that equipment and the various styles of film making. How do you think I learned how to use a camera, edit video, or even HTML?

    Government’s role should be limited to doing things for citizens that citizens cannot do for themselves. I think that I’ve demonstrated that people can do for themselves at little cost what URTV has been doing for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    An entrepreneur should be able to do what URTV does…and make a profit at it at the same time. I realize that it is a philosophically conservative view that probably has no place in the Progressive Utopia of Asheville, NC where good things can only be achieved with some measure of government intervention and not by people acting independently of the government, or funds provided by the government.

    If URTV could function without using government coercion of funds from Charter subscribers or tax monies petitioned or apportioned from local government, then you would have no argument from me on that point.

  89. James Wilson

    “But Bobby, when you want or needed to use public facilities for your hobby /blog it’s ok. right? You get your turn, but anyone else is sucking off the public teat???”

    Davyne…on this note I am inclined to agree with Thunderpig….the Buncombe county libraries are 100% public institutions supported by tax dollars/grants, etc. Anybody can go get a library card and use them. URTV is semi private. You have to take a course,you have to pay a small fee, etc and be granted membership in to the little group or click. Its like an exclusive semi public/private hobby club that gets some money from the public. As its semi private it should not be getting all its funds from the public without accountability and transparency.

    Since membership is involved at URTV and records seem to be continually hidden, URTV and its membership should start paying for 100% of its own hobby operations without begging municipalities for funds. The same goes for MAIN and WRES or whatever the NAACP LPFM is…I was not very happy when the city and county gave them money for their start up costs either as they are also membership based.

  90. ‘Government’s role should be limited to doing things for citizens that citizens cannot do for themselves. “

    I am in complete agreement. In fact no one should do for someone else what that individual should be doing for themselves. Doing so is enabling behavior.

    That said…as long as PEG fees/taxes are collected they are earmarked for the service URTV, BCTV and the local ED channels are providing. What the current management is asking for is much more than is collected from Charter. My point to both the City and County officials is that we shouldn’t lose our public access facility because the current management and BOD cannot stay within the confines of the collected fees. If they cannot manage, they should move aside …why the threat of shutting it down? Is this a way to rabble rouse and get folks all up in a lather at the County, because they’re with holding the additional funds the current management says they need to keep the station running? Fact is, URTV was given a large amount of start up money and an additional $300,000 to ostensibly be built upon to insure it’s long term viability, totally depleted. The present Ed was hired because of her stating in her resume her glowing ability to fund raise from the private sector. This was not done at URTV. No significant fund raising has occurred. Instead the money market reserves of $300,000 that the county generously provided, have been depleted due to deficit spendng.

    Comparable stations in the funding range of URTV, manage to stay within their alloted funds and some even save a bit. I compared the 990′s for fy 2008 of 10 other public access stations (Pacifica, Ca., Pleasantville, NY., Madison & Duluth Wi, Chapel Hill, NC., Brattleboro, Vt., Telluride, Co., plus all the stations in North Carolina, (Greensboro, Chapel Hill, Charlotte & Greenville.) More can be researched, for example it’s interesting to compare salaries and overhead…there is where a lot of URTV’s money is going, it’s far above what other stations are spending. Go to Foundationcenter.org and key in “community access” or “public access” research to your hearts content. URTV has spent between $60,000 and $87,000 above their alloted funds according to the 990s on Foundation Center. No other station I viewed came close to this excessive spending. Giving URTV more money over and above their allotted amount is throwing good money after bad.

    The A.C.T. has written an editorial basically saying the same thing I have been saying behind the scenes and lately to our officials. http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20100619/OPINION01/306190021/1006

    URTV should raise it’s own funds, if they cannot get by on what they receive from the PEG fee. To demand more money at this economic time is irresponsible, and even a bit crazy.

  91. James,
    It’s certainly within the ability to run our public access with volunteers, and fundraising. If it comes down to that, than that’s our challenge to meet. I said something very similar at Tuesday night’s Commissioners meeting. I’m a take the bull by the horns kinda girl….I like a challenge..and others do to.

    This brouhaha started when the present managment sent a letter to the City saying they would close the doors if they did not receive additional funding. I, and others say…if they cannot manage, move aside. Why should we lose our public asset because they cannot manage on the funds received? From the sound of things Mr. Howell said we’d be getting much less. Why not start over and get by on as little as possible, with an eye on the possibility that no funding will be coming in the future? I said at the commissioners meeting, we have the channel and the equipment, we can find a way to get by with those assets.

    I think we’re in the same ball park James. We have a creative community with a “can do” attitude, and we can make our public access work without large amounts of funding from the county and state. You are totally correct, right now public access is a private little club, that is publicly funded, but is acting like it is totally independent.

  92. johm blackwell

    yes that is right..

    ” right now public access is a private little club, that is publicly funded, but is acting like it is totally independent.”

  93. At the very least what has befallen URTV is poor business practices.

    Alarm bells were sounding from the beginning, but anyone who questioned the direction was demonized and run off. My story got the attention of the press, and they have followed the actions since Jan. ’09.
    Anyone who cares enough to review what has transpired can do so by going here http://www.mountainx.com/topics/find/URTV

    An intolerance for dialog and a Board of Directors cherry picked to merely rubber stamp the directives is what got URTV to this point. It is a shame and a betrayal of the public trust.

    My suggestions for going forward.

    Appoint a panel of experienced locals who care and understand what Public Access was invisioned to be, & to oversee a rebirth of our facility at a much more conservative level. Why appoint a panel….because the present BOD has failed the community and have shown themselves to be totally incompetant.

    I don’t know who those folks would be, but I think the elected officials who care about this community asset can come up with some suggestions. Or anyone who is interested can present suggestions to the officials.

    Bottom line, according the the consultant hired by the County, public access will have much less than was expected. And the County and City cannot contribute out of the general fund. In my opinion they shouldn’t even consider this preposterous demand.

    So our challenge is to make do with those reduced funds creatively figure out how to make it work. One can see what various channels make do with around the country by doing a 900 search.

  94. JWTJr

    I found it disturbing while watching County TV when I saw so many URTV members say how well things were going over the last couple of years.

    Its broke!

    Something major wasn’t going right and everyone had their head in the sand.

  95. “Something major wasn’t going right and everyone had their head in the sand. “

    Can you say “brainwashing???”

    Those who did could see the handwriting on the wall, and did speak out, have fought long and hard to stop this train wreck. But instead of listening the brainwashed people like you saw on the County channel, shot the messenger and followed blithely down the garden path all the way to being “BROKE.

  96. Thunderpig said:”It is almost all the way to the end of that thread. BTW, I was monitoring that thread at the time and requested a copy of that letter from you that you refused to send to the person who requested it, and then I forwarded it to him.”
    Now that the cat is out of the bag, I’ll be happy to forward the letter I wrote regarding numerous troubling issues I saw as a Board Member….email me and I’ll gladly forward it. I with held publishing it publicly in the hopes that things would improve….obviously they did not.

    ” Thunderpig said: Tell me what URTV does that one cannot do for free (via Ustream, Livestream, Justin TV or Blip TV), or nearly free with cheap cameras and free or cheap software and the multitude of educational material available for free on the Internet that teaches one how to use that equipment and the various styles of film making. “

    Public Access focuses on the local…..political, cultural, educational, sports event, religious services, that is it’s strength…and the fact that it is a TV channel running into bedrooms and dens. Many older folk cannot get out to their churches any more, so that ability is especially important.

    TV is still the most powerful medium. I can appreciate the ability to post to YouTube, Exposure Room and others…however many people are not computer literate. Others who may be computer litererate, do not have the bandwidth to stream a half hour or more show. Then there is the issue of buffering. My very powerful main computer with DSL (next to the highest baud strength) still has a lot of delay due to buffering. Plus if you actually have a large viewing audience that feed is going to be expensive to deliver. 1000 viewers on a tv channel, is not more expensive, but 1000 viewers on an online show is gonna cost you. And this is if they have the patience for all the buffering delays.

    So to stream local programming over the local cable wire to local audiences is not costing a large amount. Public Access strength is in covering local issues, in depth. Something that the corporate new media doesn’t do for us.

    URTV has not come close to fulfilling it’s potential, I hope it gets the opportunity to do so. But at a much more reasonable price tag.

  97. R.Bernier opinions

    Will URTV survive?
    (Asheville Citizens Times Paper)

    That’s up to the people of Buncombe County.

    Not the taxpayers of Buncombe County.

    These are hard times, when both ordinary people
    and governmental bodies are having to make hard
    choices. Now comes URTV’s turn.

    URTV, Channel 20 on Charter cable in Buncombe
    and also available on the Web, began airing
    programming in 2006. Its brief history has been
    contentious, with its first director departing because
    of differences with the board, turmoil that has
    continued with board members publicly airing their
    dissatisfactions.

    And now, a refrain all too familiar in public and
    private circles these days: money trouble.

    Funding to URTV, which is operated by the
    nonprofit Western North Carolina Community Media
    Center, is drying up. A consultant to Buncombe
    County government, John Howell, said a change in
    state law regarding cable and satellite TV service
    that took place in 2006 is slashing the amount of
    funding Buncombe is mandated to pass through to
    URTV down to $20,000 annually, far below previous
    levels.

    The funding, which comes from revenue collected
    by satellite and cable providers, goes to the state for
    distribution down to the county. A payment of
    $48,000 is slated for next week, but without more
    funding, URTV could shut down by October. The
    CMC gets other funding from the city and from fees
    for training classes but will be far from the
    $300,000 to $330,000 a year Executive Director Pat
    Garlinghouse says it needs for operations.

    If URTV goes black, what does the community lose?

    It would lose a venue for media training for local
    citizens, an array of local programming dealing with
    arts, politics and religions.

    It would lose a place for
    people to voice their views and an outlet for creativity. It would lose a place where ordinary
    people could become media-savvy in a time where
    that’s increasingly a necessary skill.

    We would posit that, mostly, the community would
    lose a potentially bright future from an asset that
    has yet to come close to its potential. With the past
    funding stream, reaching that potential could have
    been viewed as a leisurely pursuit. Now that the
    stream has dried up, leisure is not an option.

    Buncombe Commissioner Holly Jones said she didn’t
    question the channel’s value, but added, “I really …
    don’t think it’s our responsibility to save URTV.”
    County funding options are raising taxes or shifting
    funding away from other needs, both nonstarters.
    Commissioner Bill Stanley flatly stated, “We can’t do
    that.”

    So, the message is basically, “Physician, heal
    thyself.”

    Asheville is full of creative people and full of people
    who came here with assets and a desire to help the
    community. If URTV is to survive, it will need to be
    creative itself by tapping those resources.

    If the WNC Media Community Media Center survives,
    it’s up to the people of Buncombe County.

    If WNC Media Community Media Center survives, it’s up to … well, the WNC Media Community Media
    Center

    We hope it does

    Now the Asheville Times Paper has drawn the line with URTV. http://www.citizen-times.com/fdcp/?1277083345153

    Stand of principles – Thanks Mrs.Davyne Dial for making a true strong stand while others looked the other way.

  98. James Wilson

    You know, well at least it use to be done this way years ago. The public access station in Winston Salem when it was Summit Cable, before Time Warner bought it out, was run out of the cable companies offices and overseen by the cable operator….and not by an incompetent embezzling board of directors.

  99. johm blackwell

    change in how things are run,is nothing new for public access,and the kidnappers know this..
    i bet that when the kidnappers find out that this will not work,they will stop saying that they must shut down,and start trying some new scam..
    mark my words..it will be something crazy,but just as much bs as shutting down was,a big old bluff..
    it’s all about trying to get their hands on as much money as they can..
    it sure ain’t about public access..

  100. Oh, lookey…”we’ve found the funds to continue”…so says Bob Horn at the City Council meeting on Tuesday. It was all a big bluff to get people riled up and show the Commissioners how much people care about public access. How very un-impressive!

    How much could URTV have accomplished for and about local community, if the Board vice president and ED were less about bluffing and more about getting the job done?????

  101. James Wilson

    How typical and what a bunch of Habitual lairs which is why I hope the City and County both eventually decide to revoke the contract with this current group and eventually refuse to provide any funding what so ever to them…not one penny. Pat Garlinghouse appears to be nothing more then a begger with a tin cup!

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