Video of City Council’s deliberations over community-media contract

Yesterday, Oct. 11, Asheville City Council unanimously voted to not authorize a community media contract with web development company Ponderwell.

Council members voiced concern that Ponderwell’s proposal didn’t meet the criteria they had desired when the RFP was created. Xpress had also entered a proposal for the grant and was a finalist in the assessment made by a panel of city, county and business representatives. That panel gave Ponderwell a higher score, and staff recommended contracting with them for the project. Council member Gordon Smith expressed concern about government funding a news organization. Ponderwell staff and supporters defended their proposal, saying it would help citizens develop the skills to report and edit news, but Council remained unconvinced. The $120,000 set aside for the contract will return to the city general fund.

Here’s the video of Council’s deliberations on the measure:

Part 1

Part 2

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3 thoughts on “Video of City Council’s deliberations over community-media contract

  1. Thunder Pig

    URTV, and its aftermath, is a good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. See more:

    The government here is trying to duplicate a function that is already very well provided for in the Free Market. The Internet is a wide-open frontier accessible from nearly everywhere by nearly everyone…certainly in more numbers than Cable TV and the development of your voice and the delivery of your message is limited only by your imagination and willingness to work.

    I agree with Cecil Bothwell’s assessment in the first part of the first video.

  2. mat catastrophe

    I fail to see how there’s a connection between URTV and the (flawed) concept of the Tragedy of the Commons. I think there was a serious problem of under-utilization, not over-utilization of the resources. If you’d like to expand your thesis, go right ahead. As it stands, it’s really hard to understand what you’re talking about.

    Secondly, the government isn’t providing anything in this equation anyway. Public access television is supposed to be a by-product of the franchising of CATV rights to a corporation in an area, it involves no public tax money – only the franchise fees tacked onto monthly cable bills (a grotesque accommodation to the service providers that completely undercuts the point of PEG funding in the first place). The only government interaction in this process is the allocation of the funds, not their provisioning.

    So, again, if you’ve got something to add here that isn’t an empty nod to your own personal ideology over a concept of reality, please by all means let us know.

  3. Jeff Fobes

    Asheville Citizen-Times story today:

    City Council on Tuesday decided not to move ahead with a proposal to fund another community media effort in the wake of the collapse of public access television channel URTV. …

    Councilmen said the plans by local website development company Ponderwell did not meet many of the goals set out in a July 1 request for proposals. …

    There was also concern among councilmen about whether it is appropriate to use government funds to establish another media outlet. …

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