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Santa Rosa, Calif. Public Channel Spared From Funding Cut

City considers producing its own broadcasts

Santa Rosa, Calif.’s City Council on Tuesday rejected a plan that would have cut off funding to the city’s public access station—the Community Media Center of the North Bay—forcing the channel to close March 31.
The Community Media Center has been in existence since 1997 and it provides coverage of government meetings as well as offering the public video production training. The center’s current contract—for $300,000, which is 80 percent of the center’s budget—ends on March 31.
Council members indicated rather than see the facility close they want recommendations on how the media center, and the public access it provides, might survive. However, the council also wants the center to seek other funding streams.
During 2012, the city cut the media center’s funding from $660,000 per year to $300,000. Critics say the $300,000 is just 17 percent of the $1.6 million the city receives in franchise fees from cable provider Comcast. The fees go into the city’s general fund.
In addition, the cut in funding for the center is likely related to a plan Santa Rosa officials are considering in which video production and broadcast of government meetings and events would no longer be contracted out, but would be preformed in-house by city staff