Thank you to all of the Access Tucson supporters, speakers, videographers and faithful for a very important turnout last night. There were numerous speakers on behalf of Access Tucson and Cox. Lisa Horner says, "It was a solid draw on the outcome but there was much more impassioned and genuine delivery from our crowd. Even so, the City Council voted unanimously in favor of the license agreement with Cox."
The motion, made by Council Member Karin Uhlich included the designation of channel locations as well as a directive for PEG partners and City staff to work together on channel sharing by all entities. Council Member Romero added a friendly amendment to add origination points for live cable feeds and EOD (Entertainment on Demand) for inclusion in the discussion.
The following text is taken from Council Member Steve Kozachik's September 8th newsletter.
Some of the deal points that the Mayor & Council approved:
a) License agreement good for ten years - The existing agreement is for only five years. Cox will use the additional time in the new agreement to demonstrate to investors that they have a long term commitment from the City. That will enable them to more easily expand and improve infrastructure throughout the valley. A ten year deal is at the short end of what is the norm around the State.
b) Public, Educational, Government channels – A new State statute limits the City’s ability to compel Cox to negotiate any more than two PEG channels on their basic package and two PEG channels on their premium package. The decision as to which programming would be assigned to the various channels is completely up to the City to decide. The Council agreed to keep Tucson 12, the City channel on 12, and then place Access Tucson on 20 (both on the basic tier), and TUSD on 120 (on the premium tier). Channel 875 is currently assigned to TFD for safety and training purposes. The Council then told Tucson 12, Access Tucson and TUSD representatives at the meeting to work together and decide on how to share, split, or co-program the air time on the three channels. It is important that they work together to maximize content on the limited channel space we have to offer to the PEG audience.
c) While the current agreement doesn’t expire until May 2012, the Council felt it was important to come to terms at this time to avoid having to enter into a Federally mandated formal negotiation process that would kick in as we neared the end of the existing contract. That process could have conceivably cost the City in the $1/2 million range to conduct a Community Needs Assessment and the net return would have more than likely been a negligible change in what was adopted. There was wisdom in acting early on in the process.
d) We will negotiate outside of the license agreement other terms that deal with Entertainment On-Demand, origination points and other similar items that are not mandated at certain levels by State statute.