Public access TV station CCX Media on the air
Public access TV stations say they are being threatened by a new interpretation of law by the Federal Communications Commission. These stations in communities across the state are funded by franchise fees the cable companies pay local governments for right of way to use public property for cable. For the last four decades, those fees have been monetary, but now the FCC said cable companies can count in-kind contributions toward that fee, including free or discounted cable to veterans or fiber optic networks they've built in the community. That change could threaten public TV stations in small and suburban communities across the state where they broadcast hundreds of local city council, school board and county meetings that are otherwise ignored.