Cable Advisory Council
P. O. Box 87
Public Regular Meeting - Tuesday, August 8, 2000
New Milford Public Library - New Milford
There was a regular meeting of the Cable Advisory Council called to order
at 7:35 p.m. August 8, 2000 by Chairperson, Carl DeVoe at New Milford
Public Library in New Milford, Connecticut.
Fred Standt, Treasurer, Richard Levy, John Danscuk, Alex Forbes, Jill
Zaloski, Eileen Sundstrom, Jay Lewin, Eugene Rosen, Camella Amodeo, John
Houlihan, Ken Cornet, Joseph Mustich, Barb Perkinson, Carl DeVoe, Chairperson.
For Charter: Janice Vance, John Dee, James Diaz, Greg Van Antwerp.
Tim McCulloch and Cathy Itri, of New Milford, formerly director and producer,
respectively, of "News and Views", felt that Charter continued
to be non-compliant with its franchise agreement, by not having a fully
equipped New Milford studio (equal to that of Newtown) and by not having
a full-time public access coordinator in New Milford as it has in Newtown.
They expressed the opinion that the New Milford studio is not staffed
or equipped to accommodate access to the studio, and they feel that they
cannot produce their show within the guidelines established by Charter.
Ms. Itri read a statement, a copy of which she provided to the Council
and requested that a copy of this statement be forwarded to the DPUC.
In this statement Mr. McCulloch and Ms. Itri discuss the various issues
they are deeming place Charter in non-compliance. These issues include
lack of appropriate personnel, lack of appropriate equipment, the absence
of equal time as it relates to running tag lines on stations for various
public access programs. They allege that Charter is pushing their "community
" program (Homefront) but is not doing the same for other access
MOTION: To approve the minutes of the June 13, 2000 meeting was made by
Jay Lewin and seconded by Ken Cornet. Motion carried with the following
vote: YES: 10; ABSTAIN: 4 (John Danscuk, Barbara Perkinson, Camella Amodeo,
Fred Standt issued the Treasurer's Report
Opening balance of the checking Account was . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . 186.00
Closing balance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153.00
Balance on the Money Market Account (6/13/00). . . . . . . . . . . . .
Closing Balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16,010.39
To accept the Treasurer's Report was made by Jay Lewin, seconded by Rick
Levy, and carried unanimously.
The Chairman distributed a letter from Ms. Itri and Mr. McCulloch to Mr.
John Dee, dated July 25, 2000, which was written following their interim
meeting of July 13, to discuss the issues as they were presented at the
June 13, 2000 meeting. Also distributed was a letter from Sherman Selectman's
office, reappointing Tom Joyner to the Cable Advisory Council, and the
CATV Report for the Month of June from Charter Communications.
To amend the agenda to include discussion of the community needs assessment
from the DPUC was made by Jay Lewin, seconded by Rick Levy and carried
MOTION: To bring back the scheduling discussion from the table made by
Jay Lewin, seconded by Jill Zaloski and carried unanimously.
was tabled from the June 13, 2000 meeting. Packet of information was sent
to everyone, which included letters from Ms. Itre and Jim Diaz concerning
scheduling. Also sent was a copy of state statutes and DPUC guidelines
concerning access and the role of the Advisory Council. Discussion began
around the following points.
John Dee from Charter Communications read his response to Cathy Itre's
letter. He felt that the company has tried to accommodate the News and
Views program, but felt that total studio time needs to be limited in
fairness to other producers.
Rick Levy questioned the DPUC regulations and felt this was beyond the
scope of the Advisory Council's role.
Eileen Sundstrom asked a question of John Dee about producer usage requests.
Ken Cornet asked how many people produce shows in the New Milford studio.
He questioned why Charter is not supporting the shows produced in New
Milford and indicated he felt Charter Communications focused their time,
personnel and advertising on the production of Homefront.
Jill Zoloski stated that the production of Homefront allows interns a
great deal of experience in show production.
Carl DeVoe indicated we should refer to the purpose of the advisory council
as stated in state statutes. He feels there is nothing in the access rules
that addresses time restrictions on usage.
Paula Harper discussed the fact that the Council does not set procedures,
but only makes recommendations for policies.
Jay Lewin felt Charter is doing more than required by the franchise agreement
and indicated that he agreed with Rick Levy that there was no action the
Council could take.
While there was much discussion about this situation, there was no motion
taken by the council.
Cornet's letter regarding bundling: Jay Lewin commented that he could
not support the letter as written, but felt that Ken could send the letter
as an individual expressing his own opinion. Rick Levy suggested limiting
the letter to saying customers don't want bundling. One suggestion was
to eliminate the first paragraph and make revisions to second and third
paragraphs. Jay Lewin asked Ken Cornet if he would be willing to rework
his letter to reflect these suggestions. Ken agreed to do so with input
To table this item was made by Jay Lewin, seconded by John Danscuk, and
of Council funds: Carl DeVoe discussed the investment of Council funds.
John Danscuk indicated he had not done any research, and was waiting to
see what Fred Standt had.
Fred Standt indicated that First Union offered a savings account at 6%
with a short-term commitment. This month the money market fund only earned
2.4% interest. Fred indicated he would be glad to transfer to First Union
with Council approval. John Danscuk indicated there are about three or
four different banks offering good interest rates, stating that Summit
Bank offers 6.25% interest on a minimum balance of $1,000 for 6 months.
Fred Standt discussed the fact that in certain accounts funds would not
be available without penalty. John Danscuk discussed the fact that resources
are being wasted, and that a minimum amount should be kept in the checking
account, with the balance earning money. Carl DeVoe asked if there was
a specific recommendation, and John Danscuk indicated that there was not
right now. Jay Lewin recommended taking some portion of the funds and
putting it into a CD. Eileen Sundstrom questioned whether there was any
upcoming program, within the next 6 months, that would require a large
To let the treasurer invest an amount not to exceed $14,000 in a CD or
other account earning a high rate of interest made by Rick Levy, seconded
by John Danscuk, and carried unanimously.
Based on the earlier motion, the council discussed a letter from the DPUC
regarding franchise renewal cable needs analysis. Rick Levy stated that,
re the DPUC letter, it was a little late to respond properly, but perhaps
the consultant could meet with the Council. John Dee thinks that they
would meet with us as part of the process. He stated that it is not a
situation where they won't take comments. The process takes a long time.
Carl DeVoe opened a discussion about the needs assessment on an item-by-item
basis. Eileen Sundstrom and Jay Lewin concluded that bundling should be
included in Item No. 3. Rick Levy suggested Item No. 3 be expanded. Ken
Cornet raised the issue of high-speed internet access relative to Item
No. 4. Rick Levy requested including information about community access
and it was also suggested that we try to acquire information about the
New Milford studio. Jay stated that he felt all they are asking for in
the letter is to comment on the scope of what an independent consultant
should be asked to do. We are not being asked to give responses to each
of these items.
MOTION: To request a meeting with the consultant, and to request a delay
in response time was made by Jay Lewin, seconded by Ken Cornet and carried
Sundstrom and John Houlihan expressed concerns regarding telephone customer
service response. John Dee indicated that there had been a problem, but
it was resolved as of the previous Wednesday. He will monitor to ensure
the problem has been resolved.
CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS REPORT:
Jim Diaz reported on community access and handed out information and reports.
He supplied copies of Charter's report prepared for the DPUC each year.
Vance invited Council members to attend an event at Pratt Center in New
Milford on September 29 and 30, where there will be a bus promoting Animal
Planet from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dee discussed co-channel interference on some channels. He also indicated
the negotiations with AT&T had fallen through and that Charter was
going to remain in Connecticut.
There being no other items to come before the Council, a motion to adjourn
was made at 9:52 p.m. was made by Jay Lewin, seconded by John Danscuk
and carried unanimously.
submitted by: Lorna J. Szalay, Recording Secretary
MEETING: Tuesday, October 10, 2000, at Charter Communications - Newtown