Great news! The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) just issued Decision and Order 372 (D&O 372) to keep all Hawai‘i community access linear channels in their current locations on Spectrum until 2036. Under D&O 372, “PEG Programming Channel locations/designations shall not be changed, relocated, or altered without the prior written approval of the (DCCA) Director”. Mahalo to DCCA Director Catherine Awakuni Colon and the Cable TV staff for their support and efforts that culminated in D&O 372.
From the very beginning, your commitment and dedication to protect and preserve local community programming effectively prevented Spectrum/Charter’s plans to move us to digital Siberia. Your voices mattered and were heard throughout the State at public proceedings including the DCCA Cable Advisory Committee, the Honolulu City Council, the State legislature, neighborhood boards, etc. It is a testament to what can be accomplished when we all band together to safeguard our community media resources.
To you, our supporters, we extend our deepest mahalo for raising your voices with and alongside us in this statewide No Channel Slam effort. Because of you – media makers, community members, viewers, state legislators, mayors of 4 counties, county council members, Hawai‘i congressional members, civic and business leaders, kupuna and students – our local community access channels are staying where they are!
Mahalo Nui Loa,
‘Ōlelo Community Media
And the rest is history…
Charter (known as Spectrum in Hawai‘i) is channel slamming ‘Ōlelo – displacing channels 49, 53, 54, and 55, including Video On Demand channels 50 and 52, into digital Siberia, or high-numbered channels that are hard to find, hard to watch, and far from the main traffic lineup. In the near future, when you turn on your TV to view any of our public, education, and government programs, it won’t be there. Instead, you’ll find our channels in the 180s. If you are unable to acquire a special box to connect to your existing TV, your access to the ‘Ōlelo channels will cease to exist completely.
Spectrum’s attempt to silence community media by displacing local programming channels and imposing barriers to access these channels discriminates against community access organizations like ‘Ōlelo and community voices like YOU. No other local programming channels will be forced to move. There is no legitimate reason to relocate these channels. Spectrum can and should leave community access channels where they are – like Hawaiian Telcom, O‘ahu’s other franchised cable operator, who keeps the ‘Ōlelo channels on digital 49, 53, 54, and 55.
Let’s protect OUR CHANNELS, OUR MEDIA, and OUR VOICES!
- Severe Channel Confusion. Instead of happening all at once, Spectrum’s channel change will be a piece-meal roll-out, neighborhood by neighborhood, one at a time. So come February 6, ‘Ōlelo channel 49 may be unchanged for Spectrum subscribers in Kaimukī, but it could be channel 182 for subscribers in Makiki. Furthermore, Spectrum’s new channel designations are a huge shift from established ‘Ōlelo channels that Hawaiian Telcom, the other franchised cable operator on O‘ahu, continues to carry.
- Forced Rebranding and Crisis Communications. Rebranding and thoroughly communicating ‘Ōlelo channel changes by February 6 is unrealistic and impractical. The creation of new promotional materials, video spots, ads, etc., will be cost and time prohibitive. In particular, ‘Ōlelo’s long-running Community Producers who continue to provide programming – many of whom are kūpuna – will face tremendous hardships to rebrand their programs to new channel numbers.
- Spectrum’s Channel Slamming Will Spread to All Hawai‘i Community Access Organizations. Should ‘Ōlelo channels be forced to relocate, Spectrum’s channel slamming will occur on the neighbor islands, affecting Nā Leo on Hawai‘i County, Akakū on Maui County, and Ho‘ike on Kaua‘i County.
WHY THIS MATTERS
- Your Right to Communicate is at Risk. Channel Slamming is not just a community access issue, but a communication rights issue. Spectrum is trying to strip your access to a vital communication platform that is 100% non-commercial – a rare thing in today’s world. Come February 6, instead of community voices at the forefront of ‘Ōlelo channels 49, 50, 52, 53, 54, and 55, Spectrum will replace these channel locations with paid programming.
- Local Community Voices Matter. Like all other community access organizations, “localism” is a fundamental principle of ‘Ōlelo Community Media, where thousands of hours of local content is being created by our local community media producers on a weekly basis. Because of Spectrum’s slamming of the ‘Ōlelo channels, all of these shows will be pushed from their current channel locations into inaccessible and unfamiliar ‘wilderness’ locations on short notice, and without consultation from impacted local community media producers.
- Government Transparency Goes Dark. ‘Ōlelo is a lifeline for the legislature, government agencies, and public officials, enabling them to communicate timely messages, air public hearings, and capture other government programs to inform and engage civic participation – no other local channel provides this dedicated service. Being an election year, there is more demand for programs that increase transparency in government. Spectrum’s slamming of ‘Ōlelo channels into digital Siberia will keep you in the dark about local issues, legislation, and policies that directly impact you and your communities.
- Media Diversity is Weakened. The more independent communication outlets a community has, the more diversity of viewpoints presented. The reverse is just as true. If we let Spectrum prioritize for-profit programming over ‘Ōlelo channels, community members will no longer have a platform to amplify their voices that are within the same channel playing field as all other local and national cable networks. Instead, community viewpoints and perspectives will be sidelined and silenced to make way for a corporate controlled media landscape.
- No Room for Cable Bullies in the Aloha State. The removal of ‘Ōlelo channels from established locations is an example of Spectrum’s track record of cable bullying and discrimination against community media access in localities and states throughout the country. The negative impact of these changes have been devastating for local community access centers across the nation. Here are a few examples:
- For at least 31 of their Wisconsin systems, Charter (known as Spectrum in Hawai‘i) pushed all community access channels from their decades-long locations, channels 1-19, to 982-994. Charter is also charging government buildings and schools a $70.00 monthly fee for cable service, plus a separate cable box fee.
- In Los Angeles County, California, community access channels are not available to local subscribers because Charter requires the city to pay for transmitting the channels.
- In Pasadena, California, community access programming is not on Charter’s electronic program guide due to the exorbitant fees quoted by Charter to provide this service.
- In Rochester, Massachusetts, Charter unilaterally decided to channel slam community access channels despite the local City Council’s denial of Charter’s request to do so.
- In Montana, the existing local franchise agreement required Charter to provide a free connection to each school. Despite this, Charter informed local school districts that the switch from analog to digital would require new digital converter boxes for every TV, ultimately costing $60,000 to $100,000 a year.
Source: White Paper on “Charter Communications, PEG Access and Other Public Service Obligations”, September 21, 2015, Alliance for Community Media.
Disclaimer: Information related to the availability, distribution, and costs of set-top boxes is based on information received from Charter’s Customer Service Department.
For more information about #NoChannelSlam, call (808) 237-2106 or email ‘Ōlelo’s Community Relations department.
Legacy ‘Ōlelo producer Marilyn Lee has written a beautiful article on the importance of community media. Read it here.
On behalf of all of us at ‘Ōlelo Community Media, we want to thank all of you for your continued support and efforts in protecting community access channels in our state. Senate Bill 36 (SB36) is moving forward in the legislature and City Council Resolution 18-32 is on its way to being adopted. CLICK HERE for details.
In response to the public outcry against Charter/Spectrum’s forced channel change, the Honolulu City Council introduced Resolution 18-32. This resolution expresses the City Council’s strong opposition to the change of public, educational, and governmental programming channel numbers by Spectrum. A meeting about this resolution took place on Tuesday, February 13 at 1:00 PM. CLICK HERE for updates on the resolution’s status.
On behalf of all of us at ‘Ōlelo Community Media, a HUGE MAHALO to those of you that attended and testified at last Friday’s Cable Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting at the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA)! It was a packed meeting with over 100 community members and producers in attendance, representing neighborhoods from Waianae to Waimanalo. View the entire stream of the DCCA’s Cable Advisory Committee meeting here:
The CAC meeting on Friday came at the heels of the DCCA’s letter order to delay Charter/Spectrum’s digital transition. CLICK HERE to read DCCA’s full letter order.
This is only a temporary delay. The only force that can permanently stop Charter/Spectrum’s channel slamming of ‘Ōlelo (and Na Leo, Ho‘ike and Akaku) into digital Siberia is YOU.
PLEASE CALL your local, state, and federal elected officials and urge them to STOP CHARTER/SPECTRUM’S FORCED CHANNEL CHANGE AND TO KEEP ALL OF OUR COMMUNITY ACCESS CHANNELS WHERE THEY ARE! CLICK HERE to find your local representatives and congressional delegates or you can use the links below.
On January 29, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs issued a letter order to Character/Spectrum. Read the DCCA’s letter order here.
‘Ōlelo’s President & CEO Sanford Inouye speaks to Honolulu Civil Beat on Spectrum’s channel slam. Take a listen here.
Article by Honolulu Star Advertiser about Spectrum’s channel slamming of our channels. You must be a Star Advertiser subscriber to view the article.
A well-written Honolulu Star Advertiser editorial on why moving our channels is a bad idea.
If you are a Honolulu Star Advertiser Subscriber, please vote in their poll regarding the Spectrum Channel Slam. You must be a Star Advertiser subscriber to participate in the poll.
Take a look at all the letters of support we’ve received so far. It’s not too late for you to send yours in!
Tune in to The Conversation on HPR (FM – KHPR 88.1 & 88.5 Honolulu, KANO 89.1 Hilo, KKUA 90.7 Wailuku, K249CN 94.9 Waimea, K239BV 95.7 Waimea & Kailua-Kona, KIPL 89.9 Moloaʻa) tomorrow (Friday, February 2) at 11:00 AM to hear ‘Ōlelo Community Media’s Chief Production Officer Angela Angel discuss Spectrum’s intended channel slam.
The Hawai’i State Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs (DCCA) just scheduled a Cable Advisory Committee (CAC) hearing:
Friday, February 2, 5:00 PM
Queen Liliʻuokalani Conference Room
Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs
335 Merchant Street, 1st Floor
Honolulu, HI 96813
This is the only opportunity we have to voice our concerns directly to Charter/Spectrum and to the DCCA. Be prepared to provide testimony and/or public comment in relation to this channel slamming issue. If you can’t make it, please write a letter of support to Spectrum and cc us!
A letter from Mike Wassenaar, President & CEO of The Alliance for Community Media, as seen in ACM’s newsletter.
The letter that started it all – Charter Communications (known locally as Spectrum) sent a “Notice of Changes to PEG Channel Lineup” dated January 3 to the State of Hawai‘i Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and ‘Ōlelo. The letter was received on January 5 for a Spectrum forced channel change that is expected to start on February 6.
Read ‘Ōlelo’s CEO’s response to Spectrum’s forced channel change. ‘Ōlelo is still waiting for a response from Spectrum.
Read the State of Hawai‘i Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ response to Spectrum’s forced channel change.
Spectrum’s latest letter confirms nothing new – they are still slated for a Spectrum forced channel change that is set to start on February 6.
Mahalo to our mayors and public officials for their letters of support: