While you’re still thinking about how to protect our democracy and protect our freedom of speech…

The FCC has proposed policies that could eliminate the major source of funding for community media organizations such as BIG — and our friends around the state of Massachusetts— in fact, this federal initiative could result in community media centers closing their doors in every community across the country.

The policy would change the “franchise fee” structure that has been in place for 35+ years here in Brookline and nationally, and would allow the cable companies to charge fees to cities and towns for access to historically “in-kind” resources such as community cable channels like our BIG community television channels, to I-net services that connect schools and local municipalities via fiber and cable, and access to their cable system that allows organizations like BIG to deliver critical local content to people’s homes.

This would cost our local governments millions of dollars. This policy could eliminate the free access that community media centers provide citizens to create their own media and broadcast it over the cable system. One of our most powerful, most democratic local resources could be lost.

It could also be the end of community television in Brookline and beyond.

Cities and towns all over the country are preparing to fight this legislation. BIG, Mass Access, the Alliance for Community Media, and our sister stations in the greater Boston metro area and nationwide are preparing to fight.

MassAccess PSA 4 from MassAccess on Vimeo.


What You Can Do

BIG staff will track and share additional information as this policy advances through the FCC process. We will connect with elected officials, our local cable regulatory commission, and cities to unite with them in the fight against this policy.

This a historic piece of policy — and we ask you to voice your concern. Here are the ways you can help:

(1) Submit a comment to the FCC before the due date of December 14th in just a few steps:

  1. Online, go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express
  2. In “Proceedings” enter “05-311”
  3. In “Name of Filer” enter your name or your organization’s name
  4. In “Address” enter your Address
  5. Enter your City, State, and Zip Code
  6. Enter your brief comments. Click here to see an example letter.
  7. Check “Email Confirmation”
  8. Enter “Continue to Review Screen”
  9. Enter “Submit”

(2) For a sample comment on this topic click here or if you need any additional help to prepare your comment, or just want to learn more about this issue and how to support BIG, contact our manager of Outreach & Engagement, Erin Kinney.

(3) Your donation to BIG will support our advocacy efforts and help us diversify our revenue streams, so we can build our immunity to changes in public funding.

(4) Share the hashtag #SaveCommunityMedia on social media.


Stay tuned over the next few weeks for the following additional resources:

  • Educational articles, materials and action timelines so you can share them with your social networks and viewers    
  • Help connecting with your congressional representatives and senators, who need to hear from us that we expect them to take action to protect the communities they serve from this FCC policy.


With your help, we can protect the future of community media.


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