- Establishment of City Commissions
- Ad-Hoc multi-city Commission formed.
- An eight city joint powers agreement is signed. The eight cities are Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Coon Rapids, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, and Spring Lake Park.
- Ad-Hoc multi-city Commission formed.
- An eight city joint powers agreement is signed. The eight cities are Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Coon Rapids, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, and Spring Lake Park.
- First Meeting of the North Central Suburban Cable Communications Commission I (Original title of the group)
- Member cities develop and adopt “Request for Proposal”
- Approval of first franchise ordinance by member cities and awarding of franchise to Group W, Inc.
- North Central Suburban Cable Commission (NCSCCC) I is dissolved and a new joint powers agreement signed, establishing the NCSCCC II.
- Group W requests franchise modifications
- Group W begins construction
- Permanent Cable Administrator hired 7/1/84
- Commission rejects consolidation with Anoka Cable System
- First public access classes begin
- Marketing of test homes begins
- Coon Rapids studio completed
- Cable Administrator resigns
- Test homes are turned on
- Group W requests reduction in I-Net
- Group W begins service to first customer 3/85
- Underground construction begins
- New Cable Administrator hired 9/85
- Construction of new headend and Blaine studio begins
- I-Net installation begins
- By year-end the system has 6,392 subscribers
- Group W notifies Commission of intent to sell system
- Group W makes first franchise fee payment $33,442
- First technical audit of system
- Cable Commission begins cablecasting its monthly meetings on public access channel
- Member cities give final approval of transfer of ownership to North Central Communications, Inc. (Hauser Communications)
- By year end there are over 10,000 subscribers
- Commission shifts from voting structure based on number of households to number of subscribers (500 subs = one vote)
- Commission begins needs assessment of member cities regarding equipment necessary to cablecast public meetings
- Commission purchases video equipment to cablecast public meetings for Coon Rapids as a test case.
- Regional channel 6 is activated.
- Cable TV North Central introduces pay-per-view.
- Cable TV North Central proposes turning over responsibility for public access to the Commission
- Public access channel begins cablecasting 24 hours a day
- Program sponsorship policy established
- Video production equipment is purchased for all cities, and installed, for cablecasting of public meetings
- Level playing field language is passed by MN legislature. This language requires additional cable companies to have the same requirements as the original company in the areas of franchise fees, area served, and PEG access.
- Creation of first access volunteer incentive program
- Cable TV North Central threatens to add access surcharge to subscribers bills
- Commission informs CTVNC that they are in violation of franchise requirements regarding completion of I-Net drops
- Commission approves hiring a consultant to determine cost of operating public access
- CTVNC requests permission to close Blaine customer service office
- All schools connected to I-Net
- Public forum held at Commission meeting regarding public access. 67 volunteers and viewers attended the meeting and voiced support for public access.
- Initiated comprehensive examination of current public access equipment condition.
- Quad Cities public access accepts responsibility of operating public access from the cable company.
- Commission authorizes comprehensive public access equipment audit
- Subscriber penetration rate reaches 46%
- Commission moves to establish access equipment condition criteria and replacement schedule
- Oak Grove line extension from NCSCCCII system. Includes access channels and use of access facilities by Oak Grove residents.
- 5% franchise fee broken out on subscriber’s bills
- Commission participates in gross revenue audit of CTVNC
- Roseville system takes over control of public access from the company
- Commission continues to make case regarding replacement of access equipment, by approving a resolution requiring said replacement. (90-02)
- Several access channels were re-dedicated to educational use. This resulted in a separate educational channel for each school district.
- Company sues Commission over equipment replacement
- Company provides Amiga computers and graphics programs to each city, to replace antiquated Quantas.
- Cable Company sells Blaine building, then leases from new owner.
- The Company and Commission work together to establish a four year equipment replacement plan
- CTVNC notifies Commission of its intent to sell the system
- Commission moves offices to same building as public access facility
- Company reimburses Commission for funds expended during equipment lawsuit, which Company lost
- Commission approves sale of Cable TV North Central to Meredith/New Heritage
- Commission begins work on a subscriber survey
- Usage of Coon Rapids studio examined. City of Coon Rapids given key for access to facility when not staffed.
- Community Programming/Subscriber survey conducted
- Assuming control of community programming discussed. Need to file Articles of Incorporation.
- Consolidation of Coon Rapids and Blaine facility, at the Blaine location initiated
- Access equipment replacement totaling $179,000 takes place
- Commission applies for FCC certification for rate regulation authority
- Direct Broadcast Satellite Service begins
- More public access production equipment is replaced
- Commission begins work on future Community Programming department budget
- Commission approves Articles of Incorporation, related to take over of Community Programming
- Terms for rate settlement agreement are discussed. This is the beginning of the MOU
- Consultations regarding taking over community programming ensue
- Draft MOU completed
- City of Coon Rapids has issues with draft MOU
- Commission proposes changing voting structure. This would result in the inability of any one city to stop action on their own.
- MOU guaranteeing community programming funding for the term of a renewed franchise is approved by the Commission. MOU also establishes Universal Service
- PEG fees are designated as a line item on subscriber bills
- Passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
- Meredith Cable announces its intent to sell to Continental Cable
- The Commission attempts to change the voting structure. Coon Rapids vetoes the attempt
- US West announces it will be buying Continental
- More access equipment replacement takes place
- Discussions regarding renewal of the franchise begin
- The City of Coon Rapids notifies the Commission of its intent to withdraw from the Commission effective December 31, 1996.
- The Commission consents to the transfer of ownership from Meredith/New Heritage to Continental Cable.
- The Commission consents to the transfer of ownership from Continental Cable to US West, Inc.
- Commission changes voting structure, eliminating the possibility that one city could veto an item on its own.
- A division of assets was worked out in regards to Coon Rapids leaving the Commission.
- Draft proposal for operating Community programming is presented.
- The Commission sets a date of March 1, 1997 for taking over Community programming responsibilities from the cable company.
- The Coon Rapids studio is closed.
- The decision to appoint city council members to the Commission is made
- The Definitive Agreement to relieve the Cable Company of its Community Programming obligations as of March 1, 1997 is approved.
- The Joint Powers Agreement is amended and an Operations Committee consisting of city managers is established.
- Community Media Center budgets, staffing levels, and hiring dates established.
- Commission sublets Media Center from Cable Company
- Commission receives notice of request to transfer ownership of company to Charter Communications
- Cities receive League Model Right of Way Ordinance and are encouraged to adopt it.
- The Operations Committee is charged with conducting a comprehensive pay study
- Commission hires a consultant to do a technological needs assessment in preparation for franchise renewal.
- I-Net workshop is held at Blaine City Hall
- Coon Rapids requests that the Blaine public access channel be played in Coon Rapids. The Commission denies the request.
- The Commission approves the transfer of US West, Inc. to Charter Communications
- Organization amends JPA to change name to North Metro Telecommunications Commission, February
- The National Sports Center is added to the I-Net
- Franchise renewal negotiations ensue
- US West informs Commission of intent to transfer ownership of system to MediaOne instead of Charter Comm.
- The Media Center pay schedule is introduced.
- Current Franchise is extended.
- First joint Cable Commission/Operations Committee meeting is held.
- Competitive Franchisers enter the picture.
- Competitive franchising procedures and policies are approved.
- The Executive Director and Office Manager resigned their positions effective December, 1998.
- New Executive Director search commences.
- Franchise is extended again.
- Media Center Operations Manager assumes responsibilities of Executive Director and Office Manager in their absence.
- MediaOne notifies company of intent to transfer ownership to AT&T.
- Executive Director search results in unsatisfactory options.
- Operations Manager compiles an employee handbook.
- An Administrative Assistant is hired in October of 1999.
- A Viewer Survey is conducted.
- Commission refuses to issue permits to Cable Company for any upgrade activity until a franchise is finalized.
- Commission approves Microsoft Engineer training for Administrative Assistant. Skills learned will help all 7 cities along with the Media Center.
- Competitive franchisers Everest and Wide Open West explore obtaining franchises.
- Franchise renewal ensues in earnest. Demographic study undertaken.
- Approved entering into a joint franchise fee audit.
- Operations Manager named Acting Executive Director.
- Franchise is extended again.
- Open access to cable infrastructure becomes an issue.
- Taping of Anoka County Board meetings begins after initiation of city resolutions.
- Operations Manager named Executive Director in April 2000
- Commission approves merger of ATT and MediaOne
- Franchise extended again.
- Media Center usage guidelines are reviewed and revised.
- Commission approves purchasing a new production truck.
- Commission moves to the formal franchise renewal process.
- Creation of a news department at the Media Center.
- Competitive franchisers head out of town.
- Rate increase review is undertaken.
- Franchise fee audit continues.
- Hearings are held to determine franchise renewal needs.
- A Video Engineer is hired at the Media Center.
- A technical audit of the cable system is undertaken as a part of the formal renewal process..
- Informal renewal negotiations reinitiated.
- AT&T announces its intent to merge with Comcast.
- Commission is advised to deny merger.
- High Speed Cable is determined to be an information service and not subject to franchise fees.
- Commission orders ATT to cease and desist with their forced arbitration clause in their customer service flyer.
- Upgrade permit ban is lifted. AT&T begins upgrade of system.
- Commission consents to merger of AT&T and Comcast.
- A franchise document is approved by the Cable Commission, August 2002.
- The Commission authorized legal counsel to develop a resolution modifying the Joint Powers Agreement to allow the Commission to own land and issue bonds.
- The HFC upgrade was completed in the cities of Blaine, Circle Pines, Lexington, Ham Lake, and Spring Lake Park. Digital Video services became available in those cities, November through December.
- The Commission elected to perform no review of AT&T Broadband’s proposed rates, but issued a rate order neither approving nor denying the rates, which preserved the Commission’s rights to review future rates in relation to previous rates.
- A comprehensive report outlining the need for a new Media Center facility was created, approved by the Commission, and distributed to the seven city councils for their review and approval.
- The Commission expressed concerns regarding customer service issues and phone reporting statistics.
- A resolution amending the Joint Powers Agreement, so the Commission could issue bonds and own land, was approved by the Commission and forwarded on to the seven city councils.
- The Commission approved resolutions that neither approved nor denied AT&T’s proposed equipment and programming rates, which preserved the Commission’s rights to review future rates in relation to previous rates.
- Comcast and the Commission agreed to a new telephone statistic reporting format.
- The cable company officially changed its name to Comcast.
- The facility planning committee was created, by resolution, to oversee the financing, design, and construction of the new Media Center.
- The seven city councils each adopt the new Joint Powers Agreement allowing the Commission to issue bonds and own land.
- The Commission approved a two million dollar bond issue to construct a new Media Center.
- The Commission began an examination of the 2003/2004 FCC forms 1240 and 1205.
- The Commission approved moving forward with a franchise fee analysis.
- Comcast completed the upgrade of the HFC subscriber network. All seven cities are now able to receive high speed data service. In all, Comcast upgraded 7,500 miles of plant, at an expense of over $250,000,000. (total Twin Cities market.) This was the single largest private investment since World War II, in the Twin Cities area.
- Steve Kelley introduces a telecommunications reform bill in the state legislature that would rewrite Chapter 238 , which deals with cable regulation.
- An architect was selected for the Media Center project.
- The Commission opened an investment account with Pershing LLC through Northland Securities, related to the bonds and the new facility.
- Property was purchased for the construction of the new Media Center.
- Comcast began offering HDTV services.
- The contract for construction of the new Media Center was awarded to Gen^Con Construction.
- The North Metro area experienced a ten-month gain in subscriber levels.
- High Speed Data service capacity/speed is doubled.
- Victory One Sports, a new sports channel that would be carrying the Twins baseball games, tried to negotiate a deal with Comcast. The Commission issued a resolution opposing any increase in cable rates due to the carriage of the Victory One Sports channel.
- The Commission joined in a national rate study. The Commission expressed its disagreement with the policy of basing local equipment and installation rates on a national aggregation of equipment and installation costs. The belief was that national aggregation serves as a barrier to effective and efficient local rate regulation for an individual rate regulation authority like the Commission, and impedes the Commission’s ability to ensure that equipment rates are reasonable.
- The ground breaking ceremony for the new Media Center was held in March.
- Construction on the new Media Center began in April.
- A comprehensive employee pay study was conducted.
- Four new cameras were purchased for the production truck, ($170,241.47) including an upgrade to triax cable technology.
- The Commission employee payment step plan was updated.
- The Commission examined Comcast’s calculation and pass-through of non-subscriber franchise fees, on subscriber bills.
- The Media Center is completed, and the move to the new facility took place on September 16th.
- The lease for the previous Media Center via Comcast expires.
- The Master Control cut-over is completed.
- The Commission moved to require Comcast to include non-subscriber franchise fees in the next FCC form 1240 to be filed.
- Video on Demand services are launched.
- Media Center assumed playback of city meetings, greatly reducing the investment cities need to make in playback equipment and staff, and increasing playback capabilities.
- New studio sets are completed.
- A new community television channel is created. All programs produced by the public began playing on channel 14, while all staff produced programming plays on channel 15. This is the first step in making sponsorships a possibility.
- The new media center open house is held in May. Over 200 people stop by for tours and information regarding services.
- National Form 1205 examination continued.
- Comcast digitized all local and public access channels.
- The Supreme Court upheld the definition of the internet as an information service, and not a cable service.
- Several federal bills were introduced that would create national franchising for video service providers while eroding local control of public rights of way, reducing franchise fees, and eliminating funding for PEG channels.
- Comcast indicated interest in pursuing a settlement of the 2004 and 2005 rate filings. The Commission agreed to the settlement, which will result in lower rates, and a refund to all current subscribers.
- The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to determine whether local governments are serving to impede video service competition.
- The FCC decided that including non-subscriber franchise fees in the FCC Form 1240 could not be done. The FCC did decide that including the FCC regulatory fee in the form 1240 is proper. These decisions were part of results of the Comcast franchise fee examination the Commission participated in.
- The proposed settlement of the 2004-2005 FCC Form 1205 rates was approved by 90% of the rate study participants. The credit on subscriber bills was $2.89. This was one of the largest rate settlements ever.
- The Commission participated in filing comments regarding the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to determine whether local franchising serves as an impediment to video competition.
- Comcast created a family friendly tier that will contain only G-rated programming. This is done to pacify those in Congress calling for a-la-carte programming availability.
- Alternative sources of revenue generation for the North Metro TV operation are explored. Staff creates a rate card for sponsorship spots and begins creating spots and selling time around staff produced programs.
- The Commission hires a consultant to help develop a strategic plan for identifying and implementing alternative sources of revenue for North Metro TV.
- Bills that would eliminate local franchising and reduce or eliminate franchise fees and PEG fees move through both houses of Congress.
- New unifying logos are created for North Metro TV, Channel 14, Channel 15, and the North Metro Telecommunications Commission.
- Playback capacity in Master Control is expanded to meet the growing playback needs of the government channels.
- The City of Ham Lake began cablecasting their meetings for the first time.
- The COPE Bill was adopted by the full U.S. House of Representatives by a 300 to 100 margin. The bill would federalize video franchising, and reduce PEG fee payments to 1% of gross revenue.
- North Metro TV begins producing ads and buying ad avail spots from Comcast to promote community television.
- Comcast closed on the former Time Warner Twin Cities system. Comcast’s service area goes from 87 to 110 cities in the Twin Cities region.
- Staff provides live election results coverage for the primaries and regular election. All local races are monitored. This is the first time NMTV has gone live with election results coverage.
- National franchising legislation does not make it to the Senate floor in 2007. Telecommunications Legislation will not be passed by the current Congress.
- The Strategic Plan Report is completed. Staff creates several survival scenarios for the operation, should funding be greatly reduced.
- The Commission adopts new policies and procedures governing the receipt and review of applications for additional franchises. This will streamline the process for new companies, and remove the argument that local franchising serves as an impediment to video competition.
- The FCC approves an order to nationalize video franchising.
- Part-time production assistants are hired for crewing van shoots.
- The Commission investigates refinancing the building bond. It is determined that the cost of doing so would outweigh the interest savings.
- Blaine High School changes policies to allow live coverage of sporting events. NMTV expands live coverage of events to include football, basketball, hockey, soccer, and wrestling.
- Commission increases operating reserve to 25% of annual operating budget.
- The Commission adopted resolutions that neither approved nor denied Comcast’s proposed equipment and basic programming rates, which preserved the Commission’s rights to review future rates in relation to previous rates.
- The FCC adopted an Order and Report establishing rules and procedures for franchising competitive entrants. The FCC determined that local franchising serves as a barrier to competition. The new rules include a shot-clock for approving competitive franchises, definitions of reasonable and unreasonable build-out requirements, limitations on franchise and other fees, and PEG and I-Net requirements.
- The Order is appealed.
- The original Order included a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to determine when the new rules should be applied to incumbent cable companies.
- The Commission joins a national local governments group, through NATOA, to file an Amicus Brief in support of the appeal of the First Order and Report.
- The Commission participated in the filing of comments regarding the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
- House File 2351, a bill regarding state-wide franchising for phone companies providing video service in Minnesota is introduced. The bill would eliminate build-out requirements, PEG fees in addition to franchise fees, and impose additional costs upon local governments. The bill is opposed by the League of Minnesota Cities and MACTA.
- The Commission and North Metro TV budgets are combined into one organizational budget.
- The Commission participates in providing Reply Comments to Comments filed, regarding the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
- Comcast increases the speed of its internet service to 12 megabits per second.
- The Commission initiates an audit of franchise fees paid by Comcast.
- The Big 10 Network is introduced. Comcast will not carry it on the basic level, refusing to charge all subscribers for it. Instead they offer to provide it on a sports tier. Big 10 wants to be carried on the basic level. The issue is not resolved.
- A model franchise ordinance template for competitive video providers is adopted by all seven member cities.
- The petition for a stay of the FCC’s First Order and Report is denied.
- Comcast introduces several business class services, including an 8-line service for small businesses, web hosting, and high speed data tele-work products.
- Staff and Commission members meet with local representatives to discuss concerns regarding state-wide franchising legislation.
- Representative Sheldon Johnson chairs stake-holder meetings intended to help shape state-wide franchising legislation. MACTA provides white papers supporting local government’s positions on the topics of franchise fees, I-Nets, PEG support, build-out requirements, and the treatment of current franchises.
- Qwest withdraws its support for a state-wide franchising bill. Representative Johnson states his intention to continue to push for it.
- NMTV staff assist School District 12 with equipment replacement plans.
- The FCC’s Second Order and Report concerning how and when new franchising rules should be applied to incumbent cable operators became effective on December 24th.
- Oral arguments, before the 6th District Court, regarding the appeal of the First Order are scheduled.
- North Metro TV’s public access instructor resigned.
- The program playback guidelines were updated to reflect new ways that public access programming can be transmitted and stored.
- The Commission forwarded a resolution supporting local franchising pursuant to Chapter 238 of Minnesota Statute to all member city councils for their consideration.
- The Local Government Group’s petition for reconsideration of the FCC’s Second Report and Order was received.
- The Commission adopted resolutions that neither approved nor denied Comcast’s proposed equipment and basic programming rates, which preserved the Commission’s rights to review future rates in relation to previous rates.
- Oral arguments, before the 6th District Court, regarding the appeal of the First Order were heard.
- A new public access instructor was hired.
- The staff PC based non-linear editing system died. It was replaced with a MAC non-linear editing system.
- The Final Report regarding the Franchise Fee Review initiated in 2007 was presented. Consultant Dick Treich found areas of concern, including home shopping revenues and advertising commissions. It was recommended that the Commission pursue a more in-depth review of those areas.
- The Statewide Franchising Bill was renamed the Statewide Franchising Study Bill. The state will commission a study of at least three states that have statewide franchising.
- The Commission hired Front Range Consulting to do an in-depth review of non-subscriber related franchise fees.
- The 6th Circuit Court upheld the FCC’s First Report and Order in total. The court did clarify that the cost of equipment was not to be considered a franchise fee.
- The decision was appealed en banc.
- Comcast filed a petition with the FCC asking the FCC to determine that Comcast is subject to effective competition in the seven member cities.
- The Commission filed an opposition to Comcast’s filing for regulatory relief.
- NMTV purchased time on a billboard for eight weeks. City Scope and Sports Den, along with the NMTV website were promoted.
- The new NMTV website premiered. It includes live video streaming and video on demand services.
- A data request was sent to Comcast on August 27th to begin the in-depth review.
- The Commission issued a notice of violation to Comcast in November for not providing the data requested in the August data request.
- Comcast filed a reply to the Commission’s opposition to their petition for regulatory relief.
- The Commission voted to file a motion with the FCC to file a surreply to Comcast’s reply to the Commission’s opposition comments.
- Commission staff discussed a possible settlement of the Franchise Fee Review with Comcast staff. Comcast withdrew support for a settlement.
- NMTV begins providing video-on-demand services for City meetings.
- The Commission considers drawing on Comcast’s letter of credit or suing Comcast in regards to not meeting data request deadlines for the in-depth franchise fee review.
- A closed session of the Commission was held to consider legal advice concerning threatened litigation arising out of the ongoing franchise fee review dispute.
- The Commission authorized the Executive Director to draw on the letter of credit, and set a hearing date for any written objections.
- Comcast provides requested documents in regards to the franchise fee review.
- NMTV creates a summer Documentary Workshop for high school students.
- Settlement discussions resume, regarding the franchise fee review.
- The Commission and Comcast agree to a settlement of the franchise fee review. Comcast paid the Commission $15,000 in full settlement. Most important, however, was that Comcast agreed to continue to fully comply with the Commission’s MOU, franchise agreement as it pertains to PEG support, and the access transfer agreement. This was critical as it protected a large part of the Commission’s PEG financial support for the remaining term of the franchise. In return, the Commission withdrew its notice of violation and rescinded the resolutions authorizing the notice of violation and drawing on the letter of credit. The Commission also agreed to not perform a franchise fee review of Comcast for the years 2007 and 2008.
- The Commission continued to wait for a response from the FCC regarding Comcast’s effective competition filing, and the Commission’s objections to it.
- An electronic, monument style sign was installed at the North Metro TV facility.
- The US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the FCC’s Section 621 Order.
- Comcast filed a Response to Surreply to the Commission’s Surreply, regarding Comcast’s effective competition filing. The Commission filed a Motion for Leave to File Reply to Comcast’s Response to Surreply.
- NMTV gets receptionists through the Senior Community Service Employment Program.
- NMTV has an open house.
- The Community Access Preservation Act, or CAP Act, intended to protect community television, was introduced.
- A proposed merger of Comcast and NBC is announced.
- The FCC adopts an order addressing local authority over cell tower sitings.
- Comcast introduces the “World of More” digital transition. All TVs that receive programming above the basic tier will now require a digital device. Three devices will be provided to each digital tier subscriber at no additional cost.
- NMTV provides comprehensive election coverage. Candidate forums and live election day coverage are produced. A billboard promoting the live coverage was purchased for the month of October along Highway 65.
- CenturyLink moves toward closing its merger with Qwest.
- Comcast introduces its XFinity brand.
- North Metro TV wins the Metro North Chamber of Commerce’s Excellence in Business Award for service oriented businesses. NMTV was recognized for it’s development into a multi-faceted service organization that serves as a valuable communications resource for the public, cities, Anoka County, schools, non-profit organizations, and local businesses.
- A Republican agrees to co-sponsor the CAP Act.
- Long produced local news program, City Scope, is renamed North Metro TV News.
- The Public Access Productions video club is created.
- The Comcast NBC/Universal merger is approved by the FCC and the Department of Justice.
- NMTV staff wins Pegasus Award for public access promo entitled I Believe in Public Access.
- NMTV’s master control playback area undergoes comprehensive upgrade.
- The Commission asks Attorney Steve Guzzetta to review the Connectivity Services Agreement distributed by Anoka County.
- The Commission authorizes Steve Guzzetta to create an alternate Connectivity Services Agreement and to work with Anoka County to improve the agreement so that Cities are better protected.
- Slight changes are made to the CAP Act, but the major components of the bill intended to protect community programming, remain intact.
- Steve Guzzetta and Anoka County work together to make slight improvements to the Connectivity Agreement, that result in more protections for Cities.
- The Commission and seven Member Cities sign Connectivity Agreements.
- The FCC releases a Notice of Inquiry to identify and reduce unnecessary obstacles to obtaining access to the public rights-of-way and to siting wireless facilities.
- Comcast rolls out their Community Broadband Opportunity Program. It will give households with children who qualify for the free lunch program broadband internet for $9.95 per month. This program is one of the things Comcast agreed to provide as part of the NBC/Universal merger agreement.
- The City of Columbia Heights contracts with NMTV to cover their community parade.
- Digital OVS Broadcasting files an open video system certification application with the FCC. It is incomplete and is rejected by the FCC.
- Danika Klyve is nominated for an Emmy for her mental health program and Damian Kussian is nominated for an Emmy for a public access promo.
- Damian Kussian wins an Emmy award for the public access promo entitled I Believe in Public Access.
- CenturyLink indicates it will provide a wire-line video service, but is not currently pushing for statewide franchising.
- Cities are encouraged to include language on rights-of-way permits that makes clear that the permit does not replace a franchise for provision of video programming.
- I-Net is connected at Fogerty Arena, allowing for live coverage of hockey games.
- The FCC issues an order implementing the 21st Century Accessibility Act.. It would require closed captioning for internet programming. There is an exemption for Cities and Community Television.
- Outreach Coordinator, Damian Kussian’s, documentary “Eat, Sleep, Hockey” is completed. A premiere of the program is held at the Andover Cinemas, with proceeds benefitting the Blaine and Centennial youth hockey clubs.
- The Commission adopts resolutions regarding Comcast’s maximum permitted equipment and service rates for 2011. The rates were neither approved or denied, and the Commission reserves its rights to consider the rates in the future.
- The Commission joins a coalition of franchising authorities to examine Comcast’s methodology for passing through non-subscriber franchise fees on to subscribers.
- A ten minute video, produced by the News Team, publicizing a fundraiser to replace the Lino Lakes Police Department’s K-9 is well received.
- Comcast starts charging a “convenience fee” for paying a bill in person at a customer service office and for paying bills with a customer service person over the phone.
- A joint meeting of the Cable Commission and Operations Committee takes place in April. Topics include services NMTV provides to Cities, the changing legal landscape, the upcoming franchise renewal, and upgrading equipment to HD.
- The Commission changes the Joint Powers Agreement to require that all voting members of the Commission be elected officials, including alternates. This was required in order to refinance the building bond with Ehlers and Associates.
- Public Access Producer, Devry Foss, wins a National Hometown Video Award for his math parody called “PI Day.”
- An NMTV documentary was selected for screening as part of the Cinema Lounge event held at the Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis. The short documentary, produced by Studio Manager Eric Houston and two public access volunteers, is called “The Strangest Show on Earth.” The Cinema Lounge is sponsored by the Independent Film Producers of Minnesota.
- Comcast files a supplement to the closed Effective Competition Filing. The Commission authorized legal counsel to produce a short filing, challenging the supplemental filing.
- The News Team wrapped up two months of election related work with a four-hour live election results program. Over 20 staff and volunteers worked to report election results, as they became available, and to interview winning candidates at their headquarters.
- NMTV requests that Comcast display public access channel program schedules on its TV Guide Channel.
- T.J. Tronson produces the premiere episode of “Project Heart.” Results of a Blaine citizen survey indicated an interest in doing volunteer work, but little knowledge of volunteer opportunities. “Project Heart” was created to showcase volunteer opportunities in Anoka County.
- A series of crime prevention videos is produced for the Lino Lakes Police Department.
- Comcast coverts its Basic 1 tier of service from analog to digital. All television sets now require a cable box or DTA to view channels.
- While considering Comcast’s 2012 equipment and service rate filings, questions were raised regarding the cost of some equipment and whether it included a service component. The Commission elected to hire Front Range Consulting to review the equipment rate filing and prepare a report and rate order based on that review.
- A franchise renewal reserve fund was established.
- Customers complain of long waits on customer service calls. Comcast explains that they are experiencing problems while moving to a Center of Excellence service model where customer inquiries are routed to a specialist on that inquiry.
- The Opposition of Comcast’s Supplement in CSR No. 8008-E was filed. It is in regards to Comcast’s 2008 Effective Competition Filing and their recent filing with additional information, arguably beyond the time-frame allowed for additional comments.
- NMTV again requests that public access program schedules be place on the TV Guide Channel.
- The Commission considers the Front Range Consulting report and rate order rejecting Comcast’s equipment rate filing. After reviewing the report and hearing arguments from Front Range Consulting and Comcast, the Commission elects to join two other Minnesota local Franchising Authorities in rejecting Comcast’s March 1, 2012 rate filing.
- The Commission engages in settlement talks with Comcast regarding the March 20th rate order. After considering the various options, costs and benefits, and the amount of time that could be involved it Comcast were to appeal the Commission’s rate order to the FCC, the Commission does not accept the settlement offer.
- The FCC issues an Opinion and Order regarding Comcast’s Effective Competition Filing for six of the North Metro communities. It was the FCC’s opinion that Comcast does have effective competition in all of the North Metro Cities, except for Lexington. This means that the Commission will not be able to regulate any rates in those six Cities. It is unclear if the Order is effective retroactively or only after the date it was issued. The Commission moves to file an application for review with the full FCC asking them to overturn the Media Bureau’s decision.
- The Commission’s per diem policy was changed to $45 per month, with the intent that the per diem be spent on cable service.
- Comcast files an Effective Competition Petition for Lexington. The Commission asks legal counsel to file an opposition to the petition.
- Comcast appeals the Commission’s rate order. They also submit a plan for complying with the rate order. The plan does not meet several of the Commission’s requirements. The Commission moves to issue a notice of non-compliance to Comcast.
- The Public Access department, in conjunction with the American Library Association, promoted Banned Book Week. People were invited to read a section of a commonly banned book on the channel.
- The Commission questions Comcast’s elimination of PEG channel spectrum. The franchise states Comcast will provide 36 mghz. After the digital conversion less capacity is being used by channels, with the rest unavailable to the Commission.
- Comcast launches a public wi-fi hotspot program for commercial service.
- Damian Kussian and his crew win an Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Award for the documentary “The Tail Gunner and the Navigator.”
- Kenton Kipp and Matt Waldron won first place in the NATOA National Government Programming Awards for live sports coverage.
- Comcast begins encrypting all of its channels.
- The Commission issues a notice of violation to Comcast for not complying fully with the rate order, allowing a 60 day cure period.
- On the 60th day of the cure period, Comcast sends their response to the notice of violation stating they do not believe they are in violation and they don not plan to cure the issues.
- Comcast and Time Warner announce their intent to merge.
- The FCC made a decision regarding Comcast’s appeal of the Commission’s rate order. Staff sends a letter to Comcast informing them of the FCC Order, and that the NMTC prevailed on the unbundling issue, and that Comcast must immediately comply with the rate order.
- Studio Manager, Eric Houston, develops a tape and film transfer service. People can either pay to have their personal footage transferred for a fee, or they can learn to do it for themselves for free.
- NMTV purchases a drone.
- Long time NMTC attorney, Steve Guzzetta, leaves his position for another opportunity. Attorney Mike Bradley becomes the Commission’s primary legal counsel.
- The Cable Commission and Operations Committee hold a joint meeting in May. Topics included the Comcast/Time Warner merger and franchise renewal.
- Comcast requests approval to transfer the NMTC’s franchise to a newly formed company called Midwest Cable. Any franchise non-compliance issues must be resolved before any transfer approval.
- The Commission engages Front Line Consulting and Garth Ashbaugh to prepare an analysis of the FCC Form 394 application to transfer the franchise from Comcast to Midwest Cable.
- NMTV contracts with BizzyWeb on a comprehensive website update.
- The Commission finds Comcast’s franchise transfer application is incomplete. Requests are made for more information. Comcast disagrees that the application is incomplete. It is doubtful that a recommendation to approve the transfer can be made based on the provided information.
- Talks continue regarding resolving franchise non-compliance issues. Compliance issues include reduction of PEG capacity, possible underpayment of franchise fees, and compliance with the Commission’s rate order.
- Studio Manager Eric Houston’s documentary “Anoka and the Tornado of ’39” has its premiere at the Anoka County History Center.
- The Operations Committee directs staff to conduct an informal salary survey, per the direction of the Cable Commission.
- A franchise settlement agreement is negotiated. Highlights include an extension of the franchise and MOU to December 31, 2020, HD channels, access to the electronic programming guide, payment of underpaid franchise fees, and a refund for subscribers. In return, the franchise violations are resolved and the merger of Comcast/Time Warner and transfer of the franchise are conditionally approved.
- The Commission recommends its Member Cities approve the settlement agreement.
- CenturyLink begins meetings with local franchising authorities. They are interested in providing wire-line video service in the NMTC franchise area.
- The NMTC building bond is paid off.
- CenturyLink submits an application for a cable franchise in the NMTC area. A public hearing regarding the application is held in February.
- All seven Member Cities approve the conditional transfer resolutions and franchise amendments, per the franchise settlement agreement with Comcast.
- The Comcast merger with Time Warner and the transfer of the franchise falls through.
- Staff is directed to negotiate a cable franchise with CenturyLink.
- The informal salary survey is completed and several changes are made.
- NMTV begins researching a complete facility upgrade to HD.
- Public Access producer Brett Wong, with help from Studio Manager Eric Houston, wins two national Telly Awards for his documentary “Learning to Fly.”
- The new NMTV website is launched.
- The HD equipment upgrade analysis is completed. The Commission approves the immediate upgrade of master control with available funds. Alternate funding scenarios will be researched for the rest of the upgrade.
- NMTV’s home movie transfer service taps a new market for the organization. People who would not otherwise be interested in making their own shows are interested in transferring old home movies, pictures, slides and tapes to DVD.
- The decision is made to bond for a complete HD upgrade of the facility.
- The Commission recommended that a resolution be sent to the Member Cities amending and restating the Joint Powers Agreement, to amend the Commission’s authority to issue bonds, obligations and other forms of indebtedness and to modify the member Cities’ use of certain franchise fees. This is setting the ground work to bond for an HD upgrade.
- The City of Circle Pines agrees to bond for $2,000,000 for the NMTV HD upgrade. A resolution was prepared and sent to City Councils, outlining Member Cities financial responsibilities for the debt, should the franchise fees not be sufficient to cover it.
- The first quarterly meeting with CenturyLink takes place to review progress on implementing the service.
- Commission moves to electronic bill pay.
- Cities approve changes to the Joint Powers Agreement and the Circle Pines bonding resolution. Changes to the Joint Powers Agreement state that bonding can be used for approved facility and equipment improvements only.
- The advertisement for bids was published, and bid specs and invitations to bid on the HD upgrade were made available to vendors.
- A lease agreement was created by Attorney Mike Bradley between the City of Circle Pines and the Commission. The agreement was approved by the Commission.
- NMTV staff member T.J. Tronson is trained as a pilot per new FCC regulations for commercial drone operators. NMTV plans to develop a commercial drone service. Having a licensed and insured drone operator on staff will be an asset for the Member Cities.
- The Commission is no longer able to regulate any cable rates. In addition to the FCC determining that effective competition from satellite services exists in the NMTC franchise area, CenturyLink is an emerging land-line competitor.
- Bids for the HD upgrade were accepted. Vendors were notifies and the upgrade process began.
- Master Control is upgraded to HD first.
- NMTV staff produces comprehensive election coverage, including 21 candidate forums, debates, and live election night programming.
- New closed captioning rules are approved by the FCC. The Commission works with Legal Counsel to determine whether NMTV is exempt from FCC rules. It is noted that ADA guidelines will have to be examined as well.
- Long time Spring Lake Park Cable Commissioner, Jeanne Mason, passes away. A plaque is presented to Mayor Cindy Hansen on behalf of her family.
- The Studio A and Studio B HD upgrades are completed.
- The new production truck is delivered.
- The HD equipment for the production truck is installed.
- Cities request that NMTV staff to take more responsibility for the content on City channels. Heidi Arnson reported that NMTV staff would be able to assume responsibility for the data pages on each City channel, freeing City staff from that duty. She also stated that any City related programs in the NMTV library could be scheduled for playback on City channels.
- Eric Houston contacts all Cities regarding assuming responsibility for updating and maintaining City data pages. He recreates City pages utilizing updated graphics and photos. Some Cities want to continue to update their own pages.
- It is recommended that Tightrope based Carousel units be purchased for each City and housed in Master Control. These units would integrate with current NMTV scheduling software and hardware, provide HD quality data pages and video, automatically create a channel schedule page and up-next graphic, and would create efficiencies for updating pages. It would also greatly increase the technical quality of the channels by removing the distance and equipment each data source is now required to travel, from each City to the NMTV head-end, before it is sent out to subscribers.
- CenturyLink acquires Level 3.
- CenturyLink closes its customer kiosk at Northtown Mall.
- The new, HD production truck gets a full graphics-wrap.
- Discussion regarding upgrading the studio sets begins.
- The Commission approves the purchase of Carousel graphics units for the City channels, to be paid for with 2016 franchise fees.
- Two positions open up at NMTV. Longtime Video Engineer Rick Kocinski retires. Outreach Coordinator Damian Kussian accepts a position with another company.
- The Outreach Coordinator position is changed to Municipal Producer. The position’s primary responsibility is to produce programming for the City channels.
- A new transport system, for transferring an HD signal from City Halls to the NMTV head-end, is researched. The Makito X system is chosen.
- Bids are obtained for the Carousel and Makito X upgrades for City channels.
- Trevor Scholl is hired as the new Municipal Producer.
- Matt Waldron is promoted from Sports Producer to Video Engineer.
- Jeremy Millington is hired as Sports Producer.
- The Commission agrees to participate in a regional Closed Captioning Work Plan, as presented by Legal Counsel.
- The Carousel units and Makito X system are installed and tested. NMTV staff assume full responsibility for graphics pages and video uploads. The Makito X system is tested with the Spring Lake Park HD feed. It works.
- NMTV Video Engineer works with Cities and Vendors to assist with HD upgrades.
- Blaine upgrades system to HD.
- The Minnesota Attorney General files a lawsuit against CenturyLink alleging consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices.
- The Commission issues a Notice of Franchise Violation to CenturyLink, related to the lawsuit, regarding consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices.
- New studio sets are installed. They are paid for with reserves set-aside for the production truck. The production truck was paid for out of the HD upgrade bond.
- After paying for the Carousel and Makito X upgrade, additional 2016 franchise fees are returned to Cities.
- Cities update right of way ordinances to accommodate new MN small cell legislation.
- Lino Lakes upgrades system to HD.
- Comcast increases its late fee from $9.50 to $10.00.
- Studio Manager, Eric Houston, begins teaching his class”Early Film Treasures” in the community. The Mary Ann Young Senior Center and Spring Lake Park’s Recreation department book presentations.
- Comcast notifies Commission and Member Cities of desire to renew franchise.
- The Commission adopts Resolution 2018-01 Concerning the Commencement of Renewal Proceedings Under the Federal Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, As Amended. The resolution represents the Cable Commission’s acknowledgement of the start of the franchise renewal process, with Comcast.
- CenturyLink introduced and then ended its CenturyLink Stream product.
- CenturyLink’s City Wide PEG interconnect is functional.
- The Commission approves conducting a franchise fee and PEG fee audit of Comcast, with other clients of Mike Bradley, as part of the franchise renewal process.
- The Commission and Operations Committee approve joining a drone ordinance and policy project.
- The FCC ruled against the NMTC on its appeal of the FCC’s ruling that Comcast was subject to effective competition. The decision took five years. In that time, the rules relating to rate regulation and the arrival of CenturyLink as a franchised competitor rendered the decision moot.
- Ashpaugh & Sculco is awarded the franchise fee and PEG fee audit.
- CenturyLink announces it no longer plans to add Prism customers.
- Ham Lake upgrades its video equipment to HD.
- The Blaine Police Department requests that NMTV record Officer Steve Nanny’s memorial service. The video was given to the Police Department to share with the family and do with as they wished.
- CenturyLink reports they do not intend to renew their franchise agreements.
- Long time News Producer, Ben Hayle, resigns his position to become the Communications Coordinator for the City of Blaine.
- Traveling lecture classes remain popular. The venues are expanded to include the Anoka History Center and the Edgewater Senior Center.
- Drone usage policies, prepared by Legal Counsel, were adopted by the Commission.
- The Commission considered finding CenturyLink in violation of their franchise for ceasing to build-out their system. The issue was tabled to allow CenturyLink to prepare a response.
- The FCC takes action to accelerate wireless broadband deployment. Concerns arise regarding what effects that will have on local government’s control of the public-rights-of-way.
- The City video-on-demand storage schedule was revisited. Each City established how long they would like meetings retained on NMTV servers.
- 5G small cell wireless broadband becomes an issue. The FCC works to erode local governments' control of their rights-of-way by considering more restrictions on small cell management.
- FCC releases a draft Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that could decrease franchise fees by treating all in-kind contributions as franchise fees. The value of those in-kind contributions could be subtracted from the franchise fees collected by Cities.
- Rusty Ray is hired as the News Producer, to replace Ben Hayle.
- The NMTC building roof is replaced after leakage damages security system.
- The Commission files comments in the FCC franchise fee Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
- The news team provides live election night coverage.
- The City of Circle Pines upgrades its video equipment to HD.
- CenturyLink agrees to come to an agreement on a document outlining an orderly exit from the market for the Prism service.
- Reply comments were filed with the FCC regarding the franchise fee Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
- Live streaming servers were activated for all city channels. NMTV staff worked with city staff to make sure a link to the live stream was available on each city website.
- Additional topics were added to the traveling lecture series. Venues for the classes included city senior centers, senior living facilities, city community education classes, the Anoka County History Center, and public libraries.
- The Closed Captioning Study was completed. The Commission is found to be exempt from closed captioning according to FCC rules, but is likely not exempt under ADA guidelines. The organization will look to include closed captioning as a service beginning in 2020.
- The Commission approved having Legal Counsel draft an ex parte letter, regarding the FCC’s franchise fee Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, in response to an ex parte letter filed by the NCTA on behalf of the cable industry.
- The FCC’s Small Cell Order is appealed and a request for reconsideration made.
- External cameras are added to the NMTV facility security system, in response to several vehicle issues in the parking lot.
- A franchise fee review of CenturyLink is initiated.
- Two new police program series are created. The first, called Crime Crushers, features members of the Lino Lakes Police Department in a series of crime prevention skits. The second show, featuring the Blaine Police Department, gives residents a detailed look at the field training program and why the steps police take are important to providing a safe community.
- Staff and Legal Counsel meet with Comcast for a franchise renewal kick-off. Needs and priorities were discussed.
- The Commission approves the CenturyLink Settlement Agreement that will result in a smooth departure by CenturyLink from the North Metro market.
- NMTV commercial productions include recording nine presentations for Tedx Talks at Blaine High School.
- The Home Movie Transfer service is averaging $1,000 a month in income.
- An HD channel for the city channels is requested from Comcast.
- A letter is sent to Representative Tom Emmer requesting that he encourage the FCC not to act on the franchise fee Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. A response was requested from his staff. No response was received.
- Election programming for the Lino Lakes City Council and Mayoral races, Circle Pines City Council and Mayoral races, the Anoka County Commissioner District 6 seat primary, and the Spring Lake Park and Anoka Hennepin School Board races was produced.
- The Commission joined other franchising authorities across the nation to appeal the Order to a Federal Court of Appeals, and to seek a Stay of the Order, pending the outcome of the Appeal.
- The franchise and PEG fee review of Comcast, conducted by the accounting firm of Ashpaugh & Sculco, is completed. It finds that Comcast underpaid the Commission by $185,165 in fees, including interest.
- The North Metro TV app is launched on Roku and AppleTV. Local channels can now easily be found by searching for North Metro TV in the app store. An instructional video was produced publicizing the app, and demonstrating how to locate local channels utilizing the app.
- The Ashpaugh & Sculco Franchise Fee Report was forwarded to Comcast. Comcast provided a written response outlining disagreement with the report. A meeting between interested parties to discuss the differences was held. No resolution was reached. Settlement discussions may take place.
- The Appeal of the FCC’s Franchising Order was moved to the Ninth District Court.
- The FCC denied the Motion for Stay of the Order.
- The Appeal was moved from the Ninth District Court of Appeals to the Sixth, where it will remain.
- The Operations Committee requested that NMTV staff assume responsibility for recording city meetings. A plan for transitioning into that service was developed. Cities utilizing the service in 2020 will reimburse NMTV for the costs of freelancers. The 2021 budget will fully fund NMTV freelancers to cover city meetings.
- The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals asked to hear oral arguments in the Motion for Stay. This is unusual.
- The State of Minnesota and CenturyLink approved a settlement agreement of the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General. The Cable Commission considered possible resolution to the Notice of Franchise Violation filed with CenturyLink regarding the allegations in the Attorney General’s lawsuit.
- Updates were approved to the Joint Powers Agreement. Changes included removing references to two budgets, removing the requirement that a city joining the Commission be contiguous to a current member city, removing reporting and oversight language no longer applicable due to rule/law changes, clarifying quorum and action language, and including PEG fees as fees available for payments for bonds.
- The Sixth District Court of Appeals denied the Motion for Stay of the FCC’s Third Report and Order.
- A resolution to the 2017 CenturyLink franchise violation, alleging consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices was agreed to. As CenturyLink did not admit fault, paid the harmed subscribers, and paid a substantial penalty to the State of Minnesota, it was determined that the best solution was to have CenturyLink reimburse the Commission for its legal expenses related to the matter. A Settlement Agreement and Release was signed and a payment of $7,000.00 received by the Commission.
- COVID 19 shuts down normal operations.
- NMTV staff work to provide equipment, training, and assistance to cities learning to provide live and recorded virtual meetings via Zoom and other applications.
- NMTV closes its offices to the public April through May. Offices reopen, with new safety guidelines, on June 1st .
- NMTV staff worked with local high schools to provide virtual graduation ceremonies.
- Briefs were filed with the Sixth District Court in the Appeal of the FCC’s Third Report and Order.
- Comcast submitted a draft settlement proposal of the Ashpaugh & Sculco Franchise and PEG Fee Report. Commission Legal Counsel and the participating LFAs met to consider.
- North Metro TV received $63,103 from Member Cities CARES Act Grant funds for reimbursement of COVID 19 related expenses.
- NMTV is in the process of renewing its franchise with Comcast. A draft franchise document was submitted to Comcast.
- Blaine Commissioner, Dick Swanson, did not run for re-election and will not be on the Commission in 2021. He was recognized for his 23 years of service on the Commission with a plaque.
- The News Team produced election forums and Meet the Candidate programs for all of the contested state, county, and local elections. Live election night updates were also produced. There were 18,725 views of election related videos on NMTV’s Youtube page.
- Because of COVID 19 restrictions for attending high school sporting events, the Sports Team, set the goal of producing every high school sporting event, for all three high schools NMTV covered, live. It was accomplished with the productiontruck and several single camera packages. The single camera feeds were sent over the internet to the studio where a remote director added graphics and then
sent it our over the system. Only one feed can go live on the cable and streaming channels at a time, but all feeds stream live on Facebook and Youtube.
- All briefs were filed in the appeal of the FCC’s 621 Order, which was in front of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments and a final decision are not expected until 2021.
- CenturyLink filed notice that they planned to leave the cable TV market, in the North Metro, by December 2021. They continued to provide broadband and telephone service.
- A settlement agreement between the Commission and Comcast, regarding franchise and PEG fees, was approved. Comcast agreed to pay the Commission $58,354 in underpaid franchise and PEG fees. They also agreed to pay the Commission $7,500 towards costs associated with the franchise fee review. As part of the agreement, new gross revenue definitions and auditing provisions were
agreed to. The gross revenue definitions and auditing provisions will carry over
to the new franchise agreement, simplifying the process going forward.
- North Metro TV staff assumed responsibility for recording most city meetings. This new service will save cities the time and money necessary to hire and pay their own staff to record meetings. Professional video production staff should result in higher quality productions, faster equipment problem troubleshooting, and better awareness of issues that could result in programming for news or city channels.
- Comcast responded, in February, to the draft franchise document submitted to them by the Commission in August of 2020. Extending the current franchise or allowing the franchise to extend month to month was considered.
- The Department of Justice considered whether to eliminate consent decrees with ASCAP and BMI which offer protections for municipalities that play music in public spaces. The decrees offer protections for how much can be charged for music licenses. A number of municipalities, including the Cable Commission, submitted public comments in the proceeding arguing that termination of the consent decrees would be contrary to the public’s interest. The DOJ opted not to eliminate consent decrees.
- The FCC had proposed to adopt new regulations that would expand the scope of its current rules for over the air reception devices, or OTARD. The Cable Commission participated in the proceeding, along with many other municipalities. The proposed rules would have pre-empted local governments ability to control placement of antennas, and would have allowed companies to put them up wherever they wanted. It was argued that the FCC did not have jurisdiction and consumer protections must be considered. The decision was a partial victory as it was much more limited than initially proposed and related only to OTARDs providing broadband service.
- The Sports crew live streamed nearly all Blaine, Centennial, and Spring Lake Park sporting events live on Facebook and YouTube. Thanks to COVID necessitated innovations, NMTV is now able to send out small crews to various locations, cover games, send the live stream back to the studio to a director for the additional of graphics, while simultaneously streaming the signal on the cable channel, Roku, AppleTV, Facebook and YouTube. The new set-up allows NMTV to cover and stream more than one game at a time. It is a game changer and hugely magnifies capabilities.
- NMTV staff researched and created a plan to implement closed captioning services. It is very expensive, so it will be gradually introduced beginning in 2022.
- The FCC filed a Motion for Abeyance requesting that the Sixth Circuit Court put the FCC’s 621 Cable Franchising Order on hold so that the FCC can have time to reconsider its position. The NCTA, an organization representing cable companies, opposed the Motion. The Cable Commission supported the Motion. The Sixth Circuit Court denied the request.
- NMTV staff added Centerville to the list of cities utilizing meeting coverage services.
- The Sixth Circuit Court heard oral arguments regarding the appeal of the FCC’s Third Report and Order.
- The Cable Commission submitted a revised renewal franchise to Comcast on May 10th.
- In June, NMTV moved back to more normal operations. COVID restrictions were lifted and there was a return to live class instructions and event coverage. Events included city parades, USA Cup Soccer, and high school graduations.
- NMTV partnered with the Anoka County Job Training Center. Two young men with interest in media joined the staff. They participate in video classes and assist the public access department.
- A 2022 budget was approved. It was particularly difficult due to income variables. Possible areas of reduction may be considered at the end of 2021.
- The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the FCC’s Third Report and Order. As such, some services, which were previously provided at no cost to the Commission, could now have a cost. Originally, the Order stated that cable companies could charge market rates for certain services, but the Court ruled that only the marginal cost could be recovered. What those costs will be has not yet been determined.
- Commercial production requests increased. Services include event video streaming, drone photography, video production, and home movie transfers.
- Election related programming included publication of bios on the NMTV website and one-on-one interviews. Races include Circle Pines and Lino Lakes city seats, and Anoka Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school board seats.
- Design upgrades were recommended for the City Carousel pages. The new layout better features video and community messages with additional choices for weather, time and social media feeds. The design provides a variety of informational sources that can be tailored to each City’s needs. Six of the seven Member Cities upgraded to the new layout by year’s end.
- Sports Producer, Jeremy Millington, resigned his position in November. Ted Leroux was hired as his replacement.
- NMTV staff live-streamed the annual Blaine High School Veteran’s Day program.
- Legal Counsel filed a letter with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a petition seeking Supreme Court review of the Sixth Circuit decision regarding franchise fees, related to the preemption of any local government’s ability to regulate noncable services provided over a cable system.
- The Commission elected to adjust its meeting schedule from a monthly to a quarterly format. Meetings will take place in March, June, September and December for the Executive Committee and the full Commission.
- Updates were made to the By-Laws of the Commission. The changes match the recently updated Joint Powers Agreement in the areas of definitions, quorum and voting rules, meeting schedule, and adjustments to the order of business.
- The Supreme Court declined to review the 6th Circuit Court’s decision regarding the FCC 621 Order.
- The annual Guns N Hoses charity hockey event was live-streamed by NMTV staff.
- Staff began promoting the Home Movie Transfer service on the NextDoor social media platform. The posting resulted in favorable comments by previous clients and increased appointments and inquiries regarding the service. NMTV was named a 2022 neighborhood favorite business by NextDoor users.
- Centerville and Lino Lakes took advantage of NMTV’s photography services for their websites and the Rookery.
- NMTV staff began a concerted marketing effort through social media. With an increased urgency for developing sources of income, and a limited marketing budget, staff looked for inexpensive ways to inform the public regarding available commercial services. Posts are regularly scheduled for Twitter, Facebook, and NextDoor.
- Updated on-boarding materials for new Cable Commissioners and Operations Committee members were developed. They include a summary of the duties and procedures of the organization, services provided by NMTV, a Meet the Staff document, meeting schedules, contact information, and links to several Commission documents.
- The News staff produced “Meet the Candidate” interviews for several primary races.
- A new service, called “Your History,” was developed. It gives seniors the opportunity to record their personal histories and family stories. The service was promoted through senior centers and the Anoka County Historical Society.
- News Producer, Rusty Ray, resigned his position to work for WCCO News Radio.
- NMTV began to close caption all programming. Equipment was purchased, installed, and tested. Many problems and bugs were worked through, across several months, with the final result being functioning closed captioning on all video platforms. This was a primary goal for 2022.
- Eric Nelson was hired as a News Producer, to replace Rusty Ray.
- The News team wrapped up election related programming with “Meet the Candidate” forums for City Council, Mayoral, County Board, Anoka County Attorney and Anoka County Sheriff races. In all, 25 interviews were recorded. Debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the North Metro Mayor’s Association were also recorded.
- A metro-wide pay study was done. The raw data was given to a consultant to analyze and to make recommendations regarding any changes to salaries.
- Legal Counsel recommended that the Member Cities be cognizant of the decline of franchise fees and the causes. He stated that Members who are active in the League of MN Cities should consider discussions and policies regarding funding for community television to be a legislative priority.
- The Blaine High School Veterans Day program was recorded.
- The Minnesota chapter of AARP expressed interest in the “Your History” program. They indicated a willingness to help with promotion and are also interested in contracting with NMTV to record some similar videos on their behalf.
- The MN Media Archive was developed. It is a Youtube channel designed to host older videos the public may want to revisit. It will include old sporting events, graduations, parades, and other community events. Studio Manager, Eric Houston, plans to offer hosting services to other entities such as schools, local governments, alumni groups and booster clubs. A digitizing fee would be charged to outside organizations.
- A three year strategic plan was developed. It includes diversifying income, determining desired services and staffing, and preparing for a leadership transition.
- Work to increase miscellaneous commercial income resulted in the largest annual amount earned in that category.