Cable Advisory Board Meeting Minutes

November 6, 2003

Present:  Meeting called to order by Chairman Margaret Case at 7:07 pm.  Present were Margaret Case, Chris Doyle, Mary Griffin, J. Gross, Dave Unger, Alan Shoemaker, and Studio Coordinator Jim Daddona.  Participating as observers were John Alosso and Gregory Cappiello.  Barbara Coish sat in as the School Board liaison. Excused: Leo Hart. 

Elizabeth Graham, Director of Government/Community Relations, New England Region of Comcast Cable Communications was present for a yearly update on our Limited Franchise.

Ms. Graham explained Comcast’s channel line-up, and said they had realigned for greater efficiency.  $9.44 is the price for basic cable service in Salem, which includes 22 channels. Basic plus expanded service is $40.48.  Hi speed Internet service is also offered.  Last year, Comcast introduced high definition TV service, including ABC, NBC, CBS, NESN, ESPN, HBO and Showtime, two movie channels and Fox’s high definition alternative. The high definition box is two dollars more, but no additional charge for the programming.    They’ve also launched video on demand, which is free for digital customers.  Next year, Internet based phone service will be offered in Springfield, MA.

Comcast has 10 customers of sixteen permitted in Windham. They are now renegotiating with Salem for a renewal of their ten-year franchise. 

Discussion ensued on the Rt.28 area and the new developments in that part of Windham, as well as a new condominium (under construction), and an adult community complex.  The question was raised if Comcast was in a position to offer its services to these new residences in the vicinity of Route 28.  Ms. Graham said she would take the matter under advisement.

Dave Unger moved, and Mary Griffin seconded the motion to approve the minutes of the September 4 and September 25 minutes as written. Approved.

Financial report:  Margaret Case reported that we’ve spent 69% of our annual budget. $6,621 is left in the equipment account.

Studio Coordinator’s report:  Jim Daddona said that we won several awards at the New England Regional Conference of the Alliance for Community Media, held in Portland. “Slimsational Kitchen” won 2nd place in the special interest category, and “Blues after Sunset” won 3rd in the performing arts category.  An office inventory is in progress.  The   volunteer program is doing very well, with an increase of several volunteers each month. Jim remarked that we are still doing more than 15 regular shows each month, and has embarked on an “Our Town” public outreach show.  The first one, on the Transfer Station, was produced last month.  The next one planned is the Bartley Bldg. with Dave Sullivan.  Jim also announced that the Salem Observer will start inviting the Democratic candidates for President in for interviews, and WCTV has agreed to tape those shows.

Adelphia September Report:  # customers 3341  # Powerlink customers 1507. 

Equipment:  Jim Daddona has gotten three quotes for a new JVC 5000 Camera package.  Motion made by Chris Doyle and seconded by Mary Griffin that we make a request to the selectmen that we purchase two JVC 5000 Camera packages plus a switcher upgrade, at a total price not to exceed $17 thousand.  Approved unanimously. Margaret Case will meet with the Board of Selectmen to discuss the use of the balance of the budget and the special equipment account

Margaret Case offered to forward to the WCAB members the Adelphia draft and Leo Hart’s draft amending the franchise agreement. The selectmen will be advised that no action should be taken pending review of these drafts. 

The next meeting will be on the second Thursday evening in January 2004, at 7 p.m.

There being no further business, a motion for adjournment was made and seconded. Approved unanimously, and the meeting was adjourned at 9:04 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Alan Shoemaker, WCAB Secretary

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