Finding out about your MPs

openparliament.ca is an excellent resource to find out who your local Member of Parliament is (MP) by simply typing in your postal code. You can then see what your MP has been up to, including speeches from Hansard, mentions in the newsmedia, what laws they are proposing, what policies they support, etc. You can also browse MPs and specific subjects.

CRTC Community Radio Hearing starts today

Big day for campus and community radio in Canada! Stations, associations, and other organizations will be appearing before the CRTC today. I’ll be appearing with the Community Radio Fund of Canada on Wednesday.

To listen online, visit the CRTC website at www.crtc.gc.ca. Look for the text “LISTEN TO A HEARING.” And here is the complete agenda.

Good luck to everyone!

CRTC Policy Review news for Campus and Community Radio

One of the reasons I’ve been hanging out more in the physical world is that I was working on the submission of the Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) to the CRTC Policy Review for our sector. One month and 22 pages later, here we are. And more than 100 stations, organizations, private broadcasters, governement agencies, and individuals submitted their thoughts as well. More information in the CRFC posting below.

CRFC Participates in Review of Campus and Community Radio
Friday, 16 October 2009

In July 2009, the CRTC launched a review of its Campus and Community Radio Policies. The CRFC filed its comments today outlining the funding reality of the sector and some possible solutions to help lessen its financial stresses. The CRFC is recommending a funding model for both the campus and community radio stations and the CRFC that includes funding from the federal government as well as Canada’s private broadcasters and distributors. You can read the CRFC’s comments here. The CRTC hearing for this process will begin on January 18, 2010. (Links updated November 2013)

TweetCommons: Connecting You to Canadian Politicians

If you Twitter, you might be interested in this. I came across this thanks to Steve Anderson (formerly @steveinfos, now @Steve_Media) at the Campaign for Democratic Media (now OpenMedia.ca). They have a fantastic site and are a great resource for media democracy. They always have something to take action on that affects the lives of everyday people, and they make it pretty easy. So check them out. In the meantime, here is their TweetCommons post. (By the way, you can follow me on Twitter too: @melissahk)

Media, Re-invented

A new website called TweetCommons has just launched:

TweetCommons is a new web-based initiative to connect Canadians with their elected representatives in government using Twitter.

The TweetCommons press release notes that a similar initiative in the US helped push more government officials to Tweet more often. Perhaps more importantly, TweetCommons will facilitate a more multi-directional relationship between people and government. In the press release, TweetCommons stated:

We are also focused on smoothly expanding functionality so Canadians can look forward to interacting with their government in new ways.

In my most recent Column, I discuss how the division between government and people is breaking down and how online social media tools are enabling this process.

The most exciting section of the TweetCommons website is “The People”, although the tag line “talk back” seems like it might miss the point. This section, and Twitter conversations in general, are more about new forms of networked, widely distributed discussions, rather than about “talking back” to politicians. Online participatory media practices differ from traditional media relations in that they produce a citizen-powered dialogue that includes, but is not driven by, those in government, or the select few working for big media outlets.

Exciting projects like this reinforce the importance of the Open Internet.

TweetCommons is an entry point for people to join in on conversations about key issues and create a path forward that benefits all Canadians – yet another example of how media is being reinvented before our eyes.

(Links updated November 2013)

Low Power FM Gets Great News!

Congratulations to Low Power FM (LPFM) stations and supporters in the United States!

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Broadcasters lose in court over low-power FM radio
By Matthew Lasar, Ars Technica

Supporters of low-power FM (LPFM) radio won a victory on Friday when a federal appeals court rejected a lawsuit to stop the Federal Communications Commissions from protecting LPFM stations from full power station signal interference.

“This is terrific news for the low power radio community,” declared Sakura Saunders of the Prometheus Radio Project, which helps LPFMs. “Now, these stations can focus on serving their local communities, rather than live in fear of displacement due to the whims of their full-powered neighbors.”

On the other hand, the advocacy group that defended the LPFM service was circumspect about the win. “The decision in the courts merely protects the status quo,” noted the Media Access Project in a statement sent to Ars. “Congress still must pass legislation to allow more low-power FM stations to operate nationwide.”

There’s also the question of how to ensure the funding these stations need to more effectively serve their signal areas. More about that later, though. First let’s look at the nuts and bolts of this case.

Read the rest of the article for the full story.

(Links updated November 2013)