The Future of Missoula Community Access Television (MCAT)

“Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it.”
― William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2

April 26, 2016

Against the backdrop of out-of-state media control, Missoula Community Access Television (MCAT) stands as a beacon of local independent media. From broadcasting MCATCity Council meetings and local sports to candidate forums and cultural events, MCAT helps the Missoula community understand itself. This is our media, funded largely by rent the cable company pays the City of Missoula for using public lands for its television cable infrastructure.

Federal law mandates that the city and its cable television provider negotiate a contract every 10-15 years that determines the cable company’s responsibilities to the Missoula community. One of these responsibilities is to pay the federally determined rent used to fund MCAT’s basic operating costs and equipment. Beyond cash, there are many other ways Charter can aid and assist the Missoula Community. Quality of service in cable television provision is one dimension that can be detailed in the new contract. The number of channels allotted to local community programming is another example. Although MCAT currently has two channels, other communities of like size have three.

The City of Missoula and Charter are midstream in negotiating a new contract for the next 10-15 years. Public comment is a huge part of leverage the City can use to strengthen the public’s side of the negotiation. What would you like Charter to provide over the next 10-15 years? What role do you see MCAT playing in Missoula’s media future? Your answers to questions like these are vital to the negotiation process to identify changes that might be made to meet the current and future cable-related needs and interests of Missoula residents.

I invite every one of you to go to the link below right now and fill out the survey.

If not now, then please do so no later than May 15. The media future of our community depends on it!

Nancy Leifer, Volunteer Coordinator, JRPC

P.S. Our hearts go out to the family of JRPC member Michael Kreisberg who died recently.