By Rena Delgado, Chair of Community Media of the Foothills
Does freedom of speech matter to you?
A recent FCC vote modifying long standing cable franchise fees will benefit major cable operators at the expense of funding for educational public access media centers like Monrovia’s Community Media of the Foothills (CMF), home of KGEM studio.
With the need for local media representation more urgent than ever, it’s time to acknowledge how vital this unsung hero of public, educational and governmental broadcasting is to our community.
For over three decades, CMF has operated three public access television stations: KGEM, KGOV, and KMAC.
Thanks to the wisdom of Monrovia’s city leaders, community advocates and the Cable Franchise Users Act of 1984, our city dedicated funds received from cable franchises to the establishment of Community Media of the Foothills, a nonprofit corporation to protect your first amendment right to free speech by ensuring citizen access to the broadcast airwaves without city or commercial influence.
Here is just a brief glimpse into the hundreds of hours of local content produced by CMF. Can’t make the city council, planning commission, or school board meetings? Watch them from home on KGEM (channel 3) or KGOV (channel 98). Would you like to see your child’s performance in the holiday parade? View it on KGEM-TV’s YouTube channel. Want to know what’s going on in town this month, or listen to current and cultural exchanges between local residents? Check out KGEM or KMAC (Channel 99).
As you can see, CMF holds a unique place in the local media landscape by providing broadcast coverage for municipal transparency and a home for non-commercial voices and opinions to be seen and heard in the public square on television and on digital platforms.
Why, you may ask, would an all-volunteer board of directors, citizen producers, and community leaders care so much about providing access and inclusion for “everyday” people to broadcast their voices?
For me, it’s simply a matter of preserving our freedom of speech in the public commons, namely the public airwaves, that we all have a stake and share in. Preserving this cultural legacy requires that we as neighbors, viewers, and contributors engage fully and actively in making sure equal access for local voices continues to thrive for decades to come.
What can you do to participate in or support Community Media of the Foothills and ensure this community resource doesn’t evaporate? You can run for a board of directors position, produce a show of your own, volunteer as crew, and yes, you can also make a tax deductible donation.