Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

FCC's Proposed Rule Threatens Cable-Access Television Funding In Vermont

Kevin Christopher, executive director of Lake Champlain Access Television and president of Vermont Access Network, seated before a microphone in the VPR studios.
Bayla Metzger
Kevin Christopher is executive director of Lake Champlain Access Television and president of Vermont Access Network. He said cable-access television programming would "certainly go away very quickly" if the FCC's proposed rule goes into effect.

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a new rule that would cut funding to cable-access TV stations. Stations around the country, including in Vermont, say they might cease to exist without it. 

Kevin Christopher is executive director of Lake Champlain Access Television and president of Vermont Access Network, a statewide organization for Vermont’s cable-access stations.

Christopher called the FCC’s proposal “a further attempt on the part of the FCC — like net neutrality was — to de-regulate the obligations of the cable operators and put money in shareholder pockets.”

He said the cable-access television industry has been preparing for funding decreases for the last several years, as people turn away from traditional television services. But, he said, a sudden loss of funding would be devastating.

“We’re scrambling to organize our partners, our community partners, our legislators," Christopher said. "And we’re trying to figure out how we can get calls to action out there, and what comes next.”

And Christopher said that while free and uncensored content now exists on our smartphones, cable-access television provides a unique public service.

“We’re the ones out there covering the select board meetings, the city council meetings, school boards," he said. "We’re doing gavel-to-gavel, unedited coverage of that.”

He said local community programming such as that is expensive to produce and would “certainly go away very quickly” if the FCC rule goes into effect. Christopher said he thinks a final ruling from the FCC could come mid- to late- next year.

Listen to an extended interview with Kevin Christopher above.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
Bayla joined VPR in 2018 as the producer for Morning Edition. She left in 2019.
Latest Stories