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No more producer fees for Wausau Public Access TV


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) - After months of discussion about Public Access television concerns, Wausau’s City Council passed policies and operating guidelines approved by the Finance Committee.

Without further discussion Tuesday, the council unanimously approved changes creating guidelines to operate the local public access channels. Alderman Keene Winters says they eliminated the biggest problem. “The sticking point on this had been whether we were going to charge content producers, and we stripped out charging content producers. Now, that doesn’t mean we’re still not committed to finding revenues to do this, for advertising, DVD sales, and the like, and we’re going to go ahead and work on that.”

There is discussion of creating a non-profit group to help operate Wausau Public Access and help raise operating funds. Winters believes the council would be receptive to that. “I think we would be interested in having a Friends of Wausau Public Access, just like you have a Friends of Public Television, and so to the extent people are working on that, we would certainly welcome that.”

Area churches and a few other groups were opposed to paying to air programs they produced. Public Access Coordinator David Dickenson is glad to see the city remove the financial barrier for local producers. “What that means for me is I don’t have this fear of somebody coming to me saying here, I have a show, I want you to put it on, and I have to ask them for money or turn them away. This keeps the ability of public access and get local producers on the air, which is what I want to do.”

Winters says it’s good to have the operating policy in place. He is one of several city leaders that will help Public Access develop a business plan to generate revenue and become sustainable without relying entirely on franchise fees paid by Charter Cable.