Monday, March 3, 2008

Belfast Community TV Guidelines

Belfast Community TV guidelines
Working copy: Febraury 26, 2006

A. Statement of Purpose
Belfast Community TV (BCTV) is organized for the following purposes:
• Make available communication, and distribution facilities for primary use by residents and community organizations of the Belfast area for community programming purposes
• Organize, manage, promote and facilitate the use of the aforesaid facilities for communication by cable or any other communications methods;
• Produce, develop and obtain programming from diverse sources for distribution;
• Enter into agreements with the City of Belfast and other Waldo county communities for the management and use of cable television facilities provided by franchises.
• Exercise all powers allowable as a Maine nonprofit corporation.
B. Definitions
The following categories of individuals and organizations are subject to the Rules and Procedures of BCTV:
User: Anyone participating in any aspect of community access programming, who complies with the Rules and Procedures of BCTV.
Staff: An individual designated by BCTV to provide services to the organization
• General Volunteer: An individual who contributes time to the organization on a non-paid basis
Presenter: An individual or organization providing programming to be shown on BCTV.
Advisory Group: A group of individuals responsible for guiding the BCTV staff developing guidelines and setting policies.
C. Responsibilities of Users
All users are responsible for treating the equipment and facilities with respect and care, and for respecting the rights of others who use the community access resources. A user cannot represent him or herself as a staff member or as acting on behalf of BCTV unless authorized in writing by the Program Director(s).
D. Non-Discrimination
BCTV shall ensure that no individual is discriminated against with regard to , services, access to information, or any BCTV activity because of race, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, physical disability, political affiliation, or economic status; and shall promote access to the cable television system for those who historically have been denied media access. This section of the Rules and Procedures does not guarantee a right to any person or organization to have any program distributed over BCTV.

A. Training, Equipment, and Facilities
The cablecast and production facility is operated by BCTV staff. Volunteers and presenters may be provided access to the facility at the discretion of staff members. Production equipment is not provided free to the public. At the discretion of the staff, facility and equipment may be made available for hire.
B. Channel Time
Community access channel time shall be made available free of charge to Waldo county individuals, organizations, institutions, and groups. Any programming originating outside of the County requires a presenter from within Waldo county, and shall have lesser priority than programs produced locally. Programing will be scheduled at the discretion of the Program Director(s)
C. Right to Refuse Service
The staff reserves the right to refuse service to any person whose actions hinder the activities of access producers or staff members. Persons hindering producers or staff will be asked to leave the access facility and may be subject to sanctions in Section VI.B.

D. Denial of Service
The Program Director(s) may deny service to any member or user consistent with rules specified in Section VI.B of these Rules and Procedures. Denial of service may be appealed in writing to the Cable Advisory Committee.
E. Advisory Committee
Until such time as the guidelines of the organization are amended, the advisory committee shall review all appeals in writing requesting a review of any or all sanctions issued by the Program Directors.

1) Public Access Programs
Public access producers retain ownership of the creative rights to the programs they produce on their equipment, and may register and establish a copyright at their discretion.
2) For-Hire Productions
Works created for BCTV, either through a contract, employment arrangement, or volunteer barter/training arrangement, including outreach productions, shall be the property of BCTV.
3. Intention
Programs produced with BCTV equipment and facilities must be intended for cablecast on BCTV except under circumstances approved by the Program Directors of BCTV. Any special circumstances approved by the Directors will be recorded in writing and presented to the Advisory committee
4. Acknowledgment of Access Facilities
All programs produced with BCTV equipment and facilities, and any copies, must clearly acknowledge the provision of the equipment and facilities. The following wording is the minimum requirement:
"This program was produced utilizing the resources and facilities of Belfast Community TV.

5. In-House Distribution
By requesting access to equipment, facilities, and playback, access producers agree that BCTV may use portions of their programs for non-commercial, promotional purposes or for purposes of entering in community programming festivals.
F. Television Production Training
BCTV may provide the following types of basic television production training to individuals and organizations: These classes will be made available on a fee-based system
• Basic Field Production
• Basic Studio Production
• Producers' Workshops
• Basic Video Editing
• Basic Lighting
• Basic Multi-Camera Field Production
• Advanced Video Editing
BCTV may offer special advanced classes, seminars, workshops, and intensive hands-on video training internships which may include tuition charges for participants.
Fee-based class instructors: Applications from instructors will be accepted by BCTV on an ongoing basis as space is available in the facility. To apply, prospective instructors should obtain a copy of the BCTV Request for Proposal to Teach a Fee-Based Class. Twenty percent (20%) of the class (or at least one student) will be accepted on scholarship or through a volunteer exchange.
G) Eating/Drinking/Smoking in Facilities
Smoking, alcoholic beverages and controlled substances are not allowed within any of the access facilities. No food or drink is allowed in any control room, or editing suite . Food and drink are allowed in the studio only with prior approval of staff. Exceptions to this rule, with respect to food and drink, may be granted for authorized special events or parties.
"No Shows"
Presenters who reserve air time or facilities who do not show up or provide video within the BCTV guidelines and do not call in advance to cancel are subject to sanctions outlined under Section VI.B.2.
Periods of Availability
A schedule of available hours for contacting staff will be posted on BCTV internet sites and electronic bulletin board
Producer-Provided Videotapes
The access producer shall assure BCTV that videotape is either new or of a quality sufficient to prevent damage or excessive clogging to recorders. Tapes must be able to play back relatively free of "drop-outs" and "glitches." Inadequate tapes will be rejected. Tapes must also conform to BCTV technical standards and have been reviewed by presenter as they must assume the responsibility associated with their signing a cablecast request form,

A. Submitting and Scheduling Access Programs
Access producers may submit completed programs and must complete a cablecast request form. BCTV staff may need to schedule programs a minimum of three weeks in advance of cablecast in order to include them in TV listings. The access producer may request specific cablecast dates and times, and BCTV staff will attempt to match the requests as closely as possible. Qualified public access programs will be televised at least once, while repeats of a program will be scheduled at staff discretion.
1) Cablecast Request Form
Any program submitted for scheduling must be accompanied by a signed Cablecast Request Form. Any minor must have an adult co-signer. The party signing the request form assumes liability for program content and warrants that the program does not contain any of the following:
a. any advertisements or material that promotes a lottery, or programs labeled as "paid political announcements";
b. any unlawful use of copyrighted material; (If the submitter is not the copyright holder of the program, he or she must provide evidence, in writing, of permission to cablecast on our channels on an unlimited basis.)
c. any material that is libelous, slanderous or otherwise defamatory of character; or material that is an unlawful invasion of privacy;
d. any material that violates state or federal law relating to obscenity;
e. any material that violates state or federal law relating to "hate speech";
f. any direct solicitation or appeal for funds, except as permitted by the Board of Directors of BCTV;
g. any material that violates local, state or federal laws.
H. Soliciting funds for political candidates. Political campaigning by individual candidates.

2) Potentially Objectionable Program Content
BCTV requires that producers provide notice to cable viewers in the event that their program contains potentially objectionable content. Potentially objectionable content includes:
• excessive profane language
• excessive nudity
• explicit sexual activity
• extreme physical violence or degradation
• graphic depiction of medical procedures
If any program includes any of the aforementioned elements, a viewer advisory must be included immediately prior to the beginning of the program stating:
"The following program contains material that some viewers may find objectionable or inappropriate."
The viewer advisory must be read aloud and displayed on screen for 15 seconds. Responsibility for including the viewer advisory rests with the program's producer or local Presenter. Programs with viewer advisories will be scheduled after 11:00 PM. For programs with potentially objectionable content, a producer or local presenter who submits the program without a viewer advisory is subject to the sanctions outlined in VI.B.1.
3) Scheduling Priorities
In scheduling programs on the community access channels, first priority is given to programs produced within Belfast area. Second priority is given to programs that are produced elsewhere but have a sponsor from Belfast.
4) Series Programs
An presebter who submits programming on a regular basis will be granted series time slots after three programs are submitted for cablecast in compliance with the provisions outlined in the Cablecast request Form. Such access producer must produce one new program per month to maintain the series slot.
Video Retention/Pickup
Videos submitted by users will be retained at BCTV's playback tape storage area for a period of ninety (90) days following their last scheduled cablecast. Tapes left in the access facility after that time will become the property of BCTV
Technical Standards
Programs submitted for cablecast must meet BCTV technical standards. A list of technical standards is available at the access facility. In cases where BCTV finds that a video is technically unacceptable for cablecast, staff will return the video to the producer and advise on how the problem can be corrected or avoided in the future.
Acknowledgment of Program Sponsors and Program Underwriting Guidelines
The policies and procedures detailed below may be waived in specific cases by the Program Director for due cause, but shall otherwise generally be followed. In cases where these policies and procedures are suspended, supporting documentation shall detail the reasons for such suspension. A Presenter or User is required to submit any request for a waiver in writing in advance for review by staff.
An presenter may give credit to an individual, company, or organization that underwrites any of the program's production costs.
BCTV encourages local producers to solicit outside underwriting support, in order to help stimulate the highest quality programs possible. BCTV will permit program funders or underwriters to receive acknowledgment of their support of non-commercial cable programming on BCTV. BCTV recommends coordination with the program Director in securing underwriters, to help prevent multiple producers from approaching the same sponsor for funding.
•twenty (20)-second maximum length announcement per underwriter, with no more than 2 announcements per underwriter within a 1 hour program, and no more than 4 minutes of underwriting acknowledgement per hour.
• Factual information about the underwriter, including: location, product name, and description of services. Credits may contain a phone number or Web site address.
• Calls to action such as "buy, try, consider, or call this or that"
• Comparative statements, or use of superlatives, such as "the best pizza"
• Prices or fees
BCTV staff is available by appointment to provide advice on approaching potential underwriters.

Community Announcements
BCTV accepts non commercial announcements in text form from individuals community groups and organizations for display on BCTV at no charge. Guidelines for community announcements are available at the facility and via email request or download via the web.

To ensure that the community access equipment and facilities remain available and in good working order, the following rules have been established. Any user or staff member may report rule violations to the Program Director. Upon verifying that a rule violation has occurred, the Director will issue a written statement to the producer describing the rule violation and sanctions. Sanctions will become effective immediately upon receipt of this statement.

1) Major Violations
a. Abuse or vandalism of equipment and facilities;;
b .Breach of any of the warranties of the Cablecast Request Form;
c. Smoking or use of controlled substances within access facility;
d. A community producer who represents himself or herself as "staff";
e. Threatening and/or verbally abusing staff, volunteers, or users at the BCTV facilities, including conduct or disruptive behavior such as yelling at, using profanity to, or attempting to intimidate staff, volunteers, or users, or deliberately sabotaging any project. Any behavior constituting sexual or other harassment as defined by BCTV’s Prohibition of Harassment Policy will be included under this violation;
f. Submitting a program with potentially objectionable content without a viewer advisory;
Minor Violations
a. Operation of equipment or use of facilities in an incorrect, unsafe, or inappropriate manner that might result in damage, including leaving doors to the facility open or leaving props and/or furniture in inappropriate or unsafe places within the facility;
b. Misconduct (e.g., "horseplay," etc.) at BCTV facility of a less serious nature than that defined in VI.A.1(l) above;
c. Not submitting a scheduled program without alerting program director.
d. Not keeping a scheduled appointment with BCTV staff,
e. Removal of videotapes from the tape library or playback area that have been scheduled for cablecast without "signing-out" that tape on the log;

B. Sanctions
1) Major Violations
A major rule violation results in immediate suspension from use of equipment, facilities, and series time slots. If the Directors, in his or her discretion, determines that a major violation has occurred, the user shall be suspended for up to 90 days; upon review by the Board of Directors, the length of time of suspension may be modified. Where damage to or loss of equipment and/or facilities has occurred, suspension is in effect until full compensation is made or until an installment payment contract is signed with BCTV. There are no written warnings prior to suspension in cases of major violations.
If, in the judgment of the Program Director, the behavior of a member consistently impedes either BCTV staff or members from carrying out the mission of BCTV as described in the BCTV guidelines, the Director may impose a 90-day suspension, subject to the appeal process described below in section D.
2) Minor Violations
Minor violations remain on record for twelve months. A minor violation will result in the following actions:
• Written warning for the first minor violation
• Final written warning for the second minor violation
• Suspension from facilities for the third minor violation
An initial suspension from equipment and facilities is for up to 90 days; subsequent suspensions are for up to one year each and require re-certification; upon review by the Directors on a formal appeal, the length of time of suspension may be modified. Staff will file a written report on any suspension. Staff determines the appropriate suspension based upon the nature of the no-show minor violations.
D. Appeal of Sanctions
A member or user may appeal any sanctions by making a written statement to the advisory Committee. If suspension from equipment and facilities use is imposed, the suspension will remain in effect throughout the appeal process. The advisory group will consider the appeal at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
A. Outreach Productions
BCTV staff shall provide partial or complete production support for a limited number of programs that serve to spotlight and promote use of the access channel or serve community needs. Selection of subject and content for these programs shall be based on the following criteria:

1) The content of outreach productions shall be of community interest or benefit the Midcoast area.
2) Outreach productions may serve special needs through involving particular population(s) (e.g., seniors, youth, hearing-impaired, immigrants)
3) The number and frequency of productions shall be conditioned upon available staff time and resources. Production crews may include volunteers.
4) All staff productions and transacted revenues shall be reported to the Advisory group
5.Outreach productions shall be subject to the Community Access Rules and Procedures.


Representatives of government and educational institutions requesting production support will be informed of the access training program and will be encouraged to receive training in order to produce their own community access programming. Copies of the BCTV Rules and Procedures shall be made available at the access facilities and upon request via email.

The BCTV Rules and Procedures may be amended at any meeting of the advisory group where a quorum is present.