For Your Information
For Your Information
By Todd Lindberg
July 31, 2001

Where are we and how did we get here?

Hello Fellow Workshop Members,

About a year ago, I began work on an article titled “ The New ETC 33 - A new public access channel that’s twenty-five years old “.  The article discussed all the promising changes that were taking place at ETC 33.  On a cold day in January, however, the Fridley City Council eliminated a year’s worth of rebuilding and twenty-five years of service to the community.

Fridley City Council members: Mayor Nancy Jorgenson, Councilmember-at-large Bob Barnette, Ward 1 Councilperson Steven Billings, Councilperson Ward 2 Richard Wolfe, Ward 3 Councilperson Ann Bolkcom
 
Mayor Jorgenson and Rich Wolfe supported renewing the Workshop’s contract.  Council members Barnette, Billings and Bolkcom felt it would be “interesting” to see if another provider could operate public access at a reduced cost.  The Workshop was unceremoniously asked to vacate the access facilities within six days.  The Workshop had been in the cable building since 1979, providing public access and insuring the right to freedom of speech.

How will ETC Fridley Communications Workshop respond to the RFP (Request for Proposal)? 

The Workshop Board deliberated this issue for several months.  The Board considered the uphill battle we have experienced with some city officials over the last five years.  The issues included disputes over programming, equipment funding, operating budget and what is public access.  The Workshop had been operating access in the city for twenty-five years and had won a national award for our efforts.

The Fridley Cable Commission has had several meetings involving the RFP over several months.  Workshop Board members attended these meetings in an unofficial capacity to answer questions presented by the cable commission.  The cable commission thanked us for the information we provided.
 
The City Council issued only criticism concerning our involvement.  The Board of Directors decided to respond to the RFP only to inform the City Council that we were not interested in administering public access in light of the lack of support from the Council.  It would be fruitless to operate a public access channel under the present circumstances.  

Where is the ETC Fridley Communications Workshop?  What do I get for my membership?

These are very good questions and will be the main topics of the Board meetings throughout the year.  As in the 70’s and early 80’s when the Anoka County Communications Workshop (former name of ETC Fridley Communications Workshop) was paving new ground in public access, the Workshop will be paving new ground by bringing public access programming to the Internet.  We are talking worldwide access, folks.  The logistics of this idea are still being discussed. 

We are without a physical home, but we can still be reached at: ETC33@ETC33.org and most exciting, our web site www.ETC33.org will keep our members informed of breaking developments in Fridley.  We will also get you in touch with any public access centers that will be able to assist you in producing your video programs.

Along with bringing public access to the Internet in the future, we are discussing the possibility of Workshop on-line Internet classes as well as video production classes.  We are up to these challenges, and we hope you will join us in looking forward to the future.  


Speech is external thought, and thought internal speech.
Antoine Rivarol 1753-1801, French Journalist, Epigrammatist