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Don't Touch That Dial

This blog will feature highlights of programming by Falls Cable Access, a not-for-profit organization located in Menomonee Falls High School.


There is certainly a lot of buzzing around town as the Menomonee Falls High School Football team readies for their trip to Madison and a shot at the most coveted of all State titles.  High school football has long been the center of community pride all over the country.  Tales of legendary match ups between hated arch rivals will continue to be passed from generation to generation as new story lines develop.  The final state championship game has been the focus of many novels, films and even songs.  While I highly recommend making the trip on Friday to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison to be part of that experience, not all of us can stay away from our work.  Luckily for those people FSN Wisconsin will be carrying all the finals in each division starting on Thursday.   For Time Warner customers in the Falls you can find them on Channel 31 or on the HD tier Channel 1309.  Don't think they are carrying game in HD, but you never know.  So set your DVR's or DVD recorders and get ready for what could become an "Instant Classic" when the Menomonee Falls Indians take on the Conference Rival Marquette Hilltoppers for the WIAA Division I Football Championship.

While we are on high school football, many have asked why Falls Cable Access Channel 14 didn't cover the playoff games that were hosted in the Falls and why no one covered the Semi--final game versus Appleton North in Oshkosh last Saturday. 

The reason is that the WIAA has worked a deal out with a video production compnay that gives exclusive rights to that company for WIAA playoff games in all sports.  Originally they were going to cover the games and offer tapes for sale to the public.  Well it didn't take long for them to realize that there was no way to cover all the games, in all the sports, in all the divisions.  So they decided to rely on the local access channels and college TV stations to televise the games but retain the rights to the media. 

As part of the original deal, a local access station was to pay a fee to be part of the association and then turn over not only the current game being taped but all previous programming involving WIAA sports.  All of these programs then would be offered for sale by the production company with part of the sale going to the high school, part to the WIAA and the rest to the production company.  Nothing was going to the entity that did the taping.  Sweet deal eh?

 Essentially, volunteers were standing in the cold taping their sons or neighbors football games, putting it  on the access channel for all to enjoy, including our shut-ins and people in nursing homes and hospitals, while someone else is sitting at a computer, collecting games and lining their pockets for this service.

 Technically, the Grandpa that takes his camcorder to his Grandsons game and then asks the cable access channel to put it on the air would be in violation of the WIAA rules.  Never mind that he is a taxpayer at a public event and that his first amendment rights are being violated by not allowing him to express his work on the local access channel. 

The WIAA in a law suit with the Appleton-Post Crescent says that they are protecting the student athletes. From Grandpa? From the Access Volunteers?  I was in the business of selling programming for many years and religious programming sells at about 35% of those interested in an event or speaker.  Grade school children and dance groups come in 2nd at 30%. High school sports and graduations come in a distant 3rd at 15%.  High schools are not making much on the resale of sports programming. 

he production company on the other hand is selling thousands and thousands of tapes or DVD's because they have contracts with 4 states and several associations.  I'm all for supply and demand, but not a monopoly.  This exclusive rights contract needs to be challenged and it needs to be challenged by the parents of our athletes.  It was a great game versus Appleton North and Falls Cable Access would have gladly hauled the mobile trailer up to document the game with graphics, commentary and replays.  Instead the only video available is from a small camcorder up in the coaches booth.  This won't end with the Final game on Friday.

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