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The Abington Citizens Network
where Abington, PA residents can share ideas and join forces to build a better community
 

 

Channel 43(comcast) / 24 (verizon)  in Abington Township

Overview

Citizens have wanted Governmental  Meetings, Community, School,
School Board  and other programs aired on their Access Channel .

we still do not have more than

Since 2009 we continute to ask :

1) That Zoning Hearing Board and Planning Commission, Finance Budget and special  meetings be aired
2) That  all special project or issue  meetings be aired
3) That the Township air news about and a connection to the School Board meetings ( they currently interrupt
        township programming to duplicate what is aired on the school channel - rather than just announcing it )       
4) That the Township do its utmost to maintain the lowest level channel numbers rather than moving to a
         higher channel. (Lower channels are "scrolled through" - creating awareness)
5) That an overall plan for the channel be put forth with the input of residents 
6) That no advertizing of any sort be allowed on the channel

 

 

PRIOR STRUGGLES -  this was  from 2009 :

 

     1) That Zoning Hearing Board and Planning Commission meetings be aired -

There is so much re-zoning going on - ( literally, residents properties all over the township are slated for a zoning change moving them from residential towards commercial  - and nearly none as of 5-09 know that this is happening.)
  The  anticipated with the York Rd Corridor revitalization ( 10 million in state funds will entice developers from all over to our little neck of the woods ) Rydal Waters, Baederwood , the Williard and variances being given all over the township. Those variances are used by the next applicant to  assure that he is not denied.
Only a select few meetings have been aired on these issues.
 

    2) That  the Finance and Budget meetings be aired -

Though some are being aired at the discretion of the Commissioners - no commitment has been made to budget for & air ALL - as ALL of of interest to the residents . Our township is meeting hard economic times with additional unchecked spending in some cases, even invoking eminent domain and suggesting they commit to projects with unknown price tags.  Residents need to see this. 

   3) That the Township air  School Board meetings on Comcast 43 and Verizon 24  as many residents do not get channel 850 . Instead of important School meetings, we have more useless scrolling.  The thing we've been trying to change for 15 years . School meetings  rarely air at  prime  watching times.

   4) That the Township do its utmost to maintain channel 43 rather than allow it to be moved to a higher channel. If Comcast chooses to move us to a  channel in the 800's  many residents will not get it  (849)  on their tv's and because few are likely to be "surfing" through the "800's", and many viewers will discover the new things on the channel just from surfing.

 5) That an overall plan for the channel be put forth with the input of residents - ALL residents who might care to participate- and an open committee to guide the channel be formed.

 6) That no advertizing of any sort be allowed on the channel. Thank you to sponsors should be simple and direct - alphabetical  and not in the form of ads which would favor one business over another - including non-profits which are businesses just like  the others.

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6-09  Update : Verizon's channel is up and running as of May 09 . If you still have questions about the digital  changeover go to :  http://dtvanswers.com

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Background of the channel  as of 1-08

Though Abington has had a  Comcast Channel ( Channel 43) for over 20 years, it had remained relatively unused for most of those many years  and in early 2006 could be seen with a "Bulletin Board" or "Power Point" style scrolling of various announcements (that we still largely see today )  Our channel was considered an EG Channel in '06.....that  is: dedicated for Education and Government.  Though they had asked before, in February '06, residents asked the Commissioners more emphatically to get  the  channel  underway and fully operational  with government meetings and with school and community  programming  that would make use of this valuable resource .  We already had cameras and full capability to put all of these things on the channel at that time.  

Instead of just getting underway, first a poll was proposed, then a survey, then a Committee was appointed which met for nearly 7 months. Residents had to come to meeting after meeting where they made their wishes know to the Commissioners and they also called and wrote to encourage the process.  By the end of 2006, Commissioners had approved only 12-15 meetings - and on a "trial"  basis. No other programming, other than the odd special meeting or event was allowed either.  The airings of the 12-15 meetings began about April '07 with a two camera system - ( a new one was purchased and used in conjuction with one of the existing cameras). The only meetings airing at this point were Full Board meetings,  not the Committee meetings being requested by residents or the  important Budget meetings. One or two special meetings were aired, but few people knew the timetable or were aware.  Negotiations with Comcast that had now wrapped up, and these provided a second channel (channel 850)  which was given to the School District  along with $75,000 of Comcast grant money. The intent to air meetings was promised by the School Board, so we hope that promise will be kept and we are anticipating they may be on-line in early 2008.

The three mounted-camera system costing $35,000 or more  was approved was installed circa June or July, '07 but the quality so far has been no better than it was with the two camera system and sound problems and technical issues have interrupted the process significantly, most often affecting the guest speakers at the podium, who are often the residents.  A  single camera view was never allowed to be tried, though some residents have had success taping quite adequately in this manner with personal cameras, without  the expense of the more sophisticated set-up that requires such experienced operators to run. One tape that was shared with excellent quality cost only $60 and was paid out of pocket by a resident.  

 Not long after the Full Board meetings got started in '07, and residents could now listen to neighbors who got up to speak at meetings.  The then  President of the Board decided that apparently not to his liking and removed the "Open Comments" section  at the end of the meeting.  That had been the only place where residents could bring up a non-agenda item.  Despite much public outcry, the "Open Comment" section was not reinstated until after the passing of the budget and the year's end - and a new President. It was unclear for the final months of '07 when residents would and would not be able to speak- while important zoning and budget issues were before the Board.

In November '07,  the four Committee Meetings were approved to begin airing in February '08.  These are the meetings where the "work" is done and people can see more of the process that goes into the items that are given "final approval" at Full Board meetings.   The approved meetings were Public Affairs, Public Safety, Public Works and Code Enforcement - but Commissioners turned down the additional two meetings that were proposed ( Zoning Hearing Board and Planning Commission ).     We were unsuccessful at getting any plan for the rest of the channel.  By the end of 2007 only one meeting a month was airing and the very occasional other video. The rest of the time, the channel was "scrolling", exactly as it had been the 2 years earlier- and for the last 15 or more. .

At the outset of this year (2008) with the reinstatement of  the Open Comments and also allowance that resident comments can be made at the end of each section of the Full Board meeting we anticipate a new start. Comments will be limited to 3 minutes, which may  take residents some getting used to - but we also have the airing of the Committee Meetings to look forward to. And we  have a menu for the channel that is clickable from the front page of the township website. The hope is that this will be the year of change - and a plan for the channel that will benefit the residents will ensue -  and neighbors will be able to watch each other as they participate in their governmental process - while the School and School Board info gets underway on 850.

If you would like to know more - please call or email us

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|Channel 43 Overview  |  What  Abington residents are saying  |   Contact someone about this issue  |   Your Commissioners |

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BROKEN LINKS ALERT  

Abington Township recently completely revamped their website at the end of 2015 . All links directed to the old site were broken. We will be reinstating links as we find them and if the data is still available.  
Please  let us know if you find a broken link . Send us the name of the link and the page it is on , and if we can reinstate it, we will.

 


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