Advertising pulled from Madison's public access TV
Friday, May 09, 2014 11:00 AM
Madison's public access TV-15 will not allow advertising or sponsored programs until new guidelines are established.
In the interim, the city's Public Service Video Board unanimously voted to proceed under guidelines set by the former Cable Advisory Board which date back to before 2008 when the state changed some of the rules.
Those rules state that advertisements could not promote a particular person, an item of material issue, defrauding material, libelous material, obscene material or any ads for a political office, party or ballot item.
Dennis Crank, Channel 15's station manager, said the removal of ads would not financially impact the station because the only ads currently being displayed are for nonprofit groups.
The issue came to light shortly after the board agreed to air video content produced by media group WKM News that included a video advertisement supporting the Madison Consolidated Schools referendum.
In January, the board had ruled that political advertising could only be in the form of still slides, similar to those used in a PowerPoint presentation. However, a video produced by WKM included a video in support of referendum. The video was paid for by the MCS Yes group.
Advisory Board member Larry Henry said he felt allowing a video advertisement such as that would "open the flood gates" to other political ads, and possibly ones that could be vicious in nature.
Board president Dan Grady said he decided to pull the content last week without having a quorum vote. Shortly after that, Grady reversed his decision and allowed the content to run. He also scheduled Thursday's meeting so the board could discuss the issue.
"The decision was made because we thought, legally, there was something that wasn't correct," Grady said. "In hindsight, it would have been proper to have a quorum."
Based on the new interim guidelines, the ads will be pulled.
Board members hope to have new guidelines regarding advertising in place by its next meeting on July 10.
At Henry's suggestion, board members also agreed to sign conflict of interest disclaimers.