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Forgotten Americans Cable… A Network By and For Native Americans

Back in the mid 90’s I did a project working with the Tribal Councils to get Internet into the Libraries and  Schools on Native American Lands. Internet access on the “Reservation” still remains an issue. With the commercialization of satellite based services like Direct TV and Dish – it is now possible to receive cable TV service (at a hefty price) almost anywhere in North America.

What you will not be seeing on Native America TV

A TV Network for Native Americans

Canada already has a similar cable outlet dedicated to indigenous peoples, and the U.S. is preparing to follow suit.

If there’s one thing most television lovers and critics have come to agree on in the last few years, it’s that the medium has become more racially diverse. If challenged by a skeptic on this subject, I’d cheerfully rattle off the names of great and popular shows currently on air starring and created by people of color. See? Progress!

And yet, maybe not so much. I can count the number of Native American characters—not even shows—that I’ve personally seen on TV in the last year on one hand. There’s the Wamapoke Indian chief Ken Hotate, who appeared in the final season of Parks and Recreation, played by the wonderful Jonathan Joss, who is of Comanche and Apache descent. There’s the terrifying 1970s enforcer Hanzee Dent, a second-season Fargo fan favorite, played by Zahn McClarnon, who’s of Hunkpapa heritage. And then there’s the spoiled Manhattan socialiteJacqueline Voorhees from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, played by Jane Krakowski, who’s Polish, French Canadian, and Scottish.

Which goes some way toward illustrating the need for an outlet like All Nations Network—a cable channel featuring TV programming created for and by native peoples that its creators hope to launch soon in the U.S.,according to Variety. Though details are sparse at the moment, the channel will get some help from Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, a similar outlet that launched in Canada back in 1992 and that now serves 10 million households. The U.S. has seen other efforts to cater to native peoples on TV—Red Nation Television Network is an online-only streaming service that dates back to before Hulu, and the PBS affiliate FNX: First Nations Experience launched in 2011 but is currently available only in Southern California and a few other areas. If a channel like All Nations Network succeeds, it would be a way for American Indians to do something as simple but crucial as making their own stories rather than waiting for mainstream TV to catch up.

So why doesn’t the U.S. already have a widely available, dedicated TV channel for Native Americans? Heather Rae, a producer, filmmaker, and actress of Cherokee descent, told me that studio executives and financiers often balk at the idea of what they see as narrowly targeted content. “The perception is that Native Indians are a vanishing and near-extinct part of the [U.S.] population,” she said. It’s hard, in other words, to convince many distributors and carriers of the commercial viability of a project like All Nations Network.

Kelly Faircloth further discussed the financial difficulties over at Jezebel:

Of course, the American TV business is a different beast [than the Canadian TV business]. Compare the position of the CBC with PBS. Canada’s telecom regulator, the CRTC, mandates that cable carriers include APTN, which means it’s in millions of homes across Canada. In the U.S. cable is a dollar-driven scrum where new channels like Current have trouble gaining traction. It’s unfortunately all-too-easy to see unimaginative execs and advertisers looking at Native Americanpoverty rates and taking a pass…Read More Here

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Couple Gets $2.2 Million Cell Phone Bill From Verizon

Sometime in the late 90’s, telecommunications providers went the way of the Mafia. They went from being honest purveyors of a product into being Scam Artists. Whatever the advertised price was bore no relationship to what you would be charged after they locked you into a contract. This was true not only for cell phone providers but cable TV an internet providers.

It would indeed be funny…If it wasn’t a standard business practice for much of the industry. And after the hit you with that $300-400-500 “surprise”, or that $60 a month contract that escalates to $120..00 in a few months with multiple dubious add-ons —  their collection methods would make a Mafia leg breaker blanch. They typically want $450 even to cancel the contract, They farm the bill out to multiple “Collection Agencies”, with little or no coordination, which frequently “forget” to inform the Credit Bureaus – and other collection agencies that you have indeed paid the bill.So it is not infrequent that folks are still getting “kneecapped” by the second and third nebulous “collection agency”, over a year after paying off the bill.

Cell phone bill tops $2 million: Verizon blames ‘programming error’

Your phone bill may seem high, but Ken Slusher’s bill must top them all.

When he checked his Verizon account balance last week, the Damascus man tells KPTV-TV the total topped $2.2 million. Slusher tells the TV station he’s received a series of erroneous bills since he and his girlfriend opened a Verizon account in November.

They initially expected a bill for $120 but were instead billed for $698, then received another bill for $9. He’s in the process of buying a house and is worried the bizarre bill may interfere with the deal.

They did their best to argue it down, got a second bill for $9, and canceled the service altogether in December. They returned the phones to a local Verizon store in January. But while customer service reps have said they agree there’s been a mistake, collection agencies have come calling. Slusher says his bank now won’t sign off on a mortgage he and his girlfriend need to buy their dream house for their kids. Verizon issued a statement Wednesday noting that a “programming error in an automated voice response system” caused the ridiculous figure, but said it was being resolved, reports the Oregonian

“We have apologized to an Oregon customer for a programming error in an automated voice response system that caused him to receive an incorrect message that he owed $2 million on his bill,” Verizon said in a written statement Wednesday. “We are correcting the error now and have resolved the issue to the customer’s satisfaction.”

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Cenk Uygur Out – Al Sharpton In at MSNBC

Never have cared much for Cenk’s style, and I never felt he projected the personality to host a major show.

I’m not sure Al does either – but MSNBC badly needed to “diversify” it’s lineup.

I would have hoped they would have picked one of the younger personalities more reflective of the audience demographics.

Sharpton Appears to Win Anchor Spot on MSNBC

After giving a nearly six-month tryout for the Internet talk show host Cenk Uygur, the cable news channel MSNBC is preparing to instead hand its 6 p.m. time slot to the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Mr. Sharpton’s imminent hiring, which was acknowledged by three people at the channel on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been signed, is significant in part because MSNBC and other news channels have been criticized for a paucity of minority hosts in prominent time slots. Mr. Sharpton, who is black and is a well-known civil rights activist and radio host, has been guest hosting in the 6 p.m. time slot for the last three weeks.

There had been uncertainty about the 6 p.m. slot ever since the channel’s marquee anchor, Keith Olbermann, departed in January, prompting Ed Schultz to be moved to 10 p.m. from 6. Suddenly Mr. Uygur, who had been made a paid contributor to MSNBC months earlier, was handed 6 p.m., a big coup given that he had earlier campaigned to have his progressive Web show “The Young Turks” picked up by MSNBC.

He earned solid but not stand-out ratings; in late June the channel’s president, Phil Griffin, decided to try out Mr. Sharpton, and offered Mr. Uygur a new contract that included a weekend show, but not a higher-profile weekday show.

Mr. Uygur, who by most accounts was well liked within MSNBC, said in an interview that he turned down the new contract because he felt Mr. Griffin had been the recipient of political pressure. In April, he said, Mr. Griffin “called me into his office and said that he’d been talking to people in Washington, and that they did not like my tone.” He said he guessed Mr. Griffin was referring to White House officials, though he had no evidence for the assertion. He also said that Mr. Griffin said the channel was part of the “establishment,” and “that you need to act like it.”

MSNBC is home to many hosts who criticize President Obama and other Democrats from a progressive point of view, but at times Mr. Uygur could be especially harsh.

In an interview on Wednesday, Mr. Griffin denied Mr. Uygur’s accusations and sounded disappointed that he had decided not to accept the weekend position. “We never told Cenk what to say or what not to say,” Mr. Griffin said.

The “people in Washington,” he said, were MSNBC producers who were responsible for booking guests for the 6 p.m. hour, and some of them had said that Mr. Uygur’s aggressive body language and overall demeanor were making it harder to book guests. “The conversation was, ‘Hey, look, here’s how we can make it better’ — about physical things on the show,” Mr. Griffin said.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in News

 

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