Cable Television

Citizen Participation in Planning

by Robert K. Yin

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A guide for citizens and municipal officials in shaping a cable TV system responsive to community needs. Citizens can participate through public hearings, residential surveys, conferences, ad hoc committees, and delegated groups, the latter providing the greatest power. Topics for deliberation include cable system ownership (commercial, nonprofit, municipal), geography (coverage, number of subsystems, trunk-line layout), subscription fees, cable services needed, and monitoring of cable operations. Citizens themselves should in large part determine the forms and schedules for their participation. Citizens in many cities are now organized and articulate; they are unlikely to be passive. Officials should welcome their advice and participation despite the risks of divisiveness and delay, and the possibility that citizens will block any issuance of franchises. (See also R-1133 through R-1144.)

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