By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
Much of this small-audience programming benefits the needy. "We're not trying to command a really large market share," explains Jody Zucker, president of Project Chicken Soup, a nonprofit group that cooks and delivers food to homebound Angelenos who have AIDS. As he notes, when a segment about Project Chicken Soup appeared on Aging in L.A., it helped bring in the "Jewish grandmothers" who prepare many of the organization's meals.
"It's some of the only publicity we've ever gotten," notes Zucker, whose day job is weighty: He's senior vice president and general counsel for Warner Bros. Television. He also praises L.A. CityView for the high-quality video segment about Project Chicken Soup that Channel 35's staff created from Aging in L.A., and which now appears on Chicken Soup's Web site and YouTube.
So far, Aging in L.A. is clinging to life, but Disability Forum was shut down, Ighani says.
Judy Dugan is research director for Consumer Watchdog, which fights for the rights of consumers and taxpayers. "Public-access channels are uniquely powerless," she explains. "They have small audiences for programming that [those viewers] can't get elsewhere. The service they're getting from [CityView] is highly valuable to [viewers], even though they're in small numbers."
Although Dugan concedes that these budget cuts are not the same as, say, the state reducing funding for prenatal care, she questions City Hall's wisdom in targeting "a dedicated space" that big cable interests are mandated to support.
The city's Information Technology Agency is also taking a hit, paring 50 jobs from its 600-member department, an 8.3 percent reduction. That includes the eight jobs being wiped out at CityView, a far more sizable, 40 percent reduction for the station.
Though many Angelenos aren't aware of the existence of CityView, its gavel-to-gavel coverage of the often controversial L.A. City Council is valuable to many, including former Daily News editor-turned-blogger-activist Ron Kaye.
"It's on right now," says Kaye, reached by phone. "I get messages: 'You've got to see what's happening now!' " After all, as Kaye notes of those citizens who wait for hours to appear before the City Council during its public-comment period, "Why would you waste a whole day and spend a minute or two to say something that no one wants to hear, when you can see what the bastards are up to, on Channel 35?"
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