Press Conferece to Save Quote-UnQuote, Public Acess Television and Free Speech in New Mexico
City Threatens Shut Down of Free Speech Channel
Says No to High School Sports TV
ALBUQUERQUE, NM--On Friday, October 28, 2011, the City of Albuquerque announced its intention to end a 30-year relationship with the award-winning Public Access TV provider Quote-Unquote.
In a turnabout that will cost the City of Albuquerque $117,000 more than Quote-Unquote’s proposal, the City recommendation went to uPublicTV, which until now has yet to produce any broadcast content. For over a year, it has had the Educational Access Channel but has failed to activate any TV programming.
“We have legitimate concerns about the scoring process for this contract,” said Quote-Unquote Executive Director, Steve Ranieri. “Any logical person would question the decision to move away from a television station that is live now for an operator which will not have live programming for at least one year. New Mexican taxpayers and families should not tolerate going dark and eliminating free speech.”
“We have serious conflict of interest concerns with the City process,” says Quote-Unquote Board Member, Roger Finzel. “Among the myriad of flaws in the City’s process, there were people who scored the RFP’s that compete for the same funds as Quote-Unquote as employees of the City.”
High school sports have been covered for two years on Encantada TV Channel 26. This widely popular programming, contracted and distributed by Quote-Unquote, may go off the air. Some City Officials have said local High School Sports/Activities programming is not appropriate.
Allen Cooper, Quote-Unquote Board President, says “This is part of a national trend where municipalities are shutting down or slashing public access TV station budgets in an effort to stifle free speech.”
Quote-Unquote is in the process of appealing the City of Albuquerque’s proposal to award the public access television contract to uPublicTV. All contracts must be approved by the City Council.