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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Public-access television back on Hillsborough County Commission agenda, sort of



For years, it seemed, Hillsborough County Commissioners got into regular tussles with operators of the community's public-access television stations.

They first tried to cut tax money for the county's station over objections to content on some of the shows, which included nudity and profanity, but were overruled in a First Amendment challenged. They waited and, when the economy began to tank, cut funding as a matter of spending priorities, which did hold up.

Tampa Bay Community Network survived on money from the city of Tampa, donations and grants, but in scaled down form. On Wednesday, its executive director, Louise Thompson, was back before commissioners with a proposal: Given that the county has cut much of the programming on its own television station, maybe it would be willing to team up with public-access producers to replace some of it.

Surprisingly, a majority of commissioners bit, saying they were at least willing to explore the idea of a possible public-private partnership. They're all into those these days. Programming would be limited to shows relating to helping people get back to work or offering guidance to senior services. 

[Last modified: Thursday, July 14, 2011 8:23pm]


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