Approved by the Harford County Council on 1/10/12.
The Harford Cable Network (HCN) is a public-access multi-use channel operated by the County Council (Council) of Harford County, Maryland (County). The Council has established an Advisory Board (Board) to coordinate the affairs of HCN and promote programming of interest to the County’s citizens. (See Public Law 91.47, Section 9-176.3.A.)
The Board hereby establishes the Programming Committee and its Guidelines.
Section 1. Guidelines
The following Guidelines shall govern all program submissions.
All “ready to broadcast” programming which conforms in all other respects to these Guidelines shall be approved for broadcast on HCN, at no additional cost to the programming entity or individual. All other programming shall not be approved for broadcast, except as follows: 1. Council Requests. The Council may direct that HCN produce and transmit any programming approved by a majority of the Council, pursuant to the Council’s procedures. Directives from the Council shall be communicated to the Committee’s Chair, by such person or persons as the Council may authorize from time to time. Council Requests shall conclusively meet all other Guidelines set forth hereinafter: 2. All other entities or individuals shall reimburse HCN for the costs associated with producing any Requests (Production Costs), as such Production Costs may be determined by HCN staff. Where Production Costs are established by the Council and the Board through a “rate card,” HCN staff shall apply the rate card to determine Production Costs. Programming which is funded as set forth in this section shall be approved by the Executive Director for broadcast on HCN, provided it conforms in all other respects with these Guidelines.
HCN is a public-access channel whose primary purpose is to educate, inform and promote a sense of community among Harford County’s citizens. The primary content of all programming on HCN shall be consistent with HCN’s primary purpose. 1. Permitted Content. Programming whose primary content is consistent with, or meets, one of the following three (3) criteria shall be approved for broadcast on HCN, provided it conforms in all other respects with these Guidelines. a. Programming must be “educational” – offered in conjunction with a state or county public educational institution; or b. Programming must be “informational” – offered in conjunction with a state, county, or local government, or an entity coordinating emergency response or “preparedness”; or c. Programming must be produced by a County citizen, or primarily concern County citizens, events, and/or issues which may be of interest to the County’s citizens. 2. Prohibited Content. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary hereinabove, no program shall be transmitted by HCN which: a. “Advertises” a “for profit” enterprise. Programming which succinctly “credits” a “for profit” sponsor for assistance with production costs, information, materials, advice or expertise shall not be disqualified for “advertising”. b. “Solicits” support for any political cause of candidacy. The following shall not be disqualified for “soliciting”: (i) “Issue-oriented programming” – where one or more candidates or advocates state their position on issues of interest to the County’s citizens without soliciting for their election; (ii) “Debates” – where all competing candidates are given equal time to explain their views and advocate their election; (iii) “open forums” – where elected officials and/or candidates/advocates appear to discuss issues in a public meeting place, without soliciting for their election. c. “Promotes” one religious doctrine as superior to all or any others. Programming which offers a specific or uniquely religious perspective – without denigrating the validity of any other religious beliefs (or non-belief) shall not be disqualified for “promoting”. d. Promotes a lottery, gift, enterprise or similar scheme that offers prizes awarded on the basis of chance (as prohibited under 47 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 76.213). e. Directly or indirectly solicits funds from cable subscribers (unless specifically authorized by the Board). f. Is determined to be “obscene,” as per the standards defined in HCN’s Bylaws. g. Violates any federal, state, or local statues. h. Is judged to be illegal, unlicensed or stolen and legal action may be forthcoming. i. Violates Title 17 of the United States Code, pertaining to copyright infringement. Applicant must show evidence of copyright permission. Any necessary individual releases must be available for review by the Committee, upon the Committee’s request.
C. Programming Quality Standards for All Pre-Produced / Public Access Programs
All HCN programming should be of appropriate technical and artistic quality as determined by HCN staff. To this end, broadcast quality standards are required for all programming, including, at a minimum: at least 10 seconds of black at the start and end of the program; quality video with proper lighting, clear picture, steady camera work, professional editing and suitable audio levels; and appropriate introduction and end to the program. HCN has the right to refuse to broadcast any program which does not contain sufficient programming quality as described herein as determined by HCN.
D. Production Rules for HCN Produced Programs
1. There must be a coordinator, provided by the organization making the request, throughout the entire production to insure the orderly and efficient completion of the production. There is a two (2) hour maximum time limitation unless pre-approved by HCN staff. 2. HCN is not responsible for providing or operating items such as PA systems, tables, chairs, podiums, etc. unless previously arranged and agreed to by the HCN staff. 3. The HCN staff member in charge of the production will be allowed access to the facilities at which production is to occur at least 72 hours prior to the event to diagram production arrangements. If there are any placement arrangements or problems with the production arrangements, the requesting organization should voice them at this time. HCN staff shall have the sole discretion to determine if the requested production can be technically accomplished. 4. The HCN staff shall be given access to the facility at least 2 hours prior to doors opening to the public to set-up the equipment. 5. HCN staff have exclusive rights to tape the requested production. 6. If any time prior or during the production the requesting organization fails to meet any of these guidelines, the HCN staff member in charge shall have the right, but not the obligation, in the exercise of his or her sole discretion to either continue the production or cancel it. 7. If the program does not conform to the original concept, as agreed to by HCN during the application process, HCN has the right to refuse to broadcast it.
Programming which meets all other Guidelines shall be approved for broadcast. Scheduling will be at the discretion of HCN staff.
Section 2. Disclaimer
Applicant must provide all relevant information regarding the content of any program. HCN and the County Council of Harford County shall not warrant the accuracy of any information broadcast over HCN. The opinions and views expressed in programs broadcast by HCN are not necessarily the opinions and views held by HCN or the County Council. HCN reserves the right to show disclaimers for programs broadcast over HCN.
Section 3. Appeals
Applicant must provide all relevant information regarding the content of any program. HCN and the County Council of Harford County shall not warrant the accuracy of any information cablecast over HCN. The opinions and views expressed in programs broadcast by HCN are not necessarily the opinions and views held by HCN or County Council. HCN reserves the right to show disclaimers for programs broadcast over HCN.
Any interested party may appeal any finding or determination to the Board. A notice of appeal (“notice”) shall be directed in writing by the appellant to the Board’s Chair, together with any and all written documents which the appellant intends to submit to the Board, not less than two (2) weeks prior to the Board meeting at which the appeal is heard. Notices of appeal, together with all supporting documents, shall be forwarded to the Board’s members together with minutes from the previous Board meeting and the next meeting’s agenda. Appeals shall be noted as “new business” on the meeting agenda.
At such time as set forth in the Board’s agenda, the appellant shall present such testimony, videotape or other supporting information as the Board’s Chair deems relevant to the Board. At the conclusion of the appellant’s presentation, the Board shall determine whether to uphold or overturn the determination of the Executive Director, by majority vote of the Board.