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Phil in the Blank A column by Phil Custodio

No PEG for me

February 27, 2013 - The issue of Clarkston-area public access TV continues. Independence Township and Clarkston school officials are working to create a combined community cable operation, based out of the high school.

I'm glad to see the township and schools working together and it would be nice to have local programming on local cable. And there's the money. Cable subscribers fork over about $200,000 a year in PEG fees for public access programming.

Ideally, there would be another option to explore to examine whether people need or want PEG programming at all.

To me, public access is like Wayne's World. Mike Myers created that for Saturday Night Live to reflect the reality of the 1990s public access television was the only way to get your show out to the public.

Now with YouTube and the rest of the internet, it isn't. That's where current school programming goes now anyway. A new public access channel would only add to that.

Eliminating PEG fees altogether should be an option, but it's not. Local government depends on them, so they're not going anywhere. If the township doesn't get them, the state would be more than happy to claim them for itself.

There are other options, though - maybe. I dropped cable last year, surviving on Netflix and the internet. My internet bill doesn't include PEG charges, though they could be hidden, I suppose.

I haven't missed it that much.

I stream Netflix's "watch instantly" stuff onto my television through my Wii, along with YouTube and other Internet stuff if I want. Newer televisions don't need a Wii or anything else to watch the internet wireless antennas are included.

I still watch too much TV, since now there's so much on there I want to watch. Anime is my thing nowadays. Those Japanese cartoonists tell some compelling stories, let me tell you.

And it's remarkably accessible. A small group of hardworking voice actors down in Texas dub tons of those shows into English, and they tour heavily to promote them.

The voice actor playing the main character in Fullmetal Alchemist showed up in Alma for a convention a couple weeks ago. I got his autograph.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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